How to fix hardware problems

posted in: Hardware | 50

In this guide I show how to work around some common laptop hardware problems without taking it apart.

1. Network port failure.

Most motherboards have the network port permanently attached. If the network port fails (I’m talking about hardware, not software failure), the whole motherboard has to be replaced.

Instead of replacing the motherboard, you can use a PCMCIA network card. You plug this card into the available PC slot in your laptop and you are back in business.

If you computer doesn’t have a PC slot, you can use a USB Ethernet adapter instead.

2. USB ports failure.

Most laptops have a few USB ports available. If one of them stops working, usually it’s not a big deal because you still have two or three more working ports left.

But what if all of them stopped working at once? Let’s say the USB controller on the motherboard went bad and the laptop stopped recognizing any device plugged into any USB port. Again, I’m talking about hardware, not software failure. In order to fix this problem you’ll have to replace the motherboard.

Alternatively, you can use a PCMCIA USB card. You plug this card into the PC slot and get two or four USB ports instead. It depends on the type of your PCMCIA card.

3. Internal wireless (Wi-Fi) card failure.

What can you do if the internal wireless card failed?

You can replace the failed wireless card with another one or use a PCMCIA wireless card instead.

4. Internal flash memory card reader failure.

Most newer laptops come with a flash memory card reader. Usually the card reader is soldered directly to the motherboard and if it fails, you have to replace the whole motherboard.

Alternatively, you can use an external USB flash memory card reader. All you have to do is plug the card reader into the available USB port and it’s ready to go.

5. Internal CD/DVD drive failure.

You’ll find an internal CD/DVD optical drive in most computers. If the optical drive failed and stopped reading discs, it has to be replaced with a new one.

Instead of replacing the failed drive, you can use an external USB drive. Simply plug this drive into the USB port, let your computer detect the drive and it’s ready for you.

Also, you can use this optical drive with any other computer which is very convenient.


50 Responses

  1. USB and RG45 connectors CAN be replaced on the motherboard..I fixed those on my neighbor’s HP a while back when their kid jammed something into all of the connectors rendering them unusable! The connectors themselves are cheap to buy (eBay) but you need access to a solder sucker machine, and need to be a little handy with soldering. I charged my neighbot $45 for the repair..it beat buying a new motherboard for close to $200!

  2. @ Imran,

    The Last thing I did was reinstalling the windows and after successfully installing when it requires a Restart to complete the process. It fails to shutdown properly shows the same Blue Scree and restarts and the installation starts again. And this continues over and over.

    If the same problem appears after you reinstall the OS, this is hardware related problem. Probably failed USB controller on the motherboard.

    In this situation if I use a PCMCIA USB card as you suggested above will this problem be solved?
    Another question when I’m using a PCMCIA USB card will it automatically block or stop my motherboard USB ports? If yes then I think this might work with me.

    I’m not sure if this will work but you can disable all USB ports in the device manager and try using an external PCMCIA USB card after that.

  3. Posting the problem Again. If anyone has the answer please take the time to respond! I really am in need of the that badly!!

    About USB ports failure recommendation:
    I have a Toshiba Satellite L655D-S5050. First I noticed that my USB ports are not recognizing the printer, then tried the Flash Drive and still they were not functioning. At the same time I start to receive a Blue Scree of Death mentioning Bug Code USB Drive…. And from then I never could shutdown the pc successfully. After every attempt the Blue Screen appears saying the same message and Restarts automatically.
    Later I tried every possible ways to fix the problem by consulting the Toshiba Support Forum. None worked and at the end I being advised that this is Hardware problem.
    The Last thing I did was reinstalling the windows and after successfully installing when it requires a Restart to complete the process. It fails to shutdown properly shows the same Blue Scree and restarts and the installation starts again. And this continues over and over.
    In this situation if I use a PCMCIA USB card as you suggested above will this problem be solved?
    Another question when I’m using a PCMCIA USB card will it automatically block or stop my motherboard USB ports? If yes then I think this might work with me.
    Please advise. Its very important and urgent for me to get this PC operational.
    Regards,
    Imran

  4. About USB ports failure recommendation:
    I have a Toshiba Satellite L655D-S5050. First I noticed that my USB ports are not recognizing the printer, then tried the Flash Drive and still they were not functioning. At the same time I start to receive a Blue Scree of Death mentioning Bug Code USB Drive…. And from then I never could shutdown the pc successfully. After every attempt the Blue Screen appears saying the same message and Restarts automatically.
    Later I tried every possible ways to fix the problem by consulting the Toshiba Support Forum. None worked and at the end I being advised that this is Hardware problem.
    The Last thing I did was reinstalling the windows and after successfully installing when it requires a Restart to complete the process. It fails to shutdown properly shows the same Blue Scree and restarts and the installation starts again. And this continues over and over.
    In this situation if I use a PCMCIA USB card as you suggested above will this problem be solved?
    Another question when I’m using a PCMCIA USB card will it automatically block or stop my motherboard USB ports? If yes then I think this might work with me.
    Please advise. Its very important and urgent for me to get this PC operational.
    Regards,
    Imran

  5. I have a HP G 42
    Some times the screens starts to have lines moving like old time television, am not sure what to expect!
    Kindly help, ASAP!

  6. @ krish,

    i have a sony vaio laptop. it is not starting up at all. what could possibly be the problem?

    How exactly it’s not starting up? Any lights at all when you push on the power button?
    Try this. Remove the battery, unplug the AC adapter, push on the power button for a few seconds. Now plug in the AC adapter and try turning it on again.

  7. i have a sony vaio laptop. it is not starting up at all. what could possibly be the problem?

  8. @ Michael Myjak,

    I have a dell D800 with a broken microphone jack. Is there any way to fix just the jack? Like fix the solder joint on the mother board? If so, how do I disassemble the laptop to get at the offending jack?

    Here’s Dell Latitude D800 service manual. The manual explains how to disassemble the laptop.
    I don’t know if it’s possible to fix just the jack because I don’t know how bad the damage is.

  9. Michael Myjak

    I have a dell D800 with a broken microphone jack. Is there any way to fix just the jack? Like fix the solder joint on the mother board? If so, how do I disassemble the laptop to get at the offending jack?

    Thanks –
    Michael

  10. @ Val,

    When I turn on my HP Pavillion TX 2522 the screen stays black, capslock and numlock are active, tried to remove the battery for half a day and then held the power button for 60 sec, it didn’t help so took it to get a free check up done-they said the motherborad is damaged and needs replacing for $240

    If you have nothing to lose, you can try one of the following methods:
    http://www.laptoprepair101.com/laptop/2010/10/06/fix-video-problem-hp-laptops/
    http://www.laptoprepair101.com/laptop/2011/02/23/fix-laptop-motherboard-with-failed-nvidia-graphics-chip/

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