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  Sony Vaio laptop wont boot? 
 
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Graham Bryant Mar 31, 2005, 06:50pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Sony Vaio laptop wont boot?
Please note the other comments regarding tape, rubber, etc. being a temp. fix.

After my B socket died, my A socket started going. First it was just booting problems - once booted it would work fine all day. Then the chip/socket needed pressure and it would run all day. After a week or two, even with constant pressure the unit would boot every time but only work for an hour or so and then it would freeze and crash. I had to recover the hard disk more than once due to freezing/crashing in the middle of XP Home. So beware.

The combination of P4 heat with lack of original solder only gets worse over time. The heat gets worse since who ever cleans the cooling system in their notebook? I had Joe fix my GRX560 but I bought a Pentium M Centrino Toshiba Tecra to use as my main machine. This memory stuff has made me gun shy of using the Sony as my main machine anymore. I did not buy a P4 notebook again because of the heat those little b**tards produce.

Joe says the fix is permanent. Time will tell. What is the longest timeframe people have been using their Sony on a daily basis after having their memory sockets re-soldered?

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Joe K Mar 31, 2005, 07:26pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Mar 31, 2005, 07:27pm EST

 
>> Re: Sony Vaio laptop wont boot?
Hi Mark,

Well, I think we've found your problem.

It is absolutely mandatory to use HIGH grade flux whenever you apply ANY heat to the solder on the pins of the sockets. Simply "heating" up the solder will not work. In fact you're probably making matters worse.

The key to proper repair is not only the use of high quality flux, but also using a high silver content solder wire. When you use the flux, you have to make sure the dispense tool you use does not dispense too much flux that it rides up the lead to the contact area of the socket (actual meeting point to the memory module). If this happens (contamination of the leads) you MUST clean the contact area of the leads to the memory card or you will have problems.

Hope this helps.



Joe Kabalan
http://www.AQSTech.com
Laptop / Notebook BIOS Repair
Motherboard Defect Solutions
Rohit Lal Apr 01, 2005, 10:14am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Sony Vaio laptop wont boot?
Reading this string is like watching a nightmare unfold. I bought a vaio pcg-grz660 in the US in June 2003. It has overheated and shutdown twice in the last 2 days. My local authorised repair centre, here in London, said cleaning the fan would probably cost about 80 pounds. Does anyone think this is going to solve the problem?!!

z Apr 01, 2005, 11:50am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Sony Vaio laptop wont boot?
I do not think that replacing the fan is going to do anything. Have you checked the memory slots underneath yet? Open up the bottom of the case, and apply pressure the memory. That is exactly what i did and it works perfectly. However, I am advising the laptop owner to consider replacing it, for the fix i used is temporary at best.

~Susi

Peter C Apr 01, 2005, 01:41pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Sony Vaio laptop wont boot?
I agree with the previous poster. Cleaning dust off of the fan will probably make the fan spin a bit more efficiently, but it won't get at the root cause of your overheating problem. Besides, get yourself a can of compressed air, and you could probably do this work yourself. I would try to gain access to the fan by taking as much of the laptop apart as you are comfortable with. Understand that doing so you may void warranties, and you may not be able to put it together again. Just do as much as you are comfortable with.

Another thing I would recommend that may seem trite, but is very important: Get a high quality air purifier for your home\flat. I would recommend a Friedrich (scored highest in the U.S.'s Consumer Reports tests). Stay away from the poorly functioning Sharper Image Ionic breeze. Not only will this keep your air clean to breathe, but it will keep dust out of your sensitive computer parts. Dust is the enemy to all things electronic, acting as a thermal blanket.

Finally, I would recommend that you always put your laptop down onto something hard. Look on the bottom of your Sony, and you'll see an inlet port for the air to be circulated through the motherboard and all internal parts. If this is sitting on a rug, or some other cushiony surface, no air is allowed in, and the fan works extra hard pulling on...nothing. Always keep that hole open. My VAIO lasted a bit longer than most other users (before the poor soldering work came apart) because I was always careful to keep the inlet vent open, and thus the motherboard running cooler.

Some simple things that will help extend the life of your laptop.

Peter

J S Apr 01, 2005, 05:23pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Sony Vaio laptop wont boot?
Cleaning the fan and the heat sink is EXTREMELY important for these Vaios. The heat sink gets clogged with dust, causing poor air flow and resulting in overheating. This excess heat will cause many problems, including making the computer shutdown and possible hardware problems. However, you really don't need to pay someone to clean it for you. Find cleaning instructions for your model and do it yourself, it's really not that bad. But, if you are still very uncomfortable doing it yourself, then you'll have to pay to get it done because the overheating will only get worse.

J S Apr 01, 2005, 05:28pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Sony Vaio laptop wont boot?
Btw, the shutting down is likely due to the overheating, not the SODIMM problem. My GRZ530 all of a sudden started shutting down on its own. I cleaned out the fan and heatsink, and the laptop was as good as new. I would hesitate to even go near the ram until you have a problem with it.

Peter C Apr 01, 2005, 10:15pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Sony Vaio laptop wont boot?
J S,

Thanks for the addendum. Note how I instruct the poster to get to what may likely be the ROOT cause of his problem...i.e. the dust buildup, AND the blocked air intake port. OF COURSE keeping the fan clear of dust is important (using compressed air...as I also point out), but overheating that can damage sensitive parts can occur in just one session of heavy use with the intake blocked. It may take months for significant dust buildup to occur on the fan...Keeping this in mind, it's pretty clear which is the more important thing to watch out for. Of course the dust buildup also depends on how dusty your environment....thus my final suggestion that the user get an air purifier.

Tom Pappas Apr 01, 2005, 11:40pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Sony Vaio laptop wont boot?
The shutdown problem is a symptom of overheating. We published instructions for addressing this problem on our web site many months ago:

http://www.vaioshutdown.com/overheat.htm

The SODIMM socket problem is a result of untreated overheating. The symptom is a machine that doesn't start, but the HDD light flickers a couple of times when you turn on the power. The only permanent fix is for someone with the equipment, knowledge, and experience to rework the sockets. Stopgap solutions can cause irreversible damage to the mother board.

Tom Pappas

J S Apr 02, 2005, 12:09am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Sony Vaio laptop wont boot?
Thank you for your comments, Peter. I agree with you that using an air purifier would minimize the dust problem in the long-term. However, if Rohit is like many laptop users, than the computer may be used in many different locations. Providing an air purifier for each location would be very expensive since you are suggesting a ~$400-$500 unit. Since the laptop is over a year old, the sony warranty is expired. If Rohit had purchased an additional service plan, then he obviously wouldn't be paying for computer repair, so voiding the warranty isn't an issue here (Rohit, did you happen to purchase this laptop with a credit card that doubles the warranty???...in that case you'd still be covered). You have deemphasized the immediate problem. Cleaning out the cooling system would more than "make the fan spin a bit more efficiently" as you stated. Rather, it would clear out the blockage that is preventing cool air from flowing through the heatsink, allowing heat to be removed from the laptop. In addition, you agreed with a previous poster who stated that cleaning the cooling system would probably not even solve the problem. Please don't directly or indirectly advise people to tinker with their RAM on a system with KNOWN eventual SODIMM slot connector problems when the issue is overheating. These concerns explain the urgency of my previous post. I apologize if I inadvertantly offended you, but the interest of the user with the overheating problem is my primary concern.

Peter C Apr 02, 2005, 11:32am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Sony Vaio laptop wont boot?
You are correct J S. I misspoke in agreeing with the initial poster regarding the fan. But you have to look at the context of this entire thread. The thread isn't named "Heavy dust buildup is keeping my laptop from running properly". It's "Sony VAIO laptop won't boot". From this, I'm guessing that many more people are having solder problems than are having dust buildup that is so heavy, the laptop doesn't run. If I'm wrong, mea culpa.

The symptoms were similar; the machine in mid-use would shut down and then it would refuse to boot up. My initial assessment was that my laptop had overheated. I was wrong. My fan was relatively clean (as Joe has recently found out when he fixed my laptop). It was the SODIMM problem.

When I see a poster relate that reading this thread is like watching a nightmare unfold, I'm assuming he is commiserating with us, and his experiences are matching ours. Perhaps his laptop hasn't overheated from dust build-up like you are assuming. Perhaps it IS the SODIMM problem. You are focused on what you think is overheating without considering any other cause.

My response was for the poster to take the necessary steps to minimise dust in the place where he mainly uses the machine, AND to use a can of compressed air himself to blow out any dust. CLEARLY I wasn't suggesting he buy an air purifier for every place he goes (assuming he is a traveling gypsy with the laptop)...that would be preposterous. I'm simply advocating that he see if his laptop is possibly going through the exact same problem every one else seems to be having.

I'm guessing any kind of dust buildup causes increased heat buildup which then accelerates the unseating of the poorly soldered RAM holders. If the machine were dust-free, the solder would in time still come loose. Again, the root problem is the poor job of soldering by Sony.

Yes, dust buildup is serious and needs to be monitored, then fixed by all users (as I initially advised). That is a maintenance issue, and you wisely counsel people to watch for it. But as it is, he may now spend 80 for someone to give a few bursts of compressed air into his fan, his laptop may run for another couple of uses, and then once again start up with the same problems he had in the beginning. Not an ideal solution.

Thanks.

Tom Pappas Apr 02, 2005, 01:43pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Sony Vaio laptop wont boot?
I don't think Sony did a "poor soldering job" in the sense that they used substandard materials and/or manufacturing process. The overheating issue stems from a design problem that didn't appear in their testing before they went into production: insufficient thermal "headroom" to accommodate a wide variety of software configurations in certain environments that the engineers didn't anticipate. (Or maybe they did anticipate them and a decision was made at Board level that it was more important to Get It Out The Door than make it perfect.)

The amount of heat that certain CPUs (and I mean individual samples, not model classes) emit under certain load conditions with certain amounts of airflow restriction causes certain SODIMM socket solder joints to crystallize and lose their conductivity. In the degenerate case, the contact comes loose altogether. If the issue resulted from a systemic defect, the number of owners experiencing these failures wouldn't number in the hundreds - there would be millions. Clearly, it takes a while for this process to take place, or owners would be reporting failures as soon as they turned on their machines.

One thing I DO notice in machines that I service is that they tend to have many, MANY programs running that the owner probably doesn't know or intend to be there - such as spyware and other commercial annoyances. Some machines I've repaired won't work unless I lower the CPU load using msconfig to prevent the Startup Group programs from running. Perhaps the best defense against the symptoms getting worse is to run a high-quality spyware sweep and a firewall.

Keeping the air channels through the fan and radiator clean and free of obstruction is sometimes enough to provide adequate cooling. Sometimes it is enough for a while, but when the application mix is changed, it may no longer suffice.

It is really dangerous to generalize from one set of symptoms or user reports to another, because the number of variables that affect the situation are so numerous that it becomes an n-body problem in hardware.

Tom Pappas

http://www.vaioshutdown.com

Branden Henner Apr 02, 2005, 04:51pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Apr 02, 2005, 05:43pm EST

 
>> Re: Sony Vaio laptop wont boot?
Looks like I'm having the same problems as everyone else here. What a bummer eh? I'm not finding anyone on here having this issue with a vgn-s150 model. Anyone think its fixable? I read about the work Joe does and I might be interested. Anyways .. just thought I would throw in my two cents.

**New**

Nevermind, I noticed Scott's posts about his S150. Mine started doing it after i left it in my trunk overnight, so I figured it was condensation or something that fried it, but then it would boot at random. So I searched around and found this forum.

Jim Moore Apr 02, 2005, 04:55pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Apr 02, 2005, 05:02pm EST

 
>> Re: Sony Vaio laptop wont boot?
Tom Pappas,

Can you explain a bit further about start up programs causing thermal heat-up in my Sony VAIO laptop(GRX-560)?
I read your post about 4-5 times and I'm just too Irish to understand! I got the part about start-up programs extending the boot -up time, but then HOW LONG is the CPU under maximum load (saying Win98 vs. XP Home for example) on boot-up? Does that thermal load take too long to disperse with the internal fan that causes the shutdown? (or the resulting SODIMM problems?)

It would seem to me that if that was the problem, then a case CAN be made that it is an engineering problem that had some forseeability, ie; adding additional cooling fans to back of the unit to disperse airlow quicker, same as a tower desktop unit or even better say a SFF CPU is even closer to the mark. My SONY came with a 60GB HDD and pre-loaded with XP Home and I had not abused the unit until AFTER I suffered my black screen-blinking HDD light episode ( and before I found this thread - I sent my SONY off to the "authorized repair facility" and got the resulting $800 new motherboard installed...sigh)

So Tom if I am off the mark here, please set me straight - I've been following this thread and I am quite impressed with the advice dispensed here by yourself and Joe K.
Thanks
Jim M

Tom Pappas Apr 02, 2005, 09:35pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Sony Vaio laptop wont boot?
Can you explain a bit further about start up programs causing thermal heat-up in my Sony VAIO laptop(GRX-560)?

-> In the normal scheme of things, the CPU stops once in a while when there is nothing for it to do. When lots of programs are running, the CPU is executing instructions a greater percentage of the time than when there are fewer programs active. This causes it to use more power and run hotter.

I read your post about 4-5 times and I'm just too Irish to understand! I got the part about start-up programs extending the boot -up time, but then HOW LONG is the CPU under maximum load (saying Win98 vs. XP Home for example) on boot-up?

-> It's not the boot-up time that's the problem (although it is extended by more startup programs to load). It's the steady-state load on the CPU that these programs create that generates the heat.

Does that thermal load take too long to disperse with the internal fan that causes the shutdown? (or the resulting SODIMM problems?)

-> Yes, but I don't think it's only the fan's fault. I have seen many machines with heat sink pads (the thermal wax between the processor and heat sink) that had been fried to a crisp because the heat wasn't being conducted away fast enough.

It would seem to me that if that was the problem, then a case CAN be made that it is an engineering problem that had some forseeability, ie; adding additional cooling fans to back of the unit to disperse airlow quicker, same as a tower desktop unit or even better say a SFF CPU is even closer to the mark.

-> I suppose the Sony engineers ran their prototype systems with "typical" application mixes and never tested the machines' thermal characteristics with the CPU under full load for days or weeks at a time. Is this "wrong?" Or is it just standard engineering (cost-conscious) practice? I don't know. Maybe the symptoms take as long as they do to appear because a year or two is how long it takes for the radiator to get plugged up to the point where the fan capacity is insufficient for the heat load.

Tom Pappas

http://www.vaioshutdown.com

Graham Bryant Apr 03, 2005, 10:33am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Sony Vaio laptop wont boot?
My 3rd hand understanding is that Sony is saying it is a software problem and not a hardware problem. It may be that they just decided that it would be okay for the majority of users but I think blaming the whole thing on software is a load of crap. I don't doubt what Tom says, but do you really buy a $2000+ notebook with the intention of letting it rest periodically so it doesn't overheat or providing it with instructions in a time-delay mode so that it can dissipate heat properly? I bought the Sony because it was a high scale machine (at the time): fast processor, good graphics card, great screen, good HD capacity, etc. and I needed something to be a workhorse for me (desktop replacement). I have tons of other Sony stuff (TV, DVD, AMP, VCR, camcorder, digital camera) and have had only one other problem (with the camera but that was after it was returned by a colleague of mine). You can't tell me that Sony engineers didn't realize the amount of heat that P4 machines generate under use. For them not to properly design for it to last for more than 2 years of use is negligent. I expected my machine to become obsolete (which it has) due to technology, not due to faulty engineering or manufacturing from Sony. I expected more for the price I paid. I would not have minded if Sony had a hidden warranty on this and just fixed the damn machine after the fact. My problem is that I diagnosed the problem myself and just ran the machine with 1 x 256 Mb for over a year until the second socket started to go. Then I had 2 hard disk failures after the computer froze and spent the better part of 2-3 days each recovering data and getting the machine back up and running. I would have saved so much time and aggravation if I had known the memory was a common problem. The $149 fix is cheap compared to the aggravation and lost time with a faulty, unreliable and slower (only 256 Mb memory) machine for over a year.

BTW, Got mine back from Joe on Friday and it is running fine. I am also running with 768K memory (1 x 512 MB + 1 x 256 MB) without any problems (yet). It is fully recognized under the system information. I will be running 1024 Mb shortly and will let you know how it works out.

Jim Moore Apr 03, 2005, 03:28pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Sony Vaio laptop wont boot?
Tom Pappas,

Thanks for explaining it - it makes sense but I really have trouble believing the fact that Sony didn't do thorough testing that would not have included these "symptoms". I agree that it may have been a corporate decision to push it out the door, but with so many "smoking gun" memos in high profile cases like this - it doesnt justify the bean counting with the end results.
Thanks again for the explanation
Jim M

Jeffrey Birkin Apr 03, 2005, 03:33pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Sony Vaio laptop wont boot?
People wake up ! My PCG-FX250 is a 3200 boat anchor due to this design flaw or faulty manufacturing. I contacted the lawyer whos doing the class action lawsuit and he's referred me to a canadian law firm as Im in Canada. Sony has hosed us badly folks, we bought these top of the line machines and got junk. It would be great for someone who picked up one of thes old before their time machines to fix em up and get em running for cheap, but those of us who bought them new should make as big a stink as possible.
When I can afford a new machine im going to get a powerbook or something similar and then row out to sea and drop this crap laptop into the sea. I hope the lawsuit gets access to sonys customer service logs to see how they lied to their customers about not knowing that this is a commone problem.

Tom Pappas Apr 03, 2005, 04:01pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Sony Vaio laptop wont boot?
"...do you really buy a $2000+ notebook with the intention of letting it rest periodically so it doesn't overheat or providing it with instructions in a time-delay mode so that it can dissipate heat properly?"

Of course not - but if Sony didn't run a prototype of every model with the CPU redlined for two years, how would they know they would eventually overheat?

Tom Pappas

http://www.vaioshutdown.com - be sure to see our /overheat.htm page for some remedies

Peter C Apr 03, 2005, 11:40pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Sony Vaio laptop wont boot?
VERY interesting points Tom. I never thought about CPU heat load being the catalyst for this problem. A few questions.

1) I understand fully that modern processors generate much more heat than older ones, so I'm assuming this is a "modern" problem. Why wouldn't millions of laptops then be affected by similar overheating problems (if their owners placed the CPU's under equal stress)?

If these other laptops haven't failed, then doesn't it prove that Sony's soldering process (for this very specific line of GRX laptops and a couple of other lines) is different from, and thus inferior to these other ones?

2) If high heat created by VAIO processors in these product lines ARE a problem, then why doesn't every minutely soldered component on these laptops also work loose and fail? According to your analysis, many parts of our motherboards will be failing sometime in the near future.

3) How close to the RAM clips is the processor?

Thanks for the advice Tom.

Peter


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