1st Sussessful Laptop Repair!

Chat about just about anything else

1st Sussessful Laptop Repair!

Postby Gunmetal_Ghoul on Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:41 pm

I am currently studying PC repair and am about to take the CompTIA A+ certification exam for repair technicians. I do computer repairs free of charge (clients buy the parts) for friends, family, people at church and around the school I teach at. I have found laptops to be the final frontier. It seemed a bit intimidating until I took up a challenge to fix a friend's broken HP DV6000 before she returned to college from Christmas break. The problem was it had a dead hard drive inside and immediately ordered a replacement 160GB drive, an upgrade of 2GB of RAM, a new battery and a replacement LCD cover which had a nasty crack with broken plastic shaking inside.
I successfully repaired it but had no system restore disk available, so of course I installed Linux Mint 10 onto the drive after showing everything to be perfectly compatible (even Broadcom wifi drivers!). We were both thankful that she always had her data safely backed up and she expressed appreciation for Mint's beautiful interface, simplicity and how it was free of charge. She also liked how her laptop looked and ran like new with the white LCD cover replacing her cracked one. All was well until I replaced her battery and charged it overnight. Somehow, it only lasts for 20 minutes before dying, yet the power manager shows its charge to be 72%. "This battery's old; I'll contact the seller", I assured her over the phone. I have contacted the seller, but after three attempts has yet to reply to my messages. She is happy to use it for the most part and had no trouble using Mint [with a few basic Compiz effects], but I still feel embarrassed that her battery life sucks. I'm still making the arrangement for its replacement and for Mint's sake will have to follow through until it's resolved. At least I made one more Mint user....


Here's what I learned from my first laptop repair:
1. It's a nightmare. Truly, I think it is. My hat's off to the pros.
2. Getting inside is much like peeling back layers of an onion: it has many sets of screws, bezels, connecting cables and other components that need special attention as you proceed to the trouble spot.
3. Keep track of all the above, especially screws. Follow the logical order of its breakdown--It's your string in the labyrinth during reassembly.
4. Research first. Get your hands on the model's service manual and acquaint yourself with it before starting. Laptops are very proprietary by design and require some forehand knowledge for successful troubleshooting, repair and getting the right parts.
5. Laptop components seem to be more delicate than their desktop counterparts, especially when it applies to heat. Would I be wrong to say that some manufacturers have not gotten this right just yet?
6. Document everything. You're a detective--you're Batman. Use deductive reasoning for success, and writing down everything pertinent will be expedient in getting all the pieces together and keeping knowledge from past experiences (and mistakes) handy. Oh yeah, take some pictures while you're at it.
7. Follow through with checking everything after you've done the repair. I embarrassed myself and possibly Linux Mint by not checking the battery before giving it back. Double check, triple check, and don't take anything for granted! Place your pride of work and reputation on the line.
8. Have fun, because any work would be drudgery without it!
Life's too short to keep things in their "out-of-the-box" condition....
User avatar
Gunmetal_Ghoul
Level 3
Level 3
 
Posts: 195
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 4:34 pm

Linux Mint is funded by ads and donations.
 

Re: 1st Sussessful Laptop Repair!

Postby willie42 on Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:10 pm

I can agree with you. they are a challenge especially the screen. One other thing to add to you list is take your time. Cant hurry on a laptop and it work. :D
Comptia A+ Certified Technician
Comptia Network + Certified Technician
You can not have Success without Failures.
User avatar
willie42
Level 7
Level 7
 
Posts: 1977
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:52 pm
Location: Oak Ridge, TN USA

Re: 1st Sussessful Laptop Repair!

Postby Habitual on Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:13 pm

I have done this for years.
My rule of thumb is Never give/sell/repair a system to a state that I wouldn't use myself.
What's a landing but a take off in reverse?
User avatar
Habitual
Level 8
Level 8
 
Posts: 2213
Joined: Sun Nov 21, 2010 8:31 pm
Location: LM17Q-Xfce

Re: 1st Sussessful Laptop Repair!

Postby dagon on Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:14 pm

man - machine
1 - 0 8)
Image
User avatar
dagon
Level 7
Level 7
 
Posts: 1690
Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 4:33 am
Location: Kungälv, Sweden

Re: 1st Sussessful Laptop Repair!

Postby dawgdoc on Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:04 pm

@gunmetal,

re: the battery. I have occasionally seen similar reports in the forum about the short battery life, even from ones where the condition was known to be much better. some have found this as a solution: Unplug the AC adapter, remove the battery, open the lid and press the power button for at least 20 seconds. Then reinstall the battery and see how everything is. Some say it has worked for them. I wouldn't know how or why, however.

On my 4 y/o DV6000 I have replaced the HD with a larger one, upped the ram several times, replaced keyboards on friends laptops, and been on the verge of replacing the lcd on mine for quite a while. My lcd, intermittently, only displays about the upper 2/3 of the display area. Having read the manual on doing this I have been a little daunted. I have broken it down to the point of disassembling the lcd an then backed off. Your replacing of the lcd cover would amount to the same work. MY HAT IS OFF TO YOU.

I DETEST working with the tiny ribbon cables and their connections. I'm over 6'3" (190+cm) and my hands and fingers don't like the tiny things.
Image

SYSTEM: Compaq Presario CQ62 Dual-Boot: Mint 13 Gnome x32 PAE, LMDE
READING: The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini
User avatar
dawgdoc
Level 9
Level 9
 
Posts: 2690
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:53 am
Location: Kentucky, USA the land of Mint Juleps

Re: 1st Sussessful Laptop Repair!

Postby Gunmetal_Ghoul on Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:31 pm

I have found this video series to be extremely helpful and worth the money I put into it: http://www.laptoprepairvideos.com/.

I was given the wise advice that "competence produces confidence". The more I learn and apply the more confident and prepared I would be. That's a good.

Also, does anyone know a good place where I can download laptop service manuals for free? All the ones I searched seemed to have led me astray.
Life's too short to keep things in their "out-of-the-box" condition....
User avatar
Gunmetal_Ghoul
Level 3
Level 3
 
Posts: 195
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 4:34 pm

Re: 1st Sussessful Laptop Repair!

Postby willie42 on Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:33 pm

All the tech manuals I have tried to get have a cost. :(
Comptia A+ Certified Technician
Comptia Network + Certified Technician
You can not have Success without Failures.
User avatar
willie42
Level 7
Level 7
 
Posts: 1977
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:52 pm
Location: Oak Ridge, TN USA

Re: 1st Sussessful Laptop Repair!

Postby dawgdoc on Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:51 pm

I have downloaded some HP and Toshiba tech manuals from the manufacturer. This is how I obtained mine for the DV6000. But it seems like most, if not all remove older manuals at some point.
Image

SYSTEM: Compaq Presario CQ62 Dual-Boot: Mint 13 Gnome x32 PAE, LMDE
READING: The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini
User avatar
dawgdoc
Level 9
Level 9
 
Posts: 2690
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:53 am
Location: Kentucky, USA the land of Mint Juleps

Re: 1st Sussessful Laptop Repair!

Postby waldo on Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:13 am

Recently I had to get rather deep into a Dell laptop that was owned by a relative. The DVD drive needed to be replaced. It was one of those DVD drives that just has a slot exposed, and mechanically pulls in the disk when partially inserted (the drawer types are much easier to replace - keep that in mind when buying laptops!).

I was able to find an on-line manual for this project, and I don't believe I could have done it without one. There are just too many items that need to be removed or unfastened that are just not at all obvious. I won't go into the details, but I had to remove 38 screws, 7 cable connectors, and dislodge wires from 13 tuck-in points. Don't even think of trying it without instructions.

You need to make good notes, and keep the screws organized. You can use small cups, one cup for each item removed, and be sure to label them. Those little plastic ketchup cups from fast food restaurants work well - number them with a Shapie, and make a list of the screw locations by cup number. An even better choice is those 7 compartment weekly pill organizers that you can get at pharmacies (cheaper at the Walmart pharmacy!). They have snap down lids which helps if you're clumsy like me. Whatever method you use, keep the screws organized by item removed. It's the only way you can be sure you are replacing everything. Trust me, you cannot remember where two or three dozen screws came from, and often they are slightly different sizes.
waldo
Level 4
Level 4
 
Posts: 360
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: 1st Sussessful Laptop Repair!

Postby det4100 on Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:09 pm

When repairing laptops, I tell my customers not to bring it in unless they are prepared to throw it away. I also will not order parts, except parts with access panels, until I have the machine disassembled. I would not want to spend $300.00 on a new screen and then break the bezels or crack a circuit board while taking it apart. After disassembly, I then quote them a price for repair. I don't charge them for the labor if they choose not to repair it. I consider it practice, since they are so damn hard to get apart. :)

det4100
det4100

Running Mint Debian
User avatar
det4100
Level 4
Level 4
 
Posts: 225
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2007 9:51 am
Location: New York

Re: 1st Sussessful Laptop Repair!

Postby MtnDewManiac on Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:59 am

det4100 wrote:When repairing laptops, I tell my customers not to bring it in unless they are prepared to throw it away. I also will not order parts, except parts with access panels, until I have the machine disassembled. I would not want to spend $300.00 on a new screen and then break the bezels or crack a circuit board while taking it apart. After disassembly, I then quote them a price for repair. I don't charge them for the labor if they choose not to repair it. I consider it practice, since they are so damn hard to get apart. :)

det4100


If they're your customers - meaning that you're doing it as a business, as opposed to just trying to help out a friend or relative gratis - I'd think that any parts that you break during the procedure would be on your nickel. (Actually, I'd expect that even if it was "only" a favor for a friend.) It'd be like if I came into your home to prep the walls in your dining room and prime/paint the ceiling and walls... and, while I was there, I knocked a hole in one of the walls, looked at it, and said, "Gee, that's tough, Fred. Well, I'll just be going now." Some folks would get a mite bent out of shape if that happened - I'd be one of them.

Regardless, I wanted to post that whenever someone does at least a partial disassembly on a laptop that is more than a few months old, they should (IMO) take the time to clean the air path, heat pipes, fans, and heat sinks. This can extend the life of the laptop, stop "instability gremlins/shutdowns, and even help performance if the CPU is one that can be throttled (a laptop that is running hot will often be unable to maintain its higher CPU settings). Unfortunately, in some (many?) laptops, doing this can require quite a bit of work; sometimes the last bit that you come to is the fan/heatpipe assembly. Also, it doesn't hurt to consider removing the old thermal grease/tape that you find and replacing it with new. After all, it'd be regrettable if one were to put time/parts/labor/money into repairing/upgrading a laptop only to have it fail due to heat at some point in the future.

BtW, it can be helpful to snap pictures along the way with a digital camera (or the equivalent on a cell phone), make a video, or even keep a running commentary going whilst making an audio record. Then, when you are reassembling, if you have any uncertainty along the way, you can refer to your audio/video/notes/etc.

Regards,
MDM
_____
Proud to be a Mint user. Running 32-bit Mint 14 Xfce (with Xfce 4.10 and 4.12 PPAs). I have the best modern OS and it runs on my really old hardware, lol.
"Change should never be your goal but, instead, only a means to reach your goal."
MtnDewManiac
Level 4
Level 4
 
Posts: 444
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:18 pm

Linux Mint is funded by ads and donations.
 

Return to Open chat

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest