Having problems with your Acer Aspire 3680 Laptop ?

Acer 3680 needs several days rest before restarting.

\015 I have an Acer 3680 laptop & when I switch it on it boots up and runs fine but when I shut it down it will not restart to screen for several days(usually a week) and then it'll start fine again and providing I don't shut it down it will function normally indefinitely.I've tried different makes of RAM, all the vents are clear and the there's no obvious signs of overheating (the case remains fairly cool no matter how long it's been running) and this problem occurs whether it runs on mains power or battery pack. I've updated VGA drivers thinking it was a display device fault but the problem remains.The CPU fan runs & the various l.e.d's light up but the screen won't until it's had its long rest period.\015

Answers :

Hi George,

If you power on with an external monitor connected, no function-F5 is necessary - it will default to the external monitor automatically.

I don't think Darkman is on the right path here (sorry Darkman). It is possible, but I suspect not. A damaged/corrupt page file won't fix itself automatically after 5-7 days and suddenly boot the PC.....honestly. If there are bad sectors on the hard drive though, this could certainly be the issue. We'll get to this in a bit....

We need to eliminate a few potential problems first.....like sketchy hardware.

Please remove the ram and clean the contacts on it, and the slot(s) with a pink pencil eraser. You want to make the contacts clean and shiny. The ram chips are under an access panel on the bottom of the laptop. Try to boot. If no good, read on.

Please try removing the hard drive drive from the laptop (see below). Try booting with no hd first. If you see an Acer splash screen (logo), and then 'no operating system found', then the hard drive is likely the issue:

If it boots consistently with no hard drive, then please try this:
Enter the bios of the laptop by pressing either F2 or del at boot time when you see the Acer logo. Go to 'boot' options, and make sure the optical drive is the first boot device at the top of the list. From here, you need to get a Windows XP cd (yes, I know you're running vista). Put the hard drive back in, boot the laptop to the cd and select the option to repair windows from the recovery console. Once you have a command/dos prompt, type the following:

chkdsk c: /r

This command will check the hard drive for file corruption and bad sectors. This will take 1-3 hrs probably, depending on the size of the hard drive. If it indicates that data was recovered from bad sectors, and the laptop boots now, shut it down, take it to a reputable repair shop immediately and ask them to clone your hard drive onto a new one. Bad sectors = impending doom.

If it won't boot with the hard drive removed....try removing the optical (dvd) drive. If still no joy with hd and optical removed, let me know.

You can access the hard drive from an access panel on the bottom of the laptop. Remove the cover, remove any retaining screws for the hard drive and simply slide it to disengage the connector and pop it out. If still no boot, one screw on the bottom of the laptop will release the optical drive. Flip the laptop over, and try to visualize where the optical drive sits in the laptop. The screw will be near one of the corners of where the optical drive drive sits.

Please let me know how you make out. Don't worry... I will help you ascertain the cause of the issue :)
Hello George,

Hmmmmm. So you got it to boot once successfully with no hd and the optical drive installed.....but not again. Hmmmm.

If you can't get it to boot again in this state, then here's a few thoughts:

This may seem like a lot to try, but these steps will help determine the issue definitively. I will walk you through a complete teardown later on in this post if it is necessary. If so, read the whole thing before you get started. Hopefully the damn thing just springs back to life before this point!!

I have seen various hardware devices be the issue in similar situations. Sometimes they work, then right away, nfg. Then good again.

If the battery was on the laptop during the testing, try again with no battery.

If you did not do so already, try one ram stick at a time, in each slot. ie: chip in slot 1, then in slot 2. Then chip 2 in slot 1, then in slot 2.

Please try an external monitor again with the machine in the above state (no hd - optical drive in) - as this worked once - no disc in drive. If no good - remove the optical drive.

Also, in an effort to remove potential (hardware) problems, pull the wireless card. It is under a panel on the bottom of the laptop. You will see two thin wires going to it (probably black and white) with tiny gold plated connectors on the ends. These are the wireless antenna wires. You can gently pry them off the card. Then remove the card from it's slot.

While you're at it, remove the dial up modem. Also under an access panel it is a small board attached to the main board with a screw or two. Pull it straight off the board. Disengage the plastic connector/wires from it first.

If it won't give you an Acer logo consistently with no hd and no optical drive, try the external monitor again (with no hd or optical). If still no good, please disconnect the lcd from the laptop and try with the external again (this eliminates the lcd panel, it's inverter board and any wonky connectors). Here's how:

Look on the back of the hinge covers (plastic humps over the hinges on the bezel). The bezel is the piece of plastic between the keyboard and the lcd. If there are small phillips head screws on the back of the hinge covers, remove them. Then, with a small flat head screwdriver, gently pry up under the right side hinge cover. Plastic clips hold it on, so it should pop off rather easily. You will need to use a bit of force to get it started, but not too much. Use your fingers to peel it up from right to left. If it won't come off, look on the bottom of the laptop for any screws that look like they may be in a position to hold the bezel down....doubtful though. It can take a bit of force to pop the bezel sometimes. Once the bezel is off, you will likely see three wires going from the laptop to the lcd. The two skinny ones (probably on the right) are the wireless antennas that you removed from the wireless card. The thicker one on the left goes to a plastic socket. This supplies power and image to the lcd. Please disconnect it from the socket and try with the external monitor. The lcd panel is now out of the picture (no pun intended). If no image on external, reconnect lcd wire to socket (leave wireless off). If no good, reconnect the lcd panel and try again.

At this point we have removed the hd, optical drive, wireless card, modem and lcd panel and cleaned the ram. If still no good, the only other culprits I can think of are the cpu or the main board.

I have never seen a bad cpu boot and then not boot. A bad cpu just does nothing. If anything, the connections between the cpu and the socket may be dodgy). Re-seating the cpu in its' socket will 'freshen' up the connections.

so........to remove and re-seat the cpu:

Before doing the cpu, sit where you will be doing the work, and touch someone's hand (daughter?) to dissipate any static electricity you may have accumulated on yourself. If you have one, use a grounding wrist strap.

Removing the cpu may require separating the top plastic from the bottom shell. Sometimes the heat sink and cpu are accessible from under panels though. If not, read on.... if yes, see CPU:

Flip it over and remove the fan first, if you can do so easily. If if not, wait until the board is out and remove it along with the heatsink.

Remove the keyboard ( 2 or 3 screws), then the keyboard ribbon connector from it's socket. The socket either has a brown flap that flips up, or little brown nubs on a strip of brown plastic. gently pry both nubs toward the lcd. **be careful**. That little strip of plastic can break very easily. Move both nubs at the same time. Then pull the ribbon from the socket. Disengage the touchpad (other smaller ribbon) and any other white plastic connectors you can see under the keyboard (speakers, mic). Snake the antenna wires up and through to the to the top and remove them from their plastic guides. Disengage the lcd cable from the main board and camera/mic wires (if there). Now, remove the screws holding the hinges to the main board. If the display does not lift right off , look on the back or bottom for retaining screws. Remove the lcd panel assembly.

If you own a video camera, setting it up on a tripod zoomed in on the laptop will show you where all the screws came out of, and where to put them back :)


You really don't want to insert a screw from one side, and then near\015\012the end of assembly discover you need to send a screw from the other\015\012side through that very same hole. If you put a long screw into the\015\012wrong hole, you can damage the board too.

MARK THE HOLES WITH LONGER SCREWS. I\015\012put an "L" beside the NON-VISIBLE holes with a marker, or you can write on little\015\012pieces of tape to label things. JUST FIGURE OUT SOME WAY TO KEEP TRACK OF IT.

Anyhow, start on the bottom and remove all the case screws. Put the bottom screws in a separate container than those from the top to simplify re-assembly. Now, flip it over. There are likely a few case screws under the keyboard on the top that must be removed. Remove any that look like they anchor plastics in place. Mark them.

Gently insert a small flat head screwdriver between the upper and lower plastics on the left or right side, and pry them apart. You will feel little plastic clips 'pop' free as the plastics separate. This is okay. Pay attention to any remaining screws that must be removed, and any wires still connected to the main board from the top plastic. be mindful of wires. Remove the top plastic cover.

So now the upper plastic (palm rest and touchpad) are off and you are looking at the top of the mainboard.

You will likely need to remove the hex nuts on either side of the vga connector on the back to get the board out. Remove any other hex nuts too just in case.

You probably need to remove 2 or 3 of the chrome scres on top of the mainboard to release it from the bottom plastic. Mark which holes these came out of with a felt tip marker. Carefully remove the main board from the lower plastic. Flip it over, and now you can get at the heatsink and cpu.


CPU:

heat sink is the metal plate and copper arm that go to the exhaust side of the fan. Disengage the fan connector from the main board. There are a few screws holding the metal heat sink apparatus to the cpu. remove the screws first. DO NOT PULL UP DIRECTLY ON THE HEAT SINK AS YOU CAN DAMAGE/BREAK THE CPU PINS (and then you're fucked). Gently insert something (non metallic) between the heat sink and the cpu and gently pry the heat sink from the cpu. Be careful not to remove any of the gunk (thermal transfer compound) from the top of the cpu or the bottom of the heatsink. Some just have foil tape or some other heat transfer method. At this point, take note of the orientation of the chip in the socket. It only fits in one position. There is likely a tiny gold or yellow triangle printed on one corner of the cpu and a triangle image on the socket. They match up. To be sure, maybe mark one corner of the cpu and socket with a felt-tip marker. To remove the cpu from it's socket, turn the screw on the socket counter clockwise to the 'unlock' position. The cpu should lift straight out with no force required. If not, lock and unlock the socket. Lift it straight away, not a hinging motion. There are more than fifty little gold plated pins under the cpu. Be careful not to bend any. Now, put it all back together (don't forget to lock the cpu back in the socket or the fan connector).

Dry-fit it all back together (no screws or as few as possible). Don't forget any main board connectors. DO NOT INSTALL THE HD OR OPTICAL DRIVES and see if it boots. If yes, insert the optical drive and try to boot to the xp cd. If good, put in the hd and try again.

If not, you might want to check with Acer on the cost of a replacement board if they still stock it. Here in Canada, Acer's low pricing on parts actually makes it worth replacing most of the time. You can also check on ebay.

Anyhow, let me know what happens :)




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