My Vaio FX105 has died
Reading this thread (or at least up to half the messages from the beginning and then the last 10 or so), leads to the conclusion that i have also been bitten by the Sony Vaio bug - lethal!
My history is that i paid about £1400 for the computer which is a Pentium III with Msoft Professional 2000 installed - as from new from a retail store. From recollection this is about 3 years ago (may be 4 years - but at the time it was a new machine in the UK). I already had an HP Omnibook but was taken by the lightness and clean lines of the Vaio. It came with an original 20GIG hard disk only at the time, but on purchase i upgraded the RAM (by adding a memory module unit taking it to 256, i believe)
The machine was a "dream" for about 3 months as i slowly determined to "retire" my Omnibook which was heavily loaded with programs. I did not actually get round to offloading all the data and programs from the omnibook and so in fact the Vaio sat on my desk unused. (what a waste of money!)
However, after about 18 months my son went off to Uni and i offered him to take the Vaio as i was content to continue to use the Omnibook (with Win 98 and only a Pentium II but it did the job for me)
He took it away to his student house, and for the first time the unit became actively used. It lasted about 8 months. My son reported initially that the battery was failing to charge up so it had had to eventully run on the psu block. This lasted for about 4 months and then i am told the unit totally died.
When i heard, i could not believe it and suggested that it be taken to a local repairer for exam in the belief that it may simply be a psu problem with connector problem which was failing to charge up the battery. The report for which my son paid £35 was that the motherboard was "fried" and the recommendation that it was US. You will understand my horror to find that in such a short period of time my cast off had been reduced to zilch.
I requested and obtained the laptop back with a view to examining the item myself. I then found this site to discover i may not be the only one with a problem with such a machine
This post is prompted by my son telephoning me to indicate he had the offer of a 2nd hand Vaio FX 800 and the temptation to purchase it for about £150. A quick tel call elicited the fact that it was an Athlon chip with dvd (not working - does this give a premonition), but the possibility that with an attached external drive it may be suitable for his purpose.
I have been tempted, as he has, to say go ahead with the purchase, but having read half of the posts on this forum it seems to me that even a 2nd hand working system of an FX 800 may be a poor buy - particularly if it is relied on to hold data and programs which will take a long time to duplicate
This prompted me to look at this forum and also examine the FX105 which has died. The story given to me is clear in its terms: fully working with battery and power supply, but after a period of time the battery is not seen to recharge leading to the unit being operated only under the psu. Then one day absolutely nothing.
I have had the cord and the psu examined and it gives appropriate voltage, so it seems it must be the unit which is wrong. I have had a look at the memory modules (there are 2 and the 2nd mem module is a Crucial
mem module and they look ok. I have not removed the small little battery so do not know if it is fully powered. From the posts here there is a suggestion that the problem must be to do with the power supply as it connects to the motherboard. It does not explain why the first problem indicated was a failure to charge the battery.
Most of the posts seem to relate to a different model of the Vaio, but can anyone explain whether this system (hardly used really) is worth spending any money on repairing. It is not clear to me how far things have moved on. The original unit was speed step technology which i thought was to give longer battery life, but i now understand from these posts it was also to reduce the heat problem. The engineer report (no detail) as transcribed by my son was that the unit had "fried" as if it had suffered a spike or surge when connected. For the age and model and the nature of the problem is it worth even thinking of repair? Is the FX 800 at £150 with only 256k worth even £150 or is it destined to go wrong very shortly?
Given that the FX800 is Athlon and the FX 105 (deceased) is a Pentium III, are there benefits in raiding the memory chips, dvd drive or other elements (battery and psu and cord) worthry of being cannibilised from the FX105
There is not much information in the posts read which identify what are "common parts"
Hoping someone may be able to help
NOW AN UPDATE
Thanks for your responses
Incidentally, i seem to have now found an answer, which i thought i had posted to the site - but which does not seem to have been posted
My son produced his Vaio 800 last weekend with his PSU pack: in the meantime i had jiggled the memory chips in my machine.
I connected his pack to my Vaio and it started!!!
I then took my battery out and put it in his after first seeing if his was able to charge his battery (which it could). My battery would not charge in his machine
I then took his battery out and placed it in my machine and it started to charge the battery
I noticed that each boot the time was being defaulted to 1988 so i replaced the cmos battery (his machine does not have a cmos in the same location). My machine started to boot without date prompting
My son's Vaio 800 was supplied to him with 1 x 256 memory chip, so i took my 1 x 256 memory chip from Bank 2 and put it in his Bank 2 and his system speeded up no end
I took both his and my 256 chips out and placed them in my machine and it speeded mine up no end (I removed my Bank 1 128 chip)
Finally, i gave him my 256 chip and ordered from the Web 2 x 256 chips, 1 x Sony PSU pack and 1 x battery for £45 £35 and £80 respectively and i have a fully working machine again
My conclusion is that the jiggle of the memory chips was important and the new PSU pack the clincher (the original PSU has been mislaid)
While doing all the above, i found my own answers to what is capable of being cannibilised: namely all parts (it is primarily the same form factor although different memory boards)
While doing all the above i removed the plastic covers for the memory chip area and the cmos chip area and have not yet replaced the plastic covering. When jiggling the chips i observed that the chips sit slightly proud of the connection and it occurs to me that either they could have been loose (unlikely) or that the heat generated had the problems identified in the forum and removable of the plastic cover allows additional ventilation
Otherwise i have no idea how the resurrection occurred
YET ANOTHER UPDATE
As you will know I managed to resurect my Sony FX105 and HAD a working model with newly installed 512MB ram (2 modules x 256MB) and had it working together with a new power supply. Very pleased UNTIL last week when it would not boot up!!
I tried various boots, and eventually settled on the solution offered here in these posts by removing the 2nd mem stick - whereupon it booted with 256MB! I swapped the memory sticks and it consistently booted. Whenever i placed the 2nd stick in the 2nd slot (it does not make any difference which), the machine will not boot - although occasionally i do get the SONY sign mid centre of the black screen. The hard drive spins but thereafte it remains mute
I then took the cover of the memory slots and turning the notebook on its side firmly pressed with my thumb against the 2nd memory chip while turning it on. This pressure would normally "flex" a board very slightly but it looks more like just ensuring the 2nd chip lies closer to the main board in its horizontal position (the first chip in slot one stands slightly proud as does the 2nd chip without the firm pressure applied)
RESULT the machine booted up with 512 MB again: I tried various boots with differing degrees of pressure, including releasing the pressure slightly each time. At one time the machine booted to the DOS screen in boot up (the POST part i assume) but it was all in GERMAN: I applied slightly more pressure and the screen turned to ENGLISH. Releasig pressure again led to it making a fatal error memory dump
I have booted again with the notebook standing on its SIDE after holding the chip in with finger pressure and then taken away my finger and left it in working 512MB mode standing on its side
In this mode it stays fully powered up - but pretty useless!!!
I deduce this is a clear sign that there is a fault with the way the 2nd chip is installed and the reported problem of the chip not making sufficient contact or that some leak of soldered joint on the memory board which is partly flexed by the pressure and remains in contact after pressure released (unless after turning it right way up when gravity takes effect and the machine then dumps)
Someone on this site has suggested a little shrink wrap applied at about a card thickness just above the chip and the cover screwed on to apply the pressure may enable the notebook to work in 512 mode. BUT they also recommend it only as a temporary measure.
My new QUESTION is if this step is taken will it harm the machine over time
My next QUESTION is how long will such pressure be capable of being applied and will it take the normal usage of being carried around in a work mode
My final QUESTION is what is the ultimate solution? Does it require a resolder or what?