I tried posting this inquiry on some message board specifically intended for dealing with Gateway laptops. But it’s not the most active board out there. And after about a week of not getting any help I thought:
“Protozoic has always given me plenty of love. Maybe they’d have some insight into this whole issue.”
So here’s the project at hand:
We have this old Gateway 2150 laptop that we never used for about 5 years due to the fact that it ran really slowly compared to our newer computers, and had a tendency to crash even when operating standard Windows 98 applications.
Also the battery doesn’t seem to recharge.
And also the fan didn’t seem to come on ever.
But this year I decided I’d try resuscitating the thing. I only plan to use it for word-processing, a little e-mail checking on occasion, possibly to learn linux.
I assumed by this point any parts necessary to fix it would probably be available cheap. And for the most part that seems to be the case. All except the replacement battery which is still generally about $100+.
The road to recovery seems to have quite a few bumps along the way, especially for a guy like me who barely knows the inside of his computer from a toaster oven. So I take wild guesses.
When I noticed that the fan didn’t seem to be activating ever I thought maybe the thing was getting overheated as a result, thus causing all the other problems. So I started to take it apart. Instructions here were pretty helpful, but didn’t mention the fact that the cooling fan is wedged so far in the back corner that you need to unscrew the two halves of the machine to get it out.
But I finally got the whole machine apart and took the fan out. Then I fiddled uselessly with the fan a bit, put it back in, turned on the computer and it still didn’t work. A couple days later I put the fan back in again and suddenly it works!
But now that I’ve taken the thing apart and put it back together a couple times there’s a new problem:
When I start up Windows it runs fine for a maximum of 5 minutes and then spontaneously switches off like the power has been cut. This seems to happen whether I start it in regular Windows mode, in safe mode, or using a linux CD. Also, after a few more minutes, the battery light goes off as well (though the computer is plugged into the wall).
I’ve tried the following:
1) Checked for loose connections, but couldn’t find any obvious ones (ie. the wires connecting the motherboard to things in the upper half of the case seem secure).
2) Different batteries. I have the thing’s old battery and also a used battery bought cheap (as is). Neither seem to remedy the problem. Note that for years the thing would run even with a dead battery as long as it was plugged in.
3) Started it with the battery removed. In this case it seems to try going into hibernation during the disk-error-check portion of startup, but tapping a key wakes it up again. Then at some point it does a hard shutdown anyway.
4) Removing and reseating the CPU. This had no effect.
5) Starting it with or without the CD Rom installed. Again, no effect.
So… any ideas on what the problem of the day might be? Or how to remedy it? Or where I might even begin to look for a solution?
All help is certainly appreciated.