Mom had been having problems with her laptop for some time. Recently it finally bit the dust. She took it to a local repair shop and they told her the motherboard was fried and would cost $300+ to fix.
At that price point she decided it was worth it to simply get a new shiny laptop rather than pay to have the old one fixed. So, I inherited the newly minted doorstop.
I decided it would be fun to take it apart and see if I could fix it… how hard could it be to replace a motherboard?
I’ve built a good number of computers over time, but this was the first laptop that I’d attempted. I learned quickly that the parts are NOT nice and generic like they are for desktops.
A couple of videos on YouTube helped me get started in the disassembly process.
The keyboard, power buttons and mouse pad were all pretty straightforward
The screen was held on by 6 screws and had a few connectors
Underneath you can start to see the guts.. Once the screen, DVD rom and hard drive were out this part is actually fairly light!
Once I got the motherboard exposed I was able to read the part number stickers.
I had to take a peek at the processor of course.
I already had a diagnosis on the PC [dead motherboard] and now had the part number I needed, so I went shopping.
First I hit the factory HP parts shop to see if they had it – no deal. They could tell me the part numbers I needed, but they did not sell direct – I was instead referred to their authorized reseller list. I sent email inquiries to about 10 of the US and Canada based authorized resellers to get bids. Over the new few days their quotes trickled in – all obscene! They wanted from $200 to upwards of $400 for a refurbished motherboard for this 2 year old laptop. No way.
So, I started looking at the source of the component – pretty much all the pieces of the laptop are made in various Chinese factories. I did find a good number of offerings on aliexpress.com – from what I gather it’s somewhat like EBay– a way for small distributors in China to be able to sell world wide. The prices were more in line with what I had in mind ($90-$100 before shipping). However, I was put off from purchasing from there due to a good number of negative commentary from others who had tried to purchase from that site. Evidently there are a small but significant number of suppliers there that are not 100% trustworthy. I also read about the possibility of having to deal with customs/import charges in addition to the product and shipping cost.
That was disappointing, as the domestic sources for the component all seemed way too expensive. Luckily EBay saves the day! I ran across a person on the east coast who was selling the motherboard for about $90 (+shipping)
So I bought it & about a week later I get my package.
Inside is another bottom hunk of one of these laptops:
The case *reeked* of cigarettes and was a bit filthy. The power supply cables to the motherboard were still attached, but looked like someone just took a knife and cut through them… I was thinking that this was going to be a dud purchase.
But I decided to go ahead and try it. I took the ‘new’ motherboard out of his old home, cleaned him up a bit, slapped in the CPU from the laptop & applied thermal grease. After finally assembly and many annoying hours of re-installation and windows updates, we have life!
The keyboard and top strip do not laydown quite as nice and flat as they used to – I probably missed a tucking in a couple of the little plastic tabs that litter the underside of the keyboard… Perhaps later I’ll take it apart again and correct it.
Not bad for my first laptop motherboard replacement!