Laptop freezing/shutting down when low fan speed/idle/low temps

influx0

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Recently I've been diagnosing my mothers laptop that at first seemed to randomly freeze/shut down/crash due to overheating.

But upon extensive testing it freezes/shuts down with low activity and I can replicate these conditions. It also shuts down/crashes while in BIOS but with opposite symptoms as to what goes on in Windows.

Scenario #1: In windows, whenever the fan switches from medium rpm speed to low rpm, and core temps go down to 51C, a freeze followed by a shutdown is imminent within the next 1-2 minutes. When this happens sometimes half of the open windows stop responding, while the other half still work and mouse still works. Sometimes the mouse stops responding while keyboard still works. The resource monitor from task manager will display the Disk as empty of activity. In some cases it doesn't shutdown/reboot and after 10+ minutes of being frozen it will resume operation as per normal. Other times it stays frozen. But most of the time it will shut down/reboot within 1-2 minutes of reaching 51-50C and low fan speed.

Overheating related reboots occur at 83C - but that's manageable to avoid generally.

Scenario #2: In BIOS, Whether working or leaving the computer idle, the fan speed ramps up to high, and eventually shuts down due to what I assume is overheating as there is no temperature display.

Scenario #3: In Safe Mode, No freeze or crash happens as the temps stay at 66C and fan speed on medium.

Basically I'm forced to keep the temperatures above 51C and therefore fan speed above low to avoid a freeze.

Specs are:
Toshiba Satellite A300 Harman Kardon
Intel T5750
ATi HD 3470
2GB ram
Windows Vista

Due to this cold startups cause several reboots before windows can properly load, and hibernate will crash and cause chkdsk to run if computer has cooled down.

Would appreciate some help.. has anyone experienced this before and solved it?
 

influx0

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It still happens but this gave me an idea to try running it without the power adapter plugged in and the problem went away, for scenario #1 at least. Thanks.

I've searched some solutions that I'll try later such as disabling Microsoft AC Adapter in device manager/battery, but looks like making a permanent solution will require soldering skills or a visit to the shop.

This is a well known issue with old Toshiba satellite series laptops. The real culprit is a NEC/TOKIN

capacitor used for filtering the CPU core voltage.
Just fixed one Satellite A300. This is caused by a bad cap. A big one - NEC/TOKIN 0E907 (900uF/2.5V)

under the CPU. Mine had 900uF but probably lost some of its magic, resulting in >100mV ripple on CPU

power. Adding 1x 100uF and 5x 10uF ceramic caps fixed the problem.
Unfortunately these constant crashes might have ruined the battery as its capacity has drastically been reduced from ~90 minutes on a full charge to about 5 now. HWMonitor shows its wear at 94%..
 

mbilal2

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OUCH that's a shame about the battery life. Definitely worth getting the capacitors replaced. Finding the bad capacitor is the challenge. Luckily changing them is not. I still recommend you take it to a shop (you trust) so they can give you possible solutions and do the replacement.
 

influx0

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I would rather back everything up off the HDD and format it before taking it to any shop.

Speaking of the HDD, I notice a single loud click happen when windows begins to load and also when laptop is shut down through windows, is this normal or concerning?

Is there anything to be done about restoring the battery? Or would replacing it be the only option, if so would any universal one suffice?
 
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