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August 19, 2005, 5:01 am
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I have two Toshiba laptops that were both experiencing the exact same
problem. From google searching, I found that many other folks on web
forums have experienced this same problem with this particular model -- some
even right when they first purchased it. The two Toshibas that I have are
about two years old and began having this problem about a month ago. After
cracking them both open, I discovered what was going on. The problem
appears to stem from a (mechanical) design issue. Didn't see anything about
it from a deja search, so I'm posting this. Perhaps it will be helpful for
someone, doing a deja search, in the future.
Model: Satellite 2435-S255
Problem: Identical symptom experienced with both laptops: Intermited
flickering and garbling of LCD display, followed by occassional complete
lockup requiring power cycling. Symptom appeared to mainly occur after a
moderate period of laptop use, however on occassion also appeared right
after a cold start at BIOS screen or OS loading. Symptom occured in WinXP
and Linux. Symptom could occassionaly be induced by abrupt physical
movement of laptop. Characteristics suggest a hardware and not software
(i.e., driver) issue.
Suspicion: Internal thermal, power, memory, or cable(s) connection issue.
Initial work performed: Complete dissassembly of both laptops. Both
laptops found to be free of debris buildup blocking normal air flow. All
internal cable connections secure. While operating dissassembled: Fans
operating normally, internal and external power supplies checked with
multimeter and found operating normally and well within limits without
fluctuation, memory check passed, LCD displays check good after extensive
Further diagnosis: Symptom could be induced to prediction after placing top
assembly over lower assembly and applying pressure to upper-left quadrant.
Metal chassis in upper-left section of top assembly appears to making
contact with component(s) on motherboard. Conductivity testing and ohming
of chassis finds it to be conductive. Due to how the assemblies fit
together, it was difficult to locate the exact component(s) on the m/b that
the chassis is creating a path for.
Solution: Both laptops: Cut out and applied a thin piece of ESD packaging
material and tape to the upper-left section of the chassis in order to
create an insulating barrier between chassis and m/b.
Post work diagnosis: Both laptops now operating without problem after
extensive use, including 3D graphical rendering over the continued duration
of 72 hours.
Other work performed: Cosmetic: Original paint from manufacturer had
deteriorated and faded severely on both laptops. Quality of Toshiba's
paint, at least on this model, was less than acceptable. While
dissassembled, remaining original paint was easily removed with isopropyl
alcohol. Two light coats of enamel hobby paint (Testor's Model Master)
applied during the course of 24 hours, followed a week later by a coat of
(same brand) semi-gloss lacquer finish. Results were extremely pleasing. I
even believe that the two laptops even have a better appearance now than
they did when they shipped. I painted the upper lid assembly (full
dissassembly required), the trim on the the lower lid assembly, and the
touchpad (masking required) chassis on the lower assembly. The trim on the
lower assembly, I did not paint as I didn't want to overpaint the LED icons.
Simply removing the old paint to reveal it's black surface was sufficient as
the LED icons remained. The lacquer overcoat provided a fine hard shell for
the soft enamel paint underneath. If taking this enamel/lacquer approach to
re-paint a laptop, I'd recommend staying with darker colors as lighter
colors have a tendency to yellow after time. The dark "metalic" (speckled)
enamels look beautiful under semi-gloss lacquer though.
Dissassembly difficulty: Low-Moderate. No proprietary surprises. Service
manual is not needed if you have some familiarity with laptop dissassembly.
Mainly standard and straightforward including screws underneath the button
strip assembly, which is popped off by four pressure latches. All internal
ribbon connector components have locking/unlocking mechanisms.
2.4 Ghz P4
512MB PC2100 DDR SDRAM
533 Mhz FSB, 512KB L2 Cache
32 MB nVidia GeForce4 420
15" TFT Active Matrix
40 GB IBM Travelstar EIDE
12 Cell Li-Ion 14.8V x 6450mAh
PC Card Type II (2), USB 2.0 (3), Firewire (1), IrDa (1), VGA HD-15 (1),
S-Video (1), Ethernet 10/100 RJ-45(1), SD Card (1), Parallel DB-25 (1),
Modem RJ-11 (1), Headphone/Micro/Line-In (1 each)