Weird Shutdown Problem
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Weird Shutdown Problem

    Hey folks, I've been having some trouble with my laptop and I wonder if you can help me out. For the last month or so, my computer (an HP zx5180) has been shutting down at random with frequency. I'll turn it on, and it will function for anywhere from a couple hours to a couple minutes before turning off (as if there was no power going to it from either AC or the battery). This happens even when plugged into the wall, with the battery both in and out. After a shutdown, if you push the power button again it will turn on for a few seconds and then shut off in the middle of boot up. If you push it again, it will turn off even faster. On occassion, though, it will boot up all the way.

    Also, the battery doesn't charge beyond about 4%, and sometimes when both the battery is in and the computer is plugged in, it will revert to drawing from battery power. It's as if the computer keeps on trying to go to the battery even when it shouldn't be.

    People have blamed everything from overheating to a faulty battery to a faulty motherboard, but I'm not confivnced about any of these. Can anyone give me a hand with this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
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    It sounds like there is a break somewhere in your power adapter cable.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrathchild_67
    It sounds like there is a break somewhere in your power adapter cable.
    If there was a break, it seems like the computer shouldn't start at all.

  4. #4
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    No, I have a Compaq R3000, and so far the biggest problem I've had with it is that (after wrapping and unwrapping the AC cord for a year and a half) the cord that goes from the adapter to the wall isn't in good shape. I reinforced it with electrical tape, but it onlly works if, after plugging it in, I give it a sharp pull to the right.

    Does your adapter have an AC/power indicator LED?
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoyle
    No, I have a Compaq R3000, and so far the biggest problem I've had with it is that (after wrapping and unwrapping the AC cord for a year and a half) the cord that goes from the adapter to the wall isn't in good shape. I reinforced it with electrical tape, but it onlly works if, after plugging it in, I give it a sharp pull to the right.

    Does your adapter have an AC/power indicator LED?
    No AC LED, but there is a battery indicator, and it tends to flicker when the battery is in, if that means anything.

    I think you may be onto something with the powercord issue. I've got a fairly crappy desk configuration, and the power cord is a little pinched and bent at a near right angle after having been forced into that position for quite a while.

    Still, that doesn't explain why the battery doesn't charge beyond four percent. I was having some battery problems earlier, but they were more the symptoms of an old cell than anything else. It would charge to 100% but only have enough juice for 30 or so minutes.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C., Canada
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    You've probably got a break in the cord that sometimes makes contact if the wire is flexed in a particular direction, as wrath and Hoyle have suggested, or there is another possiblilty. Some laptops have the jack for the power cord soldered directly to the motherboard. As this gets flexed by the leverage of the plug and its wire, it breaks the solder traces that connect it to the motherboard. This is also intermittent. Hold it one way it's connected, move it and it's open.
    This is why sometimes your laptop works and charges the battery, other times not. You need to find where the intermittent connection is first. If it will run without the battery, leave it out and flex the connector, then work your way along the cable bending and twisting it until you find the break. Watch the led that indicates power or charging.

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