Faulty old Novatech laptop

Dear Novatech support,

I’am Flavio Cappelli from Cubic Global Defense. An our big customer has a faulty Novatech laptop N1740 (17.3") used with VBS3. Our customer asked us to check if the laptop can be fixed. Such laptop was bought five years ago (not by us but by another company that went bankrupt).

The laptop is showing the following issue: when turned on, after some time (variable between 5 seconds and 30 minutes), it starts to emit long beeps, sometimes repeated 3, 4 or 5 times, sometimes repeated continuously, while the three indicators NUM LOCK, CAPS LOCK and SCROLL LOCK blink. Sometimes such issue happens at the BIOS POST, sometimes it happens only starting an intensive graphic application (like the Unigine Valley benchmark). We replaced the thermal past between the CPU / GPU and the heatsinks without success. Also we cleaned all internal connectors (with a proper contact cleaner) and the CPU socket/pins.

During the issue, the utility HWMONITOR always shows very low temperatures for the CPU cores, the GPU and the motherboard chipset. It seems also that the fault happens in the pure Windows OS (without any application running, just the OS services) connecting a load on the USB ports and if we remove the load from the USB port then the alarm ceases. But if we run an intensive graphic applications the beep is repeated continuosly until the system shutdown brutally (after a minute). No artifacts appear in the graphic application, so I think the problem is probably located in the motherboard (maybe the power supply section) or the CPU. The behaviour is the same powering the laptop from the battery or from the external power supply.

In this link I shared a short video of the issue.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bM3zt21zpoMiMhLGBpvyjg8m9IRpWsfy/view?usp=sharing

These are some informations about the laptop:

Model reported in the back label: P170SM
Product code: P170SM-A
Serial number: NKP170SMA004K01335
RAM: 32 GB DDR3 (2 x 8GB on expansion cards)
CPU: Intel i7 4710MQ
2nd GPU: NVidia GeForce GTX 980M 8GB DDR5 (from Clevo)
Motherboard: P17SM-A (as reported by CPU-Z) with Intel HD Graphic 4600
BIOS: American Megatrends v4.6.5 12/16/2014

Can this laptop be repaired or it is too old? How much could it cost? Please, we need a quick answer. My email address is flavio.cappelli@cubic.com

Thank you for your support.

Flavio Cappelli

Hi

The error status you are reporting is thermal alarm. This means that either CPU or GPU are reporting high temperature above allowed level and if not corrected system will auto shutdown to prevent hardware damage . System must be checked to make sure that GPU and CPU heatsinks are properly pasted and properly seated on to devices with correct contact and that are not blocked by dust and that also system fans are connected and working correctly to provide cooling air flow. If all of this checks out then could be issue in MB.
As we have not inspected the unit we cannot say for sure if it can be repaired still as it will depend exactly on what the cause of the issue is which must be determined first.

Hi COOPS,

I supposed it was a thermal alarm, so the first operation I did was to clean the fans and any other area from the dust. Also I gently removed the old thermal paste over the CPU and the GPU and replaced it (after cleaning the CPU, GPU and heatsinks of course). The heatsinks are properly sealed as their position is obliged by 4 screws (each). Both fans are connected and working properly and hwmonitor always reports low temperatures as you can see in the video I shared, but unfortunately the issue persists.

Assuming, for one moment, that we need to replace the motherboard, is it still possible? Or the laptop is too old? What would the cost be (including labor)? What if it is the CPU?

Thank you

Flavio

Hey

Until root cause has been determined we cannot say for sure about cost and spares. However for a unit of this age spare parts will be extremely tight now if it needs a replacement rather than a repair. We no longer carry spares on our Stock for this model so we would need to go back to Clevo directly to see what they have left in service channel but typically a MB replacement for laptop you would be looking in the £200 to £300 range for the part and labour to do the work. Less if a board repair is possible. CPU is not something that will be in the channel now. Only place your likely to find one of these now would be on the second hand market i would think. New stock very unlikely now.

Just out of interest if you remove the battery and run the unit from AC Only without the battery pack fitted does it still cause issue?? When was battery pack last changed??

Hi COOPS,

Unfortunately I didn’t think about running the laptop only from AC without the battery pack fitted. Today I am not in office, so I’ll try it on Monday. The battery pack was never be replaced.

For now many thanks for the informations, I’l be in touch soon with the new test. Also next week I will speak with my boss to eventually deliver the laptop to Novatech for the repair.

Have a good weekend.
Flavio

Hi COOP,

this morning I tried to run the laptop from the AC, without the battery pack fitted. Unfortunately the behaviour is perfectly the same. I am going to check if a local repair service can try to repair the laptop, otherwise we must arrange a delivery to Novatech (probably after the Christmas holidays).

Thanks for now.
King Regards.

Flavio