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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The best of:

Thought I'd go back to some of my old blogs and re-post some of my more important posts.. so.. without further ado:

Originally posted Sunday, October 3rd, 2004.

What I did this weekend, or: How to void your warranty.

OK, Sunday my brother managed to pour a cup of coffee on his laptop. (While it was running no less!) So, "Captain Disassemble" to the rescue, sort of. I charge in the room when he starts yelling "CRAP CRAP CRAP" and dive for the power button, good news, I kill it before it kills itself. More good news, he was smart enough to immediately turn the thing upside down when he got coffee on it, way to only semi-panic! After cleaning what we could get at with the computer in one piece, I realize I'm going to have to take out the keyboard, remove all the keys, clean it, and then put it back in the machine. Fun

I get the keyboard off, and lo and behold, a puddle of coffee on every surface underneath it, oh boy, not good. We started taking apart the computer, trying to get everything clear of the sticky sweet battery acid my bro likes to consume by the gallon. Needless to say, we kept busy with the paper towels for a while, getting everything dry and un-sticky. It turns out that Dell designed this computer with the idea that if you spilled liquid on it, you would have to take apart EVERY thing to get it dry... argh. So, I COMPLETELY took the computer down, we were down to a MOBO (Mother board for the uninitiated) with just a heatsink, fan, processor, and I think the video card was still on there. Anyway, clean it up, dry it off, put it back together, boot it up.

Keyboard doesn't work, sorta, it works in that you can hit keys, and it does stuff, it doesn't work in that I am 99% sure that what that keyboard currently does was not what Dell had in mind when they built the computer. (I can only say this with such certainty because I have seen the computer working before.. otherwise I probably wouldn't give Dell such good odds.) Also, at this stage, the touchpad likes to think that the right mouse button is constantly being depressed.

Because of the state the keyboard was in, I couldn't even get to a boot menu for diagnostics, so, homemade diagnostics to the rescue. I get out my other brother's 1100 and put his keyboard in the thirsty one, (Amid his loud protests I might add. "OK OK, if I mess it up, I'll buy you a new one, jeez") abracadabra, wave the magic wand, and wow! it works!

(Oh, FYI, these keyboards appear to be hot-swappable, who'd a thunk it?)

So, his keyboard assembly is shot. (It's still up in the air on whether it was the liquid, or if we damaged the cable disassembling the computer...)

So, I know it is a faulty keyboard, I play around with the computer a while, and have fun with a touchpad that thinks it is always right-clicking. Though this problem eventually seems to go away, I think it probably was sticking, or was too wet, or both.

Anyway, enough of this, I call Dell tech support to report a malfunctioning keyboard. "OK, now, take out the battery..." "No, I've already done that, I just need you to ship me a replacement keyboard assembly." (For those who don't know, the tech was trying to get me to do a power drain, to reset the thing, that seems to be their panacea, but knowing that, I tried before calling.)

So, the tech gives me a case ID, and has me sent to returns/repairs, the guy gets all set to ship me a new keyboard assembly, and then asks if I have any more issues with the computer, "Well, the touchpad buttons are a little strange sometimes." "Hmm... I better have you ship that back to us, so we can do a full diagnostics and repair." Cool! Please do! I can't believe they didn't ask me if I had spilled something on it... it would seem to me that would be the first thing they would suspect, especially when both the keyboard and touchpad are shot.

Now, about that incredibly obvious coffee smell... so I take down the computer again.. cleaning everything very thoroughly. (A little bit of water only.. wonderful difference though!)

This is when I find he only thing I didn't get to last time... the touchpad assembly, oops. That thing was built to hold liquids, I am now convinced, I pulled that thing open and about a half a cup of coffee came out on the table, wow.

So, clean the whole thing very thoroughly, and get it back together, all but the keyboard assembly, I take off every single key, and clean the whole thing about three times, then reassemble it.

Finally, the computer is back in one semi coffee scented piece.

Dell instructed me to send back the computer sans hard drive, optical drive, battery and charging unit, all of that goes in a box, and a gutted Inspiron 1100 sits on my brother's desk waiting for the DHL truck tomorrow.

This is going to really mess up his school schedule... oh well, lesson learned about coffee and computer I suppose.

As I alluded (is that the right word here?) to in my title, this almost definitely voided my warranty, I haven't read the Dell warranty recently, nor did I say anything to the tech about my extensive take down of the computer. But I am almost certain Dell would not be happy with what I did. Oh well, get over it guys.

I wish I had taken shots of the take down in progress, but I only got pics of it after we had finished, anyway, here it is spread around on our dining room table.
(Click the pictures for larger images.)

1- Keyboard assembly.

2- Metal piece, was under keyboard, over the fan/heatsink assembly.

3- Hard Drive

4- Memory chips

5- Optical Drive

6- Wireless PCMCIA card. (Don't ask me why this is in the pic...)

7- Main body that was left in one piece, see close up for description of components.

8- Battery.

9- Covers from underside of computer, left is modem compartment, right is memory.

10- LCD + top of rest of case, I wish I had taken a picture with this assembly open, this is the LCD closed on the top half of the rest of the case that is not on no. 7, including the touchpad.

Note that in this pic you can also see some of our candlesticks, our drinks, and some of my tools, and some parts to a board game my brother was simultaneously playing with.

Also note that the plastic container near the center of the pic is where we kept screws and the like we had removed, the pieces of paper are to remind us were stuff came from!

Closeup of main assembly:

1- Speakers, not sure why I labeled these...

2- Optical drive bay.

3- Hard drive bay, note that under this is the PCMCIA slot

4- Video card, I took this metal piece off, but it went back on before the photos apparently.

5- Heatsink/fan assembly

6- Battery bay.

There are other things I could've labeled here, the various ports on the sides and back, apologies if I didn't label something you were wondering about!


At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Grace said...

lol. Wow, coffee on a laptop. Not fun. See.. another reason to HATE coffee! :-P

At 6:29 PM, Anonymous skythrock said...

Yeah, I remember that post. lol That was a good 'un.


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