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Peculiar problem with Acer 1690, typing on borrowed time

Joined
Mar 30, 2008
Messages
11
#1
My acer aspire 1690 is about 3 years old. About 3 months ago, a peculiar problem began to occur whilst using my laptop. Be it browsing on the net, or chatting on IM, a clicking-beep sound would occur ONCE (which I believe is the HDD) and the laptop would just freeze while the 'busy' LED would just remain constantly lit. A few seconds later, the plug n play theme sound would play, the same as when you insert a usb device and remove one.

The clicking beep sound is exactly the same as when I hold and press the power button, and the laptop turns off. Its from one of the components inside the laptop, but I think its the HDD. Occasionally if I was lucky, a few seconds after freezing, all would return to normal, only for the whole thing to occur again about 30 mins later. Eventually when it did happen again, it wouldnt 'unfreeze' and remain like this until I had no option but to hold the power button and turn the laptop off.

After a few days, the laptop refused to boot up, instead I would see the message:

Broadcom UND1 PXE-2.1

PXE-E61 : Media test failure, check cable.
PXE-M0F : Exiting Broadcom PXE ROM
Operating system not found.

It would do this every time I turned the laptop off and then back on. Occassionaly, if I was lucky after about 20 times, the laptop would boot up, only for the whole freezing thing to start happening again in exactly the same way.

My father and I thought there was something wrong with the HDD. I scanned it using chkdsk, and I also downloaded the manufacturers scanner, none showed any problems with the HDD. Nevertheless we still thought it was the HDD that was the root of the problem and so my father bought a new one about 6 weeks ago.

After taking the old one out and replacing with the new one, I re-installed windows on the new HDD and everything was working well. However, about 6 days ago, that dreaded plug n play sound started playing, and the click bleep sound would occur, though this time it was different (I suspect its because of the new HDD). However, the laptop wouldnt freeze, I was still able to use it as normal. That changed today however, and now 3 times in the last 2 hours, its began to freeze completely with the HDD LED lit constantly. I've left it for about 5 minutes, but it still remained frozen, so I just turned it off.

I would appreciate any input from members here, as I have no clue to as what is happening. I'm convinced it can't be the HDD, as the new one is only 6 weeks old.

PS- After turning off and turning back on, its booting up as normal, but I don't want to turn it on any more until I have this problem sorted, as I fear it could damage the HDD. Also, my powerjack has been damaged for quite some time, it only works when the adapter is plugged in 'a certain way'. I'm not sure if thats relevant but I thought it worth mentioning.

Thank you.
 

Seth

FPCH Long Term Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
2,268
Location
Canada
Operating System
Windows Vista - Home Premium
#2
Welcome to Free PC Help Silver.

It's either a power problem or a motherboard problem.

Does it run fine on just the battery?
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2008
Messages
11
#3
Hi seth, thanks for your response.

Yes it runs fine on battery. Its running fine right now on the power supply, but thats only if the adapter isn't moved around causing the powerjack pin to move. Its damaged and I need a replacement.

By the way, does anyone have any idea why the laptop worked fine for about 5 weeks, after fitting in the new HDD, and now start to have the same problem. If the motherboard is damaged, wouldn't this have began to occur even after fitting in a new HDD?
 
Last edited:
W

Wolfeymole

#4
I think that if your running it off the mains supply all the time and the constant electricity supply is being interrupted because of a faulty power socket then the laptop could be experiencing cold shut downs.
This obviously is no good at all so apart from having a new socket fitted which could be very expensive, I'd make sure that the laptop is perfectly immobile and receiving a steady supply of electricity when charging the battery, once charged run it off the battery.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2008
Messages
11
#5
Thanks. I'll see if this happens if I'm using the laptop while its running of the battery.

I still think there might be some damage to a component inside the laptop, apart from the powerjack. I don't know why after fitting in the new HDD, it worked perfectly fine for 5 weeks and now the same problem began to occur.

This would indicate that its something to do with the HDD, but I'm not sure how or why it could get faulty within just 5 weeks. I'm no computer expert, in fact I don't know much about them at all ;) so I'm just ***uming it could be the HDD.
 
W

Wolfeymole

#6
The thing is Silver that if data is being written to the hard drive and the electricity is interrupted, then problems can occur and result in possible hard drive damage or corruption.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2008
Messages
11
#7
Thanks wolfey, I'll see how the laptop works while its running on battery.

I really hope I haven't caused the screwing up of a brand new HDD by not getting that powerjack replaced :confused:
 

Seth

FPCH Long Term Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
2,268
Location
Canada
Operating System
Windows Vista - Home Premium
#8
I've replaced many laptop DC jacks, and it's by far the most difficult job that a tech can do. If you go that route, call around and find someone who has done it many times. Also keep in mind that it's going to be very expensive as the whole laptop needs to be taken apart.

What is the age of the laptop?, as it may not be worth it to do such a repair.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2008
Messages
11
#9
Hey seth, the laptops about 3 years old, a little more than that. The prices for laptops have certainly decreased, I paid £600 ($1200) for it back then, and now I can get a better spec one for £300 ($600) or less.

Yes it is indeed very difficult taking the laptop apart. Before we installed the HDD, my dad tried to take the laptop apart to see in what way the DC Jack was damaged, but we couldn't manage to reach the motherboard! In the process of doing that he managed to disconnect the keyboard connector! It was a real pain sorting that problem out. Its one thing taking apart a PC, but laptops are a completely new ball game.
 

Seth

FPCH Long Term Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
2,268
Location
Canada
Operating System
Windows Vista - Home Premium
#10
In general, most laptop's built within about the last three years, only have a hard drive life span of about 3-4 years.

Your dad's not alone in giving up on taking a laptop apart, many techs have done the same. Or, they're not able to re-***emble it, or, it doesn't power up after they managed to re-***emble it.

You're in a tough position, but I'd probably go with a new laptop. Otherwise, call around and see what some techs have to say.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2008
Messages
11
#11
I think what I'll do is remove this hard drive, (hopefully no damage has occured to it, its practically new only being about 5 weeks old) I'll then buy a DC Jack and see if my dad and I can manage to replace it with the damaged one. But if theres been damage done to the motherboard then I'll just scrap the whole idea and just buy a new laptop.

I'll ask around first however, to see what kind of prices techs charge for replacing DC jacks and motherboard repair (if there is damage to it).
 
W

Wolfeymole

#12
I think what I'll do is remove this hard drive, (hopefully no damage has occured to it, its practically new only being about 5 weeks old) I'll then buy a DC Jack and see if my dad and I can manage to replace it with the damaged one. But if theres been damage done to the motherboard then I'll just scrap the whole idea and just buy a new laptop.

I'll ask around first however, to see what kind of prices techs charge for replacing DC jacks and motherboard repair (if there is damage to it).
Can I ask if either you or you dad are qualified electronics experts?
Soldering a new power supply socket to the motherboard is not like popping a hard drive in.
Trying to do so if you are not qualified could result in more damage than there is now, that's if you could get a socket without being in the trade.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2008
Messages
11
#13
In all honesty, I certainly am not, but my dad has some experience, however nowhere near 'expert' skill by any means and not neccessarily with laptops. He has done soldering in the past. Sourcing a DC jack isn't a problem, they're easy to find on ebay for as little as $10. I'm just not sure if the DC Jack could cause the problems I'm experiencing.

I'm also confused as to why the laptop worked fine for 5 weeks or so, only for the problem to start happening again recently.
 
W

Wolfeymole

#14
Ok let's put it this way yes?

You have had a faulty power input socket on this laptop from square one.

That is why the fault is happening.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2008
Messages
11
#15
:) Thanks for being straight up Wolfey, as I mentioned in an earlier post my knowledge on computers and how they work at component level is ZERO. It just didn't seem logical to me why a faulty DC jack would be causing this type of problem, but more knowledged people are saying it can, so I have to believe that :)

I'll get started working on the DC jack, thanks again.
 

Seth

FPCH Long Term Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
2,268
Location
Canada
Operating System
Windows Vista - Home Premium
#17
:) Thanks for being straight up Wolfey, as I mentioned in an earlier post my knowledge on computers and how they work at component level is ZERO. It just didn't seem logical to me why a faulty DC jack would be causing this type of problem, but more knowledged people are saying it can, so I have to believe that :)

I'll get started working on the DC jack, thanks again.
It worked fine because the power supply glitch took some time to either corrupt the hard drives electronics (firmware), or the software's file structure.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2008
Messages
11
#19
I feel I should bump this thread with an update now :)

I've recently had the faulty DC Jack issue resolved. On the first day, the laptop ran fine for about 5 hours, and then the issue began to occur again.

The day after, the laptop worked fine without any problems. However today I've had to do a force-power off twice when the laptop froze after a beep sound occured. The work light just stays constantly lit.

A little bit before I'm typing this post, a beep occurred but the laptop did not freeze, this happens sometimes.

Would it be fair to ***ume that the fairly new HDD has been corrupted from the previous DC Jack problem?
 
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
4,098
Location
Stockport near Manchester
PC Experience
Elite PC Guru
Operating System
Windows Vista - Home Premium
#20
It seems more like the MOBO (Motherboard) was surged with the Jack fault - this could have led to the PSU being knackered or the RAM or as you say the HDD.