Question about fried HP computer

Discussion in 'Computers' started by David Norman, Aug 5, 2006.

  1. David Norman

    David Norman Producer
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    I have a question about a computer from someone I work with.

    She bought an HP computer from Best Buy with a debit card about 6-8 weeks ago for $500 more or less. I don't know the exact model to be honest though I've asked for the information.

    After a few weeks, house struck by lightning and fried new computer attached to a 3-4 year old Belkin surge protecter (I'm guessing a strip rather than UPS).

    Geek Squad at BB said it fried the MB and modem and would cost $1100 to fix. She obviously isn't going to spend 1000+ to fix a $500 computer regardless. I have built several computers and could help her out by doing the labor for free assuming CPU, memory, DVD drive etc are OK. Lightning damage apparentlynot covered by normal warranty.

    1) I think I'm right in thinking that warranty do not cover lightning.

    2) Do debit cards as a rule have any sort of warranty protection like some CC do?

    3) I think most Belkin products have a attached product 25K (or similar protection). Anybody know how hard it is to get Belkin to cover such a claim or is that a long shot at best.

    4) Are HP computers, motherboards, power supplys proprietary in any way or is it possible that I could replace it for a fraction of the price of what BB is quoting while using all the other HP parts. If I could do it for $100-150 in parts it would be very helpful to her since investing another $500 isn't going to be easy.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Tekara

    Tekara Supporting Actor

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    First up, I wouldn't trust geek squad for anything, they don't exactly have the tightest of hiring qualifications. Most of the ones in the best buy I shop at are just high schoolers that have some interest in computers.

    You should be able to RMA the parts under warranty, I've been able to rma sereval parts that I had personally damaged and a couple others that were out of warranty. Basically most companies aren't that bothered by replacing a component, since they usually send you back something that was used for testing. So returning the parts to the original manufacturer would be my first plan.

    It's hit or miss on proprietary parts, you usually only run into that with desktop cases (sit horizontally on the desk). But there really isn't any way of knowing off hand.

    For what's damaged I would first try powering the computer with a different Powersupply. That is the first device that's likely to be damaged by a power spike. Then after that I would test the other components (video card?, memory, hard drives, etc) in another computer if possible. It's unlikely everything died, so testing parts out to find what did die will cut down on a lot of the guess work.

    Best of luck!
     
  3. David Norman

    David Norman Producer
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    I agree on the Geek Squad stuff and have already mentioned that as a possilbity.

    The Power Supply was my first hope -- I know most PS have at least a basic surge protection already built and that's certainly a simple fix. I just have to convince her to get the computer back from BB for my to mess with. Her last computer was infested with viruses and spyware by everything she told me, but never could get it to test/repair. It was several years old anyway so a new computer certainly wasn't unreasonable.

    Right now I'm at a loss on most details (chips, brand CPU, etc) other than the mechanism of damage. Sounds like modem/MB wouldn't be an unreasonable idea though the $$ for repair is certainly ridiculous at least on the parts side.
     
  4. Rommel_L

    Rommel_L Second Unit

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    First things to do:
    It's not about how difficult it's going to be but call anyway.... Call the debit card bank and the surge protector company, it doesn't hurt to inquire.
     
  5. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    The HP PSU is in a lot of cases a half-width PSU (open it up and see how "deep" the PSU, you should notice right off the bat if it only looks from the back of the case if it extends so far) you can still get those PSUs (MicroATX) in a lot of places fairly cheap:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817104016

    The rest is actually all standard. The MB in most current HP is an Asus, as that's who HP has a contract with right now. Occassionally you run into an MSI, but it's mostly Asus boards in HP boxes with HP branded BIOS of course.

    If it was lightening struck, pull the Modem also and consider it toast whether you know for sure or not. Modems, being connected to another outside power (phone line) have a tendency to get zapped in a storm and replacing them is very cheap ($8 or so)
     
  6. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    You should check what the strip is rated for. Some of the cheaper ones aren't meant to handle computer systems.
     
  7. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    What's the current status of the PC? will it boot at all or is it completely dead? My mothers PC got hit a month or so ago and it still boots but the surge came down the phone line and took out the modem and PCI bus on the motherboard. I just built her a new tower to replace it as it was older but if we wanted a serial or USB modem would have worked to get it back online as there isn't anything else on the PCI bus. Still in your friends case given the age of the unit I'd likely just buy a new tower, motherboard and start swapping over components...but remember that if you do that you're likely going to be the "go to" guy for any future issues and that cost wise a dell tower with a few coupons will likely work out to about the same price depending on what else the power surge took out.
     
  8. David Norman

    David Norman Producer
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    Thanks Chris that's what I'm hoping for. I'll have to get all the parts numbers and specifics of what kind of Belkin product it is.

    Asus or MSI I can handle. I've built/assembled a couple computers with Asus, 1 with MSI, and 1 with Gigabyte-- that part is not too bad. Always found loading all the software was the biggest pain.


    Andrew --
    That part I don't know. We had discussed her buying a computer for 6 months before she bought it. She told me after I got back from my vacation that it had been hit and they had already taken it to BB for a repair 'estimate.' Last I heard the computer was still on BB's workbench so I've never laid eyes on it.

    I've told them about buying a new unit might be a wash as far as cost, but if it's purely a MB/modem and she can get it for 100 or so it would help tremendously since she works full time and is going to school. I'm not sure what her hubby does, but I'm pretty sure a $500 hit for them would be ugly.

    I'm pretty much the go-to guy in the office for most computer stuff anyway -particularly their home computers. Pretty low tech IQ among most of the office. I get to assemble, attach, and hook up most of the new printers, fax machine, printers, etc. There is an IT dept, but they are an hour away and often several days so I'm next on the totem poll as the Amateur computer geek. Luckily mostly questions about email screwups, buying new computers, occasionally a networking question, occasionally a virus question which aren't too hard to anwer without physically having the computers.
     
  9. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    Good luck. HP often hides the model # under stickers, but you can generally find it, do a google and it will turn you up a manufacturer. Generally, if you can forget the manufacturer and match the chipset (ie, if it's an Intel chipset, match with Intel Chipset, Via/Via, Nvidia/Nvidia, SIS/SIS). You'll save yourself some hastle. Most HP cases are MicroATX boards (1 AGP/PCI-E, 3 PCI) so that's what you have to chose from if you want to use the same case. Or, if not, just grab a cheap case, pull out all the drives, memory, etc. from that box and move it over [​IMG]
     
  10. David Norman

    David Norman Producer
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    2 months later I finally got this from Best Buy to check things out.

    Turned out to be an Emachines instead of HP. Best Buy apparently shipped it to Emachines who diagnosed it as a fried MB and Modem and apparently quoted $1000 to fix a $400 purchase. BB did charge $25 shipping I guess since there was no way to OK them to repair it. I figured at worst to salvage the HDD and DVD burner.

    Replaced PS with an Enermax I had on hand hoping they just missed something simple -- Nope.

    FIC motherboard with Sempron 3200 wouldn't post, no beep codes, nothing.
    Modem had a blown out chip-- pretty impressive actually.

    Picked up a Gigabyte MB at CompUSA for $60 transferred the CPU and HDD and sure enough booted without a problem except of course the EMAchines preloaded WinXP requested a Activation Code or it wouldn't let you do anything. I'd read a lot of forums online about EM's policy and figured no way I'd be able to reactivate the onboard Windows and sure enough the listed Activation code on the restore disk wouldn't allow me beyond the screen and I thought I'd have to end up spending another $100 to get a WinXP license. The sticker on the back of the machine had a different code than the Restore disk so I punched that one in figuring it would deny that too with the non EM MB, but much to my surprise it activated and everthing was working fine though it had all the EM preloaded software and drivers online. Loaded the GB drivers off the website, replaced the modem with a $10 Dell same/similar model and it was off and running.

    Total cost was $90 for what actually turned out to be a pretty nice basic machine considering the Emachines reputation for cheapness. Convinced her to get a UPS instead of a surge strip for future storms. I get to be the hero for a while at least. What a kick in the old ego -- felt like doing an End Zone dance when that sucker booted up at the end.

    Thanks for the help.
     
  11. PhillJones

    PhillJones Second Unit

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    Good idea anyway but it probably wouldn't have saved the machine. There's not a lot you can do about many lightning strikes, they have a tendancy to come in on all three pins and so there's no place to dump the extra current.

    A whole house unit is the only decent defence.

    http://www.lightningrodparts.com/surge.html
     
  12. David Norman

    David Norman Producer
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    I agree on direct Lightning, but it should help for the near stuff. I'm guessing this one may have come in on the phone line instead of directly on the power since the power supply survived unscatched and I don't think anything else in the house got blown up including the LCD/monitor.

    They live on a farm with some fairly old wiring from the sound of it. If nothing else the UPS should filter the power and the APC insurance should give them a bit of peace of mind for twenty dollars.
     

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