laptop cpu failure after too much  thermal compound is applied?

Posted on 2009-05-14
Last Modified: 2013-12-10
Hi I have a friend and he brought me his laptop for repair. It said "OS NOT FOUND". I removed the hard drive and found liquid damage.

Its an older laptop, a compaq presario 900.

I suspected more liquid got inside, but after removing the circuit board, I saw the only place liquid hit was the hard drive- no other components were effected. So I put it back together and installed a new drive. Douring disasembly the only problem I noted was some of the plugs were hard to remove (the lcd plugs) due to the computer being real old, and the plastic connectors were real stuck together. I managed to get them appart though.

I powered it up after I connected the keyboard just to test it- I noticed the cpu fan did not go on at all. I saw a tiny bit of smoke and I unplugged the power chord. I realized I put alittle too much thermal component on the cpu area, and alittle got under the clear foil covering the chips arround the cpu, causing the smoke.

Now I put the proper ammount on, and press power. The lights go on, but no fan. It takes the fan about 5 seconds to go on. The fan spins, and it keeps the cpu area cool- but no lcd anymore. I figured maybe I ripped 1 of the wires when I had a hard time taking it apart, so I plugged a monitor into the back of the laptop and powered it up- if a cable ripped then I should still see a picture on the vga monitor But nothing appears. The light on the monitor doesnt turn green- just stays orange.

From the info I mentioned, does it seam I may have kiled the processor when it heated up? I am 100% positave there is no other area with liquid damage, as I do  liquid damage repair on mobile cell phones at my work, so I know what to look for and I am positive nothing else is liquid damaged.

PS the processor is an amd athlon xp 1600
Question by:d_lypase
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LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 24389884
Most thermal compounds are conductive. The motherboard is most likely fried and possibly the cpu as well.

Author Comment

ID: 24390692
Hi, just for clarification, none of the thermal compound got on the mainboard. Only on the CPU. I was supposed to put a very light coating on the center chip on the cpu but excess compound spread to the chips mounted to the CPU. See photo below

I did some brief research and I saw some posts saying cpu's cant damage the mainboard, and vice versa. But since the compound is conductive, I can see where that may be an extreme example and possibly may in fact damage the mainboard.

Anyways here is a photo, do you still think both are fried?

LVL 34

Accepted Solution

jamietoner earned 125 total points
ID: 24390819
Look for a burnt spot on the motherboard, the smoke had to come from somewhere. Shorting the cpu or the motherboard can damage both.
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LVL 32

Assisted Solution

_ earned 125 total points
ID: 24391493
>> I did some brief research and I saw some posts saying cpu's cant damage the mainboard, and vice versa.

Not correct. It may not be a common occurrence, but it does happen. I lost 3 AMD cpus to a bad mobo, and 1 mobo to a bad cpu.

LVL 92

Assisted Solution

nobus earned 125 total points
ID: 24394065
you have 2 choices : mobo or cpu burned.
since it is an older laptop, not worth repairing.
LVL 69

Assisted Solution

Callandor earned 125 total points
ID: 24394530
There's a reason for the reddish non-conductive sheet surrounding the cpu - those components should not be shorted, which is probably what happened when you applied too much paste.  You should only apply a very small amount, to fill in surface irregularities.  The main heat transfer is being done by the metal-to-metal contact.

Author Comment

ID: 24404469
Yeah I see. I am pretty sure the smoke came from the cpu, as if you hold it up to the light you can also see a shade of brown, looks like a burn mark. I agree, prob not worth repairing but I can get another cpu of that type on ebay for $9.99 (including shipping) so I may try that.
LVL 34

Expert Comment

ID: 24404988
For $10 it's worth a try.
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 24617316
Thank you much.    : )

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