News about Nathan and Heather Straz

Saturday, 23 April, 2005
Repair or replace?
by nate

While we were down in Rochester, something went very wrong with Heather's laptop. It's a three year old Gateway Solo 1450. I had it sitting in the front seat of the car, ready to find some wireless networks on the way back to the house. I was driving out of the parking garage and I put the screen down before I got to the parking attendant. When I looked at the laptop again, it was "off" and wouldn't turn back on. As it stands now, it looks like the laptop if off and the battery is charging, whether on battery or AC. It still drains the battery, but won't charge it.

I called Gateway and they told me I would have to send it in for trouble shooting. I couldn't find anywhere on their site that tells me what the LEDs mean in the current state. They want a $299 deposit and they'll cover shipping. They'll only charge what the repairs cost, but a motherboard replacement costs $649. I'm not sure the three year old laptop is worth the repair costs, but at the same time I don't want to shell out money for a replacement.

Any suggestions?


Mike said on Apr 23 at 04:49 p.m.:

Well, considering that you can get a replacement for the whole laptop on ebay for $80 less than gateway wants for the motherboard alone, I would say replace. If you're sure the motherboard is all that's hozed, you can get a new mobo for $160.

I would just get a new laptop (*cough*mac*cough*)


P.S. I'm happy to hear Heather is recovering well. I didn't post comments to the earlier entries, but she has been in my thoughts. And you too nate :) I'm sure it wasnt easy waiting for her surgery to be over :)

Jeremy Bailey said on Apr 23 at 07:39 p.m.:

Very odd. I've had similar problems, but often after dumping all the power (including the CMOS battery), I was able to get it to "reset", and work like normal. Given how cheap an equivalent laptop would cost (or how little more a better one is), I would say harvest for parts and replace.

Does anything appear to work? Is it just the screen, can you hook a monitor to it a see output? I assume the HD is still good.

nate said on Apr 23 at 09:24 p.m.:

It acts completely dead. No lights on the screen, no fan, no life in the hard drive or cdrom. I have no idea what is really wrong. I'm pretty sure it isn't any of the drives or the battery. Given how everything in a laptop is integrated into the motherboard, that's likely the problem.

Given that we generally use the laptop as a wireless couch terminal, I don't think we really want to put much money into repairing or replacing it.