Question Bios update completly killed old laptop

May 11, 2019
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Preface:
I had an old HP dv6500 (amd) laptop laying around. It came with Vista but was updated to Windows 7. I wanted to play around with some Linux on it to learn, so I made a bootable drive to install a distro.
The USB would not boot (later it turned out to be a faulty USB drive), so I decided to see if I could find a BIOS update.
HP has removed the support site for this model, so a after long time searching I found the right bios update on HP’s FTP server.

The Disaster:
I ran the update from Windows 7 (I know now, that was a rookie mistake). The update progressed normally, erasing and reprogramming one block at a time. But then as the last block was erased and reprogram the computer turns off, out of the blue.
No windows shutdown, just a click and it was completely off. As if I cut power.
Only the charger light was still on. After 10 seconds I tried to press the power button and nothing happens. No beeps, no fans spinning, nothing. Completely dead!

Repair attempts so far:
Here are the other things i have tried, non of them as worked or changed the pc condition-
  • I have disconnected the CMOS battery hoping for some sort of reset.
  • I have measured the voltage of the power source and it’s working fine.
  • I have tried to boot without hdd, 1 ram stick, 0 ram sticks
Diagnosis:
I want to take this as a learning experience and try to fix it, but I don’t want to waste too much time going down wrong paths.
Right now by best guess is that the BIOS is faulty.

Can these symptoms be a faulty BIOS?
Charge light on, but not turning on at all with no beep or fan spin.

If it is a BIOS problem, I was thinking to attempt to re-program it with an Arduino or a RaspberryPi. Or replace it if it’s fried.
I have not tried something like this before, but since the pc is old it might be fun to try, even if i break it.

Any help or input is appreciated.
– Deltini
 
A bad BIOS flash is often fatal.

BIOS provides the very first instructions to a dumb hunk of metal and plastic what to do.

Some nicer Mobos have dual BIOS, so if something happens, can always boot from backup BIOS, and on older (way old) machines BIOS is actually on a socketed chip which can be pulled and flash applied externally via a dedicated chip flasher but vendors these days don't bother :(
 
May 11, 2019
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A bad BIOS flash is often fatal.

BIOS provides the very first instructions to a dumb hunk of metal and plastic what to do.

Some nicer Mobos have dual BIOS, so if something happens, can always boot from backup BIOS, and on older (way old) machines BIOS is actually on a socketed chip which can be pulled and flash applied externally via a dedicated chip flasher but vendors these days don't bother :(
Thanks for the information.
I have identified the bios chip on the board (Took me a long time, because i was looking close to the CMOS battery).
It's soldered on and has a lot of other small components close by. It will be very difficult to de-solder without damaging other components.
I'm looking for a clip to put on the sop-8 chip package so I might be able to re-flash it without de-soldering.
 
May 11, 2019
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Usually, no. A bad flash will usually leave you with no POST but allow the system to power on, however brief.

When you hit the power button, do any status indicator lights change?
No nothing happens or changes when I hit the power button.
I have light at the charger, but no other lights. When i disconnect the fan and connect power the sdcard and WiFi switch light up. But still nothing happens when i press power.
I checked the 3v pin at the bios at it measures 3v when the charger is connected.

Any ideas?
 
I think you may have a dead board. That it happened during flashing the system could be a coincidence; I don't typically see bad flashes result in sudden shutdowns and then zero response from the hardware. What on the board failed exactly is anyone's guess, though.
 
May 11, 2019
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I think you may have a dead board.
I really hope not. But I fear you might be right. I will order at test clip and try to re-flash anyway, maybe I will be lucky.
If not I will have to bust out a multimeter and see if I can find the fault, but I don't think I will have much of a chance.
Thanks for your input so far.
 
Dec 2, 2020
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I have an HP laptop about 5 years old. Just went dead one day. Power works and charges. No fan. Same symptoms as above.

I took the computer to a repair guy and we tried to take the cmos battery out and replace it with a new one 20 min later. Still no fan. Caps lock light slow flash and wifi light solid same as before.

Is this a fried motherboard? Aren't companies that put updates out that fry your system responsible? Is it junk now? I don't mess with the inside ever.
 

lga1156_ftw

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Feb 25, 2020
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I have an HP laptop about 5 years old. Just went dead one day. Power works and charges. No fan. Same symptoms as above.

I took the computer to a repair guy and we tried to take the cmos battery out and replace it with a new one 20 min later. Still no fan. Caps lock light slow flash and wifi light solid same as before.

Is this a fried motherboard? Aren't companies that put updates out that fry your system responsible? Is it junk now? I don't mess with the inside ever.
Where you doing bios update when this happened? If so most likely corrupt bios and recoverable. If it suddenly died and you have AMD gpu then about 75% change gpu chip or northbridge died.
 
Dec 2, 2020
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I wasn't doing any manual updates. I don't know if is possible if the computer did the update automatically or whether you have to do a bios update manually.

It's an Intel Pentium processor.

Is it worth fixing this? It's a 2.1ghz processor.
 

lga1156_ftw

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Feb 25, 2020
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I wasn't doing any manual updates. I don't know if is possible if the computer did the update automatically or whether you have to do a bios update manually.

It's an Intel Pentium processor.

Is it worth fixing this? It's a 2.1ghz processor.
No, only apple does automatic efi firmware updates. Atleast this was not the case back in the day, im not sure about newer 2019-2020 HP laptops. What is your laptop full specs? Model number is usually behind the laptop in a sticker
 

lga1156_ftw

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Feb 25, 2020
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Since its not gpu cpu it might be fixable. Just need more info on the symptoms. First try to remove the main battery and power cable, after that press power button for 30seconds to discharge all electricity. After that dont connect main battery yet, plugin power cable and try to boot, if it boots its main battery fault. If you disconnect power cable and plugin main battery back, if it now now then its circuitry / charger problem.

If you still get nothing, is there any blinking leds when you try to boot? or do you get a beep error sound? There is always pattern we can follow if this happens.

https://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c01732674
 
Dec 2, 2020
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It has the touchscreen. The page I linked to was from the model number on the bottom of the computer.
I keep the computer in screen shutdown mode when not using it but not asleep. I practically never turned it off for 5 years. One day I went to use the computer it would not come back on but the caps lock had long blinks and the wifi light was solid (I think my computer was pre 2015 so no beeps with the error code) . The power cord works and the external battery works too. The hp error code site said it was likely either bios or hardware related error code. When I took the computer to the hp authorized service center, the guy removed the cmos battery and replaced it with a new one 20 minutes later. That didn't work.
The technician said he didn't know what happened but suspect hp put out a bad bios update. He said someone else also had their computer in at the same time as mine, also an HP, with the same issue. He said he read through many message boards but couldn't find any other recent problems. He was not able to go any further diagnosing the issue.

If it's as simple as replacing an inexpensive chip and I can find a video, I can probably do that myself, but if it requires soldering, I'm not proficient in that.

I just bought a computer that I saw on cyber Monday but if my HP can be easily fixed, I might return the other one.
 

lga1156_ftw

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Feb 25, 2020
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It has the touchscreen. The page I linked to was from the model number on the bottom of the computer.
I keep the computer in screen shutdown mode when not using it but not asleep. I practically never turned it off for 5 years. One day I went to use the computer it would not come back on but the caps lock had long blinks and the wifi light was solid (I think my computer was pre 2015 so no beeps with the error code) . The power cord works and the external battery works too. The hp error code site said it was likely either bios or hardware related error code. When I took the computer to the hp authorized service center, the guy removed the cmos battery and replaced it with a new one 20 minutes later. That didn't work.
The technician said he didn't know what happened but suspect hp put out a bad bios update. He said someone else also had their computer in at the same time as mine, also an HP, with the same issue. He said he read through many message boards but couldn't find any other recent problems. He was not able to go any further diagnosing the issue.

If it's as simple as replacing an inexpensive chip and I can find a video, I can probably do that myself, but if it requires soldering, I'm not proficient in that.

I just bought a computer that I saw on cyber Monday but if my HP can be easily fixed, I might return the other one.
What is the exact led code? from the link i posted. From
"Computers released between before 2015"
 
Dec 2, 2020
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Long single caps lock blink repeating every couple of seconds. Says the code is cpu related in that link. It's the first error code in the pre 2015 codes.
 

lga1156_ftw

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Feb 25, 2020
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Remove main battery and power cable. Then open the ram slot cover as seen in 00.00sec this video :
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4R48kKErsTA


Remove both ram sticks and then add power cable and try to boot, if you get 3 flash error code now (ram error) means motherboard is probably fine.'
Keep main battery / power cable disconnected and add ram stick to slot 1, then plugin power cable and try to boot, if it fails remove power cable and repeat step with ram in different slot, do this until you tried all combinations, ruling out bad ram stick and bad slot.

EDIT: CPU error blink is more rare, make sure there is not a pause in between and its actually other error code
 

lga1156_ftw

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Feb 25, 2020
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I actually seen broken fan cause this once loong ago, but usually that just gives error message when you boot up. Most with blink 1-2 codes where just bad gpu, but intel hd graphics failing is REALLY rare. Also few laptops it was bios corruption with 1 blink code.
If above steps dont work and your CERTAIN its 1 blink code, a full on disassembly is needed to further diagnose. You need screwdriver and something plastic to help disconnect the small connectors (usually with fingers works but not always)
 
Dec 2, 2020
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So just remove the small ram cover like in the video and remove the ram sticks then test them in the combinations. This test will determine if the motherboard is good correct? If good, then the ram is bad or are we just testing to see if the motherboard works without the ram?

Depending on the outcome, what would the potential cost to fix an issue at this step?
 

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