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pritch

Laptop clinic

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I'm wondering if anyone can shed light on a problem I'm having with my laptop every so often.

At random times, the thing just makes a noise like 'clink' and dies. I have to switch off the mains and wait, sometimes hours, before it responds to its power on button again. It is not linked to anything like heat as far as I can tell as it happens at random times, and it can't be fatal otherwise it would surely never recover. It has just gone for about 6 months without doing it but today had a really bad episode. I've only just got it working after about 6 hours down.

Could it be power supply? I really need to track it down in case it does any damage. I know it's a bit vague without any of you seeing it but you may have some theories/similar experiences.

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I've had mine spontaneously turn off before, but I'm pretty sure it was a heat issue. It would always turn back on immediately, but was more likely to die again.

I think it would be a good idea to reveal your laptop manufacturer/model...

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It's a Cybermaxx MD41349, manufactured by Medion, same company that my desktop came from, and that has never once had a single issue, except for noisy PSU after 2.5 years, which I replaced fine.

The laptop though has done this randomly from the start. I never complained too much though because a year ago I basically needed the cheapest laptop I could get from Medion. I paid £500 for an Athlon 2200 system which was DOA, and they sent me this machine, a p4 3.2, which then was worth £1000 and now still retails for more than I paid. That was very good of them really and hence when it's done this I've let it go, as it's always come back.

Specs;

Mobile P4 3.2ht
512MB ddr pc2700 ram (64MB given to graphics)
ATI 9100 IGP 64MB
60GB hd
Fast, noisy, often warm. Multi-stage fan. Rear intake, side exhaust fan and massive copper heatsink.

But obviously, I find it pretty unnerving, especially as I can't really afford to have it go down on me at uni. I need it al the time for work and arranging my social life on MSN, let alone for internet and games etc. God I am truly dependant on computers now.

I have been playing Doom3 on here a lot in the last week having installed it a week ago. Now it's run OK, albeit it crawls every other minutes or so, but admittedly the machine does get very hot from it's side exhaust, and I know physical RAM is exceeded.

I dunno but I'm sure a mobile p4 must put out a fair amount of heat at full whack, but then I've had task manager open and the processors (ht) doesnt even go full whack when doom3 is running.

Do laptop PSUs have some kind of thermal shutdown delay thing or something?

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The clink you mention sounds like the harddrive when the power is cut. I have a laptop hdd that does that occasionally.

Perhaps something is shorting out the power...

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Also, I had a power supply that wouldnt turn back on if it overloaded, you had to unplug it and let it sit for awhile before being able to use it again. I replaced it not long after I discovered it.

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I had the same problem with my laptop not long ago. It was caused by overheating cause the fans were clogged with dust. I blew really hard into them and a shit load of dust came spewing out. Now it doesn't die on me and runs a hell of a lot cooler too. Any time a computer dies or spontaneously reboots for no reason, overheating is the most likely culprit.

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Yeah I'm beginning to suspect thats the case.

Whats annoying is that it happened last night again when the thing was pretty much idle. I suspect that when running doom 3 a bit of dust might have burned on the heat sensor or something and is causing problems.

May have to drum the courage up to take it apart, or take it in to PC world and get them to analyse memory options at the same time.

In the mean time I've selected 25% processor (it has a switch that allows you to save power this way) so hopefully I'll have a cool, albeit 800mhz p4 system :\

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Just do what I did pritch - blow really hard into the fan intakes (try not to slobber, naturally). Your design may make it impractical, but my two fans are mounted on either corner at the back and have intakes on the side and back. So I was able to blow into one intake and the dust came out the other.

If it is still under warranty, DO NOT take it apart. You'll void it. I don't think overheating by dust intake would be something you could make a claim for. Try cleaning it out yourself, failing that you will need to take it to a pro (the people you got it from if it's under warranty) to get them to fix it up.

Working with an overheating computer is dangerous. You never know when the next time they die is going to be quite literally the last time. A bit of expense now will almost certainly save you from having to get a new computer earlier than you had planned, if you get my meaning.

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Well, it wasn't heat after all, heh.

I'm 90% certain now that it's the AC adapter, following a process of deductive reasoning.

I've just cycled it three times on battery without any failure at all, and it seems stable, the moment the adapter is hooked up, it shuts off. The only use for it now is for charging the battery.

These things are by no means cheap but at least I know what it is and it could have been much, much worse and more expensive.

I noticed they have replaced the 120 watt adapter mine shipped with with a 150 watt one, which also boasts ventilation holes. My current one did get very hot during use and I think they've sort of realised these ones fry. FSP is the manufacturer, by the way.

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