I’m currently chatting with one of Hewlett-Packard’s online technicians about the failure of my husband’s Pavilion dv6125se notebook. This is the second time that I’ve had to deal with Hewlett-Packard’s technicians in the past year; the first time was when my notebook, a Pavilion dv2000z CTO, experienced an identical failure.
So how can you tell if your Hewlett-Packard notebook’s motherboard is likely to fail? The first thing that I recommend is contacting your local Best Buy and requesting a list of the Hewlett-Packard and Compaq models with known motherboard issues. Any of their Geek Squad technicians should be able to print that list for you. You can also try searching for your notebook’s model through your favorite search engine.
Once you have the list of affected models, check to see if your part number is listed. All Hewlett-Packard notebooks have their part numbers listed on service tags on their bottoms; the line that begins with p/n gives you your part number. Don’t worry if your part number seems to contain extra digits; if it contains a pound sign (#), ignore everything that comes afterwards.
If your notebook’s product number matches one of the product numbers on the list, you probably have a faulty motherboard. At this point, you have a couple of options. First, you can take preemptive steps to ensure that you don’t have to deal with a motherboard failure, and replace the motherboard. However, you may have to pay for the replacement, since the parts are not considered faulty until they actually fail.
The second option you have is to simply wait for something to go wrong. The problems with both of ours started with the notebooks’ integrated wireless LANs. The notebooks had occasional difficulty finding our home wireless network; we could be sitting directly on top of the router, yet it would not be able to find the network. Sometimes rebooting the wireless router could fix the problem. Other times, we’d have to reboot the notebook to get it to find the LAN.
Not long after that started, the wireless LAN in both simply vanished from the Device Manager. It was as though there was no wireless card installed at all. With my notebook, we were able to fix it a few times by reinstalling the operating system, but that was a temporary fix. According to threads on Hewlett-Packard’s forums, this is a very common initial sign of impending motherboard failure. If your system is still under warranty, send it in to Hewlett-Packard for repairs at this point, and tell them you believe it is a faulty motherboard as yours is on the list of affected models. Their technicians will verify the information, then make arrangements to send you a box to return your notebook to HP in.
If your warranty has expired, however, you may have to wait if you do not want to pay for repairs. There are certain symptoms of motherboard failure that will be covered at no cost to you, but they must be present in order for you to qualify for a free replacement. Among these symptoms are problems with the notebook charging (the notebook may not charge at all, or the LCD light may not indicate that it is plugged in when it is) and problems with the notebook’s LCD screen displaying no image. These symptoms can show up suddenly, so if you are experiencing trouble with your notebook’s wireless LAN make sure to create a full backup of all of your files.
After or more of these symptoms appear, you can contact Hewlett-Packard and make arrangements to ship the notebook to them for repairs. You can also choose to go with a third-party repair service; however, reimbursement for repairs performed by an authorized service provider is not guaranteed.