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- Laptop Boot Option
May 23, 2005, 3:39 pm
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Recently I bought a dead Acer 340t Travelmate laptop. Powering it up,
I would see hard drive activity for approximately 2-3 seconds, then
nothing. I had the BIOS reflashed and I could boot the machine when it
was returned to me. But then, gradually, I would get fewer and fewer
good boots, and the original symptoms returned. Now it's the same as
before, with no LCD or hard drive activity, although I can hear the
Does anyone know what this behavior suggests? A failing motherboard
component? Also, could this be the result of flashing the BIOS with
the wrong utility? I've checked everything except individual mobo
components, something that's beyond my level of expertise.
More importantly, does anyone know of a way to reflash the BIOS without
actually getting the machine to boot? Excuse me if that's a ridiculous
question in itself. Suggestions are appreciated.
Re: Laptop Boot Option
Why'd you do that?
It seems you have omitted a few details on exactly what's
going on. What else do or don't you see from the moment of
power on till (nothing more)? For example, you see a post
screen or vendor logo, screen output? Can you enter bios?
More info might help.
Have you been using the AC power or battery? Have you
confirmed that either is in good working order? FOr
example, LED indicators for battery level or voltage
readings with a multimeter?
If the system boots even one single time after the bios
flash, the bios is ok. That is, it "was" OK... if for
whatever reason, the system keeps losing the bios, there's
no reason to believe flashing yet again would resolve this,
it'd most likely just lose it again.
Have you checked the battery?
Do you have the manual or service manual (can you get them
if not?), does it detail the bios EEPROM, particularly
whether it's socketed or not?
Could be, or the power board, or memory is loose, or board
or connections are bad... tons of things can go wrong on a
notebook, particularly new/different things from
No, because the bios was necessarily ok to get it to boot
that first (and any subsequent successful) time(s).
We still don't know exactly what it's doing... from the
brief description you gave it could simply be the hard drive
that is failing. Have you any other potential boot devices
and have you tried booting from them to (anything, any OS at
If it's a socketed EEPROM you simply remove it and swap in
another chip, or reflash that one. There are services you
can google, though if it's soldered on it's practically not
a realistic goal to remove & replace it, especially because
of what I previously wrote, that the bios must've been
intact at some point.
Otherwise, see if the fans freely turn, perhaps they failed
and the system overheated long-term and is heat damaged.
I have no idea what that notebook is like, perhaps a CPU fan
too? I doubt CPU is damaged, but if it got hot enough and
there was a heat spreader that has detached from the core,
it might then overheat rather quickly. It's not a common
problem but better to leave no stone unturned.
If you are able, take a multimeter and get voltage readings
of the power board, or the power regulation circuit on the
motherboard. Try disconnecting any unnecessary drives.
I've already written too much, we need a better idea of
exactly what it is and isn't doing, where it stops in the
whole boot process. TYpically a system goes through:
video bios display- very quick
mainboard bios display;
Boot order tried, each device in turn
Re: Laptop Boot Option
"no LCD or hard drive activity", meaning that aside from the hard drive
LED for approximately 2-3 seconds, there is *nothing* except for the
sound of the hard drive spinning. No post, no vendor logo, and no
access to the BIOS.
I have ruled out the RAM, hard drive, and battery as potential
problems. This is what I meant when I said I had checked everything
but individual motherboard components.
The BIOS chip is soldered, not socketed. I sent it out because the job
was beyond my level of soldering expertise. It was removed, flashed,
I'll check both the fan and the power readings. Thanks for those
As for why I bought it, for fun and because I like this particular
model of laptop. It was a calculated risk. If I sell it for parts I'm
not out anything but some time.
Re: Laptop Boot Option
OK, so there is absolutely nothing showing up on the screen.
That puts it in the general almost all-encompassing "failure
to POST" scenario.
OK, "everything" can mean everything one can think of or
really "everything"... only you know these things.
Aside from checking and potentially cleaning any contacts,
possibly checking continuity anywhere it's possible (with
multimeter) it would seem you have isolated it to
motherboard/mainboard but without any visable signs of
motherboard problems, have no resource but to replace the
You might enquire of the person who flashed the bios, if
they did anything more, trying to isolate what else might've
made the difference. Besides a bad battery, a properly
working bios chip should not just lose the firmware.
Perhaps trying to heat or cool the system (very moderately)
might reveal functional problems resulting from cold or
cracked solder joints or PCB itself. Even so, it could be
difficult to isolate such faults, I expect the notebook
isn't worth replacing the board unless you can get a