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Old 09-15-2015, 07:10 PM   #1
dkolacz
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Default HELP! Strangest hardware problem I have seen since the 8-Bit days.

Hello All!

I am brand new to this forum and found you all from a quick Google search. You guys seem to have a more seasoned group of enthusiasts than some of the more mainstream hardware sites and am hoping to get some insight for undeniably the strangest problem I have ever come across.

My name is Dan, and I have been working with computers since the Atari 8-Bit days. I fondly remember the Atari/Commodore feuds, running a BBS from my bedroom, and 127 Kilobyte disks that took 6 hours to transfer over the phone lines!

I am a PC tech, but not to the mobo component level, so I don't know if this problem is even fixable. This issue is absolutely baffling to me, but it may be elementary to Badcaps forum members.

I have an older laptop from 2008 that has been running fine up until a couple months ago. I am very fond of this model and would love to salvage it if possible.

In a nutshell, the laptop will just power off (no bluescreen, no errors) if the CPU is not getting taxed.
When windows comes up, I have to immediately start a 720P video or run a game in the background and then it will stay powered on. It seems like I have to keep the CPU at a constant 60% or more utilization. I can then browse the web, run other programs, etc. If I close down all open programs, the laptop will power off within seconds/minutes.

My troubleshooting steps so far:

It is not overheating as HW Monitor reports normal and I have re-pasted everything.
I have swapped out RAM, and hard drive.
It happens when just the battery is supplying power.
It happens when just the power cord supplying power.
It happens when both the battery and power cord are used.
It happens when the singular hard drive is removed and boot Linux from USB.

This can not be an OS problem because when I swapped the hard drive, I tried reinstalling Windows 7 and it powered off during the initial setup phases in the partitioning section. After several tries, it eventually installed without rebooting. I have also tried Live CD Linux distros and it shuts off in them as well.


--==< *** Now it gets really strange *** >==--

If I boot into BIOS, MemTest, DOS, or the Hirens/Falcon4 CD and boot into mini Windows XP, it will stay up FOREVER!

So what is different in these environment? I am thinking because these environments don't support different power management states of the CPU? VGA video only? I don't know if this is correct, but I am at a loss.
I tried messing with the power settings in Windows and tried Balanced, High Performance, etc. I changed the min/max "processor state" in Advanced settings to 100% and it didn't seem to help.

I have not tried swapping the CPU yet, as I do not have one readily available. It would be rather anti-climactic to me if this is it.

If this post would be better off in another forum area, and the mods would like to move it, please do!

Anyone have any ideas?

Last edited by dkolacz; 09-15-2015 at 07:29 PM..
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Old 09-15-2015, 09:15 PM   #2
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Default Re: HELP! Strangest HW problem I have seen since the 8-Bit days.

swap the harddrive.
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Old 09-16-2015, 12:54 AM   #3
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Default Re: HELP! Strangest HW problem I have seen since the 8-Bit days.

^
Read the post first.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkolacz View Post
I have swapped out RAM, and hard drive.
As for the shutting off problem, though, I have no idea. I've never seen or heard of it. The only other thing I can think of is trying a new CPU. What brand and model is the laptop?
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Old 09-16-2015, 01:12 AM   #4
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Default Re: HELP! Strangest HW problem I have seen since the 8-Bit days.

My crystal globe says it is a Toshiba Satellite A300 or L300 or similar, and that you are experiencing the Nec/Tokin capacitor issue. There is a very big thread on how to fix that.
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Old 09-16-2015, 11:18 AM   #5
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Default Re: HELP! Strangest HW problem I have seen since the 8-Bit days.

i concur, it sounds like bad caps to me. it is true that bios, memtest, dos and mini winxp dont support cpu multiplier and vid based throttling states.

thus the cpu needs to run at above a certain temperature in order to "heat up" the bad caps. the warmer the caps are, the lower the esr. thus the system runs great when u partly load it up. but if it idles and/or throttles down to the lowest multiplier and voltage, it cools down and the esr of the caps rises and the circuit goes out of spec.

also, i vaguely remember in the datasheets for some intel cpus, the vrms can send a signal to the cpu telling it that the vrm is running improperly. depending on the condition, the cpu can then tell the vrm to shut down. this safety feature protects the cpu from dmg due to out of spec supply current.

please list all the detailed specs of your laptop like the unique said. also, if u are able to, open up your laptop and snap pics of the mainboard and capacitors and post it here.

Last edited by ChaosLegionnaire; 09-16-2015 at 11:19 AM..
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Old 09-24-2015, 07:55 AM   #6
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Default Re: HELP! Strangest HW problem I have seen since the 8-Bit days.

Sorry for the delay getting back....had the time to tear it down yesterday.

Un1qu3's crystal ball seems to be correct! Thanks for that.

It is an Acer 6920. It has the 0E907 under the CPU.
I attached some photos.

I have never done any type of repair like this, but I have a friend who thinks he can help.

I have read through some posts, and seen some videos....
Some say use a heat gun to remove the 0E907...some say use pliers to yank it off.

If the heat gun is used, do I have to protect components around it? Will other things be melted?

We only have a heat gun and soldering iron...no IR or BGA station or anything like that.

If someone has a link to correct instructions, and what replacement caps I should be buying considering our equipment, that would be fantastic.

I saw several SMD 330uf 2.5v tantalum on ebay...will any work? or specific brand/size/design?


Thanks!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20150920_130009.jpg (643.0 KB, 38 views)
File Type: jpg 20150920_125946.jpg (659.1 KB, 28 views)

Last edited by dkolacz; 09-24-2015 at 07:58 AM..
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Old 09-24-2015, 04:43 PM   #7
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Default Re: HELP! Strangest HW problem I have seen since the 8-Bit days.

Ahh, a 6920. Done a couple of those as well. That one will require six 330uF capacitors so you have to be clever with placement. Or you can use four 470uF.

Do not use the heat gun on it, you may damage the CPU socket. You will just need a wide chisel tip for your iron, to be able to heat a large area at once so you can successfully solder the new caps in.

To get the Tokin off, use a pair of pliers to crack it, then take a sharp blade and peel it off the board in layers. It is fairly easy to do, just take your time and do it carefully, you don't want the blade slipping and taking other parts off the board. After you get all the remains of the Tokin off, scrape away some more of the solder mask to make room for the new caps. Just make sure you check the polarity before you start soldering.

If you need any more assistance please let me know.
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Old 09-25-2015, 01:38 AM   #8
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Default Re: HELP! Strangest HW problem I have seen since the 8-Bit days.

the boy genus does it again
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Old 09-25-2015, 06:11 AM   #9
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Default Re: HELP! Strangest HW problem I have seen since the 8-Bit days.

Thanks for the great info....I just love this laptop and want to keep it in service...beautiful 1080p screen, blu-ray, fingerprint, great sound...

I am curious as to why the Acer needs 6 caps instead of 4? I saw many "kits" on ebay to replace NEC/Tokin and they all had 4x330uf. I am not questioning your accuracy....this is all new to me and a learning process.

example: http://www.ebay.com/itm/4x-SMD-Tanta...-/330953629462

Also, are there any other criteria for the 470uf? I just did a search on eBay for "470uf" and there are a bunch...most are the round variant with 2 leads sticking out.



Thanks!

Last edited by dkolacz; 09-25-2015 at 06:39 AM..
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Old 09-25-2015, 06:16 AM   #10
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Default Re: HELP! Strangest HW problem I have seen since the 8-Bit days.

your matching the capability of the faulty part.
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Old 09-25-2015, 08:11 AM   #11
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Default Re: HELP! Strangest HW problem I have seen since the 8-Bit days.

If you keep having issues with just 4 of them, then going to 6 will make it work 100%. I had one where someone else had already installed 4x 330uF and the laptop was still acting up. I added two more of my own, et voila, magic...

But again, this is using parts scavenged from mainboards, so maybe they were weak to begin with.
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Old 09-25-2015, 08:33 AM   #12
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Default Re: HELP! Strangest HW problem I have seen since the 8-Bit days.

best thing is to not use ebay and to get surfacemount caps tant or poly with the lowest possible ESR

or get the prodalizer datasheet to see what the original thing was.
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Old 10-09-2015, 08:27 AM   #13
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Default Re: HELP! Strangest HW problem I have seen since the 8-Bit days.

So far so good. Just waiting for the SMD's to arrive.

I successfully removed the old Tokin chip from the 6920 with pliers and blade.

There are 4 sliver colored strips remaining where it used to be. I have noticed that in some strips, it has dullish grey color, and other places it is shiny silver. Did I dig too far with the blade to produce the shiny silver or should it all be like that?

Also, when I solder the new caps, do I have to ensure that the solder does not touch between the 2 caps on each side or it does not matter?

Thanks again for everyones help! I thought I was never going to be able to fix this thing.

Dan
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Old 10-10-2015, 06:26 AM   #14
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Default Re: HELP! Strangest HW problem I have seen since the 8-Bit days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dkolacz View Post
I successfully removed the old Tokin chip from the 6920 with pliers and blade.

There are 4 sliver colored strips remaining where it used to be. I have noticed that in some strips, it has dullish grey color, and other places it is shiny silver. Did I dig too far with the blade to produce the shiny silver or should it all be like that?
might need to provide a picture.
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Old 10-10-2015, 06:43 AM   #15
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Default Re: HELP! Strangest HW problem I have seen since the 8-Bit days.

Search for "proadlizer" to understand its structure. The two + strips and the - rectangular belly plate can be removed by lifting an edge with a sharp tool then peeling it off.
Do not use a soldering iron or do any messy scratching at this stage.
Look at these threads to get a better idea.
http://www.badcaps.net/forum/showthread.php?t=46821
http://www.badcaps.net/forum/showthr...highlight=a200

You must not cause any short circuits when fitting the new capacitors.

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