Ridiculous Laptop Problem: Apply Pressure to Power On

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oneminuteslow
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Ridiculous Laptop Problem: Apply Pressure to Power On

Postby oneminuteslow » Fri Oct 30, 2009 3:43 am UTC

Okay, I'm normally pretty decent with computers, but this crazy issue I'm having completely baffles me.

I've had a Sony Vaio laptop for five and a half years. Recently, when powering it on, it fails to post. In fact, I see nothing at all on the screen, and the three key lock lights (Caps lock, etc.) remain on. It just gets stuck there. Now, here's the weird part. If I apply a good amount of pressure to the lower-right portion of the laptop, it powers on just fine. If I let go of the pressure before making it past the BIOS, the computer locks up completely. However, if I let go of the pressure after Windows starts loading, everything works fine from that point forward. I've opened up the laptop several times and removed all kinds of components, but I can't seem to figure it out.

Have you ever heard of anything like this? It's ridiculous. I might sell this laptop on eBay, but I want to fix this problem first. I can't imagine it's any removable hardware (CPU, RAM, HDD, etc.) because the laptop works perfectly after getting past the BIOS. Any ideas at all? Thank you very much!
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Mr. Freeman
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Re: Ridiculous Laptop Problem: Apply Pressure to Power On

Postby Mr. Freeman » Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:03 am UTC

Maybe a switch that prevents it from powering on if the case is open? I've never taken apart a laptop before, but I've seen these on desktops. The switch will not allow the computer to power on if a case door is open, but it won't kill the power if the computer is already on (to prevent crashing if, for example, the case door falls off because it wasn't put on properly). Perhaps the case is bent or is coming apart and allowing the switch to open (or close if it's N.O.)

I've never heard of such a thing on a laptop, but again, I haven't ever taken one apart so I really have no experience in the area. It also doesn't make that much sense that the computer would turn on but not boot, the desktop switches usually don't let the PSU turn on at all in the first place.

In any case, good luck.

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oneminuteslow
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Re: Ridiculous Laptop Problem: Apply Pressure to Power On

Postby oneminuteslow » Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:10 pm UTC

I briefly considered this, but I doubt the problem would be due to some kind of chassis intrusion switch. The reason is because if I let go of the pressure before Windows starts or in the BIOS settings, the computer locks up. Also, I need to wait for Windows to start up partway before letting go of the pressure, or the screen will go blank and Windows will cease to load. =(
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Axman
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Re: Ridiculous Laptop Problem: Apply Pressure to Power On

Postby Axman » Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:41 pm UTC

Sounds like a solder issue. When you bend the PCB you're making a physical connection where the faulty parts have broken free from their holes. This isn't uncommon with aged hardware. If you're ballsy, take out the motherboard, remove all the discrete hardware (RAM, CPU, wireless card, etc) and bake it. There are decent instruction elsewhere for the oven fix. But I'd bet that's your problem.

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Re: Ridiculous Laptop Problem: Apply Pressure to Power On

Postby scarecrovv » Sat Oct 31, 2009 1:42 am UTC

Axman wrote:Sounds like a solder issue. When you bend the PCB you're making a physical connection where the faulty parts have broken free from their holes. This isn't uncommon with aged hardware. If you're ballsy, take out the motherboard, remove all the discrete hardware (RAM, CPU, wireless card, etc) and bake it. There are decent instruction elsewhere for the oven fix. But I'd bet that's your problem.


This sounds reasonable. However, I wouldn't be so ballsy until I'd simply taken the board and visually inspected all the visible solder joints with a magnifier and an ohm-meter.

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Axman
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Re: Ridiculous Laptop Problem: Apply Pressure to Power On

Postby Axman » Sat Oct 31, 2009 5:09 pm UTC

Right--sorry, sometimes the things I think go without saying probably go with saying...

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oxy
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Re: Ridiculous Laptop Problem: Apply Pressure to Power On

Postby oxy » Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:36 pm UTC

This sounds rather like the iBook logic board/GPU problem.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibook#Quality_issues

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Re: Ridiculous Laptop Problem: Apply Pressure to Power On

Postby oneminuteslow » Mon Nov 02, 2009 2:42 pm UTC

Thanks for the replies! I'll look at the motherboard a little more closely later today, but I don't think I have an ohm-meter handy, though I'll check. If all else fails, baking it will be a lot of fun. I'll report back if I have any more questions.
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Re: Ridiculous Laptop Problem: Apply Pressure to Power On

Postby oneminuteslow » Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:40 pm UTC

I seem to have found the part of the motherboard causing the problem, but an attempt at re-soldering didn't do anything. I might put something between the case and motherboard in order to apply pressure from the inside. Would coins work well?

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Re: Ridiculous Laptop Problem: Apply Pressure to Power On

Postby Carnildo » Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:47 am UTC

No, because coins conduct electricity. If you're sticking something in the case, make it non-conductive.

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Axman
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Re: Ridiculous Laptop Problem: Apply Pressure to Power On

Postby Axman » Wed Nov 04, 2009 4:45 am UTC

Hold it in place and use hot glue or some kind of tack.

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Re: Ridiculous Laptop Problem: Apply Pressure to Power On

Postby oneminuteslow » Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:51 pm UTC

It's been acting up some more, and I may need to replace a certain part. I'm not exactly a pro with electronics hobbyism, so could someone please tell me what this part is? (Circled in red.)
http://privateimage.com/images/yha2iz60owt4ie47p554.jpg
Thanks for your help.
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GeorgeH
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Re: Ridiculous Laptop Problem: Apply Pressure to Power On

Postby GeorgeH » Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:11 pm UTC


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oneminuteslow
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Re: Ridiculous Laptop Problem: Apply Pressure to Power On

Postby oneminuteslow » Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:43 am UTC

Thanks! Would it be safe to purchase directly from the link you sent me, or are there different types I should be aware of?
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GeorgeH
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Re: Ridiculous Laptop Problem: Apply Pressure to Power On

Postby GeorgeH » Fri Nov 06, 2009 3:12 pm UTC

There are different types with different current ratings, package sizes/types, and resistances but so long as you match the size, inductance, and mounting type you should be fine. With your size order DigiKey is going to be expensive, so I'd see if you have a local shop that could help before ordering from them.

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oneminuteslow
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Re: Ridiculous Laptop Problem: Apply Pressure to Power On

Postby oneminuteslow » Sun Nov 08, 2009 8:22 pm UTC

Update! Turns out it wasn't what I thought it was. When I push, the entire motherboard bends, so that kind of threw me off, since I thought the problem was where I was pushing. I discovered, though, that the actual problem is this...thing. South bridge? I don't know:
http://privateimage.com/images/on3fgrwo353h5aih6ol.jpg
It doesn't seem to come off; I don't know if it's adhered, or soldered, or what. Would the best thing to do be inserting something that pushes down on it, or does someone know something about this that I don't? Thanks!
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Axman
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Re: Ridiculous Laptop Problem: Apply Pressure to Power On

Postby Axman » Sun Nov 08, 2009 8:50 pm UTC

Its soldered on using a ball-grid array; that's the particular kind of fix the bake trick is for. Otherwise you'll have to use a heat gun to remove the heatspreader and desolder the chip, clean off all the solder from both the chip and the board, replace all 500 or so solder balls, lower the chip into place, and use a heatgun to melt the solder into place.

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oneminuteslow
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Re: Ridiculous Laptop Problem: Apply Pressure to Power On

Postby oneminuteslow » Sun Nov 08, 2009 9:04 pm UTC

Alright! Time to shake 'n' bake. I'll report back.
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Re: Ridiculous Laptop Problem: Apply Pressure to Power On

Postby Velifer » Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:51 pm UTC

I'm having this exact same problem with a Toshiba lappy. It was dropped, and only works if you set it up a certain way and hold VERY still. I cracked it open and I can press one spot and reliably make it go boom. I keep going over the traces with a magnifying glass, but I just can't pin down what's cracked/loose. It might have to go into the oven...
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