powersurge and graphics card failure

  lorrainehardy 18:19 09 Jan 2010

My son's laptop has been diagnosed as the graphics card failing due to overheating - possibly due to a power surge. This has happened just after buying a replacement power adaptor. It wasn't a genuine part but sold as being a suitable replacement for the laptop in question. He had been using the power adaptor but it stopped working about a week after we had it and after tripping all the sockets. What I want to know is can I identify the source of the power surge? The shop that has looked at it says it isn't possible to tell wether the laptop caused the fault or the adaptor - but given that the laptop is only 15months old and the adaptor was sold as suitable I don't know where to turn but am reluctant to just say so what.

  DieSse 19:40 09 Jan 2010

"-possibly due to a power surge." and possibly not I presume. I would not have expected a "power surge" to cause a chip to overheat. (besides - who said it overheated - how was that specific failure diagnosed?)

Recently I had a laptop to look at - symptoms were those of a graphics chip failure - when I opened the laptop up to look, the fan for the graphics chip had never been plugged in!!

Whatever it actually was - I think a laptop graphics chip should not fail after 15 months, and should be repairable/replaced under warranty.

  OTT_Buzzard 21:34 09 Jan 2010

If you have, or can get hold of, a multimeter, you can easily measure the new power adaptors output voltage. That will tell you if it is overvolting.

A one off power surge, as DieSse has said, is unlikely to have caused heat damage to the graphics processor, and if it did, then the rest of the system would also have suffered. Badly.

I would take the laptop to another place for diagnosis. Don't tell them about the new power adaptor.

If it was the new power adpator that has caused the damage then you could be in a tricky place to get the costs of repairing the laptop covered. The laptop manufacurer will only warranty it if authorised parts have been used. By the sounds of what you've said, the new power adaptor wasn't an authorised part.

  ame 22:07 09 Jan 2010

What make of laptop and adapter are they? Who diagnosed this? Can a power surge like this be caused by a mains adapter, and, if so, why would this trip "all the sockets?" Surely any fault with the pc/adapter would only trip the sockets on that circuit of the house ring main - not all sockets. Is that not normally caused by a live to earth fault in an appliance causing large current through fuse/trip - not a power surge? If the adapter is faulty (check output voltage going through laptop connector with multimeter as recommended by OTT_Buzzard - you can probably borrow one) would it not damage more of the laptop mainboard? Seems odd, but if the adapter has shorted internally, take care.

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