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Alienware M17x R3 (released in 2011)

I opened my laptop lid to find strange marks that looked as though an interior piece of the laptop overheated and melted the exterior. The melted area is near the touchpad. The left click button was also affected - it doesnt click properly anymore.

I turned it on and immediately noticed that the area around the touchpad began to get hotter. I quickly turned off the laptop after touching the touchpad and noticing it begin to grow hotter (I didn't want to risk anymore damage).

I opened the laptop and looked at what was directly under the melted but I don't know what to make of it. Here are some pictures of the damage and what is underneath.

image1

image2

image 3

This last image is a picture of what is directly behind the touchpad. There is what looks to be a cable and a connector near the affected area. image 4

What could be causing this? What would I need to replace? Someone suggested to me that it might be the processor overheating because the laptop is 5 years old. However, the processor is not underneath the affected area, but the battery is. But when I removed the battery after quickly turning it off, the battery was not abnormally hot.

  • Woops! Yes, I'll do so now! – whatwhatwhat Jun 12 '16 at 5:29
  • @fixer1234 Added link to pics. – whatwhatwhat Jun 12 '16 at 5:33
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It's possible, looking at the pattern of the damage and the way it lines up with the wiring along the battery compartment's backplate, that the is an electrical short or something similar causing extreme heat generation in that location... That certainly appears to line up with the location of the damage, at least. If you could identify what parts those wires were connecting, that might reveal an answer.

  • Ok so there are 4 cables in image #3. The white (shown) and blue (under the white, hard to see) go to the left towards the speakers. The red (shown) and black (under the red, hard to see) go towards the DVD drive. There is also another set of speakers in front of the DVD drive, so one of those cables might go there. – whatwhatwhat Jun 12 '16 at 6:19
  • Is there a way I could test each of these components separately? – whatwhatwhat Jun 12 '16 at 6:20
  • I'd begin by disconnecting the lead for all four wires, to see if there's any difference in behaviour - a top down approach, essentially. If the problem still exists at that point, it's likely something else as then there would be no power to those wires. The blue and white wires appear to line up with the damage, though it's hard to determine. – NerdyCanuck Jun 12 '16 at 6:26
  • If that doesn't change anything, I'd try disconnecting the touchpad leads. It's basically just a way of narrowing down where to problem is, either by locating it or eliminating causes. – NerdyCanuck Jun 12 '16 at 6:27
  • So disconnect some parts and turn on the laptop? – whatwhatwhat Jun 12 '16 at 6:27

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