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Acer laptop black screen, even after BIOS flash

by X_Z / June 9, 2012 6:21 PM PDT

Got a Acer 5552 Aspire laptop, with Win7 64-bit, AMD processor - at least 2.-something GHz. 8GB ram, ATI Radion graphics card. Don't have the rig around at the time of posting this, otherwise the description would be more detailed.

The thing won't even so much as reach the BIOS screen when it is turned on. The fan spins up, the power button glows, and the CD drive blinks, but that's it; it doesn't even give you the hard drive indicator light.

It just started doing this a few days ago, and was rather unprovoked. The rig is about two years old, and hasn't taken any sort of damage - no drops or impact, no liquids, no heat or cold. It's seen standard use: school work with the occasional game.

First the wireless card would randomly stop working for no reason, and, after completely disassembling the computer, cleaning it (though it wasn't dirty), reassembling it and rebooting, would work for a bit. Then the only way that we could get it to boot up was by attempting to turn it on without the CMOS battery in place. The CMOS battery, but not the computer parts around it, wound up getting hot enough to cause mild burns when it was still in the computer, so we pulled it out before it melted something. (We had the computer open while we were running it in an attempt to isolate faulty machinery)

I've tried everything listed online: it's been completely disassembled, checked and cleaned, reassembled with fresh (and carefully applied) Antec thermal paste, subbed out the RAM sticks, got a new CMOS battery, even flashed the (proper version of) BIOS.

The BIOS flash took for a bit, because apparently the BIOS had somehow gotten corrupted, but then the black screen and no-response started happening again. (For the record, the BIOS flash also required the Acer recovery sequence of Fn + Esc while having all power supplies out, reattaching the AC power, then mashing the power button in until it came on, followed by releasing everything.

As per stated online, the Fn + Esc combo caused the fan to spin up, and then the BIOS screen to come back. Or at least it did. Even this has stopped working now. The laptop will get no further than just spinning up the fan and staying stuck that way. While the CD drive does "spin" it's more of a "hey, I have a CD drive" check than an actual attempt at reading the drive - already tried to get it to read another BIOS flash from both there and a flash stick. Fail on both accounts.

I've spent the last week researching this, and from all I've read, usually the BIOS flash completely fixes any sort of problems like this, and I've not found where people have continued to have issues with black screen and such afterwards.

I've got a new internal AC-to-MB connector coming soon, because I saw where someone mentioned that faulty AC connections could sometimes lead to this, and that the solution would be to replace the internal plug, but I'm really doubtful that this is going to do anything different.

Does anyone have any other ideas on how to fix this thing or what went wrong? It's warranty just ran out, and replacing it really isn't financially feasible.

Thanks ahead of time.

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All Answers

Best Answer chosen by X_Z

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Sounds like
by Jimmy Greystone / June 9, 2012 7:01 PM PDT

Sounds like pretty classic bad caps (google it) symptoms, which means the laptop is probably a goner. Getting Acer to do repairs under warranty can be difficult enough, and since this thing is out of warranty, the cost of a new motherboard is likely going to be more than a new laptop with similar specs.

There's no easy way to test this, and visual inspection isn't always enough, but if you keep repeatedly trying to turn the unit on, and it eventually works every couple dozen attempts, that's almost certainly bad caps.

Collapse -
Sure Enough
by X_Z / June 20, 2012 2:31 AM PDT
In reply to: Sounds like

Well, it took forever to find them, but after about an hour of going over the motherboard with a fine-tooth comb (so to speak), I found no less than four bad capacitors on the opposite side of the motherboard from the graphics card.

Thanks for the help.

Collapse -
by pgc3 / June 10, 2012 2:39 AM PDT

Sounds like a MB issue that may have been created by something else, as a prior poster stated, bad caps a possibility and/or overheating created by cooling issues, AMD processors in L/T'S are noted for running warmer that Intel units. Whether it is worth going to the expense of replacing the MB is debateable, imop it is not.

Collapse -
Acer Black Screen
by baybreeze / June 10, 2012 5:25 AM PDT

My nephew has an Acer laptop ( I dont' remember the model, though) that my family and I chipped in to get him for Xmas about 2 years ago. His developed a similar problem. All the lights came on, he tried re-charging the battery, using with and without the battery, tried all sorts of things, but still had a sudden black screen.

Luckily, I decided to purchased a third party extended warranty when we bought the laptop. We sent it off to them for repair or replacement, whatever would be needed. His turned out to be the graphics card went bad. I guess they were able to replace it, b/c they fixed it and sent it back literally within a couple of days. I didn't have to pay anything for it. Of course I don't know if this could be your issue, but it could be a possibility.

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