Thursday 20 June 2024

How To Repair A Liquid Damaged Laptop


Obvisously, until you open up the laptop there is no way of knowing what kind of damage has been done and it's not always possible to repair a water damaged laptop, especially if it has been powered on after it has dried without it being professionally cleaned first...

The flowchart below details how to professionally clean a motherboard etc.

If the spill has recently occurred then grab a paper towel and dab the motherboard to remove the remaining liquid and then follow the flowchart below.

Required Items/Tools:

  1. Isopropyl Alcohol and/or Water
  2. Nylon Brush to do the cleaning with (a cheap toothbrush is ideal)
  3. If available, a hot air rework station

TOP TIP:  Use liquid Rosin Flux to prevent any further damage to any pins (on integrated circuits like SIO/Chipset) as if the pins are covered in Rosin then oxidisation (i.e. rusting) cannot occur.

Apply liquid Rosin Flux to affected chips/pins and then use hot air to remove the IPA in the liquid flux to just a leave a protective layer of Rosin on the pins.

Friday 22 March 2024

How To Remove OEM Branding From Windows Vista Welcome Screen

If you want to remove the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer - i.e. Dell or HP) logo then all you need to do is delete (or rename) the OOBE.XML file from the C:\Windows\System32\OOBE\Info folder.

If you want to change the OEM logo then you need to edit the OOBE.XML file and do a search for the term 'oemLogo' and then change the path/file to where you've saved your logo file.  Make sure it's a .png file though else it wont work.

Wednesday 20 March 2024

How To Mount An ISO File in Windows XP

Have you got one of more ISO files that contain things like driver files for a Retro Computing computer that you might only use the once?  Well you don't have to waste time burning endless CD/DVD discs, what you can do is use and Optical Disc Drive emulator and mount an ISO file so it will then appear in My Computer allowing you to install your software without the need for a blank CD/DVD!

WinCDEmu is a free tool that works on Windows XP, Server 2003, Vista, Server 2008, Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 (including x64) - not sure if it works on Windows 11 but as that is based on Windows 10 I don't see why not.

I personally use the portable edition so there's no need for any installation as such, you just run the executable and the program begins:

On double-clicking the executable file you are prompted to (very) quickly install an optical disc driver:

Click on Yes to continue...

To mount an ISO image click on Mount image

Browse to where your ISO file is (I put mine on a USB memory stick) and then click on Open

Your ISO disc image will now be mounted and if Autorun is enabled that will start to work, if not then you'll need to open up My Computer etc.

As you can see the ISO I have mounted now shows up as an optical disc drive (in this example it is E: ).

Monday 21 August 2023

£1.20 Faulty Untested iMac - Will It Work?

Nobody was bidding on this Apple iMac on eBay and it had a starting bid of a random £1.20 so I had a cheeky bid and I only went and won it!!

It was listed as Untested and Faulty - how can it be both?  If it's untested, how do they know it's faulty?

Even if it doesn't work, it's well worth it for spare parts, in this video I unbox it and try to power it on...

Monday 14 August 2023

Fault Finding A Dead Dell Inspiron 1501 Laptop

After removing all the screws from the bottom of the laptop I removed the keyboard and could immediately see signs of what the issue might be..

..water damage!

Depending on what damage has been done it may be fixable so lets take a look...

No obvious signs here and after having a good look around I cannot see any more signs of liquid damage.

Using my Digital Multimeter I checked the power supplies on the motherboard and was able to find the 19.5V, 3.3V, 1.2V and 5V supplies at all the coils I could see so everything seems OK.

Time to remove the heatsink to see if there's any signs of damage under that.

And there we have it - water damage around the CPU and GPU.  As the laptop is not powering on (not getting the power good signal to start the CPU etc) it's likely that the GPU is what is at fault.

Time to get my thermal camera out and take a look to see if anything is getting hot/shorted out when it shouldn't be.

The CPU is on the left (nice and cool as the laptop has not been turned on) and the GPU on the right is glowing like the sun!  As the laptop is powered off this shouldn't be happening so it is my belief that the GPU is faulty/short-circuited.

Time to get out my USB microscope to take a closer look at the GPU:

As you can see there's a sticky, hairy mess all over the ATI GPU so 100% certain that this is the problem area.

I don't have the skills (or a spare GPU chip for that matter) to remove/replace this IC and as the water damage goes towards the CPU socket as well the CPU may also be faulty/shorted so it's not worth the time/effort to repair.

I will keep the motherboard for spares and repairs in case I need any of the other components to repair any other laptops in the future.

You can't win them all!

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