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Old 05-27-08, 02:14 PM   #1
WilliamK1974
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Repair it or not

About four years ago, we bought a Compaq Presario R3000 series laptop at Office Depot. It was pretty well stacked out for the time period with a price tag to match. Don't think I've spent that much on a computer since. We also got the extended warranty. It was a great computer for a good while.

Right about the time the extended warranty ran out, it started having problems. The biggest issue is a commonly documented problem with the a/c plug. A couple of solder joints on the motherboard are cold from the factory, which causes an intermittent connection, leading to battery charging problems and shutdowns with little warning. Also, the screen has several large blobby places where the display is darker than what surrounds it. It still works, but the problem is rather distracting.

A little over a year ago, I got into the computer and resoldered the a/c plug pins, and it worked fine 'till recently. So, I got back into it and gave it another shot. Problem is now that the computer won't turn on. The battery charging light comes on, which indicates that at least something is working right. But no power.

Should I take this machine somewhere to have it repaired, or part it out and scrap it? We don't really *need* it, but being the cheapskate that I am, I'm not yet ready to just throw something out that cost so much new, but don't want to go bankrupt getting it fixed either. I was hoping to wipe the hard drive and turn it into a portable Ubuntu machine, but that's more of a fun thing rather than a much-needed addition to the computer stable.

Anyhow, would like to know what you think. Thank you.
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Old 05-27-08, 02:21 PM   #2
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Depends what you need a system for- you can pick up a basic word processing/music playing/internet surfing machine for a few hundred bucks new these days.

Do you need a laptop? At the (I'm assuming) 10 lbs that Compaq probably weights, its not all too protable to boot.
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Old 05-27-08, 02:53 PM   #3
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Depends what you need a system for- you can pick up a basic word processing/music playing/internet surfing machine for a few hundred bucks new these days.

Do you need a laptop? At the (I'm assuming) 10 lbs that Compaq probably weights, its not all too protable to boot.
Yeah, we have more up-to-date machines, one of which was purchased in part because the compaq became such a source of frustration a few months ago.

I have another laptop, so this isn't a need issue, I just don't feel ready to get rid of this one. The way I was brought up, we didn't throw stuff out just cause it didn't work anymore, and alot of that was due to necessity. We drove old cars cause new ones were just too expensive even when compared to repair costs on older cars. If the computer quit working, you figured out what was wrong cause getting a new one wouldn't be an option.

The compaq weighs at least 7.5 lbs. Anything I did to it with regards to Linux or whatnot would be more experimental than something that was really needed. I'm in a real Catch 22 here.
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Old 05-27-08, 02:59 PM   #4
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I understand your perspective- instead of throwing it out, why not donate it? Then you don't have the guilt of throwing it out, or expense of fixing something you don't need?

If you do some digging, you'll probably find a place near you that might take it and repair for a good cause, or check the link above.
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Old 05-27-08, 04:13 PM   #5
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Got a question about donating. Is there a risk that someone can steal identity, passwords, account details etc even if the hard disk is wiped before someone else gets hold of it? I saw a documentary about it that was quite scary and was wondering if this is just scare mongering by the media or a real risk.
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Old 05-27-08, 04:24 PM   #6
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Got a question about donating. Is there a risk that someone can steal identity, passwords, account details etc even if the hard disk is wiped before someone else gets hold of it? I saw a documentary about it that was quite scary and was wondering if this is just scare mongering by the media or a real risk.
This is part of why the idea of donating the laptop didn't occur to me. With a power problem, there's no way to boot the computer up to wipe its hard drive. We have some stuff on the drive that I would just as soon no one else be able to access.

Also, there's the whole issue of whether or not the charity actually wants a laptop that has some of the problems this one does. Add to that the fact that I might elect to keep the hard drive, and it might be worse than useless to them.

I hate to sound less than generous, but I just don't yet see myself donating the laptop at this point.
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Old 05-27-08, 04:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coasting View Post
Got a question about donating. Is there a risk that someone can steal identity, passwords, account details etc even if the hard disk is wiped before someone else gets hold of it? I saw a documentary about it that was quite scary and was wondering if this is just scare mongering by the media or a real risk.
Remove the drive and destroy it. They are cheap enough to replace.

OP: donate or sell the machine as-is. I wouldn't bother with a 4 year old machine with those problems. Especially a Compaq.
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Old 05-27-08, 06:40 PM   #8
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I've fixed laptops with problems like yours. Fairly easy if you ask me. If you can build model kits, you can do this. All you need is a fine tip soldering iron, solder, rubbing alcohol, a philips and flat head screw driver and some 15min epoxy.
Just take it apart, most screws are on the bottom and back and the keyboard has a snap fit panel. make sure you write down or take pictures of what screws and parts go where, get down to bare motherboard, remove the original solder from the connector take it off, clean the joint with some rubbing alcohol, and solder + epoxy it. Check connection, clean dust off, reassemble, easy as that. If the legs on the power pin are broken, you can just get a new one off of ebay for a few quid. At a shop you'd get charged around $80~120 for this.

You can wipe the data from your laptop's hard drive without having it in the laptop at all. Just need an adapter or external USB 2.5" portable case to plug it into and you'll be able to wipe the hard drive over USB.
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Old 05-27-08, 06:48 PM   #9
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Id say this looks like a battery issue. Have you removed the battery and plugged it straight into the wall and does it power up?

Your battery has a condition called DDLO (deep discharge lock out) under which it holds very little charge and the output voltage. Typical power management units wont turn on in this condition as you risk damaging the battery which might explain why the computer doesnt turn on. Its possible that your battery has a fault because of aging/ too many discharge cycles or any of the assorted factors that cause it to fail.

Last edited by skinnyone; 05-27-08 at 06:56 PM.
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Old 05-27-08, 07:07 PM   #10
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If you want to donate it, perhaps buy another laptop hard disk and swap it out, then destroy the old one by hand. It gets out stress, and ensures that no data will remain, and the new owners get a new HDD with no bad sectors.
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Old 05-27-08, 07:09 PM   #11
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Id say this looks like a battery issue. Have you removed the battery and plugged it straight into the wall and does it power up?

Your battery has a condition called DDLO (deep discharge lock out) under which it holds very little charge and the output voltage. Typical power management units wont turn on in this condition as you risk damaging the battery which might explain why the computer doesnt turn on. Its possible that your battery has a fault because of aging/ too many discharge cycles or any of the assorted factors that cause it to fail.
the Li-Ion batteries in laptops lasts 3yrs at best, 1yr at worst.
but yeah, this happens sometimes. I've only seen this happen on dells and VAIOs. HP/compaq doesn't particularly care.
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Old 05-27-08, 09:37 PM   #12
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I tried the boot-up without the battery, and it didn't work.
The odd thing I've noticed is that when I try to boot it up unplugged with battery only, the power light on the front of the unit will stay on if I hold down the power button, but that's all that happens.

Does that sound like a familiar problem to anyone?

I'm not afraid to tear into something to try and fix it, but this laptop's no fun to take apart. But part of why I want to fix it if possible and get it to work is just the satisfaction of doing it right.

Thank you,
-Bill
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Old 05-27-08, 09:59 PM   #13
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when the battery is drained/under voltage you'll get lights, but no boot.
Sometimes the battery or power control circuitry gets burnt because of the constant on/off action that a lose power connector causes which would also lead to the lights, but no power syndrome. Only way to find out of the power control circuit is burnt or not is to put a fresh battery in the machine and see if it charges up, but it's way cheaper to fix the power connector first if you already suspect this to be one of the problems.

but before you try fixing the connector, see if your AC/DC power supply for the laptop doesn't have a lose or broken cable, which is very common for people who wrap the cable around the brick. Metal fatigue breaks the cords inside the cable causing no connection. You can check this with a multimeter while twisting the cable around.
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Old 05-27-08, 11:32 PM   #14
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