Computer Repair Lessons: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71
Basically, we haven't had many Gateway desktops or laptops in for repair. The reason is probably because there are not many of them sold, or the fact that they happen to be of very good quality. I recall one Gateway laptop that I had in for repair a long time ago. It came with an IDE hard drive, it had Windows XP, and it was probably used on a building site. Despite all this, it was still operational. The build quality was extremely good from what I could see that time. It is a shame that Gateway laptops did not progress further.
All Gateway desktop computers have the same functional components as the other branded computers. What usually ends up going wrong on these systems is the PSU, the motherboard, the hard drive, or the RAM. If the system does not even start up, then most likely there is a problem with the power supply unit. This also could mean that there is a problem with the motherboard. Well known capacitor problems also appear on Gateway computers from time to time. To test everything out in terms of the power functionality on a Gateway, I use an oscilloscope. To prevent hard disk damage by using a power supply, it is important to check that the +5 V and +12 V rail voltages are nice and smooth. As I mentioned above, we have not had many Gateway desktop computers in for repair in order to determine what is a common fault on them.
The RAM is seen as a separate component because desktop and laptop manufacturers use other manufacturer branded modules. A RAM fault is difficult to see and the fault is diagnosed only by testing it with a diagnostic tool such as Memtest.
A RAM test is also a great system stress test. We have had a few systems which have crashed on RAM tests. Another good system test is the Windows setup. From my experience, if the memory or hard drive has a fault, then the setup will not continue and will show an error. Sometimes, an error message will state nothing about the actual fault. For example, on one system that had a faulty memory, it was said that the file on the hard drive was different than one on the CD.
Gateway laptops are good in general, but there are some weak spots probably due to design. These weak spots occur because of the DC Jack which is not soldered on properly, and even the central wire to the jack sometimes breaks.
And, if there is no good connection, then we will see the voltage jump or spike. These occurrences can sometimes travel to the MOSFET next to the DC jack, which will damage it.
Symptoms are as follows: when you plug in the power adaptor to the laptop, it does not show any sign of power flowing into it whatsoever. This issue can be resolved by replacing the MOSFET.
In addition, some laptops have screen problems. These problems will be caused by the LCD itself or by the inverter that is located right below the LCD. The faulty inverter usually will show a dim screen. A faulty LCD cable will give flickering when the laptop lid is tilted.
On some Gateway laptops, the hard drive is next to hot components on the motherboard, and they have a tendency to get very hot at times.
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Me holding a laptop hard drive