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Solid Cursor, Won't Post, Acer Aspire One D255 AOD255

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December 31, 2012 12:46:28 AM

Hey I've got an Acer netbook, AOD255 with a problem I've never run into before and it's got me stumped.

Having made no changes to the device I found the computer one day in the following state:

It won't complete POST, no Acer BIOS splash screen, just turns on, spins the fans, then backlight with a solid (unblinking) cursor/underscore.

I've tried replacing the RAM, hard drive, and flashing the BIOS per the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool and latest Acer BIOS *.FD and FLASHIT.EXE files. The BIOS flashing seems successful because it goes through the motions and then restarts the computer but it doesn't fix the problem. I haven't got the WinCrisis.exe method to work but I have tried it.

If I pull the RAM completely out and turn it on it never gets to the back-lit screen and solid cursor, so I know it's getting past that part of the POST.

If I pull the HDD completely out and turn it on it goes right to the unblinking cursor but if I put the HDD in it spins the drive, so I believe it's getting past that part of the POST.

I've tried pulling the wireless card, main battery, the battery on the motherboard, and clearing the CMOS by shorting the solder pads. I even tried the trick where you hold the power button in for a minute to discharge static electricity... I've tried an external monitor too.

The only wierd thing is that sometimes after I flash the BIOS I'll get the cursor to blink for a couple of seconds before going solid, but not always, although I've never seen the cursor blink unless coming out of the BIOS flashing process...

Does anyone have any other suggestions? I'm not even sure what else to try. Maybe putting a new BIOS chip on there? Poking around the main board with a DMM or a scope? Thanks!
December 31, 2012 11:58:56 PM

Hi,

When you tried this "If I pull the RAM completely out and turn it on it never gets to the back-lit screen and solid cursor, so I know it's getting past that part of the POST. " Did the laptop beep that it was missing memory? (google beepcodes)

When you are pulling parts you are not looking for the PC to work, you are looking for it to complete post enough to complain about the missing parts. If the PC posts OK without memory but hangs in the BIOS when you install memory then you should suspect the memory. IF the PC is not posting with or without memory then leave the memory out and remove something else.

I would not try flashing the BIOS again until you know what is wrong, a bad flash kills the MB.

"I've tried pulling the wireless card, main battery, the battery on the motherboard, and clearing the CMOS by shorting the solder pads. " good that is the right approach. With all the part gone did you get any indication of POST ? If not then its power brick or battery or MB. Since the CPU is soldered to the MB you're looking at a MB swap if you can't get a post with all the parts pulled.

A manu refurb aspire netbook is around $150 so only swap MB if you get a really good price. e.g. Acer Aspire One AOD270-1865 Intel B940 1.6GHz 1GB 320GB 10.1" $100-$150 http://www.ubid.com/Acer_Aspire_One_AOD270-1865_Intel_B...
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January 1, 2013 3:11:54 PM

Thank you for your reply, you've given me a couple of ideas and things to work on.

The board doesn't beep at all during any of the things I've tried. I'm confident the RAM isn't the issue since I've swapped RAM with a working laptop and the Acer RAM works in another laptop and different RAM doesn't make a difference to my Acer.

The reason I'm struggling with this issue is that I'm not sure if POST is completing or not, because I've always assumed that if the back light turns on with something on the screen (even a cursor) then POST is complete and it's off to the BIOS. Based on that line of thought the BIOS itself is unable to load, however by flashing it several times successfully I have to believe the BIOS is intact, so it's something before the BIOS but after POST...

I've done some research and it appears that if the BIOS is corrupt then the unit won't even power on, and certainly won't go through a BIOS flash... I'm going to pull near everything off the mainboard and see what happens.
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January 1, 2013 5:29:27 PM

So after stripping the entire thing down to just mother board, power supply, and RAM, it behaves exactly the same: power up, fan spins, video appears showing a black screen with a solid unblinking cursor.

I believe the problem could be the integrated video card. There's a chance that the unblinking cursor is a hint that something is wrong there, but at this point I'm at a total loss on what else to look at. I took a DMM to the board and the voltages appear normal.
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January 1, 2013 8:12:09 PM

millzners said:
So after stripping the entire thing down to just mother board, power supply, and RAM, it behaves exactly the same: power up, fan spins, video appears showing a black screen with a solid unblinking cursor.

I believe the problem could be the integrated video card. There's a chance that the unblinking cursor is a hint that something is wrong there, but at this point I'm at a total loss on what else to look at. I took a DMM to the board and the voltages appear normal.


Bummer. You've done everything I can think of. If it won't post then there is not much else you can do besides a MB swap. I'm guessing the BIOS is soldered (not socket-ed) on the MB too so even if it's just the BIOS got corrupted you'd still need a new MB. MBs in laptops do fail from the normal causes and from the stress of flexing.

You may be able to find a good MB in a broken-LCD aspire cheap on ebay and build one working netbook from the parts. Broken LCDs are common, and so are aspire ones. Should be $50 for the parts doner aspire. Try to match closely so that the MB and the panel work together -- different panels need different controllers and I don't know what aspire does. Here is a listing I saw but did not check out -- i know nothing about it -- just price hunting. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Acer-Aspire-One-D255E-N55DQrr-1... The good news if you go this route is you typically also get a spare battery, charger, keyboard all of which are nice to have.

good luck.
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January 1, 2013 11:47:39 PM

Well it just so happens I have a good hot air tool and plenty of experience with SMD so pulling the BIOS chip would be easy. I could buy one for $18 that's pre-programmed off of ebay but I'm wondering if it's a generic part I could source from Digikey. So since you bring it up, it's at least worth a shot reflowing the pads and then if that doesn't work pulling to chip completely to see if the behavior changes... I'll report back.

That is a good idea to just buy another junker to swap parts... Thanks for your advice.
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January 12, 2014 10:14:28 AM

millzners said:
Well it just so happens I have a good hot air tool and plenty of experience with SMD so pulling the BIOS chip would be easy. I could buy one for $18 that's pre-programmed off of ebay but I'm wondering if it's a generic part I could source from Digikey. So since you bring it up, it's at least worth a shot reflowing the pads and then if that doesn't work pulling to chip completely to see if the behavior changes... I'll report back.

That is a good idea to just buy another junker to swap parts... Thanks for your advice.



Hi..

I am having the same issue with my Acer Aspire One 532h. I wanted to reinstall Windows. I tried to access BIOS, it wasn't coming up when I hit F2 key and used to load Windows. So, I thought of updating BIOS by downloading flash file from Acer support site. I executed the update through Windows and it said to restart the netbook. When I restarted, it showed black screen with unblinking solid cursor. Whenever I start my netbook, it shows the same screen and won't go forward.

Did you find any solution?

Thanks,
Anvin
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January 12, 2014 6:59:53 PM

anvin_007 said:
millzners said:
Well it just so happens I have a good hot air tool and plenty of experience with SMD so pulling the BIOS chip would be easy. I could buy one for $18 that's pre-programmed off of ebay but I'm wondering if it's a generic part I could source from Digikey. So since you bring it up, it's at least worth a shot reflowing the pads and then if that doesn't work pulling to chip completely to see if the behavior changes... I'll report back.

That is a good idea to just buy another junker to swap parts... Thanks for your advice.



Hi..

I am having the same issue with my Acer Aspire One 532h. I wanted to reinstall Windows. I tried to access BIOS, it wasn't coming up when I hit F2 key and used to load Windows. So, I thought of updating BIOS by downloading flash file from Acer support site. I executed the update through Windows and it said to restart the netbook. When I restarted, it showed black screen with unblinking solid cursor. Whenever I start my netbook, it shows the same screen and won't go forward.

Did you find any solution?

Thanks,
Anvin


I could never find a solution to my problem. Eventually I gave up. Actually I blew up the onboard battery while reflowing the BIOS chip. The battery exploded and blew all the IC's off their pads like a tiny bomb.

Since your situation started with flashing the BIOS I would recommend going through the steps of flashing the BIOS again, maybe this time with a different version than the one you tried before. I believe the only way to do that is either through a USB thumb drive or integrated SD card slot (make sure you use an SD card that's about 128MB, 16GB for example won't be readable. The procedure is something like turning on the power while simultaneously holding the ESC key (verify this, it's been a year since I did this).
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January 12, 2014 10:54:47 PM

millzners said:
anvin_007 said:
millzners said:
Well it just so happens I have a good hot air tool and plenty of experience with SMD so pulling the BIOS chip would be easy. I could buy one for $18 that's pre-programmed off of ebay but I'm wondering if it's a generic part I could source from Digikey. So since you bring it up, it's at least worth a shot reflowing the pads and then if that doesn't work pulling to chip completely to see if the behavior changes... I'll report back.

That is a good idea to just buy another junker to swap parts... Thanks for your advice.



Hi..

I am having the same issue with my Acer Aspire One 532h. I wanted to reinstall Windows. I tried to access BIOS, it wasn't coming up when I hit F2 key and used to load Windows. So, I thought of updating BIOS by downloading flash file from Acer support site. I executed the update through Windows and it said to restart the netbook. When I restarted, it showed black screen with unblinking solid cursor. Whenever I start my netbook, it shows the same screen and won't go forward.

Did you find any solution?

Thanks,
Anvin


I could never find a solution to my problem. Eventually I gave up. Actually I blew up the onboard battery while reflowing the BIOS chip. The battery exploded and blew all the IC's off their pads like a tiny bomb.

Since your situation started with flashing the BIOS I would recommend going through the steps of flashing the BIOS again, maybe this time with a different version than the one you tried before. I believe the only way to do that is either through a USB thumb drive or integrated SD card slot (make sure you use an SD card that's about 128MB, 16GB for example won't be readable. The procedure is something like turning on the power while simultaneously holding the ESC key (verify this, it's been a year since I did this).


Mate, thank you for your reply. I have checked so many things online that I am too confused to make any move. It would be great if you can find a link or share more details on the SD/USB thing that you are suggesting.
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January 13, 2014 5:56:11 PM

anvin_007 said:
millzners said:
Well it just so happens I have a good hot air tool and plenty of experience with SMD so pulling the BIOS chip would be easy. I could buy one for $18 that's pre-programmed off of ebay but I'm wondering if it's a generic part I could source from Digikey. So since you bring it up, it's at least worth a shot reflowing the pads and then if that doesn't work pulling to chip completely to see if the behavior changes... I'll report back.

That is a good idea to just buy another junker to swap parts... Thanks for your advice.



Hi..

I am having the same issue with my Acer Aspire One 532h. I wanted to reinstall Windows. I tried to access BIOS, it wasn't coming up when I hit F2 key and used to load Windows. So, I thought of updating BIOS by downloading flash file from Acer support site. I executed the update through Windows and it said to restart the netbook. When I restarted, it showed black screen with unblinking solid cursor. Whenever I start my netbook, it shows the same screen and won't go forward.

Did you find any solution?

Thanks,
Anvin


http://codecise.com/blog/aod255-bad-bios-flash

This looks familiar to me, probably what I tried...
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January 13, 2014 8:17:58 PM

millzners said:
anvin_007 said:
millzners said:
Well it just so happens I have a good hot air tool and plenty of experience with SMD so pulling the BIOS chip would be easy. I could buy one for $18 that's pre-programmed off of ebay but I'm wondering if it's a generic part I could source from Digikey. So since you bring it up, it's at least worth a shot reflowing the pads and then if that doesn't work pulling to chip completely to see if the behavior changes... I'll report back.

That is a good idea to just buy another junker to swap parts... Thanks for your advice.



Hi..

I am having the same issue with my Acer Aspire One 532h. I wanted to reinstall Windows. I tried to access BIOS, it wasn't coming up when I hit F2 key and used to load Windows. So, I thought of updating BIOS by downloading flash file from Acer support site. I executed the update through Windows and it said to restart the netbook. When I restarted, it showed black screen with unblinking solid cursor. Whenever I start my netbook, it shows the same screen and won't go forward.

Did you find any solution?

Thanks,
Anvin


http://codecise.com/blog/aod255-bad-bios-flash

This looks familiar to me, probably what I tried...


Thanks mate. Here is where BIOS updates are listed on Acer's website.. Which one I should download?
http://www.acer.co.in/ac/en/IN/content/drivers
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