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Strange laptop smoke

  1. Feb 7, 2011 #1
    strange laptop smoke :(

    Ive got an acer aspire 5536 laptop never had a problem with it, a couple of days ago my partner turned the laptop on and saw smoke coming from where the charger was plugged in so she unplugged it turned it off and shouted me, so i plug the charger back in and the power LED lit up as usual an didnt see any problem, i then hit the power switch on the laptop, it started to boot fine then again smoke started to come directly from the charger port itself.

    I changed the charger just incase it was that, but with the same result, it charges fine and charges fully when the laptop is switched off, but as soon as u turn it on with the charger in smoke starts to appear, if i unplug the charger and turn the laptop on it works as normal.

    first i took it to a local PC repair shop and they said it was some melted solder in the charger port and it all needs replacing which is £150, i wasnt having that and i thought he was trying to rip me off so i took it to PC world and they told me that "The Charger port has come loose from the motherboard and has caused damage which now needs replacing and resoldering to the MB" and they wanted £185

    any suggestions from someone with knowledge in this area? the way im looking at it, is that if there was an issue with solder in the port or the port had come away from the motherboard, surely it wouldnt charge when it was turned off ... i may be wrong but ...
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 7, 2011 #2
    Re: strange laptop smoke :(

    You've had the same diagnosis from two independent places, I'd go with it.

    I'm not fully aware of how they are wired, but it could be that it is the section of the motherboard that draws power from the AC supply to power the computer that is faulty and not the charging section. Hence, only a problem when the computer is running off the mains.

    Also, I like the title use of 'strange'. Made me chuckle when I considered smoke from a laptop not being strange.
  4. Feb 7, 2011 #3
    Re: strange laptop smoke :(

    It's possible that the laptop draws power directly from the charger when it is on, so the current may have a different path than when the laptop is running from the battery, or when the charger is only charging the battery.

    There could be a short that causes the smoke. However, why did the short happen in the first place? Some component may be faulty. If it is just a matter of resoldering something, the prices quoted are way too high in my opinion. Ask them for a detailed quote stating exactly what has to be done, including components to be replaced.

    I would also insist that the price paid covers any eventuality. Otherwise you might get into the usual racket: "oh we thought it would be easier to fix, but you have to pay 300 pounds extra now (because we did not do our job when troubleshooting the first time)."

    Or just use the repair money to get a brand new laptop instead.
  5. Feb 7, 2011 #4
    Re: strange laptop smoke :(

    Well the repair price is pretty standard given the problem. They generally won't repair the components.

    Labour for these things is around £40 an hour.

    My thoughts, particularly for PC World are that they'll just order in a new motherboard and replace the lot at once. They won't mess around with soldering. Motherboards aren't cheap, so the prices look about right.

    Personally, it's at this point I'd just replace the device.
  6. Feb 7, 2011 #5
    Re: strange laptop smoke :(

    I think replacing an entire laptop motherboard would cost a lot more than 200 pounds. Unlike regular desktop PCs, laptops have all components soldered directly to the motherboard, including the CPU for space consideration. Only things you can upgrade as a card, like RAM, are not soldered on.

    They might send the laptop back to the manufacturer instead of doing the repair themselves.
  7. Feb 7, 2011 #6
    Re: strange laptop smoke :(

    It cost £165 for my motherboard to be replaced (self install). So I wouldn't be surprised if the shops could get it cheaper.

    The shops generally just send them back to the manufacturer as you said.
  8. Feb 8, 2011 #7
    Re: strange laptop smoke :(

    Was it a laptop motherboard with a soldered-on CPU? Could be a pretty cheap way to upgrade an older laptop with a better CPU.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2011
  9. Feb 8, 2011 #8
    Re: strange laptop smoke :(

    Not a clue. Didn't cross my mind.
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