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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Reponse To Answer

by scairns In reply to Magic Smoke

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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Smoke gets in your fans

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

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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Reponse To Answer

by Jaqui In reply to Smoke gets in your fans


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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Reponse To Answer

by JamesRL In reply to Smoke gets in your fans

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.


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use to be a HP tech

by ace003 In reply to How does smoking disable ...

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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Reponse To Answer

by oldbaritone In reply to use to be a HP tech

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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Smoke gets in your fans

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

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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All of the smoker rhetoric aside...

by SmartAceW0LF In reply to How does smoking disable ...

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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Reponse To Answer

by Slayer_ In reply to All of the smoker rhetori ...

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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Fan-cooled Notebook PCs are particle traps

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

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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