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eHam Forums => Computers And Software => Topic started by: KD2E on December 18, 2011, 10:21:39 AM



Title: Burnt smell from laptop!! Your thoughts??
Post by: KD2E on December 18, 2011, 10:21:39 AM
My Toshiba Satelite must be 8 years old now.
 Centrino duo, running XP.Left it on at a hotel....on the bed, and the lack of air circulation pissed it off!!!
Now it has that distinct smell of burnt bakelite coming out of the vent slots.
After some use, the display goes off.
With a bright light, you can see it is still on...just the lighting went away.
Turn it off, and back on and the cycle repeats.
With an external monitor, all is well.
What would you do?
Is it worth the effort to take the thousand screws apart to open it and search for a visually burnt resistor or cap?
Or being 8 years old or so....just hook up the external monitor, save everything worthwhile and splurge for the new Windows 7 flavor, latest greatest.
PS....other than the fault, the laptop is in mint condition....still has the plastic protective stuff on the outside case since new!!!


Title: RE: Burnt smell from laptop!! Your thoughts??
Post by: KG4RUL on December 18, 2011, 11:59:42 AM
At this point, you know that you have stressed the components.  Can you trust it operate reliably in the future?  If you decide to stick with it, BACKUP OFTEN!


Title: RE: Burnt smell from laptop!! Your thoughts??
Post by: W5DQ on December 18, 2011, 12:23:56 PM
My Toshiba Satelite must be 8 years old now.
 Centrino duo, running XP.Left it on at a hotel....on the bed, and the lack of air circulation pissed it off!!!
Now it has that distinct smell of burnt bakelite coming out of the vent slots.
After some use, the display goes off.
With a bright light, you can see it is still on...just the lighting went away.
Turn it off, and back on and the cycle repeats.
With an external monitor, all is well.
What would you do?
Is it worth the effort to take the thousand screws apart to open it and search for a visually burnt resistor or cap?
Or being 8 years old or so....just hook up the external monitor, save everything worthwhile and splurge for the new Windows 7 flavor, latest greatest.
PS....other than the fault, the laptop is in mint condition....still has the plastic protective stuff on the outside case since new!!!


I highly doubt your gonna be able to distingish what if anything is burnt unless the circuit board under the itme has burnt too and that's probably not going to happen at the power levels we're looking at here. If it is a thermal problem, about the only thing you could do is use some freeze spray and try and isolate it but even if you could, without expensive high tech equipment, you're not going to fix it yourself. Why do you think laptops and PC boards are basically throw away items. No one fixes anything anymore. Swap out a new board and scrap/recycle the old one for the gold/silver/etc on it. My suggestion is get out the credit card :)

Good thing its Christmas time and the computer sales are in full swing. I think you're gonna need one of them :(

Gene W5DQ


Title: RE: Burnt smell from laptop!! Your thoughts??
Post by: W8JX on December 18, 2011, 04:05:23 PM
Not worth effort to repair. One thing I never figured out is why so many "laptops" have air intakes on bottom where they are easily blocked when on lap or a bed. For a few bucks more they could surely design intake and exhaust of sides of unit. A few more expensive laptops come that way.


Title: RE: Burnt smell from laptop!! Your thoughts??
Post by: W1BR on December 20, 2011, 07:41:00 PM
Sounds like the inverter that runs the back lighting for the LCD display has a problem. You might
find parts from donors on eBay.  If it is just the display section, it might be repairable... depending
on your comfort level doing board swaps.


Title: RE: Burnt smell from laptop!! Your thoughts??
Post by: KD2E on December 20, 2011, 07:46:22 PM
Somebody else suggested that as well. But it wouldn't explain why I get a burnt smell from out of the exhaust vent, when (I'm told) the inverter is up in the display.   ??


Title: RE: Burnt smell from laptop!! Your thoughts??
Post by: W8JX on December 21, 2011, 08:38:20 PM
There is actually a dual display RAMDAC in laptop and it is on motherboard and the part that powers/creates laptop display likely  overheated and was damaged.


Title: RE: Burnt smell from laptop!! Your thoughts??
Post by: K3WEC on January 03, 2012, 09:45:42 PM
This is not uncommon.   Circulation is cut off either from lint, sitting on a bed, etc., and things get hot as a pistol very quickly.   I had it happen once when I put a notebook I thought was "asleep" in my carrying bag.  It wasn't, and started to suffocate....  fortunately it had a thermal protection feature that shut it down automatically.  I only knew this afterwards because it was still almost too hot to touch when I got home. Everything was fine in the end.

I recommend looking at a Thinkpad if you do replace it.


Title: RE: Burnt smell from laptop!! Your thoughts??
Post by: K9HKS on January 04, 2012, 03:54:51 AM
Is the fan running??  If not it still may overheat.


Title: RE: Burnt smell from laptop!! Your thoughts??
Post by: KD2E on January 04, 2012, 04:43:05 AM
Yup fan runs....everything works just fine for awhile. After 5 to 10 minutes, display blanks out.


Title: RE: Burnt smell from laptop!! Your thoughts??
Post by: KB6HOH on January 05, 2012, 12:59:16 AM
Dave,

       If I may I would like to throw in my 2cents work. Being a former CompUSA Assistant Tech Manager, Lead Tech and also a Certified Toshiba Laptop Tech for nearly 10yrs I worked on quite a few of the Satellites. I don't believe its a RAMDAC issue. As you stated if you shine a BRIGHT Light on the Display and you can see the Video as well seeing the Video coming off the ext VGA Port I would suspect the FL Inverter which is the easiest to replace. If you replace it and still NO Video but you are still getting it thru the Ext monitor then it is going to be a screen issue. If you are comfortable in taking the Laptop part then look around on the Internet for a Break Down Guide. The FL Inverter is going to be in one of two places. Either in the LCD Screen Housing itself or towards the rear backside under the Top Cover of the Laptop. Also could you give me the Model# of the Laptop and I could look up the part info for you! Now if you are not comfortable in tearing it a part then IMHO the cost of Parts and Labor my out weight the price of buying a new Laptop that has at least a Manufactures Warranty and is a current machine. Also watch out for those PITT Falls when it comes to extended Warranties from outfits like Staples, Best Buy and so forth. Anyway questions drop me an Email.

                                     73 de Steve KB6HOH
                                     kb6hoh(AT)comcast(DOT)net