Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Got an old Fujitsu Siemens Amilo V2010 that keeps on shutting down? This might help...

Fujitsu Siemens generally make good solid laptops - one model that I have dealt with a fair amount, was the Amilo V2010.
This is what solid looks like...

Although it is now totally obsolete, I still see clients who use them as trusty workhorses - they just keep going  it seems... until all of a sudden, they shut down for no apparent reason... which is when they call me :)

Generally, PC's and laptops will shutdown randomly for any one of the following reasons:

- Overheating (Most common - the CPU gets too hot, so it shuts down to protect itself and other components)
- Erratic power (Less common, but can happen if the PSU is faulty or if the mains supply is unstable)
- Loose connection / short circuit (Not very common, but can happen)

Being that overheating is the most common one here, it makes sense to head in that direction when diagnosing this particular problem.
I won't go heavily into the laptop dissection process here (because you can just Google that), but the first step to solving this mystery is to get the keyboard off:

1. Using a flat screwdriver, carefully clip off the panel directly under the monitor, as this exposes the screws to remove the keyboard.
2. Remove the keyboard and carefully release the ribbon cable that joins it to the motherboard.
3. Unscrew the metal plate on the left, to reveal the RAM.
4. Just above the RAM you will see a black fan - lift it out and unclip the power cable from the board.
5. The copper ventilation grills should now be exposed, and with a bit of luck, they will be encased in black dust, fluff and a variety of other pollutants which will most likely cause instant death if inhaled...
6. Using a fine brush and compressed air (or just blow on the damn thing!), remove all the dust so that air can once again flow between the grills. Make sure you get it all - you want there to be gaps between all of the grills that will allow hot air to escape from inside the unit.
7. When you are suitably satisfied that the grills are free from anything dodgy, plug the fan back in and replace it carefully.
8. Replace the metal plate and screw it back into place.
9. Plug the ribbon cable for the keyboard back in, and place the keyboard back into position. Secure the keyboard screws.
10. Finally, clip the plastic panel back into place just above the keyboard.
11. Boot up, hold thumbs and wait...

With a bit of luck, your random reboots will now be a thing of the past, because your laptop can breathe again!
I have managed to fix several of these machines using this simple cleanup, and I hope you can too.
Hey - at the very least it will save you having to fork out a few grand on a new machine!
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