How does smoking disable a Laptop?

By ronaldv73 ·
I have a 2008 HP dv6000 Laptop purchased from Sam's Club with an Extended 3 year Warranty with N.E.W. expires May 2012, covers all Parts & Labor or Replacement of near Value, recently I did a complete defrag running while I was at work, got home done, checked emails, shut it down, next morning my son (29) sends me a text at work saying my laptop is turning on then right back off again while closed! told him to hold down the button until it stops, got home, turned it on and the same thing happened, called support on the warranty, they ( sent me a box, over a week passed, I emailed them. they said they had to send pictures to N.E.W., they said it was non-repairable due to smoke damage from cigarettes, Warranty wouldn't cover it! No Repair, No Replacement, not even a fair deal, I'm out $800, they said it was in the Warranty but I seen nothing as I used a magnafine glass 3 times, How does smoking hurt a laptop? I'm only one person with a ventilated room and I'm not lifting it up blowing smoke into the little fan and I may only use it an hour a day or 2 at best, sounds like I may have to contact the ATTORNEY GENERAL's office on this.

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All Answers

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Reponse To Answer

by PurpleSkys In reply to @ Sinister

PT...we were more thinking of just buying a new house (well, new to us). The place does need a good cleaning and when we get to the moving part, I'll have to give it a good go...I recently gave the bathroom and kitchen a good scrub down, now I just have to get to the bedrooms and the livingroom...I'm thinking our bedroom won't get a good teardown until we actually move everything out of our room; waterbeds don't tear down and put back up to easily

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Tar and dust

by bradhansen In reply to How does smoking disable ...

Should make you think about the dangers of second-hand smoke. But the big problem with smoking and PCs (from the PCs I've seen), is that the tar is sticky. That shouldn't be a surprise. And laptops run hotter than desktops, due to all the components being packed in tighter. So there's more air being pulled in (and therefore more smoke/tar). And with those small clearances, the dust piles up on the sticky tar and causes local overheating, and in some cases even short-circuiting.

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The dust piles up even in a non-smoking environment

by robo_dev In reply to How does smoking disable ...

So if you add a nice sticky tar film on everything, the dust is going to get glued on there.

I've seen computers used by those who are 'housekeeping challenged' who have multiple pets, and it's a miracle the computer even works. Some of the old computers used air-intake filters, and this would make sooo much sense.

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Reponse To Answer

by jeh_it In reply to The dust piles up even in ...

That may be because years ago, HVAC filters would not have been as efficient as they are now.
How long a machine survives under abuse may have something to do with the quality of the hardware.

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From a tech's view

by frank-cox In reply to How does smoking disable ...

If the warranty does not expressly state that smoking voids it Sam's is wrong.
Good luck getting anything back. Sam Walton died along with his policy of just paying the claims his employees said were just and that policy has been replaced with a policy of fighting claims even when video evidence makes it clear they were at fault.
Buying a computer from any huge retailer is a bad idea, you may get a better price but odd are you will also get a "custom" version, a downgrade in the fan , the heat sink ,power supply etc. They have the power to demand the best quality parts but what they end up demanding is low price period. If you buy from a place like Dell tell them it is a business computer and you get a better machine for about the same money.
As a tech I would not blame them for including that clause but as a businessman I would also give them a discount. In other words if I chose not to work on machines that were smoked around I would make that clear upfront and allow them to opt out of the warranty at time of purchase.
Personally I would put in a clause that if it was dirty enough for any reason that I had to clean it that would be an additional charge and if I believed the smoke or whatever fouled it caused the failure it would void the warranty on that particular failure.
I have had a few machines come in that were really fouled by cigarette smoke but much more often I have the problem of people leaving their desktops on the floor which is a disaster.
It has been more than a decade since I smoked so I am sensitive to it but people who are angry and act like it is a major and very common problem with laptops in particular I find a bit disingenuous. I can't recall more than a few lappies that have been overly fouled by cigarettes.
Take the machine to a well recommended tech and don't mention the problem with Sam's , see if they have a problem , I really doubt it.

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smoke damage

by moondookie In reply to How does smoking disable ...

anything that belongs to a smoker is gross,
including but not limited to the inside of their body..LOL
I smoked for 6 years and when i quit it took many cleaning sessions to get that **** off the walls of my home

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Deal direct

by Nunob In reply to How does smoking disable ...

My two cents is to get your laptop back contact HP and ask them for a resolution to the problem. I suspect they are less likely to want their name tarnished than the folks at Sam's Club. You will likely have to invest a significant amount of time calling and asking to be escalated up to tier 2 or 3 and sending e-mails but in the end you may get a resolution to your problem. Also I would request pictures from the other place and as much information as you can gather just in case you need it for litigation or to protect yourself from litigation. I wish you the best of luck.

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humm legal advice for a consumer ?

by CG IT In reply to How does smoking disable ...

Tar and cigarette smoke?

What's the consumer gonna do? go back to Sams Club or HP and say "Those guys at TechRepublic said this?" so Sams Club or HP would fix his laptop or desktop?

Gimme a break.

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Smoking Gun...

by DPeek In reply to How does smoking disable ...

Its been said but tar is sticky. I smoke a pipe but never in the home. I have had to service machines that were around smokers. One set of machines belonged to a group that smoked indoors in the US. The other belonged to a Japanese company. They kept the machine in a room reserved for smoking. In both cases both areas were very well ventilated. It. doesnt. matter. Tar gets sucked in by the machine (even though no one is blowing smoke into it), and stuck to the MB and internal components. Then dust gets stuck to the tar, then more tar to the dust, and by now youve got the idea.

One thing that no one has mentioned is that in addition to the possibility of frying the cooling capability of the machine (which will surely fry the rest of it in short order)... Is that all that "wet" dust stuck to electrical components can pose a short problem. Short the wrong contacts on a hot MB... and youve got a new doorstop.

Bottom line is, dont smoke around anything you dont want destroyed. That includes desktops, portables, and offspring.

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Magic Smoke

by oldbaritone In reply to How does smoking disable ...

How does smoking disable a Laptop?

It's a complex, highly technical answer, but essentially it's this:
At the factory, they seal "Magic Smoke" inside of all the chips in the computer. The "Magic Smoke" makes the chips work. If you do something to "Smoke" the laptop, and the "Magic Smoke" leaks out of the chips, they don't work any more. Once the laptop "smokes", it's in bad shape. ;-)

As far as cigarette/tobacco smoke goes, it's really nasty stuff. Take a puff and **** it through a cotton ball, and see how much gunk is there from just one puff. When the cooling fans suck it into the computer, it sticks to everything, then dust sticks to the smoke residue, then more smoke sticks to the dust, and so on. The buildup of residue blocks air flow and cooling, then things run hotter. It also gets into contacts and switches, making them less reliable. Sooner or later, there's enough gunk to cause major problems.

As for the warranty, since you've been through it "with a magnifying glass", maybe you could bring the agreement, ask for the store manager, and say "please show me where this warranty says that smoke isn't covered. If it's there, I can't find it, and if it's not excluded, I expect a replacement machine under the extended warranty you sold me. I was a smoker when you sold me the warranty, so in my house smoke is part of 'normal wear and tear'. If the warranty was already void because I smoke, why did you sell it to me?" You may not be successful, but it's worth a try. And if you look around for a sign or poster, or you can just ask, get the name of the District and Regional managers and escalate the complaint to them if the store manager doesn't help. And you could also write a letter to the company's home office in Arkansas.

Also, check the fine print in the warranty and see if it's actually an insurance policy against damage. In many states, that's really what it is, and you can contact your state's insurance regulators with your complaint, as well as the attorney general.

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