and Repairing Laptops, ISBN 0789728001, by
V. Kappel, February 2004, sende-mail
to the web site
are not fun to work on. They’re not
like desktop machines where there is at least some
symmetry to the interior layout of components. Laptops
are all different. Hard drive placement, battery placement,
DVD & CD-ROM drives and memory all vary in their
type, size and location from machine to machine. On
the other hand, no matter which laptop you've got (or
which one you have to service) the components are all
there, inside that tiny case, in some shape or form
somewhere. This is exactly why a reference book like
Upgrading and Repairing Laptops comes in handy.
900 page book with accompanying CD is a reference
book, an educational primer and a time
saver. This is true whether you’re a computer
repairman or a laptop owner looking to upgrade an
older machine with a larger hard drive or more memory.
As a former owner of a repair shop for a number of
years, I know the value of, and am a great believer
in, reference books of this type. They not only provide
you with information, but save you from costly mistakes
and lost time.
laptops having custom motherboards, many with proprietary
components, you might figure this
book would be a waste of money. You’d be wrong.
As a reference book, Upgrading and Repairing Laptops
is outstanding. There are chapters on processors,
memory, motherboards, power supplies, hard drives,
removable drives, graphics and sound, operating systems,
problem solving and troubleshooting.
a repair manual it does the best job it can in a general
but don’t expect it to show a lot about
the aforementioned machines loaded with proprietary componentry.
This book does show you how to take any laptop apart though
and the accompanying video on the CD helps make the instructions
much clearer and simpler. In fact, the hour long video
on the CD is alone worth the price of the book, especially
if you're considering throwing away that laptop with the
smashed screen that you dropped or ran over with your car.
Memory, hard drives, optical drives and other things can
often be salvaged from ruined machines and reused in case
of another similar emergency, especially if your replacement
laptop is the same or similar model.
This brand new 2004 copyrighted book is as up to date
as you can get today. The Key Vendor Contact Information
chapter provides the names, phone numbers, e-mail addresses
and web sites of computer manufacturers for nearly all
machines out there. This is a wonderful reference and time
saver all by itself.
you know your laptop can have up to three different types
The main battery, of course, that makes
it a portable, but also a suspend/standby battery and a
CMOS/clock battery. The first two batteries are rechargeable,
but the CMOS battery is not and may need replacement after
a while. Good to know? Right! It’s in the book.
of corollary benefit provided by the book is that it
will help you
better understand laptops when you go
out to buy one. What the internal components are, how they
work and can fail, what you may need to get the job done
and what you’re actually buying with your hard earned
money are all areas covered nicely in the book. It's yet
another example of a part of this book worth the $50 price
tag all by itself. I've listened to a few store salespeople
provide wrong answers to questions from the general public
wishing to buy their first laptop for themselves, their
children, or grandchildren. I think this book and Repairing
and Upgrading PC’s by the same author, should be
required reading for dunder-headed sales people. Upgrading
and Repairing PC’s by Scott Mueller, 14th Edition
(2003) is actually included in PDF format on the CD.
This book is not all honey and wonderful. The explanation
on how to open your memory access panel and upgrade your
memory is only a couple of pages in length. On the other
hand, the types of memory used in machines, how to identify
them, what they look like, and what you may need to purchase
takes up the other 30 pages in the chapter.
troubleshooting and repairing chapter of 40 pages is
of pages of Power On Self Test (POST)
beep codes and IBM POST error messages. There are a few
pages of questions and answers (on topics such as "My
speakers quit working" and "The keyboard doesn’t
work"). These are okay and a help, but there’s
not enough information about the relative value of all
the different diagnostic software available on the market.
Only two software diagnostic programs are recommended,
but with no in-depth explanation of their value. The product
web site addresses are given for further information
for and didn’t find some real down-to-earth
help until I watched the video. All of that information
was there on the CD-ROM. So, don’t buy the book used,
even if you can find one, without the CD.
teeny-tiny screws used in laptops can be of different
types. When you take a laptop apart, pay attention
to where the screws came from (around the edge of the bottom
case), how long they are and put them in separate, well
marked little plastic storage boxes. The video suggests
paper cups, but I’ve had paper cups fall over much
too easily. A magnetic tipped screwdriver can be a great
help here as well, again as the video suggests, and a power
screwdriver also makes things easier.
next two tips I looked for and didn’t find,
but I include them here as examples:
often find the inside shields soldered together as part
of the grounding
system of the machine and a temperature
controlled soldering iron, or at least something other
than a blowtorch-sized gun, is a great help. The machine
they disassembled in the video did not have any solder
connections, but many I’ve taken apart do, especially
older ones. A soldering iron wasn’t mentioned for
disassembly. The book does discuss the importance of getting
a repair manual for your laptop. Unfortunately manuals
are not always available and the book doesn't say much
about how to work without a manual. Here’s a suggestion
I would have included. Work slowly and carefully and diagram
and mark where things come from especially if you have
to order a part from the manufacturer. In fact, if you
have a good digital camera, a few stored pictures can be
a real help when a few weeks later you need to put the
machine and all its short little ribbon cables and plugs
back together again. Perhaps we’ll see more of this
type of information in future editions. In the meantime,
its absence doesn’t take away from the value of this
first edition book or the CD-ROM.
I no longer own that repair shop, but I still love to
pick up a good deal on a used older portable computer and
upgrade them and give them away to college bound family
members and friends as gifts. I did that three times last
year alone and was examining a couple of other laptops
to purchase just yesterday. It keeps my skills and knowledge
up and makes for wonderful and surprising gifts.
I’m thrilled to see Scott Mueller
put together in one volume and disk all this information
and knowledge about laptops. I know I will find it a great
help in my dalliances with laptops and, if you have the
need, I certainly recommend this book to you as well.
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