Solved Did I fry the motherboard?

October 26, 2011 at 08:22:03
Specs: Windows Vista, AMD Turion 64/2G
I did a stupid thing. I had the back panel off the laptop and was tightening a screw on the motherboard. The battery was in the laptop and the power cord was plugged in. I saw a small arch. Did I fry the motherboard? I'm sure I fried something because the laptop will not turn on now. How do I know what I fried? I hate to buy a new motherboard only to find out it was something else.

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✔ Best Answer
October 26, 2011 at 11:06:08
The effects of damage don't necessarily show up immediately afterward.

Remove the power sources to it and try re-seating the ram.
Restore power, and try it

If that doesn't get it working, something is probably damaged.
...........

I have a friend's Acer latop that was dropped. The onboard display never worked after that. For a long time - months - it worked fine with an external monitor, but then all the USB ports and the keyboard stopped working. I took it apart and checked everything - the damage to one corner of the mboard was obvious - but to no avail. It still boots fine and displays on the external monitor but you can't get past the logon screen when it won't recognize any keyboard (or mouse) . The mboard must be replaced.



#1
October 26, 2011 at 08:42:23
If you saw an electrical arc - a spark - yes, it's quite possible you damaged something.

All modern computers (some since about the mid 1990s; all of them made in about 2000 or later) are ATX family computers. The ATX family mboards are always powered in some places even when the computer is not running, as long as there is live power connected to the mboard.The battery and/or AC adapter for a laptop must be disconnected, or there must be no live AC power to a desktop power supply, when you're fiddling with anything inside the computer case if you want to avoid the possibility of damaging something.

You should always have both the battery and the AC adapter disconnected when you're fiddling with anything inside the computer case including the ram, and you should take precautions to prevent static electricity discharges as well if the situation is favorable for producing that - e.g. low air humidity where the computer is and wall to wall carpet on the floor.

Take it to a local place that is authorized to repair your brand and have them analyze it.

If your computer is an older model you can often find a new, or a good used replacement mboard that has no passwords enabled in it's bios for a reasonable price when you search on the web, but it's wise for you to use a Service or Maintenance manual for the model series if you replace it yourself to avoid damaging something while dong that.


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#2
October 26, 2011 at 08:50:03
If you were messing about inside the computer with power applied and you saw a spark it is almost certain you have fried something. You probably caused the motherboard to flex just a few millimetres to much. Only a technician with the necessary test equipment could tell for certain.

Stuart


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#3
October 26, 2011 at 09:20:25
One more thing, after the spark, I removed the power, replaced the backing, reconnected the power and turned on the laptop. It came on and worked fine so I counted my blessings and turned it off. This morning it won't power up.

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#4
October 26, 2011 at 11:06:08
✔ Best Answer
The effects of damage don't necessarily show up immediately afterward.

Remove the power sources to it and try re-seating the ram.
Restore power, and try it

If that doesn't get it working, something is probably damaged.
...........

I have a friend's Acer latop that was dropped. The onboard display never worked after that. For a long time - months - it worked fine with an external monitor, but then all the USB ports and the keyboard stopped working. I took it apart and checked everything - the damage to one corner of the mboard was obvious - but to no avail. It still boots fine and displays on the external monitor but you can't get past the logon screen when it won't recognize any keyboard (or mouse) . The mboard must be replaced.


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#5
October 26, 2011 at 11:36:42
Is there a chance I will be able to see the damage if I remove the mboard?

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#6
October 26, 2011 at 18:19:57
" Is there a chance I will be able to see the damage if I remove the mboard?"

According to my experiences, that's very unlikely.

When I said ...
"the damage to one corner of the mboard was obvious"
....I.should have stated the mboard was physically damaged there. I had not taken it apart previously since it worked fine with an external monitor - it was probably the same physical damage it originally had after it was dropped.
I used good lighting and a magnifying glass to examine everything inside the case and found no obvious damage otherwise.

I've done that many times when something had failed, out of curiosity - a card, power supply, mboard. Other than possibly failing (bulged tops, evidence that shows fluid has leaked out) or missing (it blew up) electrolytic capacitors there's usually nothing obvious.( I did discover power supplies rarely blow the fuse they're required to have.)

Rarely, I've heard, the mboard has a fuse device that blows when it experiences a short, but it doesn't necessarily blow depending on what event happened, it usually doesn't look like what you would expect it to look like, and I've only heard of that for on desktop mboards. I've never seen that on a defective or dead mboard myself, but I'm not a technician who works repairing computers all the time and I haven't seen a lot of them.

Two of the USB ports were on a power card that plugs into the mboard - the same one that has the jack the AC adapter plugs into - but there is a third USB port on the mboard and that doesn't work either. The battery still charges fine. The keyboard had not been abused. When the USB ports were working previously, a USB keyboard worked fine even during booting.

I could probably find a replacement mboard, but I don't want to replace that and then have to replace the display assembly too. I could get a working equivalent used laptop for that total amount of money or less.It is recent enough that it has Vista on it. The friend has Parkinson's (he's only about 55) and has only a government supplied disability income so he chose not to bother trying to fix it.


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#7
October 27, 2011 at 13:08:10
You need to watch out more. Your action is both a safety issue and a thinking issue. You better start thinking before you kill yourself or burn down your home.

1/3 of highway deaths are caused by drunks. The rest are by people who can't drive any better than a drunk.


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