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I'm looking at a laptop for a friend of mine. It's a Dell Inspiron 1420 running Vista.

He recently spilled something on it, instantly killed the power, disassembled it, dried the parts, waited a few days, and put it back together. Whilst he is good with parts and tools, he has no applicable computer experience. It wouldn't start for him.

Now, more precisely, when you turn on the power, it all whirs up, not a blip on the screen, and after about 20-30 seconds it just powers off. I figure it's a bad connection / piece / missing something, but was wondering if there was any particular piece I should be looking for before I go in.

I can pull out the hard drive and boot into Windows on another computer, so that at least isn't dead. And this wouldn't be the first time I dive into a laptop, but I'd rather have a goal to look for, then just checking every component.

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The first thing I would do is to visually inspect the mainboard and look for anything that has been burnt or for any blown capacitors. Chances are that the board itself will need to be replaced, but if you are capable and it is only a capacitor, sometimes those can be removed and replaced easily. –  MaQleod Sep 4 '11 at 17:58

1 Answer 1

Unfortunately, there's a short in something on the motherboard. Some circuitry to prevent damage to the machine is kicking in and turning it off after 20-30 seconds.

I'm afraid the only fix is to replace the failed component, and likely a trip to an authorized dealer will be required.

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