(Partially) fried laptop

By jephph ยท 9 replies
Jan 18, 2012
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  1. Hey guys. So, a client says she was on her laptop (Asus M50V) and she smelled burning plastic, then she noticed a small flame in the back of the laptop. The flame was put out. She was able to run the computer again, but it would only run on the battery. It will not boot up when plugged in. I want to take it apart to see if there is something that can be replaced.

    Do you think it would be worth taking apart, and do you know if the part that could be damaged would be replaceable? I'm guessing there was a power surge, because there was a storm that night, and she was not on a surge protector. It looks like the laptop is still functional, it just won't boot from power anymore. Any thoughts?

    Thank you!
  2. Cinders

    Cinders TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 872   +12

    Yes you should be able to replace the part/parts that caught fire.

    Replacement parts can usually be found on the manufacturers website if the laptop is still being supported. I took a very quick look for replacements parts on the ASUS site and found nothing other than a replacement keyboard.

    You'll probably be able to find used parts on ebay. You'll need to compare part numbers to be sure you're getting the right part.
  3. westom

    westom TS Rookie Posts: 18

    A wall wart power supply powers two power supplies inside the Asus. You describe one of those two internal supplies causing a fire. That is a major event that often results in entire product line recall. Because nothing inside any of those supplies must ever create a flame.

    Long before the IBM PC existed, all power supply outputs could be shorted together. That short must never cause power supply damage let alone a fire. Fire implies a major design failure (unlikely) or counterfeit parts (ie flame resistant resistor is counterfeit).

    That computer must work without damage even in a 100 degree F room. Without damage means parts failure without flame. She had multiple failures because what must never exist (flame) did exist.

    Repair is typically a motherboard replacement. This failure should be reported to the manufacturer without delay. Or reported to the local safety organizations. Flame must never happen in any appliance. A failure directly traceable to gross human failure (ie counterfeit parts).
  4. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Make a little noise about it. Manufacturers do not want the public to know their laptops can catch fire... but choose your words carefully.
  5. jephph

    jephph TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 61

    Ok, I took it apart. Here are a couple of shots of the fried power jack. It looks like some plastic got in there somehow, and melted to the solder points of the power jack. Is there hope? Could I scrape off the plastic somehow, and then solder on a new power jack? Would that solve my problem? Thanks for any advice.

    Attached Files:

  6. westom

    westom TS Rookie Posts: 18

    All electronic parts can be so hot as to burn skin. And plastic must not melt. Melting probably occurred after the flame. No part must ever create a flame.

    A part that caused flame completely burned up. Even solder mask printing no longer identifies the failed part. Nothing adjacent is clear enough to even suspect what that flaming part was, what it connected to, or what it did. Again, local authorities (even a fire marshal) should be informed of an event that unacceptable. No laptop must ever generate flame. Your picture indicates something that must never happen.
  7. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Resoldering a power jack is very tricky unless you have a lot of good experience... But if you practice a few first, you can be successful. The trick is in getting the solder to flow properly, but still cool quickly.

    I would find a super experienced tech who knows how to clean up a motherboard, and has the compounds and tools to do it.

    My guess is that you will have better luck finding a replacement motherboard, It appears your system went through a great deal of heat at the blackened spot, and you need good tools, along with a variable temperature blower, such as broadcast engineers have, to do it properly and successfully and perhaps a selection of alcohols and oily compounds to slowly lift away the damaged material..

    First I would be sure the current damaged power jack cannot be refurbished enough to work. Most of those are installed with a flat solder technique that requires skill and a lot of practice. Get a shop tech who repairs power jacks to take a look and help you or give you good advice.
  8. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Have you tried shopping for a replacement motherboard. A new one can be had for $179, and a used one can be had for $102.50, when you can find them.. Sometimes as low as $89.99... or buy another Asus with a damaged screen or case that still has a working motherboard
  9. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    I left off the fact that you do a straight-forward search for Asus M50V motherboard or Asus M50v System board.
  10. tamertt

    tamertt TS Rookie

    I had the same problem, I ordered power jack for 3 euros but I dont know if it can be replaced and it is the only problem. Can anyone help me out? How bad does it look?

    Attached Files:

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