May have completely destroyed my laptop, don't know what to do

Kevin Corbett

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Oct 8, 2014
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The other day, I put my laptop, a Toshiba Satellite L855, in my backpack because I needed to do some work between the classes I teach. When I got back home there was some kind of warning about the fan. I should have been more mindful, but at the time I ignored it.

I had been having a lot of trouble all summer with the battery. The powerjack had gotten damaged and I had to buy a new one off Ebay, and in fact the first two I ordered were the wrong length. But anyway, the main thing is that after I replaced, it, I started losing screws, so sometimes the battery would get loose and die even with the new jack. At the time I put it in my backpack, there were some screws missing in the front.

Anyway, soon after the warning about the fan, it shut off. It always did that, but I thought the thing about the fan indicated I should open it up again. Took out the fan and cleaned out a sizable dust bunny, and thought everything would be fine, and for awhile it was. But then it started shutting down again, both randomly during use, and whenever I jostled it even a bit. So I thought maybe it wasn't the fan after all, maybe I just needed to replace ALL the screws. Which meant finding a place in the next town that actually sold such small screws, which I had been putting off since it was working fine.

So I put in the new screws and again, it seems to be working fine for about half an hour. But then once again, it just started randomly turning off, and at shorter intervals. It seemed that if I was hyper-vigilant about not touching it, it was fine for as much as an hour and a half. But the thing is, I use my computer to play music on overnight which help me get to sleep. So I was really worried. But then, I thought to sort of stand it on its side, if the fan really was the problem, and it worked for like 9 hours without any problem.

So today, I foolishly tried fiddling with it again. I tried taking out connectors that went to to the motherboard and then reattaching them, I tried cleaning out every spec of dust several times, but nothing worked. Then I went so far as to nearly completely detach the motherboard to get the dust out from there, and then took off the CD drive from the bottom part of the casing, as it seemed like the input to that had gotten a little bent, and that was the first concrete thing on I the motherboard I had seen that even I knew was out of sorts - so I was kind of hopeful I had found the origin of the problem.

But here's where everything gets really awful. First, it shut down again, almost immediately. But when I finally got it to login-screen and went to put in my password, it seemed the keyboard wasn't functioning, probably because I hadn't put some node back into the motherboard right. And then I got really mad and sort of pounded on the keyboard, vaguely thinking that might get the node back into place, but mostly just from rage. This caused the thing to shut down again, but when I went to turn it on again, it gave me the "No bootable device detected" screen, and my anger turned to fear. I tried removing the hard drive and pressing it back it as the thing loaded, but to no avail.

So, what I think I've probably done is break the motherboard. Though actually, it was my fear all along that it was already broken, since it didn't seem to be the fan or the power (as it shut down even when plugged it). I'm in a state of despair right now since I don't know what to do - I can't afford even the most basic repair, and I'm pretty sure I've done more damage than the computer is worth. Should I even bother taking it to a repair place? My warranty has already expired, so that's out, and I don't know what I'll do if I have to send it in for repair, since even if I could afford it, I need a computer to keep in contact with my students and others and can't really go 2-3 weeks without it. I just got lucky tonight because the university tech center had a check out laptop available, but they don't usually have one you can check out every day.

I was also thinking of buying a new motherboard off ebay, but I can just imagine doing that only for it to turn out to not be the motherboard. But do repair shops do things like check to see whats wrong with the computer and give an estimate before charging? The thing I fear most is taking it in for repair and getting a $500 bill for this crappy $350 computer.
 

PsyKhiqZero

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Jun 1, 2008
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If you didn't physically break the keyboard when you pounded on it then you probably didn't break the motherboard. However your still in quite a pickle. The laptop at this point needs to be disassembled and inspected, then put back together carefully. But it doesn't look like you have the skill to do so.

The way I see it you only have 1 choice. Try anyway. the laptop is pretty much worthless and paying for repair is out of the question. you have nothing to lose really. try and find a video on youtube and use it as a guide.
 

Kevin Corbett

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Oct 8, 2014
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The thing is, I already disassembled as much as I can. I don't know what to look for. Given the symptoms I described, what might have been the cause of the laptop randomly shutting down? Or what should I look for when I disassemble it?

Also, I technically could use a credit card or ask for money from my family...but I'd like to keep that as a last resort.

Also, thanks for the response.
 

PsyKhiqZero

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You mentioned a fan warning. Did this occur in windows or during the POST? What did the warning look like? The dust bunny you pulled. was it from the fan or the heatsinks?

The fan warning makes overheating the first suspect. The fans could have worn out and may need to be replaced. What you removed the motherboard did you remove the heatpipes?
 

papablista

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Jun 10, 2012
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You said :The other day, I put my laptop, a Toshiba Satellite L855, in my backpack because I needed to do some work between the classes I teach.
I hope you shut it down first
It has probably overheated a laptop should be shutdown before being put in a backpack they need fresh air all the time, but any way Toshiba's are notorieus for overheating and power jack failures but take a look here it may help, if you need to sometimes you can buy them very cheap on ebay (for parts) good luck

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlO5crblG64
 

Kevin Corbett

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Oct 8, 2014
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>You mentioned a fan warning. Did this occur in windows or during the POST? What did the warning look like? The dust bunny you pulled. was it from the fan or the heatsinks?

It was in the fan itself.

>The fan warning makes overheating the first suspect. The fans could have worn out and may need to be replaced. What you removed the motherboard did you remove the heatpipes?

I didn't remove the heat pipe, since I wasn't sure how it was attached and I didn't want to remove anything I could snap back it.

>I hope you shut it down first It has probably overheated a laptop should be shutdown before being put in a backpack they need fresh air all the time, but any way Toshiba's are notorieus for overheating and power jack failures but take a look here it may help, if you need to sometimes you can buy them very cheap on ebay (for parts) good luck

Yeah, I already replaced the powerjack once, and you're right - I forgot to turn it off before putting it away.

I think I have some good leads, but does anyone know what the problem might be with the computer not detecting the hard drive? The part it plugs into doesn't seem loose, so does that mean its the drive itself? Or something with motherboard.

Anyway, thank you all for your input, I really appreciated it.
 
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