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Author Topic: Suddenly broken laptop?  (Read 780 times)

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Offline MagaliTopic starter

Suddenly broken laptop?
« on: November 03, 2016, 05:06:42 PM »
Hi guys, first of all I'm writing this from my phone so please  forgive any mistake and bad formatting.

I usually use my Toshiba laptop to write from my bed (I'm a lucky one I know :P) but it's not working anymore :(.
I was using it today, closed it and went to do a couple of things, came back and now it doesn't start.

I turned it off abruptly after waiting for a few minutes (by holding the power button) and tried starting it again and nothing :(.

The lights from the power source and the battery are on, so it has power.
But from there it's completely dead.
The caps lock shows no light (nor the num lock button)  and the screen is also off.
It also gets hot (as it usually did) as if it were working normally.

Any ideas?

Things I have tried:
-removing the battery and turning it on with the power source.
-removing the power source and turning it on with only the battery
-changing the battery (I have an old spare)

And that's pretty much all I could think off, so far nothing worked.
:(

Thanks!

Offline Lrrr

Re: Suddenly broken laptop?
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2016, 06:15:53 PM »
Magali,

I'm sorry you're having issues with your laptop.  If you post the exact model number for your Toshiba, that would help us diagnose the issue.  You've done the obvious things, so here are a couple of other thoughts.

1.  My first thought was a dead display.  Loss of the backlight on some types of screens can turn them completely black and thus, it looks as though nothing is happening even when the system is actually running.  But you said you had no Num Lock or Caps Lock lights, so I'm pretty sure it has to be something else.

2.  A POST problem or BIOS problem early in the boot sequence can cause the issues you're seeing.  If it was a hardware failure, some systems will help identify the cause by sounding an error code as series of beeps or displaying an error code as a series of internal LED flashes.  Posting the exact model number will help us figure out if your system has such a feature.

Your system has some permanent memory called the BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) that can be written and read.  It contains the first code your system executes when you start it up.  If that code gets corrupted, there is a good chance your system will behave as yours is right now.  It's possible to "flash" the BIOS, that is, write a new copy of the code for your particular model to the permanent memory, but different makes and models often have different ways of doing that.  Again, posting your model number would help.

If the BIOS is badly corrupted there is a small chance that the code that allows you to flash the BIOS will not work.  In that case, your motherboard is permanently damaged and you'd either need to replace it or look for another laptop.

3.  Failed memory.  If the BIOS can't allocate a small amount of memory (RAM) it will fail, and sometimes it fails before it can display an error message.  If you post the model number we can see if it's easy to modify the RAM configuration and find the problem.

4.  Failed processor or support chip.  If your central processing unit (CPU) has failed, nothing will happen.  No BIOS code will be executed and the system will behave just as you've described. This is not a common problem so I'm not going to get in the details other than to say it is possible to replace your CPU if that's the issue.

So, I guess posting the exact model number is the first thing, and let's see where we can go from there.  :)

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Re: Suddenly broken laptop?
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2016, 07:17:50 PM »
My guess would be the motherboard. I had a problem with one before that did much the same thing.

Some laptops have a button at the top of the keyboard (that works with one of the function keys) that can turn off the screen, but I'm fairly sure it would switch back on with a reboot. I don't know but it might be a problem worth taking your laptop to a repair place.

Offline MagaliTopic starter

Re: Suddenly broken laptop?
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2016, 06:01:13 AM »
Thanks both of you for your replies.
The model is Toshiba satellite C655D-S5048 (it's quite old probably 5-6 years)

I did a few more test that I found on YouTube, but nothing worked.
-I connected a working monitor to it and the monitor didn't showed anything (I had never used one like that so I'm not sure if it should work just by plugging it to the laptop. So don't consider this to be a 100% reliable test)

-I connected my phone to the USB and the laptop charges it as usual (it's not a power problem)
-removed the battery and the ram and tried starting it, nothing changed/happened .(no ram problem)

The laptop does no sounds, beeps or flashing lights of any sort except those that show when it's charging, being connected to the power source and when it's on.

I'm starting to think it's a hardware problem.

Thanks again for the help.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2016, 06:08:41 AM by Magali »

Offline Lrrr

Re: Suddenly broken laptop?
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2016, 11:21:54 AM »
Thanks both of you for your replies.
The model is Toshiba satellite C655D-S5048 (it's quite old probably 5-6 years)

I did a few more test that I found on YouTube, but nothing worked.
-I connected a working monitor to it and the monitor didn't showed anything (I had never used one like that so I'm not sure if it should work just by plugging it to the laptop. So don't consider this to be a 100% reliable test)

-I connected my phone to the USB and the laptop charges it as usual (it's not a power problem)
-removed the battery and the ram and tried starting it, nothing changed/happened .(no ram problem)

The laptop does no sounds, beeps or flashing lights of any sort except those that show when it's charging, being connected to the power source and when it's on.

I'm starting to think it's a hardware problem.

Thanks again for the help.

OK, I did a little digging to see what's what with that model.  As you discovered and I suspected, it has no diagnostic sound or light feature, so no help there.

The online documentation isn't as clear as it could be, but it looks as though the options for flashing the BIOS require that you be able to boot to some sort of media, usually a bootable USB drive or DVD.  In your case, it doesn't sound as though the system is even getting to the point where it's checking for valid boot media on various storage devices, so flashing the BIOS to see if that's the problem is a no-go.

Now we're down to the nitty-gritty.  If you want to try changing out the CPU, those AMD Athlon II P-series processors are absolutely dirt cheap, like $5 including shipping.  It would be very inexpensive to get a replacement and drop it in to see if your CPU is fried.  Most of the info I found says that the CPU in your system isn't soldered to the motherboard, it's in an S1 (S1g4) socket so it can be removed and replaced.  I always take that with a grain of salt though, because I've been surprised before.  The only way to be sure you can exchange CPUs is to open up the system and look.

The other possibility is that the motherboard is dead as both AmberStarfire and I mentioned.  Right now, a used replacement motherboard (they are tested and guaranteed to work) for that model is around $60 on eBay.

Neither the motherboard replacement nor the CPU replacement are exactly jobs for the faint of heart, but they're not that bad if you're comfy with a screwdriver and related small tools and you are careful to keep all the parts sorted and the tiny screws from rolling around on the floor.  Check this video to see what's involved.

I guess it boils down to spending about $5 for a replacement CPU and then following the steps in the video to see if replacing your old one fixes the problem.  If not, spending another $60 for a replacement motherboard and then following the steps in the video again to see if that fixes the problem.

A second option is to take it to a repair shop and see if they'll give you a diagnosis without charging you an arm and a leg.

Finally of course, you can buy a new laptop.

Which option you choose depends on your tech skills and pocketbook, right?  If you're considering fixing your laptop using replacement parts but don't have the tech skills, please PM me and I may be able to help you out.   :-)

Offline MagaliTopic starter

Re: Suddenly broken laptop?
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2016, 05:41:22 PM »
Lrrr, I cannot thank you enough for your help. Seriously thanks a lot! :)

I was starting to think it might be one of those things. Luckily you found out the model for the parts (I had no idea)

If it is the CPU IŽll definitely replace it. If it is the motherboard IŽm not so sure.

It all depends if I can find the pieces (Here in Argentina ain't that easy, most people on ebay don't ship here and if they do usually the shipment is more expensive than the item).

I already talked with a store and they will examine it for about 10usd. With that IŽll know for sure which part its broken so I can buy it. If I can get it (at a reasonable price) IŽll replace it.
By the way, motherboards are screwed right?

Thanks again, You are an angel!!
-Magali