Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Laptop problems - power/battery or motherboard?

My wife's laptop (Toshiba 1905-S301) seems to be having similar problems to what is being discussed in this thread. Trying to decide if I should try to fix it myself or not.

1. While plugged into AC, it would suddenly switch onto the battery as if
it wasn't plugged in. Jiggling the AC adapter connection would start it
back on AC usually, at least at first.

2. After a while even when it indicated that it was on AC power, the
battery would slowly discharge. Again, jiggling with the connector would
get it so the battery would start to charge up very slowly.

3. Eventually, the battery would appear charged but go from 90% to 1% in a
matter of minutes. Even when plugged into AC it wouldn't work, either
running for a few minutes til it cut back to the battery (almost depleted).
Tried running it just on AC without the battery in, but that wouldn't even
start. If we leave it plugged it overnight sometimes it will charge up and
run for a while, other times it just sits dead.

Fortunately it has not yet reached "stage 3". When I was a desktop tech at Sprint, I cared for a sizeable fleet of Toshiba laptops and never saw anything like this. But that was 4 or 5 years ago and the laptops in question were top-of-line business class models for their day (Tecra models 440, 550, 720, 730, 7000, and 8000, and the occasional Satellite "Pro" 420... man I can't believe I remember that many model numbers!), not this crunchy herbal retail stuff. I seem to recall at least some of those models didn't even have an little DC jack soldered to the motherboard, but plugged straight into the AC. And they spent most of their time safe in their docking stations anyway, where jiggling their power chords wasn't a possible problem. Although I have to admit that if I had run across something like this at the time, I probably would've just copped out and replaced the whole computer.