Question Acer Predator Helios 300 (2017) shutdown, burning smell, won't start.

Feb 7, 2021
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While gaming, my laptop shut down with no warning, and I noticed a burning smell coming from the fan area. It then no longer started, no lights or any sign of life from it.

I opened it up, cleaned out the fans, repasted it.

Other things I tried:

dsconnecting the fans from the mobo
disconnecting the battery.
held the power button down for 30 seconds to reset the battery (there is no pin reset on this model.

Nothing worked, and it still won't start. Is there anything else I can try or is it likely something on the motherboard is fried? I don't see anything obviously burnt on the mobo but I'm not sure what to look for, I attached some pictures of it opened up (before I finished cleaning it) The white goo above the cpu was melted thermal pad that I removed.


 

AlHuneke

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Jul 7, 2020
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A burning smell is bad news. Likely something is blown. It is unlikely you will be able to do anything to fix it yourself. I trust you are following good ESD precautions. I see a lot of "I opened up my laptop to do ..... and now it won't start". I know you had this problem before you opened it, but poking around inside without taking ESD precautions is asking for more trouble. Check out your laptop service manual. I'm sure it addresses the issue.

The burning smell likely arose from something in the power supply. The CPU and GPU should have thermal protection (if it works).
 
Reactions: Saga Lout
Feb 7, 2021
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update: I popped the ram sticks and still nothing. I'm mostly resigned to having to buy a replacement for the laptop. I am really curious as to what burned though, the burning smell was very localized to the right fan and the area just to the right of the fan. There was definitely heat damage involved, I had no idea the laptop had gotten so dirty--many of the vents on the back were almost completely blocked by dust.

trust you are following good ESD precautions. I see a lot of "I opened up my laptop to do ..... and now it won't start". I know you had this problem before you opened it, but poking around inside without taking ESD precautions is asking for more trouble.
Yeah I took basic precautions, I've actually opened up the laptop 3 times previously to clean the fans and repaste with no issues. I also live in an area with a relative humidity of 80, which makes ESD very unlikely.

One other question: do you think it would be worth taking it to a repair shop? I assume if something on the motherboard is fried it would cost more to fix than just writing off the laptop as a loss, but I am unsure.
 

AlHuneke

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Jul 7, 2020
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There is a FET (power transistor) in the power supply that sometimes fails and would be an easy fix if you have a good tech. Your machine is fairly expensive so it might be worth spending a little money to explore repair. A burning smell would indicate there would likely be visual damage so a tech may notice something. You might also talk to Acer and see what they would charge if you send it back to them (they will likely wipe the hard drive). Good luck!
 

AlHuneke

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Jul 7, 2020
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One other quick thought. If you do see something "burnt", it's quite possible that is a symptom not a cause. A component failure can cause some other part to self destruct. For instance, back in the old days, a shorter filter cap might burn up the transformer in a TV. The tech would need to understand how to determine the cause of the problem with a schematic in hand.
 
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