How I fixed memory slot failure

posted in: Hardware, Laptop hacks | 62

Is it possible to fix laptop memory slot failure with a guitar pick? Yes, it is. You will not fix the memory slot itself, but you can work around the problem. :)
Today I received a Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600 laptop with the following complaint:

The laptop starts and works properly, but recognizes only one of the two memory modules installed. The laptop has two 256MB RAM modules installed, but registers only 256MB.

 

Two memory modules

First of all, I removed the memory cover to find out if both memory modules are installed correctly. The laptop had two 256MB Kingston modules installed and they were seated properly.

256MB memory detected

When I started the laptop and entered the BIOS setup menu, I found that only one of the two memory modules is detected and the laptop registers only 256MB (262144KB) of RAM instead of 512MB (524288KB).
Just a side note. In the computer world 1MB=1024KB. That’s why 256MB=262144KB and 512MB=524288KB.

I tried reseating both memory modules but it didn’t help.
After that I tried installing both memory modules in both memory slots one by one and here’s what I found. The laptop worked absolutely fine when both memory modules were installed into the slot A, but failed to boot with both memory modules installed into the slot B.
Apparently, there is nothing wrong with the memory modules and the laptop has a faulty memory slot B. The memory slot is permanently soldered on the motherboard. If one of the slots fails you’ll have to replace the whole motherboard or use the laptop with only one working slot.
Buying a new motherboard for this older laptop wouldn’t make any sense because it’s too expensive, but the laptop is still in a good working condition except the faulty memory slot B, so I continued playing with that trying to find the solution.

press on memory module

I noticed that the laptop start normally with the memory module installed into the faulty slot if I slightly press on the module with my thumb. And this gave me an idea.

guitar pick

This guitar pick is going to fix my laptop. :)

install guitar pick

I installed both RAM modules back into the slots and then placed the guitar pick over the module in the slot B as it shown on the picture.

close memory door

I thought if I close the RAM door it will press on the guitar pick/memory module and it will have the same effect as pressing on the module with my thumb. And it worked!

512MB memory detected

Both memory modules were detected properly and the laptop registered all 512MB. After “the fix” I tested memory with Memtest86+ and the laptop passed the test.
I wouldn’t call it the best solution for fixing a faulty memory slot but in some cases it will work.

By the way, I didn’t charge the customer for this “repair”, he knows what is going on and how I “fixed” his problem.


62 Responses

  1. WOW! You saved sooo many computers with you genius. I have been running mine for over a year due to this problem. NOW I KNOW!!!

  2. dell 5100

    your awesome!! my dell 5100 is working now, thanks for youre great advice, I’m happy thanks !!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I have same problem on Toshiba tecra 8100 and i resolv it inspecting all pins of the slot. I found 3 pins unstuck. After soldering all pins (for certainty) everything is O.K. and laptop work fine.

  4. Richard

    Dude you rock!!! I was about to trash my laptop and buy a new one because I was frustrated with only one memory slot working, but this saved me. No guitar pick but I cut a piece of plastic out of an old dvd case and it worked just as well.

  5. OMG, I LOVE YOU MAN. This saved me from throwing away my laptop!!

  6. Wow, this is so cool, thanks a lot man, I had the same problem and now it’s all fixed, though I used pieces of cardboard instead of guitar picks on my Dell :).

  7. i have been having problem on my laptop over virus. I have instell diff. type of antivirus and still yet i am tried to download music video on my memory card or flash the virus on my system will distroy the video already inside the flash or memo. The avira antivirus i downloaded on it before was corrupted before i download another,when installing with be get to an extent and indicated “crc failed in basic\aecore.dll
    unexpected end of archive”…..Pleasle what can i do to solve this problem. Thanks.

  8. Your a STAR :) great thanks Soooooooo Much i thought my old faithful had packed up, but its like you said it picks up the slot-b with a bit of packaging of some type along the connector, i used foam rubber and works fine 512mb

  9. Ian Basore

    I have a question.

    I want to upgrade to upgrade the memory in my Toshiba Satellite 1135-S125 from the original 256mb to 1gb. I talked to some guy at “laptopmemoryupgrade.com” and he said I’d have to use two sticks of 512mb instead of just a 1gb stick. I know this machine only can take a maximum of 1gb, but do I have to use two 512mb sticks? If so, it’s not really a huge problem, 512mb sticks of the PC2100 sodimm ram for it aren’t too hard to find, but I was just wondering.

  10. Thekookie

    On the warranty thing.

    I send a unit to HP; fails PCDoc 6 loadtest . Likes to slowly corrupt windows installs. Passes Proc/Mobo/Memory/Video/HDD.

    They send it back with a bios update stating they could reproduce the issue.

    Still fails PCDoc6 Load test.

    I send it in again. They give me an estimate for $300 for a failed HDD; this is a move to blow me off. Now it passed a HDD test when it came back since I saw it comin’ and retested. I have a pretty good idea at this point it is a bad mobo. I use my contact, get them to repair it free of charge. They send it back stating they could reproduce the issue and fixed it. I *also* request they pull the HDD and just run a quick PCdoc 6 loadtest; same as what I have (I do a lot of HP, I’ve got all their tools so their shop reporduces what I find); they say “nope, no other problems, just a bad HDD”.

    Still fails PCDoc6 Load test.

    I do a full pull-apart diagnostic, test only mobo/mem/LCD/KB/Powerswitch, nothing else. Nada. 100% sure it’s a bad motherboard; I state as much in my request.

    Send it in a 3rd Time, they state they could not reproduce the issue, then place an alpha version of a new bios with heat-related updates on it. Previous version of the bios also had heat-related updates to the fanbus algorithm.

    Still fails PCDoc6.

    They don’t want to replace it. The unit is 2 years out of manufacture and under warranty. They see the issue, they know its there, they just don’t want to fix it; they want to cover it up.

    I’ve sent machines to warranty, had THEM spill soda and liquid damage, then return it. I don’t persue it any further; if on occasion they want to dump a bad unit on the retailer I work for I’m not opposed; everyone does it. If they dump a lot or just don’t fix a lot, that’s a problem.

    Same as with instead of replacing a faulty dvd-rom drive they’ll ghost a new image of the recovery partition onto the unit. I test everything they send back since about 1/5 repairs is either spottily done or not done at all. Out of 150 warranty claims I’ve had one NTF from em’ in the last 11 months.

    Sony, Toshiba, Fujitsu; they all do it from time to time, some more than others There’s a mistake, then there’s incompetence, then there’s competent techs who’s bosses say “don’t replace any parts”. I’ve seen it done.

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