Questions

How does smoking disable a Laptop?

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How does smoking disable a Laptop?

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 (MicroMedicsInc.com) 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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    oldbaritone

    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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    scairns

    Yep. Once that smoke-genie has escaped, you can kiss that part good-bye. And they NEVER make any mention of smoke-genies in warranty or insurance policies. You just can't win.

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    KingDWS

    The tar and oils collect on the cooling system mainly. You get the same effect if you use it near a kitchen from cooking oils or someone in your house is a user of perfumes - base oils. It's made worse by gas heating or living in a dusty area or if you have pets. The oils get sucked in and collect, the dust/pollen/etc stick to the oil and create a very nice insulating sludge layer. Thinks heat up and yes eventually the smoke gets let out of the chips. Usually they just slow down trying to protect themselves or get nice and wonky. There are some brands worse than others due to the design of the cooling systems but all of them suffer from this. If you clean them out about all you see is a small puff of dust (and maybe lint/hair) thats all it takes to overheat and cause damage. To put this in a smokers perspective take a drag and exhale. The amount of smoke you see is about 3-4 times the amount that is doing the damage. That is how little smoke/dust it takes. I doubt the acids in the tars or oils had time to really do anything. If you are lucky you should be able to get a tech to clean out the cooling system ($40+) and it will run normally again. If this is bad enough there will be cpu damage but that's usually the extent of it. It's just a overheat situation.

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    Jaqui

    lmao

    ok, try not cleaning the cooling system for 5 YEARS and daily smoking over the tower for 8 to 12 hours.

    sorry, it wasn't a wee bit of dust.
    the dust impacted in the heat sink was the grand daddy of all dust bunnies.
    and the system still working perfectly, at 7 years old.

    heck, an open case and bowl of chili spilled onto it on top of being a smoker and it still working.
    though I am thinking it's almost time to disconnect it and hose it down, let sit for a day.

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    JamesRL

    Jacqui, that was worth the read.

    Of course it all depends on many factors.

    If you have a big case with big fans, you have more safety margin for heating issues than a laptop that has one.

    I use high end video cards in a mid sized case, with two Xeon processors. We don't smoke but we had a dog a cat and three kids. The case does get dusty, it ingests air from the front. I usually clean it out once a year.

    I've had video cards overheat and die, some have just had failed fans.

    I can only imagine that smoking would make a bad situation worse.

    James

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    ace003

    You will find it is mentioned in the warranty. Extreme environmental conditions covers excessive smoke damage to laptops. It is also a hazard to the technician, if a technician had to work on multiple machines like this a day they would expect to have lung cancer by the time they are 50. Even without the environmental issues clause its well within the rights of a technician to refuse to work on a hazardous machine.

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    oldbaritone

    Must be HP doesn't understand the concept of "total loss?" Open the covers, take one glance and decide "that's junk. into the shredder with it." No need to work on it, it's deemed "Beyond Economical Repair"

    And if techs aren't being given PPE when they're working on incoming customer machines, they should be. I used to take machines out on the loading dock and take the air hose to them, but that was just one or two, and it was a lot of years ago. For someone who must "work on multiple machines like this a day" they should have PPE available. The points you raise are exactly why.

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    WyattWells

    For smoke in your fan clean it every day or stick paper on plates of your fan , so it will not get dirty and you can change it everyday.

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    1 Votes
    SmartAceW0LF

    ronald, NEVER, EVER purchase a third party warranty on ANYTHING. I work with these computers daily and have a couple of points to express regarding all of this. Sams warranty service is absolute junk! I have never once heard of a single client getting them to honor their warranty on any system in my 7+ years in this business. Long story short, if it was old enough that you are beyond the point of being able to return it to Sams for a refund or exchange, you will get the same story in a different flavor. I know this to be true as I have repaired many of the computers they have sent back to the client with some ludicrous excuse as to why they will not repair it. Water damage is their favorite.
    Aside from Sams sorry warranty service, this particular model of laptop is rife with problems even if it were operated solely within a "clean room" throughout its history.
    While all of the posts thus far have their merit, I have my doubts here due to past experience. At any rate, it is still time to purchase another computer. I would not recommend HP either. However, no matter which manufacturer you elect to go with, if you desire extended warranty, get it from the manufacturer. I repeat do NOT purchase extended warranty from ANY retailer. Be it Sams, Best Buy, Office Depot, or any of the other infinite possibilities. In my experience regarding laptops and the customer service of the manufacturers, I would recommend Lenovo, or ASUS at this point in time. The preference changes with time. This preference assumes of course that you wish to remain with a Windows system.

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    Slayer_

    I disagree.
    If the extended warranty covers shipping, its worth it, sending a laptop in shipping can cost a crap load of money and your responsible for it, if it arrives totally destroyed, the manufacturer will blame you. If you buy the stores warranty, you just hand it to them and let them deal with it.

    I mailed in a hard drive for warranty once, cost 20 dollars to ship it from Winnipeg to Toronto. I only paid 75 for the drive itself.

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    yonian

    If a fan is running very much of the time, particles in the air will come to be concentrated in the cooling pathways. If you have Radon in your house you might be surprised to find how strongly a Geiger counter responds to it.

    After Ireland banned smoking in pubs ten years ago, musical instrument repair shops found that their business fell off sharply because instruments didn't get contaminated as much.

    Cigarette smoke is much more harmful to all sorts of things than most smokers realize. That's not a moral judgment, it's an observable fact.

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    jqbecker

    RonaldV73:
    I have been independent computer tech for 11+ years, worked on a lot of Dell and HP. Not only does smoking kill PC's, so does candle soot. One client is a Yankee Candle reseller, she has them lit in her shop 12 hrs/day.

    Her machines seldom last more than 3 years. Soot buildup on everything: fans, hard disk, air intake, you name it. Now consider that the fans pull a lot of dust an lint along with the soot, and you have the perfect recipie for clogging up everything.

    Gross to work on, my hands are full of black soot, worse than laser toner spills.

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    kevin

    While I do agree witht the postings here concerning the damage cigerette smoke can cause, the actual problem with this model HP dv6000 is NOT related to smoke and reduced cooling functions.
    It is a well known and documented problem that on these and other HP laptops in the 'DV' series that what actually occurs is the GPU disconnects from the motherboard rendering the boot process impossible since the main board cannot detect any graphics display connected to it, either internal or external.
    At one point in time HP extended the factory warrantee and was repalcing the motherboard for free. That has long since expired and HP will do nothing to repair these laptops for the user.
    Since these grapics processors are wave soldered to the main board it is virtually impossible to re-solder them. There are successes and failures reported of an extremely risky process that involves super heating a spatula before pressing it down onto the GPU to heat it up enough to bond it back to the printed circuit board. I do not recommend this method but for anyone daring enough to try it I guess they have nothing to loose.
    HP manufactured an entire series of JUNK. They did replace the defective motherboards during warrantee and even beyond by extending the replacement period SPECIFIC to this type start-up problem. What they should have done was to notify everyone who owned one and replaced them for FREE but they did not. HP will NOT help you with this problem now.
    Your extended 3rd party warrantee people are dogging the bullet any way they can. Long and short your screwed! Dont even bother helping an attorney buy himself a new BMW or a sailboat, he'll end up being the only one who wins in this deal.

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    1 Votes
    mjd420nova

    While the spatula works well if enough heat is applied, a small needle point 23 watt has resurrected many left for dead. Some I've looked at because the wave solder didn't do a complete job and fractured when overheated. Now, the tar from cigarettes compounds dust, the fan and heatsink develop "feathers" that disrupt the action of the blades to move air and insulate the heatsink fins. Short of mounting an external filter and closing off any other vent points, yearly cleaning will keep things from getting out of hand.

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    kevin

    I agree that one with a steady hand might be able to resolder fractured joints but the first two I saw were owned by no-smokers. So the point here is that HP knew they had JUNK and their real problem was that the expansion coefficient of the Graphics chip expanded and contracted too much and too often which is why the solder joints fractured in te first place. Sure smoking, dust, dirt, cat hair or whatever will make things worse but the fact remains HP knew about this and extended the warrantee by an additional year. Any user who maybe didn't use the laptop much never experienced a problem until even that extended warrantee ran out.
    Long and short of this story is... HP built an entire series of JUNK computers and third party warrantees are just a rip-off.
    Just my not so humble opinion based on 30+ years as a tech!

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    2 Votes
    oldbaritone

    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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    0 Votes
    scairns

    Yep. Once that smoke-genie has escaped, you can kiss that part good-bye. And they NEVER make any mention of smoke-genies in warranty or insurance policies. You just can't win.

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    1 Votes
    KingDWS

    The tar and oils collect on the cooling system mainly. You get the same effect if you use it near a kitchen from cooking oils or someone in your house is a user of perfumes - base oils. It's made worse by gas heating or living in a dusty area or if you have pets. The oils get sucked in and collect, the dust/pollen/etc stick to the oil and create a very nice insulating sludge layer. Thinks heat up and yes eventually the smoke gets let out of the chips. Usually they just slow down trying to protect themselves or get nice and wonky. There are some brands worse than others due to the design of the cooling systems but all of them suffer from this. If you clean them out about all you see is a small puff of dust (and maybe lint/hair) thats all it takes to overheat and cause damage. To put this in a smokers perspective take a drag and exhale. The amount of smoke you see is about 3-4 times the amount that is doing the damage. That is how little smoke/dust it takes. I doubt the acids in the tars or oils had time to really do anything. If you are lucky you should be able to get a tech to clean out the cooling system ($40+) and it will run normally again. If this is bad enough there will be cpu damage but that's usually the extent of it. It's just a overheat situation.

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    0 Votes
    Jaqui

    lmao

    ok, try not cleaning the cooling system for 5 YEARS and daily smoking over the tower for 8 to 12 hours.

    sorry, it wasn't a wee bit of dust.
    the dust impacted in the heat sink was the grand daddy of all dust bunnies.
    and the system still working perfectly, at 7 years old.

    heck, an open case and bowl of chili spilled onto it on top of being a smoker and it still working.
    though I am thinking it's almost time to disconnect it and hose it down, let sit for a day.

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    0 Votes
    JamesRL

    Jacqui, that was worth the read.

    Of course it all depends on many factors.

    If you have a big case with big fans, you have more safety margin for heating issues than a laptop that has one.

    I use high end video cards in a mid sized case, with two Xeon processors. We don't smoke but we had a dog a cat and three kids. The case does get dusty, it ingests air from the front. I usually clean it out once a year.

    I've had video cards overheat and die, some have just had failed fans.

    I can only imagine that smoking would make a bad situation worse.

    James

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    0 Votes
    ace003

    You will find it is mentioned in the warranty. Extreme environmental conditions covers excessive smoke damage to laptops. It is also a hazard to the technician, if a technician had to work on multiple machines like this a day they would expect to have lung cancer by the time they are 50. Even without the environmental issues clause its well within the rights of a technician to refuse to work on a hazardous machine.

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    0 Votes
    oldbaritone

    Must be HP doesn't understand the concept of "total loss?" Open the covers, take one glance and decide "that's junk. into the shredder with it." No need to work on it, it's deemed "Beyond Economical Repair"

    And if techs aren't being given PPE when they're working on incoming customer machines, they should be. I used to take machines out on the loading dock and take the air hose to them, but that was just one or two, and it was a lot of years ago. For someone who must "work on multiple machines like this a day" they should have PPE available. The points you raise are exactly why.

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    0 Votes
    WyattWells

    For smoke in your fan clean it every day or stick paper on plates of your fan , so it will not get dirty and you can change it everyday.

    +
    1 Votes
    SmartAceW0LF

    ronald, NEVER, EVER purchase a third party warranty on ANYTHING. I work with these computers daily and have a couple of points to express regarding all of this. Sams warranty service is absolute junk! I have never once heard of a single client getting them to honor their warranty on any system in my 7+ years in this business. Long story short, if it was old enough that you are beyond the point of being able to return it to Sams for a refund or exchange, you will get the same story in a different flavor. I know this to be true as I have repaired many of the computers they have sent back to the client with some ludicrous excuse as to why they will not repair it. Water damage is their favorite.
    Aside from Sams sorry warranty service, this particular model of laptop is rife with problems even if it were operated solely within a "clean room" throughout its history.
    While all of the posts thus far have their merit, I have my doubts here due to past experience. At any rate, it is still time to purchase another computer. I would not recommend HP either. However, no matter which manufacturer you elect to go with, if you desire extended warranty, get it from the manufacturer. I repeat do NOT purchase extended warranty from ANY retailer. Be it Sams, Best Buy, Office Depot, or any of the other infinite possibilities. In my experience regarding laptops and the customer service of the manufacturers, I would recommend Lenovo, or ASUS at this point in time. The preference changes with time. This preference assumes of course that you wish to remain with a Windows system.

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    0 Votes
    Slayer_

    I disagree.
    If the extended warranty covers shipping, its worth it, sending a laptop in shipping can cost a crap load of money and your responsible for it, if it arrives totally destroyed, the manufacturer will blame you. If you buy the stores warranty, you just hand it to them and let them deal with it.

    I mailed in a hard drive for warranty once, cost 20 dollars to ship it from Winnipeg to Toronto. I only paid 75 for the drive itself.

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    0 Votes
    yonian

    If a fan is running very much of the time, particles in the air will come to be concentrated in the cooling pathways. If you have Radon in your house you might be surprised to find how strongly a Geiger counter responds to it.

    After Ireland banned smoking in pubs ten years ago, musical instrument repair shops found that their business fell off sharply because instruments didn't get contaminated as much.

    Cigarette smoke is much more harmful to all sorts of things than most smokers realize. That's not a moral judgment, it's an observable fact.

    +
    0 Votes
    jqbecker

    RonaldV73:
    I have been independent computer tech for 11+ years, worked on a lot of Dell and HP. Not only does smoking kill PC's, so does candle soot. One client is a Yankee Candle reseller, she has them lit in her shop 12 hrs/day.

    Her machines seldom last more than 3 years. Soot buildup on everything: fans, hard disk, air intake, you name it. Now consider that the fans pull a lot of dust an lint along with the soot, and you have the perfect recipie for clogging up everything.

    Gross to work on, my hands are full of black soot, worse than laser toner spills.

    +
    0 Votes
    kevin

    While I do agree witht the postings here concerning the damage cigerette smoke can cause, the actual problem with this model HP dv6000 is NOT related to smoke and reduced cooling functions.
    It is a well known and documented problem that on these and other HP laptops in the 'DV' series that what actually occurs is the GPU disconnects from the motherboard rendering the boot process impossible since the main board cannot detect any graphics display connected to it, either internal or external.
    At one point in time HP extended the factory warrantee and was repalcing the motherboard for free. That has long since expired and HP will do nothing to repair these laptops for the user.
    Since these grapics processors are wave soldered to the main board it is virtually impossible to re-solder them. There are successes and failures reported of an extremely risky process that involves super heating a spatula before pressing it down onto the GPU to heat it up enough to bond it back to the printed circuit board. I do not recommend this method but for anyone daring enough to try it I guess they have nothing to loose.
    HP manufactured an entire series of JUNK. They did replace the defective motherboards during warrantee and even beyond by extending the replacement period SPECIFIC to this type start-up problem. What they should have done was to notify everyone who owned one and replaced them for FREE but they did not. HP will NOT help you with this problem now.
    Your extended 3rd party warrantee people are dogging the bullet any way they can. Long and short your screwed! Dont even bother helping an attorney buy himself a new BMW or a sailboat, he'll end up being the only one who wins in this deal.

    +
    1 Votes
    mjd420nova

    While the spatula works well if enough heat is applied, a small needle point 23 watt has resurrected many left for dead. Some I've looked at because the wave solder didn't do a complete job and fractured when overheated. Now, the tar from cigarettes compounds dust, the fan and heatsink develop "feathers" that disrupt the action of the blades to move air and insulate the heatsink fins. Short of mounting an external filter and closing off any other vent points, yearly cleaning will keep things from getting out of hand.

    +
    0 Votes
    kevin

    I agree that one with a steady hand might be able to resolder fractured joints but the first two I saw were owned by no-smokers. So the point here is that HP knew they had JUNK and their real problem was that the expansion coefficient of the Graphics chip expanded and contracted too much and too often which is why the solder joints fractured in te first place. Sure smoking, dust, dirt, cat hair or whatever will make things worse but the fact remains HP knew about this and extended the warrantee by an additional year. Any user who maybe didn't use the laptop much never experienced a problem until even that extended warrantee ran out.
    Long and short of this story is... HP built an entire series of JUNK computers and third party warrantees are just a rip-off.
    Just my not so humble opinion based on 30+ years as a tech!