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PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM/Old Dell laptop motherboard likely fried


I have an old Dell Latitude D430 laptop that has sentimental value because it belonged to my mom who recently passed away.
Service tag: BFX6BF1.
It was an important machine to her. As such, I either want to restore the machine to working order, or at least transfer the HDD to another working machine.
About 5 days ago...
I had the machine operating as usual a few days ago. Battery attached, ac power plugged in, turned away for a minute and it suddenly shut down completely. No warning screen, buzzing, flashing, or other alarm signs. It just turned off. I checked all power sources to see everything was in order. Then felt to see if the machine had overheated to shut-down point (never actually happened, but knew it possible). Warm but normal.
There was a single splatter of soup, smaller than a dime, on a keyboard key. I fear unnoticed liquid damage!
Long story short, Ive tried every trouble-shoot and tip I can find.
All I can say with certainty is
1) The machine will not power up at all. No signs of life.
2) The green light on the adapter is on when plugged into wall but nothing lights up on the machine.
3) I unscrewed things and poked around, but saw no obvious signs that liquid had even infilterated the computers interior. It seems like most likely cause though UNLESS a quirky, slightly damaged keyboard alone can reak such havoc.
Please help Me troubleshoot if you know of a solution.
How can I tell whether the motherboard is to blame or if theres another part that could be causing this.
If it is almost certainly the motherboard to blame, how do I know which machines (other than the exact make/model of My present one) that I can transfer the HDD into. I believe its a 80gb SATA... and I know nothing of laptop compatibility.
Id like to move it into a higher end unit.
I am, afterall, presuming the HDD is functional, that the motherboard is fried, and it would be easier to switch out a Hard drive than the motherboard.

Hello Amanda.

The only laptops that will take a direct swap of the hard drive are those using either the same exact hardware, or laptops very similar in series. You have a Dell D430, so the hard drive should work in any D400 series (D410, D420, etc) Dell laptop. You may have to install a driver or two to make the swap work 100% such as a video driver or wireless card driver. There are small differences between each laptop model number in a series and it usually only comes down to video capability, sound hardware, wireless cards, etc. The base hardware components would otherwise be the same.

If you do not want to go through the trouble of taking the laptop apart in an attempt to fix it, I would suggest buying a SATA 2.5 inch external enclosure ( ) and you can install the hard drive from the Dell laptop into it and then connect and use the hard drive as a data drive on any computer. This will also allow you to get any data from it for sentimental purposes.

If you do want to attempt to repair it, take out the hard drive and set it to the side for safety. There are a couple of things I can have you try that won't require new parts yet.

I have had multiple computers that didn't feel hot from the bottom or outside, but still overheated because the air vent was clogged internally. The case was more insulated or was not in direct contact with the hottest components. I am taking into consideration the soup on the keyboard

So for the first set of inspections, I will have you take the computer apart just enough to test a few things. Take the laptop apart using this video: down to just taking the keyboard off. Once you have the keyboard off, try turning on the computer and see if any magic happens. If the computer turns on, we can assume that the liquid/substance is still down inside the keyboard and is causing a short on one or more contacts in the keyboard.

If the computer still seems dead, take out the battery if you haven't done so already, make sure the power supply is unplugged and hold the power button for about 60 seconds straight. What this will do is discharge the capacitors on the laptop motherboard for an effective motherboard reset (since laptop motherboards don't come with reset buttons). After holding the power button for 60 seconds, go ahead and plug in the power supply cable and see if it turns on.

If it still does not turn on, test the power jack on the laptop for wiggle. Power jacks on laptops are notorious for breaking, especially the older laptops where the jack was soldered directly on the motherboard which always stressed the solder joints that held it in place. If the jack with the plug in it feels a little bit wiggly, look at the charge indicator on your laptop and with some light pressure, push the power plug (while still in the jack) away from you, toward you, up, down, and any combination of directions. If the solder points are worn out/damaged, applying pressure in this manner will often complete the connection at least for a second giving you a power/charge light on your laptop indicator and identifying your problem.

If you get no lights during the previous test, we will have to move onto the next inspection/test. For this, refer back to the video link given above to take the laptop further apart for access to the motherboard. The video does not tell you how to take the motherboard out of the casing, but there are just a few screws holding down the motherboard in place. The heatsink/fan assembly is on the bottom side. You will need to take the heatsink off with the screws holding it in place. This will give you access to the processor. While you have the heatsink off, you will need to separate the fan assembly from the heatsink itself to rid of all dust that has accumulated on it thus far (especially if it is indeed an overheat issue.

Now to the processor. Take a small flat head screwdriver and turn the lock right on the processor socket til the processor moves slightly and is free. Pick it up straight off the board being extremely careful not to bend the pins. Inspect the pins closely. Just see if there is any dark looking pins. If there are any dark looking pins, I can pretty much guarantee you the board is fried as well as possibly the processor. If the processor looks fine, carefully place it back on the socket, paying extreme careful attention to the orientation at which you pulled it out. It should just fall back into place. If it doesn't go into the socket, do NOT force anything. Just recheck the orientation and if you have to adjust it, just do so carefully. Once it is seated into place, use the flat head to retighten the processor lock and it should move the CPU slightly into it's original location. Now reinstall the newly cleaned heatsink/fan assembly (DON"T FORGET THE FAN PLUG<----I've done that too many times by mistake) and quickly inspect the rest of the board. Look for any burn marks, especially near where the power plug jack is. If there are burn marks it is deemed bad.

If you don't see any burn marks, continue to reassemble the laptop (keyboard and all) and try turning on the laptop once more. If it is a no go, you have all the expertise and directions to taking your laptop apart and replacing the motherboard. Of all laptops to have to take apart, this is one of the easiest to take apart, which is why I feel confident that you can do this with my instruction and usage of that video.

A motherboard for your model laptop should be fairly cheap (40-60 dollar range, maybe cheaper) if you buy your motherboard from eBay in used but tested working condition/pulled from working unit with a DOA (Dead On Arrival) warrantee. Doing this means you can continue to use the same laptop and not have to pull anything off the hard drive or find another laptop similar in series to use the hard drive in without formatting the hard drive for reinstallation purposes.

If all fails, you can still do the hard drive enclosure method to use the hard drive still and get its data.

Hope all this helps, have a great day!  

PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM

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I can answer most No POST problems, compatibility between parts, upgrade options, troubleshooting, etc. Before you ask me a question, please do some research. I do not give PC speed reviews for video games.


Many, many years of experience working with the hardware components of many types of computers including desktops, laptops, kiosk computers, and even running Windows 3.1, 95, and 98 on the PSP (Sony PlayStation Portable). I've replaced capacitors on desktop motherboards making them working like new again with a high success rate. This is my hobby/job every day.

Associates of Science in Computer Information Technology

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