Got a call from a guy living in a mobile home park, who obviously depends on his laptop and mobile for communications. The laptop was switching on, all the lights were lighting up blue, but nothing was happening, no display, no booting sounds. After a couple of minutes, it would power down and up again. Did a few tests, jiggled a few connections, but no joy, so concluded it was a motherboard problem (hard drive problem would have shown something on the display, graphics card would have booted up OK). Told the customer, didn’t charge him, and suggested he take it to a laptop specialist.
This did not leave me or the customer satisfied, so I did some research on the internet. Apparently, a number of models of HP and Compaq laptops have a known fault with the BIOS fan controller on the motherboard, which causes the Nvidia video chip on the board to cook itself. There is a free repair service available in most countries for this apparently, where the motherboard is replaced, and presumably the BIOS upgraded. This was not immediately apparent anywhere on the net, only after reading several pages of a forum did I get to a useful entry explaining that in Canada there was such a scheme. If you go onto the local HP website, click on help and support, and then search or select the model of laptop, if it has an issue, a link appears prompting you to see if your laptop is eligible for a free repair. I let the customer know the relevant number to ring, hopefully he will be able to get some joy.