Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

Gateway laptop electrical odor, will not charge now.

Tags:
  • Laptops
  • Gateway
  • Product
Last response: in Laptop Tech Support
Share
September 10, 2010 4:05:06 AM

hey, i have a problem, i bought this Gateway laptop from someone it's fairly new M-series core 2 duo cpu, I hadn't had any problems with it, until tonight. It was hooked up to the internet, then we started smelling a strong electrical smell. Dumb of me we didn't turn it off for 30 minutes, when a low battery warning light came on, apparently the ac adapter wasn't giving any power, and it was down to 7% battery power and it shut down. So I am worried now, b/c if it's a faulty AC adapter, i'm afriad it may have hurt the internal power supply as there is a strong electrical odor right around the ac input. I'm going to take it to a local repair shop tomorrow and see what they say...but do you think i may have some internal damage? the odor is on the actual power connect and power input in the laptop...not the ac adapter "black box". any input would be very helpful

the laptop does still work it just has no battery charge left and now way to charge....is that a good sign?

More about : gateway laptop electrical odor charge

Anonymous
a b D Laptop
September 10, 2010 7:41:51 AM

Check the voltage on the low-voltage output side of the power cube with a multimeter (every household should own one) . If it doesn't match the spec printed on the cube, consider yourself luck and buy a new one.

However, you have noticed that the smell is coming from the laptop itself - which suggests either a problem with the socket or with power components inside.

Assuming you were using the correct power supply, I'd return the laptop to the vendor. Even if it's a bit out of warranty, a laptop should long outlast any warranty period.

If they start mentioning warranty, you might mention that the warranty is "in addition to your statutory consumer rights" (not instead of).
m
0
l
a b D Laptop
September 10, 2010 2:14:03 PM

As you summized, the problem is in the input power converter in the laptop. May, or may not have been caused by the AC Adaptor. The input to most laptops are designed to work from 12 V (Really 13.6 V, Car Cig lighter) to around 19 V (output of most AC adaptors). This input circuitry then converts this voltage to that needed by the computer (ie +5 V and +12V). Most laptop li-ion batteries are 10.9 -> 11.1 Volt (the diff being the coumponds used).

Concur with fibarts comments about the value of having a multimeter (DVM) as they can be invaluable around the house, and for the Car, not just computers.

While a voltage check of the output is a VERY good check, be advised it is not a conclusive measurement. No voltage, or a low voltage would indicate a defective charger.

Sometimes the defect only shows up when the ac adaptor is under loaded conditions. The rated voltage output is normally only valid with the adaptor connected to a load (rated output current). Example I have a 12 V brick that has a output voltage of 21 V when unloaded which is almost the same as my unloaded 19 V brick. You must also switch the DVM to AC to verify that the output does not have excessive ripple, and this should also be done under load.

Eddited/Added.
About warranties - Considerable diff between US and EU. EU is much better than US in terms of consummer protection and in US can vary with manuf on how lienient they are. Another question would be transfer of warranty to a second party. BUT by all means check with Manuf.
m
0
l
Related resources
September 10, 2010 3:52:20 PM

thanks for your replies, I've had this gateway laptop a week from a guy off craigslist (classifed ads) Today i took it to a repair shop, the ac adapter tested fine, the tech smelled the AC input, and said "oh that's a burnt capacitor, there's nothing I can do except replace the motherboard, and it wouldn't be worth it..$550."

I'm not about to pay that i just bought this a week ago for $300 used, i guess i got burned? it's a fairly new laptop though what do you think I could get for these parts.... Gateway battery, 3 gigs of memory, 160 gb harddrive, core 2 duo cpu, AC adapter, LCD, DVD RW drive, keyboard..etc..
m
0
l

Best solution

a b D Laptop
September 10, 2010 4:47:04 PM

Have you called Gateway to see if the warrenty is a) transferable and b) would it still be covered. While the date of purchuse can not be verified, there should be a date code that can be used when receipt is not available. The manuf date code will be older than purchase date. For example I bought a WD HDD in Aug, the Date of manuf was July - it was warrented for 3 or 5 years, I'll probably lose my reciept in two years so the warrenty period would start Jul, not Aug, uless I can locate my receipt.

As to repair. The Capacitor is just a wag. It is a possibility and if defective probably took out other components. More often the MOSFT and or a resitor have died causing an over current condition. There was a period of time that a large number of defective caps were installed on MBs, but that was several years ago. For the Average "repair shop" technician, YES this is a MB replacement. But the Manuf repair facilities have better capabilities in determining which components are Defective and which is the most cost effective repair - components, or MB - AND I Dought they would charge 550 to replace a "OUT OF Warrenty" MB.

As to what you can get for the "spare parts", My guess about 20-30% (IF REALY LUCKY up to 50%) of new cost. The Key board and LCD Screen, you would have to find someone who needs AND who is capabile of replacing. The AC Adaptor and DVD drive would prabably be better to keep as a spare. Most AC adaptors are somewhat universal, DVD drive - need to check if SATA or PATA then can always get a enclouser and use as a USB DVD writer.
Share
September 10, 2010 4:51:09 PM

Okay there is one saving possibility, the guy that sold it to me mentioned that he's read of the internal power jack going bad, and they can be replaced. I'm crossing my fingers now hoping that this is the problem, b/c the laptop itself was still working on battery power, and when i push the power button now the battery light still blinks red meaning not enough power to power up the laptop, so there is still a motherboard working in there to tell it to do that. I ordered the part of $5 off ebay we will see. Have you guys ever heard of this happening?
m
0
l
a b D Laptop
September 10, 2010 5:33:25 PM

It is a possibility. If the plug/jack is not fitting properly, or there is a loose connection between the jack and the MB - yes. This cause a high I sq R drop (HEAT) which can cause the plastic used on the jack to overheat.
m
0
l
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
September 10, 2010 6:35:02 PM

Retired Chief wrote "About warranties - Considerable diff between US and EU. EU is much better than US in terms of consummer protection and in US can vary with manuf on how lienient they are. Another question would be transfer of warranty to a second party. BUT by all means check with Manuf."

This is an area which concerns me because so many US consumers seem to rely solely on the manufacturer's warranty. And if this is just a year, is one supposed to pay for repairs even if the product demonstrably should not have failed (say) at 13 months ?

In English law the vendor is responsible for selling merchantable goods and the term consumer-durable has some legal resonance (like, it should be durable, within reason). A reasonable period would be based on common experience for example most people expect a TV or fridge to last about 10 years.

The warranty is, to put it cynically, merely an agreement between the maker and the vendor that the former will pick up the bill for repairs in the first year.

To give an UK example: a friend bought a CD recorder -- it failed in 6 months. The dealer replaced it. The replacement failed in 8 months. The shop clerk refused to replace that saying the original warranty was for a year. My friend called Trading Standards at the local Town Hall and was advised to negotiate as follows:

The dealer should repair or replace at his choice or should offer a refund in proportion to reasonable product life expectancy (in this case approx 6 years). In effect if the product fails after 2 years of 6, the retailer should offer a 66% refund.
Mr friend rang the head office and mentioned Trading Standards and was give a brand new more expensive model of a different brand.


Recently the Apple Store in London seems to be applying US practice in Europe. Even customers who (importantly) purchased at the store are being turned away when trying to get repair or replace on products outside warranty period.

Instead the Apple clerks offer a 10% discount on a new product as a goodwill gesture. I have to wonder what Apple would do if one were to contact the UK head office with the threat of a summons to the Small Claims Court.
m
0
l
a b D Laptop
September 11, 2010 4:18:12 AM

Here there is no legal standing to "reasonable" life expectance. The manuf is only responsible for what is contained in the warranty - NOTE SMALL print, unless state Law has provides exception. For items that have a "defect",their is always the Class action Law suit.

Bear in mind that the cost of warranty is added into the end price. When that warranty is X years, that cost is Y$. If that time period is extended. whether explist, or implied then the cost is $Y + $Z. Not sure about right now, but in the past an Item in the States was say $100, the Price in the UK was approx $100 pounds. This is a 50% increase. A good percentage of that is due to VAT, But some of that increase is also due to the Added warrenty period. IF it cost the Manuf - They are going to pass it on. - NOT saying right or wrong. PS when I said EU, my thoughts were geared toward UK (Have relatives there and boy how things have changed since mid 60s)
m
0
l
September 11, 2010 5:57:00 AM

I ordered the new power jack, and I am going to have a tech soldier it for me. The laptop still works on battery power so I am not going to consider parting it out until I give this a shot...in other words the motherboard isn't fried....

I have researched, and loose DC power jacks seem to be a common problem. It turns out the constant force and pressure put on the jack by the ac cord can cause the soldier between the power jack and the motherboard to crack. Hopefully the electrical smell was from the jack itself burning the soldier and didn't go into any other component of the motherboard. I will be sure and tell if this fixes the problem.
m
0
l
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
September 11, 2010 8:55:48 AM

Retired Chief wrote: "an Item in the States was say $100, the Price in the UK was approx $100 pounds. This is a 50% increase. A good percentage of that is due to VAT, But some of that increase is also due to the Added warrenty period. IF it cost the Manuf - They are going to pass it on."

It's a fair point but a 30% to 50% price difference may have more to do with the fact that almost all electronics are coming from outside EU and are probably subject to higher import duty.

Also, in smaller countries there's less retail competition than in US -- this shows up particularly in Germany/Scandinavia where retailing is quite antiquated and prices are usually higher than UK.

Frankly, a large part is exploitation. Europeans are just used to paying more for everything (rents, cars, eating out, booze).


Otherwise how do you explain Apple who are clearly playing by US retail consumer rules while charging UK prices.
m
0
l
a b D Laptop
September 11, 2010 3:30:23 PM

Burning the plastic, or the MB yes, but not the solder which does not burn but does melt at 183 °C (361 °F). Reason for the old "10 Sec rule" - Max time to keep a soldering iron on a joint. A "GOOD" solder joint should not have a problem in normal use - But a poor Joint WILL, especially if it is what is called a "Cold" solder joint.

GOOD LUCK!!!!

fihard
I hear you, but when it comes to where the electronics comes from, not much difference between EU and US as vast majority comes from ASIA - Majority of cost difference is in the form of Taxes. Not sure about what % is due to shipping. East coast USA - Straight shot across pacific, then 3,000 miles across land (CA to say VA).
EU around India then thru the Suez ca, Across Mederrainian Sea to POE. JUST saying there is going to be a small difference based on manuf cost to provide that service (Warrantee) - It's not a freebee. Apple is APPLE; you pay for the Name, similar to Sony but even worst.

Added: Just a comment on warranty cost. While this was a long time ago the illustration is just as valid. When I was doing some TV repair (on the Side) I went to by a replacement CRT for a customer. The clerk plunk a CRT on the Counter then stated 2 prices for the CRT, only difference was in length of time for warranty 3yr vs 5 yr, - the jump in price was 25%, I got the 3yr warranty - A five year warranty will not change the day it dies, even 1 sec. and if it last 3 yrs, will probably last more than 5.
m
0
l
September 11, 2010 5:06:06 PM

yeah the solder probably melted or mobo plastic prolly melted, i mean if the connection between the motherboard and the power jack was separated or inadequate, that electrical current coming from the ac adapter had to go somewhere. I wish i had unplugged it immediately though as I did smell electrical for a few minutes until I narrowed it down to the laptop.
m
0
l
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
September 11, 2010 6:16:09 PM

Retired Chief wrote: "not much difference between EU and US as vast majority comes from ASIA"

That argument makes sense where kit is coming direct to Europe from Chinese companies. But a lot of the IT stuff is coming to Europe via US companies (HP, Dell, Lexmark, Apple) who have shareholders to pay and maintain a major infrastructure within a high wage economy. This added US overhead is then subject to EU tax.

Shipping cost from China to UK per average item is a fraction of the retail price -- cost of driving to the store to buy it is vast by comparison.

Another argument against the supposed cost of fair consumer laws is that in the UK so few people know about their rights -- and the retailers seem to train their staff to turn away out of warranty returns, citing the 12 month limit.

I've had a store manager at Argos (an enormous chain here) try just that -- and he seemed genuinely ignorant not mendacious. Answer, again, was to call head office and explain the law to them. Instant replacement of faulty 18 month old product.

The US alternative of class action suits against knowingly sold defectives is a very tortuous process that may be won by the best lawyers. In the small claim courts here I have been able to represent myself against professionals, secure in the knowledge that (win or lose) costs are very limited.

m
0
l
a b D Laptop
October 12, 2010 9:46:25 PM

Best answer selected by buwish.
m
0
l
March 2, 2012 4:55:55 AM

toyeboy21 said:
yeah the solder probably melted or mobo plastic prolly melted, i mean if the connection between the motherboard and the power jack was separated or inadequate, that electrical current coming from the ac adapter had to go somewhere. I wish i had unplugged it immediately though as I did smell electrical for a few minutes until I narrowed it down to the laptop.


did this work for you i have the same problem
m
0
l
!
normally