Monday, July 11, 2011

Laptop MotherBoard Repair And Diagnosis

All we can say about laptop motherboard repair is that unless you have some of the latest diagnostic equipment, a test jig, ESD setup workshop, an array of tools, digital multi meters and an oscilloscope then don’t think you can narrow down your fault diagnosis to the exact component that is causing your laptop to misbehave... nobody has that much time.

What I can also say is that even your local authorised repair centre for all the brand name laptops don’t go to this much trouble either. I have personally been present for a number of different manufacturers service calls and witnessed how they operate.

For example -

If you log a call for your Acer laptop which is in warranty, the technician will turn up (for onsite warranty ) with a fist full of spare parts. He will take a quick look at the machine, keeping in mind they already have a fault description and have narrowed it down prior to turning up. After looking at the machine and verifying it has a fault they will basically gut the machine and rebuild it with new internal parts.

I have seen this same technique carried out by IBM, HP/Compaq, Acer and I assume most others would do the same. This excludes Toshiba who have a different system.

Here are some things you can do to isolate what sort of problem you have, you may think you'll have to undertake some sort of laptop motherboard repair but quite often the motherboard gets blamed for a fault that may be somewhere else in your machine.

Look closely at the symptoms, determine when the fault occurs (unless it’s constant) and try and pinpoint the function that is failing.

Here is a good example.

Your screen goes dim and appears to switch off whilst in use.

- Try the machine using an external screen.

You can already get some idea here of what may be the problem, if the external screen is working it may be the LCD or the inverter board.

If the external video doesn’t work either then you mustn’t assume the LCD is faulty as you would have external display if it was just the LCD panel.

You could now suspect the video card or chipset, in which case you would need to find out whether the video chipset is part of the motherboard or on a separate PCB.

This is where your authorised repair centre will come in handy, give them your machine type and they should be able to tell you, if they can't burn their number and never call them again, they're a waste of time, find another repair centre.

I wouldn’t expect that most people would be game enough to pull their own laptop apart just to stare blankly at the exposed motherboard looking for the faulty component or track to jump out at them, it's not going to glow red or have smoke coming out of it so the whole venture would be fruitless.

Another example.

External port faults are common, like USB ports and headphone jacks. An easy way of determining these sorts of faults is to plug in as many different devices that suit to see if it is indeed the port or the device which is faulty. Also try uninstalling then reinstalling the USB device. If the function doesn’t return after this sort of work then you can go one step further and reinstall Windows (or Linux) using your recovery cd’s or your own created SOE , remember to BACKUP your data first.

If the fault is still present after this then you can assume that your hardware is to blame for the issues. Finding out what part the actual hardware (USB ports) are located on should be your next step. These sort of ports are not always located on the main board and will often be found on a smaller less expensive board.

Do your testing using normal basic methods to determine as closely as you can what part may be causing your problem then seek some advice from a professional to see if their opinion is the same.

Sometimes it may be a case of having to replace components and use a process of elimination to find what's at fault, obviously if your optical drive seems to be playing up and you're able to plug in another one that you know is good and the problem remains your next step is to look at some sort of laptop motherboard repair, unless you're a whiz bang electronics tech this will probably mean just replacing the board.

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