Motherboard Forums


Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes

Laptops dying of old age

 
 
SlickRCBD
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-15-2009, 02:58 AM
I don't usually have a need for a laptop, so I haven't ever bought
one. However, over the years I've been given two by people who
upgraded and no longer had a use for the old, obsolete ones. I've
noticed that when they started to die, they both exhibited almost the
exact same problem, and I'm wondering if this is common for laptops
dying of old age. Also, I'm wondering if the cause is simply because
the CMOS battery (or if it's called something else, the equivalent of
the separate battery that keeps the clock's time correct and preserves
the contents of the BIOS setup info, commonly called NVRAM these days)
has died.


The first one was given to me around 1996 and was an MS-DOS based one
made in the 1980s. It had REALLY big external batteries that hooked
onto the back and in spite of the former owner's claim of EGA, it only
had CGA graphics. After a couple years of using it, it started having
a problem. First the clock was losing the time, then a bit later it
would refuse to start up more than activating the screen and fan. It
would not run POST, and would not start the bootstrap process and
search for MS-DOS either on disk or the hard drive. The backlight on
the screen would light up and the fan would run, but there would be
nothing displayed.

Around 2004, I was given another obsolete laptop. This one was most
likely made around 1998 or 1999, since it came with Windows 98 First
Edition. it worked fine, but did not have an ethernet card, much less
wireless and the person was switching to broadband. Hence why she gave
it to me. I also didn't have much use for a laptop at the time, and
not being able to hook it into my network made it even less useful
since I couldn't get onto the 'net, but she was going to toss it and I
was in school at the time, so I didn't know if it might come in handy
or not. It eventually wound up sitting on a shelf in my closet until
today.

Lately I've needed to run Microsoft word away from computer access,
which will only be once a week for about four months, so rather than
buying a laptop, I pulled that now REALLY obsolete laptop out of
storage. After charging the main battery, I noticed that the clock was
messed up. I reset it. I've been using it once a week since September
and needing to set the clock each time like a REALLY old MS-DOS
machine, but last week the laptop seemed reluctant to power up.
The symptoms were the same as with the old MS-DOS based laptop.
Powering it down and hitting it on the bottom like an old TV set made
it power up. I don't know if the hitting had any effect or not. or
just the powering down using the [crash] override.

This week it took several attemps to get it to power up with people
looking at me oddly as I tried to get it to boot. I should also add
that the new laptop gives me no opportunity to get into the BIOS setup
until it starts to work normally, and when I do, the default settings
all seem ok.

Is this a common symtom of laptops when their CMOS batteries die, or
is it just coincidence that the two old laptops I've been given over
the years both broke down the same way? I do mean the CMOS batteries,
not the main batteries that power them when not plugged in. I was able
to use the laptop tonight for about an hour and fifteen minutes and
according to Windows battery meter taskbar app the battery still had
31% power remaining when I shut down. It had read 98% when I finally
got it to boot at the beginning.
 
Reply With Quote
 
 
 
 
Barry Watzman
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-15-2009, 04:31 AM
No, I don't think that what you experienced had anything to do with the
CMOS batteries (although I can't rule it out entirely). Most laptops
will work fine with no CMOS batteries at all (but there ARE exceptions).
Of course time will be lost, and very often you will have to go into
the BIOS and at least "restore defaults" every time you power the
machine on, but normally it won't keep you from booting.

Laptops do have CMOS batteries. For reasons that are to me
unfathomable, very few laptops allow for these to be externally
replaced. Worse yet, on some machines they are soldered to the
motherboard. They may be either single use lithium batteries (coin
cells, although, again, occasionally soldered in place (but sometimes
not), or rechargeable (Toshiba is a fan of rechargeable batteries
(usually NiMH coin cells). In most cases they charge only when the
laptop is actually ON (not plugged in, but truly ON), they take 48 hours
to charge fully, and they will then work for 2 to 4 weeks without any
further charging.).

A common cause of problems in newer machines is severe overheating. All
modern laptops have fans and heatsinks, and after 6 to 24 months, the
heatsinks get clogged up with dust and dirt and hair, in some cases so
bad that the fan blades can no longer even turn (I've pulled a couple of
cubic inches of dust / dirt / hair out of them when cleaning them).
Then things overheat and, sometimes, die. The problem effects both the
CPU and the chipset. Cleaning the CPU cooling system is easy on some
laptops (remove an access panel and you can get at everything) and
nearly impossible on other models (you have to remove the screen from
the base, disassemble the base, and in some cases actually remove the
motherboard to get to the fan and heatsink UNDER the motherboard).
Another problem is failure of BGA (ball grid array) chip mountings.

However, your laptops are older, and are likely so old as to not have
these particular problems. Note, with respect to the battery, that if
the battery has become SO deteriorated that it is leaking corrosive
electrolyte ... that's a different problem.

One other thing to keep in mind is that laptops have power supplies just
like desktops. The battery and AC adapter only provide inputs to these
power supplies; the internal circuitry runs off of the multiple outputs
of these power supplies, generally +3.3v and +5v (sometimes +12 also).
As motherboards and power supplies have had problems with bad
capacitors, so to can laptops, so this is another potential common problem.
 
Reply With Quote
 
 
 
 
the wharf rat
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-15-2009, 07:29 AM
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
SlickRCBD <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>Is this a common symtom of laptops when their CMOS batteries die, or


Some older laptops like the IBM models error out if the CMOS
battery is dead. Others behave like a desktop and just ask you to
stop in firmware.


 
Reply With Quote
 
BillW50
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-15-2009, 02:59 PM
In
news:(E-Mail Removed),
SlickRCBD typed on Wed, 14 Oct 2009 19:58:05 -0700 (PDT):
> I don't usually have a need for a laptop, so I haven't ever bought
> one. However, over the years I've been given two by people who
> upgraded and no longer had a use for the old, obsolete ones. I've
> noticed that when they started to die, they both exhibited almost the
> exact same problem, and I'm wondering if this is common for laptops
> dying of old age. Also, I'm wondering if the cause is simply because
> the CMOS battery (or if it's called something else, the equivalent of
> the separate battery that keeps the clock's time correct and preserves
> the contents of the BIOS setup info, commonly called NVRAM these days)
> has died.
>
> The first one was given to me around 1996 and was an MS-DOS based one
> made in the 1980s. It had REALLY big external batteries that hooked
> onto the back and in spite of the former owner's claim of EGA, it only
> had CGA graphics. After a couple years of using it, it started having
> a problem. First the clock was losing the time, then a bit later it
> would refuse to start up more than activating the screen and fan. It
> would not run POST, and would not start the bootstrap process and
> search for MS-DOS either on disk or the hard drive. The backlight on
> the screen would light up and the fan would run, but there would be
> nothing displayed.
>
> Around 2004, I was given another obsolete laptop. This one was most
> likely made around 1998 or 1999, since it came with Windows 98 First
> Edition. it worked fine, but did not have an ethernet card, much less
> wireless and the person was switching to broadband. Hence why she gave
> it to me. I also didn't have much use for a laptop at the time, and
> not being able to hook it into my network made it even less useful
> since I couldn't get onto the 'net, but she was going to toss it and I
> was in school at the time, so I didn't know if it might come in handy
> or not. It eventually wound up sitting on a shelf in my closet until
> today.
>
> Lately I've needed to run Microsoft word away from computer access,
> which will only be once a week for about four months, so rather than
> buying a laptop, I pulled that now REALLY obsolete laptop out of
> storage. After charging the main battery, I noticed that the clock was
> messed up. I reset it. I've been using it once a week since September
> and needing to set the clock each time like a REALLY old MS-DOS
> machine, but last week the laptop seemed reluctant to power up.
> The symptoms were the same as with the old MS-DOS based laptop.
> Powering it down and hitting it on the bottom like an old TV set made
> it power up. I don't know if the hitting had any effect or not. or
> just the powering down using the [crash] override.
>
> This week it took several attemps to get it to power up with people
> looking at me oddly as I tried to get it to boot. I should also add
> that the new laptop gives me no opportunity to get into the BIOS setup
> until it starts to work normally, and when I do, the default settings
> all seem ok.
>
> Is this a common symtom of laptops when their CMOS batteries die, or
> is it just coincidence that the two old laptops I've been given over
> the years both broke down the same way? I do mean the CMOS batteries,
> not the main batteries that power them when not plugged in. I was able
> to use the laptop tonight for about an hour and fifteen minutes and
> according to Windows battery meter taskbar app the battery still had
> 31% power remaining when I shut down. It had read 98% when I finally
> got it to boot at the beginning.


Well I have had 7 laptops since '84 and only one from the 90's cooked
itself after five years. Toshiba forgot to include a fan to that oven.
The two from the 80's didn't have fans either, but they run cool anyway.
All of the rest of them are still running fine.

Some people have trouble getting laptops to last 5 years. I don't know
what they do with them actually. Once in awhile you run into a poorly
designed model like I did once. But that is the exception IMHO rather
than the rule.

As Barry mentioned, some models create lots of heat. I stay awhile from
those models. As they won't last 25 years like one of mine has. And the
weakest link in most laptops is the lamp inverter and the florescent
lamp itself. And they generally only last 10,000 to 25,000 hours anyway.
I use external monitors a lot and it keeps the hours low on the laptops.
Nowadays, virtually all netbooks and some laptops use bright LEDs
instead. So this limitation should disappear.

--
Bill
Asus EEE PC 701G4 ~ 2GB RAM ~ 16GB-SDHC
Windows XP SP2


 
Reply With Quote
 
BillW50
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-15-2009, 03:07 PM
In news:hb68j4$vnt$(E-Mail Removed)-september.org,
Barry Watzman typed on Thu, 15 Oct 2009 00:31:24 -0400:
[...]
> (Toshiba is a fan of rechargeable batteries (usually NiMH coin cells).
> In most cases they charge only when the laptop is actually ON (not
> plugged in, but truly ON), they take 48 hours to charge fully, and
> they will then work for 2 to 4 weeks without any further charging.).


Actually, not only powered on, but the screen's lamp must be on. As I
learned this because I use external monitors a lot. And the CMOS will
drain completely in say 6 months or so if the screen is never lit. And I
found 12 hours is good enough to charge up the CMOS/RTC battery for
another 6 months or so.

--
Bill
Asus EEE PC 701G4 ~ 2GB RAM ~ 16GB-SDHC
Windows XP SP2



 
Reply With Quote
 
lgreenwood@srt.com
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-15-2009, 03:51 PM
On Oct 14, 8:58*pm, SlickRCBD <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> I don't usually have a need for a laptop, so I haven't ever bought
> one. However, over the years I've been given two by people who
> upgraded and no longer had a use for the old, obsolete ones. I've
> noticed that when they started to die, they both exhibited almost the
> exact same problem, and I'm wondering if this is common for laptops
> dying of old age. Also, I'm wondering if the cause is simply because
> the CMOS battery (or if it's called something else, the equivalent of
> the separate battery that keeps the clock's time correct and preserves
> the contents of the BIOS setup info, commonly called NVRAM these days)
> has died.
>
> The first one was given to me around 1996 and was an MS-DOS based one
> made in the 1980s. It had REALLY big external batteries that hooked
> onto the back and in spite of the former owner's claim of EGA, it only
> had CGA graphics. After a couple years of using it, it started having
> a problem. First the clock was losing the time, then a bit later it
> would refuse to start up more than activating the screen and fan. It
> would not run POST, and would not start the bootstrap process and
> search for MS-DOS either on disk or the hard drive. The backlight on
> the screen would light up and the fan would run, but there would be
> nothing displayed.
>
> Around 2004, I was given another obsolete laptop. This one was most
> likely made around 1998 or 1999, since it came with Windows 98 First
> Edition. *it worked fine, but did not have an ethernet card, much less
> wireless and the person was switching to broadband. Hence why she gave
> it to me. I also didn't have much use for a laptop at the time, and
> not being able to hook it into my network made it even less useful
> since I couldn't get onto the 'net, but she was going to toss it and I
> was in school at the time, so I didn't know if it might come in handy
> or not. It eventually wound up sitting on a shelf in my closet until
> today.
>
> *Lately I've needed to run Microsoft word away from computer access,
> which will only be once a week for about four months, so rather than
> buying a laptop, I pulled that now REALLY obsolete laptop out of
> storage. After charging the main battery, I noticed that the clock was
> messed up. I reset it. I've been using it once a week since September
> and needing to set the clock each time like a REALLY old MS-DOS
> machine, but last week the laptop seemed reluctant to power up.
> The symptoms were the same as with the old MS-DOS based laptop.
> Powering it down and hitting it *on the bottom like an old TV set made
> it power up. I don't know if the hitting had any effect or not. or
> just the powering down using the [crash] override.
>
> This week it took several attemps to get it to power up with people
> looking at me oddly as I tried to get it to boot. I should also add
> that the new laptop gives me no opportunity to get into the BIOS setup
> until it starts to work normally, and when I do, the default settings
> all seem ok.
>
> Is this a common symtom of laptops when their CMOS batteries die, or
> is it just coincidence that the two old laptops I've been given over
> the years both broke down the same way? I do mean the CMOS batteries,
> not the main batteries that power them when not plugged in. I was able
> to use the laptop tonight for about an hour and fifteen minutes and
> according to Windows battery meter taskbar app the battery still had
> 31% power remaining when I shut down. It had read 98% when I finally
> got it to boot at the beginning.


Regarding your laptop w/o internet access and running windows 98, I
managed to find a PCMCIA wireless card that I was able to get working
for an old dell laptop Latitude CPi. It was a generic wireless card w/
o a brand name and made in china, but it works good. The main
problem I had after connecting to the Internet was getting an uptodate
browser. The laptop came with IE 5 and will not work with a lot of
websites and the new IE version will not work with Windows 98. I was
able to find an old version of netscape in an archived site that works
reasonably good with websites and compatible with windows 98. So even
with Internet access, some more up to date websites dont work well
with older versions of web browsers.

Larry
 
Reply With Quote
 
SlickRCBD
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-15-2009, 10:15 PM
On Oct 15, 10:51 am, "(E-Mail Removed)" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> On Oct 14, 8:58 pm, SlickRCBD <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>
>
> > I don't usually have a need for a laptop, so I haven't ever bought
> > one. However, over the years I've been given two by people who
> > upgraded and no longer had a use for the old, obsolete ones. I've
> > noticed that when they started to die, they both exhibited almost the
> > exact same problem, and I'm wondering if this is common for laptops
> > dying of old age. Also, I'm wondering if the cause is simply because
> > the CMOS battery (or if it's called something else, the equivalent of
> > the separate battery that keeps the clock's time correct and preserves
> > the contents of the BIOS setup info, commonly called NVRAM these days)
> > has died.

>
> > The first one was given to me around 1996 and was an MS-DOS based one
> > made in the 1980s. It had REALLY big external batteries that hooked
> > onto the back and in spite of the former owner's claim of EGA, it only
> > had CGA graphics. After a couple years of using it, it started having
> > a problem. First the clock was losing the time, then a bit later it
> > would refuse to start up more than activating the screen and fan. It
> > would not run POST, and would not start the bootstrap process and
> > search for MS-DOS either on disk or the hard drive. The backlight on
> > the screen would light up and the fan would run, but there would be
> > nothing displayed.

>
> > Around 2004, I was given another obsolete laptop. This one was most
> > likely made around 1998 or 1999, since it came with Windows 98 First
> > Edition. it worked fine, but did not have an ethernet card, much less
> > wireless and the person was switching to broadband. Hence why she gave
> > it to me. I also didn't have much use for a laptop at the time, and
> > not being able to hook it into my network made it even less useful
> > since I couldn't get onto the 'net, but she was going to toss it and I
> > was in school at the time, so I didn't know if it might come in handy
> > or not. It eventually wound up sitting on a shelf in my closet until
> > today.

>
> > Lately I've needed to run Microsoft word away from computer access,
> > which will only be once a week for about four months, so rather than
> > buying a laptop, I pulled that now REALLY obsolete laptop out of
> > storage. After charging the main battery, I noticed that the clock was
> > messed up. I reset it. I've been using it once a week since September
> > and needing to set the clock each time like a REALLY old MS-DOS
> > machine, but last week the laptop seemed reluctant to power up.
> > The symptoms were the same as with the old MS-DOS based laptop.
> > Powering it down and hitting it on the bottom like an old TV set made
> > it power up. I don't know if the hitting had any effect or not. or
> > just the powering down using the [crash] override.

>
> > This week it took several attemps to get it to power up with people
> > looking at me oddly as I tried to get it to boot. I should also add
> > that the new laptop gives me no opportunity to get into the BIOS setup
> > until it starts to work normally, and when I do, the default settings
> > all seem ok.

>
> > Is this a common symtom of laptops when their CMOS batteries die, or
> > is it just coincidence that the two old laptops I've been given over
> > the years both broke down the same way? I do mean the CMOS batteries,
> > not the main batteries that power them when not plugged in. I was able
> > to use the laptop tonight for about an hour and fifteen minutes and
> > according to Windows battery meter taskbar app the battery still had
> > 31% power remaining when I shut down. It had read 98% when I finally
> > got it to boot at the beginning.

>
> Regarding your laptop w/o internet access and running windows 98, I
> managed to find a PCMCIA wireless card that I was able to get working
> for an old dell laptop Latitude CPi. It was a generic wireless card w/
> o a brand name and made in china, but it works good. The main
> problem I had after connecting to the Internet was getting an uptodate
> browser. The laptop came with IE 5 and will not work with a lot of
> websites and the new IE version will not work with Windows 98. I was
> able to find an old version of netscape in an archived site that works
> reasonably good with websites and compatible with windows 98. So even
> with Internet access, some more up to date websites dont work well
> with older versions of web browsers.
>
> Larry


I'm currently using Firefox 2 on my Windows 98SE Desktop.
The laptop only has First Edition, and my desktop came with Win98SE
preinstalled with the only means to reinstall it in the C:\WINDOWS
\OPTIONS\CABS folder.
Thus I don't know how to make a Windows CD using Dell OEM Win98SE to
upgrade an NEC laptop to Second Edition.

I'd be more interested in details on a PCMCIA ethernet card and
wireless card if I wasn't having power-up problems.
 
Reply With Quote
 
BillW50
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-15-2009, 10:36 PM
In
news:(E-Mail Removed),
SlickRCBD typed on Thu, 15 Oct 2009 15:15:51 -0700 (PDT):
> I'm currently using Firefox 2 on my Windows 98SE Desktop.
> The laptop only has First Edition, and my desktop came with Win98SE
> preinstalled with the only means to reinstall it in the C:\WINDOWS
> \OPTIONS\CABS folder.
> Thus I don't know how to make a Windows CD using Dell OEM Win98SE to
> upgrade an NEC laptop to Second Edition.


Dell OEM Windows 98SE files won't work on a NEC anyway in all
likelihood. Microsoft sold an upgrade (Windows 98 to 98SE) disc for 10
bucks for like 3 months (over 10 years ago). You might find one on eBay.

> I'd be more interested in details on a PCMCIA ethernet card and
> wireless card if I wasn't having power-up problems.


They are nice. Somebody borrowed mine and I never saw it again. :-(

--
Bill
Asus EEE PC 701G4 ~ 2GB RAM ~ 16GB-SDHC
Windows XP SP2


 
Reply With Quote
 
Barry Watzman
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-15-2009, 11:43 PM
Actually, MOST laptops running Windows 98 have Cardbus support. Cardbus
mostly replaced 16-bit PC Cards in 1997. [***MOSTLY***]


(E-Mail Removed) wrote:
> On Oct 14, 8:58 pm, SlickRCBD <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> Regarding your laptop w/o internet access and running windows 98, I
> managed to find a PCMCIA wireless card that I was able to get working
> for an old dell laptop Latitude CPi. It was a generic wireless card w/
> o a brand name and made in china, but it works good. The main
> problem I had after connecting to the Internet was getting an uptodate
> browser. The laptop came with IE 5 and will not work with a lot of
> websites and the new IE version will not work with Windows 98. I was
> able to find an old version of netscape in an archived site that works
> reasonably good with websites and compatible with windows 98. So even
> with Internet access, some more up to date websites dont work well
> with older versions of web browsers.
>
> Larry

 
Reply With Quote
 
BillW50
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-16-2009, 12:24 AM
In news:hb8c3i$f8e$(E-Mail Removed)-september.org,
Barry Watzman typed on Thu, 15 Oct 2009 19:43:41 -0400:
> Actually, MOST laptops running Windows 98 have Cardbus support.
> Cardbus mostly replaced 16-bit PC Cards in 1997. [***MOSTLY***]


That is okay. Call them whatever you want too. They still work. ;-)

--
Bill
Asus EEE PC 701G4 ~ 2GB RAM ~ 16GB-SDHC
Windows XP SP2


 
Reply With Quote
 
 
 
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Is my four years old ATI Radeon 4870 video card dying/broken? Ant ATI 0 12-16-2012 09:10 PM
OT/"Age-Old" Password Problem! pheeh.zero@gmail.com Dell 5 03-23-2009 05:21 AM
age old question -syncronisation David Tablet PC 23 04-19-2005 10:59 AM
The age old AOpen RMA question. Bryan Williams AOpen 1 11-20-2003 04:57 PM
Still looking to buy dead/dying laptops Trevor Laptops 1 08-15-2003 01:48 AM


All times are GMT. The time now is 09:54 PM.


Welcome!
Welcome to Motherboard Point
 

Advertisment