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Vaio PCG-K23 laptop won't boot.

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by David Farber, Sep 30, 2009.

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  1. David Farber

    David Farber Guest

    This Sony Vaio PCG-K23 over the last year would have good days and bad days.
    Sometimes it would boot up on the first or second start. Other days, it
    would take 20-30 starts to get it to boot. Other days it won't boot at all.
    When I say boot, I mean the monitor powers on and the logo appears. If it
    makes it that far, it's usually good to go. The XP operating system never
    crashes and in that respect, it's very reliable. Getting back to the boot
    problem, on several occasions it will hang at the logo and you will not be
    able to enter the bios. When this happens, I remove the cmos battery, wait a
    while, and reboot. Whether or not that has any direct effect other than
    clearing out the bios settings is difficult to figure out because this isn't
    an instant fix. Sometimes it takes another 20 times or an hour warm up
    period before it will start normally again. Another clue is that if you're
    shutting down Windows with a "restart," 99.9% of the time it will restart
    perfectly. There has only been two occasions over the past year where the
    monitor would not power up after a restart.

    What happens presently when the power button is pressed is the power led
    comes on and the three green led's blink on and off (for caps lock, num
    lock, and scroll lock) the yellow power light comes on, and that's about it.
    If left on for a while, the internal fans will crank up to a normal
    operating speed. I am wondering if the startup circuit in the monitor is
    flaky. Or more importantly, if the monitor doesn't come on, would that
    prevent it from booting up? Of course the only way I would know if it were
    booting up without being able to see a display would be to see the hard
    drive activity light blinking and that doesn't happen when it doesn't boot.
    I've had the mother board out of the case more times than I can remember
    looking for cold solder joints, loose sockets, or anything that would point
    to this kind of trouble. No luck. I also removed the dvd drive and modem
    board to try and limit some of the hardware affecting the start. That
    doesn't seem to matter either.

    I've tried different ram sticks but that doesn't make any difference. This
    last time it came on, the bios was reading only one stick of ram and despite
    this, XP still ran smoothly. I have two 512mb sticks installed. This problem
    is more seldom but it has mysteriously cleared itself up over time.

    I've seen motherboards for sale on ebay but I hesitate to replace it if I
    really can't pinpoint the trouble. I'd really like to replace the bios chip
    but it's not a plug-in type and who knows if it's even available or if it
    would even correct the problem.

    And finally, it doesn't matter whether you use the AC power supply (which is
    the original) or run it from the battery.

    Thanks for any input you might have about this.
     
  2. propman

    propman Guest

    FWIW, in the case of a HP laptop I have here...yes definitely. Screen
    failure probably the inverter (common problem).

    Sending these along just in case you aren't aware of them:

    http://www.laptoprepair101.com/

    http://www.insidemylaptop.com/
     
  3. David Farber

    David Farber Guest

    It's the original 60GB hard drive. Keep in mind I couldn't even change
    drivers if I wanted to because I can't boot the system.

    Thanks for your reply.
     
  4. David Farber

    David Farber Guest

    The first link talked about the display going very dim. That is not what's
    happening. It's not coming on at all. But then again, when it does work, it
    comes on at full brightness. So maybe an intermittent inverter might explain
    that?

    Thanks for your reply.
     
  5. propman

    propman Guest

    Just some thoughts....

    Tried booting from CD, floppy? If the BIOS isn't set to boot from either
    of those before the harddrive, this isn't going to work but it maybe
    worth a shot to try.

    Have you tried accessing the BIOS during bootup (ie press F1 key...which
    actual key combination depends on the manufacturer/model and so you
    might have to read the docs for the actual sequence)

    Some laptops have an "external monitor" or S-video connector (Usually,
    IIRC, F5 will switch the display to external...again you might have to
    go to the docs for the actual key combo).

    That said and done, none of these proceedures worked while I was
    troubleshooting the HP laptop with a failed video display that I
    mentioned in a previous message.
     
  6. David Farber

    David Farber Guest

    I can't access the BIOS when the screen doesn't light up. You have to press
    F2 while the Vaio logo appears. Again, when the screen does light up and it
    doesn't hang on the logo screen (the hanging happened very infrequently) the
    system boots fine and there are no subsequent problems. I am familiar with
    the key sequence to switch to an external monitor but you need to get past
    the boot screen for that to even come into play.

    Thanks for your reply.
     
  7. David Farber

    David Farber Guest

    That's all well and good but in order for the system to boot, the BIOS has
    to be "activated" so it can select which device to boot from.

    Thanks for your reply.
     
  8. David Farber

    David Farber Guest

    Actually, it would be more accurate to say that the system won't p.o.s.t.
     
  9. propman

    propman Guest

    Yep....sent those urls along not specifically directed at your
    particular problem but rather just as a general reference for
    troubleshooting laptops.

    It's not coming on at all. But then again, when it does work, it
    One other thing that came to mind after posting this....have you checked
    the lid switch to make sure it's not intermittent?
     
  10. I've had similar problems with an older ThinkPad. You might check the
    lithium cell that backs up the configuration memory. Make sure you have the
    configuration written down somewhere before removing the cell.

    This is worth mentioning, particularly if you have modified the default.
     
  11. David Farber

    David Farber Guest

    I've been through the SIMM switching operation many times. Never helps. When
    I upgraded the ram with some incompatible brand last year, the system still
    posted and went to a bsod with a memory error. If I got that far now, that
    would be an improvement.

    Looks like a new (used) motherboard will be the next step.

    Thanks for your reply.
     
  12. David Farber

    David Farber Guest

    I have since bought a used and tested motherboard from eBay ($73 including
    shipping). That fact that it was advertised as "tested" sealed the deal for
    me. (-; Not much to my surprise when I installed it and turned it on,
    nothing. Same problem. But after three power on attempts, it finally came on
    reading only one of the two 512MB ram sticks. The OS worked fine after that.
    Then I randomly selected one ram stick to remove and then it booted on the
    first time. I swapped ram sticks and then it wouldn't boot at all. I called
    the online company that sold me the ram sticks and asked about the warranty.
    I was told it had a lifetime warranty. Not only that, they would pay for the
    return shipping. It took about 3 days to receive the replacement ram
    sticks.(They even agreed to replace both sticks even though only one was
    definitely bad.) It's not even been a week since I got the new ram and much
    to my surprise, the laptop will boot every time on the first time and read
    the full amount of ram.

    Thanks for your reply.
     
  13. David Farber

    David Farber Guest

    No display, no beeps. Just the power l.e.d. illuminates and you hear the
    drive spin up. When it boots properly, it beeps once.

    If you didn't see my message from a couple of days ago, the replacement of
    the motherboard and ram has made everything good again.

    Thanks for your reply.
     
  14. David Farber

    David Farber Guest

    I'd like to amend my previous statement about the startup beep. There is no
    beep even when it starts normally. The only time it beeps is when the cmos
    battery has been removed and you are alerted to check the bios settings for
    time, date, etc.
     
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