Solved

Acer Aspire 5253 intermittent power problem

Posted on 2013-02-01
28
2,441 Views
Last Modified: 2013-02-08
Hi Guys and Girls,

I have a seriously annoying fault with one of my customer's laptops.

It first came to me and was dropped off with the fault reported as it wouldn't charge or run without the battery.

The first thing I did was check the voltage of the charger and that was correct, but it was a cheap nasty £6.50 replacement. I couldn't be sure of the current though, so I tried my universal power adapter and that worked, so I told them that they needed a new power lead and that they should get a proper one. They asked me to source a good one and I did.

It arrived, I tested it, it worked, I even stripped the laptop to check the voltage was getting to the board and it was. I tested it again successfully and arranged for the customer to come and collect it. When she was here, as I like to do, I demonstrated it, but it was completely dead, just as it had been, so extremely red faced, I said that it was likely to be the motherboard or the dc jack and that it was worth trying the dc jack first. Luckily on this laptop it is on a wiring harness, so there is no annoying de-soldering to be done.

I ordered the socket, received the wrong one, ordered again and finally got the right one, went ahead and fitted it today and tested the hell out of it with both chargers, plugging and unplugging 20 or so times and it was all perfect. Again I arranged for her to come and collect it only for it to be completely dead when she was here!!

It does the same without the battery. I am sure that it needs a new battery, but it should run off the charger without it. when it was working there was a light at the front to say that it was plugged in, now there is no light at all.

Can this just be the motherboard now?? I can't think of any other component involved in the power circuit, but I am out of pocket around £40 now, so I don't want to rush in to getting a new motherboard in case it still doesn't work.

I should tell you, I am a very good computer engineer and I started my IT business in 1994, so I am able to do pretty much anything that any of your geniuses can think of.

To say that I was completely humiliated is an understatement!
0
Comment
Question by:allisolve
  • 13
  • 6
  • 5
  • +1
28 Comments
 
LVL 90

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 38845655
If you can remove the battery, plug in the AC adapter unit to the computer and then there are no lights and the computer won't run (this is what you said above, I think). You have replaced the AC Adapter and the DC socket on the computer. So then all that is left is the motherboard which includes the charging smarts for the battery.

Unfortunately I do not know of any practical way to test the motherboard.

... Thinkpads_User
0
 

Author Comment

by:allisolve
ID: 38845664
Hi thinkpads_user,

That is correct, nothing happens when I use either charger. I will try my universal one just to make sure that it isn't something with these 2, but it would surprise me if both these leads were bad.

I had assumed that the only thing left was the motherboard, but I have been certain the past 2 times with this already and motherboards are not cheap for laptops.

Thank you for your comment though. It may not be what I want to hear, but if that is the case I would much rather know and would be a lot happier knowing that others thought the same thing.

Many thanks

Dave
0
 
LVL 8

Accepted Solution

by:
Scott Thompson earned 500 total points
ID: 38845836
Sounds almost like a grounding issue. If the unit shows a light when you tear it down to the motherboard, then put it together one piece at a time and test after every added piece.
0
 

Author Comment

by:allisolve
ID: 38845840
Thanks, I will give that a try, you could be right, the power cables run all around the left hand hinge. I could always do a continuity test between the socket and the hinges, etc.
0
 
LVL 90

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 38845841
I had (over a decade ago) a Thinkpad 2611 that came with Windows 98 and it had a bad DC jack because it had no physical support. But you have replaced this.

So there isn't much left but motherboard. I know they are not cheap, and Acer are consumer machines. Your client may be well advised to simply replace it with a better machine. That will be more cost effective over the long haul

... Thinkpads_User
0
 
LVL 90

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 38845848
Is the AC adapter very (very) hot? I should think it would be if grounding out. The problem with the old Thinkpad was that the jack was disconnecting from the motherboard and causing precisely the same symptoms as you get. But you replaced that jack.

... Thinkpads_User
0
 

Author Comment

by:allisolve
ID: 38845850
Funny you should say that. She said that she needs it tomorrow as they have a new car sales business opening so she is going to buy a replacement in the morning.

I have the offending laptop here still and it is a matter of professional pride that is driving me to get to the bottom of this. I hate to be beaten especially as I can't even have a confident diagnosis, I will always wonder if it was something else.

I know it is crazy, but that is how my mind works and if it didn't, I wouldn't be the level of engineer that I am today.

I am guessing that a lot of you know exactly where I am coming from.
0
 

Author Comment

by:allisolve
ID: 38845852
Nope, both chargers remain warm, certainly not hot.
0
 
LVL 90

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 38845859
"Warm" is just fine. Mine get very warm, but not really hot.

she is going to buy a replacement in the morning.

I always suggest commercial grade computers and I usually get a 3 year warranty, sometimes 4 years.


... Thinkpads_User
0
 

Author Comment

by:allisolve
ID: 38845866
Her budget was £350 - £400 (I don't know where you are in the world, but that doesn't buy you anything fancy like that)

I personally have a MacBook Pro that I will be replacing with another MacBook Pro when I can afford to, I wouldn't waste my time on a laptop like this, but to earn the money to replace my laptop I have to fix these budget end computers.

Obviously the other problem with that is that the repair becomes less valuable as they can just go and replace it.
0
 

Author Comment

by:allisolve
ID: 38845870
Ok, given that it is nearly 2am, I decided not to strip it to check for grounding, but I did try closing and opening the lid slowly and it is working again with and without the battery.

I think it must be a grounding issue, most likely to do with that left hinge.

I guess I will be stripping this laptop for about the 4th time over the weekend!
0
 
LVL 90

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 38845873
I am considering a Thinkpad T430 which would be at the top end of that range in its basic form.

You would not like me :)  My Thinkpad T61p has never broken (now fully a year past the 4 year warranty).

... Thinkpads_User
0
 

Author Comment

by:allisolve
ID: 38845880
I do like Thinkpads, I still have my T42 sat behind me. That was my work horse for 3 years and has done about another 2 or 3 of occasional use and I agree, mine never went wrong. I just don't necessarily trust that Lenovo have taken the quality as seriously.

I do much prefer my Apple, but I still really like the T42 :-)

Mind you, I have my first ever computer here in my office (BBC Micro) along with it's 5.25" floppy drive. I hate to throw things away.
0
 
LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:Scott Thompson
ID: 38845881
I know the feeling. I hate giving up on a laptop until I know for sure how to fix it. I agree with the pride thing. Of course, the best way to learn is through experience. :-)
0
Zoho SalesIQ

Hassle-free live chat software re-imagined for business growth. 2 users, always free.

 

Author Comment

by:allisolve
ID: 38845894
I have another avenue to explore with the grounding, so I will see how much time I get over the weekend to strip it out and check for that.

That is exactly how I learn. I am completely 100% self taught. I have always tinkered with broken things that didn't matter if I couldn't put them back together again. I soon discovered that I could fix an awful lot of things with a little patience.

This is no different.

I will fix it!
0
 
LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:Scott Thompson
ID: 38845900
Good luck to you, allisolve! Let us know how it goes!
0
 

Author Comment

by:allisolve
ID: 38845905
Thanks, I will do - I will leave this open until I know what the score is.

I just wish my wife understood why I spent so long on things like this :-)
0
 
LVL 91

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38846264
i believe this is an ACER right?
to start with - these do not have the best comments. so you may easily have a bad contact somewhere - which maybe extremely difficult to find
steps you can take imo :
-disassemble and reassemble it completely
-bake it in an oven - - or use the reflow techniques
-send it to a repair centre that offers reflow
-replace the mobo
-dump it altogether
0
 

Author Comment

by:allisolve
ID: 38848761
Hi Nobus,

Yes, this is an Acer, nothing fancy - entry model type of thing.

I need to disassemble it all again when I have time in the week, but I will disassemble the screen housing too to see if something is grounding in there.

I haven't ever heard of baking mobos in ovens, are you talking about a domestic or a special type of oven? What temperature does it need to be to reflow? My oven goes up to 250'C so it may do. Wouldn't that really upset other components on the board too?

I have the details of a company that does flat rate mobo repairs inc reflow.

I am fairly sure that it isn't the mobo though as it was moving the lid that got it to come on and it has been working perfectly all over the weekend. I know if could be anything, but I am expecting to find a chafed wire next to an earthed component somewhere.

Thanks for all the ideas so far, I will let you all know how it goes when I strip it again.
0
 
LVL 91

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38848802
using an oven :  http://www.instructables.com/id/Toaster-Oven-Reflow-Soldering-BGA/
http://www.instructables.com/id/Hack-a-Toaster-Oven-for-Reflow-Soldering/
heatgun procedure :  http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=BE&v=Vhd-ot9vFfs

>>  as it was moving the lid that got it to come on  <<  that can be - it is  a magnetic, or mechanical switch? mechanics get stuck
0
 
LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:Scott Thompson
ID: 38848884
Note; applying direct heat to the southbridge chip with a heat gun is in my opinion a far better way to attempt to repair a dead motherboard than an oven.

However, since the unit turns on when parts are moved, I'm almost positive you have a grounding issue. Do not reflow and possibly damage your motherboard unless absolutely necessary.
0
 
LVL 91

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38848917
i agree that reflow is the last solution
i use the heatgun method myself - my wife won't let me in the oven...
0
 

Author Closing Comment

by:allisolve
ID: 38865281
I haven't had a chance to completely strip the laptop down again and my customer has told me to keep it, so there is no longer any pressure to get it done. I have awarded the solution based on the fact that I really cant see it being anything else and I hadn't thought of that.
0
 
LVL 91

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38867082
if you have no real solution, i would pick one of these 2 for closing :
1-assign NO points
2-assign points to all helpful posts, not only one...
0
 

Author Comment

by:allisolve
ID: 38867530
Sorry nobus, I was going on the correct answer to the problem, but if you would all rather, you have all been helpful in different ways. I don't believe that this needs a reflow, but you have given me some good info about it if I have to do it in the future.

thinkpads_user spent a long time on it and was very quick to respond.

pc_solutions50501 came up with what I belive to be the correct answer.

I don't mind how the points are divvied up, you have all been very kind and helpful with your advice and I very much appreciate all of your time and effort. What do the moderators think?
0
 
LVL 91

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38867598
i don't mind the points, - i have enough...just pointing something out
leave it as is
0
 

Author Comment

by:allisolve
ID: 38867829
No worries - obviously different people have different ideas of the points structure, but as an infrequent EE member (I have been doing what I do for nearly 20 years so normally I am in my comfort zone) I don't fully understand the structure here.

I am open to constructive comments like yours though and if unsure in the future I will ask on the question before awarding the points.
0
 
LVL 91

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38868245
tx for feedback, and have fun
0

Featured Post

Zoho SalesIQ

Hassle-free live chat software re-imagined for business growth. 2 users, always free.

Join & Write a Comment

I'm a big fan of Windows' offline folder caching and have used it on my laptops for over a decade.  One thing I don't like about it, however, is how difficult Microsoft has made it for the cache to be moved out of the Windows folder.  Here's how to …
Moving your enterprise fax infrastructure from in-house fax machines and servers to the cloud makes sense — from both an efficiency and productivity standpoint. But does migrating to a cloud fax solution mean you will no longer be able to send or re…
It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages.
Excel styles will make formatting consistent and let you apply and change formatting faster. In this tutorial, you'll learn how to use Excel's built-in styles, how to modify styles, and how to create your own. You'll also learn how to use your custo…

757 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question

Need Help in Real-Time?

Connect with top rated Experts

21 Experts available now in Live!

Get 1:1 Help Now