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Solved: Laptop Cutting Out


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sip001 sip001 is offline
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13-Jul-2012, 11:44 PM #1
Solved: Laptop Cutting Out
Right, I have a really odd problem that is stumping me.
So first off my partner's laptop (Dell Inspiron N5050) kept cutting out seemingly randomly as though the power button was being held down.
My first port of call was to check the fans are spinning and it wasn't over heating, I also installed SpeedFan to check running temps and they all seem fine, next I stripped it down checked the processor was seated properly, checked the power switch cable was secured, switched it on and it appeared to run fine, however after I put all the screws back into the base of the laptop, poof out popped the lights again.
It was then I realised if I powered up the laptop while it was rested on its side, it didn't cut out, however if it was on it's base (on my lap for example) it did.
I also noted before it cuts out the computer seems to take ghost keyboard commands, it types, and it seems to hit F1 as I keep getting help pages (which are unhelpful). Next symptom, it seems to do this when you apply pressure to the plastic base of the laptop, I figure something must be lose somewhere, but I can't for the life of me figure out what. Any clues?

Thanks
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managed   (Allan) managed is offline
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14-Jul-2012, 12:30 AM #2
I would check the keyboard ribbon is fully into it's motherboard socket, with any locking clip pushed home properly.

Also see if the Ram is seated ok. I would remove the stick(s) then refit them to make sure.

Does it still cut out with the power cord disconnected so it's only powered by the battery ?
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14-Jul-2012, 05:39 AM #3
Thanks for the reply, I took out and replaced the ram stick a the same time as I checked the processor seating, and I've removed the keyboard ribbon completly while powering it up and it's still cut out, and it happens on both battery and mains power, the fact that it runs perfect on its side is what is stumping me, but that gives the additional problem of a stiff neck!
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black-wolf   (David) black-wolf is offline
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14-Jul-2012, 11:52 AM #4
Did you check the HDD to make sure it isn't coming loose.
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managed   (Allan) managed is offline
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14-Jul-2012, 04:42 PM #5
Does it still do the 'ghost' typing with the keyboard disconnected ? (LOL @ sore neck !)
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14-Jul-2012, 07:05 PM #6
@black-wolf I eliminated the HDD as a problem as sometimes it will cut out before its even finished posting, it's as though something is shorting or sending a kill command to the processor that completly cuts power rather than just freezing up the OS like a disconnected hard drive.
@managed I didn't check for the ghost typing without the keyboard ribbon in, I'll test it when I get to the computer tomorrow

I'm starting to suspect that perhaps a component on the Mobo has come lose somewhere but I wouldn't know where to start
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14-Jul-2012, 11:19 PM #7
It could be a broken copper track that connects/disconnects as the motherboard is moved, that's just a guess though.

Any chance you might have put a long screw in the base where there should be a shorter one ?
That could be shorting the motherboard when it's horizontal.
Don't be offended, I've done that myself so thought I would ask !
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15-Jul-2012, 04:01 AM #8
As far as I can tell there are only 2 types of screw in the base 2 stubby ones to secure the HDD and the rest are one length, and no offence taken I've done stupider things

I'll give the mobo a check, but I doubt I'll be able to tell, may be time to eBay a mobo :/
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15-Jul-2012, 06:41 AM #9
I would try stripping it down as far as possible. Remove cd/dvd, battery, hard drive, RAM. See how long it stays powered up in whatever minimal condition you can maintain any indication of power while moving and shaking lightly. Still doing it? then I think I'd remove those screws from the base one at a time. If you ever get to a point where it stays on, it may be a point to begin looking.... I know it will not boot with all this stuff out - but if you can keep power light on when stripped down, it is an indication to work with. Maybe it will work with DVD removed, or with one RAM chip removed and the other present, etc...
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15-Jul-2012, 03:18 PM #10
Right, I have no idea for the life of me what I've done, but it seems to be working now, I openned it up for another look around on the mother board, took all the components out and added them one at a time (I had tried this before to troubleshoot each component) I got all the components back in, and it's been running for 3 hours now without issue, so somthing must have been lose, but I've stripped it like this at least 6 times in 4 days and now it chooses to work, seems rather bizzarre, but if it works, it works and I won't complain, thanks for the responses I'll be back for more if it dies again :P
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15-Jul-2012, 05:51 PM #11
Well for the sake of your neck I hope it's a permanent fix !
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06-Aug-2012, 07:00 AM #12
Did you ever solve the problem? Did the rebuild fix the problem?

I have the same laptop with exactly the same problem. Dell have replaced the mobo, which didn't work, and now want to replace the HDD, which I doubt will work.

Thanks!
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06-Aug-2012, 07:05 AM #13
I did solve the problem, but I can't be much help as I don't know what I did, all I can suggest is to strip the whole thing and rebuild it checking for nothing on the bottom of the mobo that could perhaps be shorting out, I haven't openned it up since purely because I don't want to accidentally start the problem all over again.
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