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  HP Pavilion dv6...

[14 November 2020] I acquired one of these 17" monstrosities*:

The problem is... it doesn't work (the picture is a stock photo c/o Google).

It powers on but doesn't POST, the screen remains blank. It is in otherwise good external condition.

Unlike the Acer all-in-one desktop I tackled recently that had similar symptoms and I replaced the BIOS chip in with no effect, these laptops tend to have issues with the graphics chip running too hot. I'm thinking the only course of action is to replace the motherboard, or just sell the laptop as faulty.

Interestingly, I discovered a snazzy little remote control tucked away in the side. As this features a Windows Media Center logo/button I'm thinking I will need to reinstall this laptop with the Windows 7 it came with rather than upgrading it to Windows 10 to make use of this.

Another stock photo

These laptops were certainly quite well equipped and this one feels far more premium than the new replacement I supplied to the previous owner. It features:

  • separate graphics chip (a plus back in the day)

  • VGA and HDMI sockets

  • audio in/out/mic sockets

  • expansion port

  • eSATA

  • more obvious power and HDD lights

  • the ability to scroll using the mouse pad

  • "SRS premium sound" / Altec Lansing speakers

  • a quality feel with glossy lid and glowing HP logo

  • easy access to hard drive, RAM, a CMOS battery, and user replaceable main battery

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[16 November 2020] I forgot to mention above that in addition to the main fault, the power socket is also problematic, or rather, it seems to be the socket rather than the plug; there is an LED built into the socket that flickers and goes dim when the plus is inserted/moved, indicating poor connection. The laptop powers up with the battery installed.

I have now dismantled the laptop and tested things further. I've even managed to get it to POST with one bank of RAM (although I had tried this while initially inspecting it). This model actually has 3GB of RAM and it is the 2GB module that seems most problematic, although functioning is still intermittent with the 1GB module. A lack of system speaker/POST beeps doesn't help, although there is a particular LED on the board that is providing me with some indication.

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[27 November 2020] I sourced a replacement power socket, although this was by no means straightforward since HP elected to use the same plugs (on each end of the associated cable) but wire them differently for different DV6/DV7 models (of which there are numerous 1000/2000/3000 permutations; this laptop being a DV6 2000 variant). Not only are the plugs wired differently, +/-, but the orientation of the cable (which can vary in length) as it leads from the power socket has various orientations (determining how it needs to route through the laptop to the mainboard)... and some sockets include an attached mounting bracket. #headache

Sadly, it turned out the above lead wasn't the issue but the plug on the power cord. I replaced the charger and the light on the socket no longer flickered.

The laptop still refuses to POST; that one time it did must have just been a fluke; the mainboard is faulty. I managed to find a replacement though...

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[04 December 2020] The replacement motherboard arrived today... wrapped directly in bubblewrap (gotta love it when people send things which are sensitive to static wrapped in this way), so I didn't have high-hopes for it.

Once connected it powered on, but wouldn't POST either.

Being different to my original the replacement flashes what I have now learned to be the Caps Lock light; mine does this only briefly (except for the one time it did power on for me). The replacement's LED does two flashes which I have determined means the BIOS is corrupt on the replacement board [link].

I wasn't completely certain a corrupt BIOS was this replacement board's only issue; whilst hunting around the board for the BIOS chip (which was being illusive) I spotted what appears to be water damage and a damaged area:

Notice the white streak to the right of the chip; this is reminiscent of what I discovered in my Kindle Fire. The bottom row of legs on that chip look problematic, or it's just an accumulation of dust; I then had to awaiting the seller's response before I attempt anything further...

In the meantime, could I find the BIOS chip on this board?


A clue is that the chip is normally located near the CMOS battery, which is on the left side of the board. There are two chips immediately next to this, however they appear to be related to (what I believe is) a power regulator and this whole section is mirrored above, again with two chips and a power regulator. I illustrate this below along with the nearest chip to the CMOS battery.

The other side of the board in this area has no such chips nearby. I remained at a loss...

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[05 February 2021] The seller failed to respond regarding the faulty mainboard I received and ebay had to step in. The seller instigated a refund but this failed to clear, and ebay had to be contacted again. Blah.

This project had sat on my "To Do" pile for too long so today I got on with it.

I first cleaned up that suspect area of the replacement mainboard with isopropyl alcohol and tested it again with no improvement. However I promptly saw where the BIOS chip had been hiding...

Yes, under a plastic cover in the area of the mousepad buttons! I immediately recognised the word "Winbond" on it referring to the type/make of BIOS.

Now I could proceed with my plan: to swap the BIOS chips over from the original mainboard (which I was convinced had a board fault somewhere), to the replacement board whose LED flashes were indicating a corrupt BIOS.

With some work later, first cleaning the areas on each board with isopropyl alcohol, brushing on liquid flux, and carefully desoldering the chips (taking my time here so as to not cause damage):

I then cleaned the solder pads and the area again, tinning the pads and soldering the swapped chips in their places (I put what I deemed to be the faulty BIOS chip on the faulty mainboard so that was at least complete), all whilst donning my magnifying spectacles, I got the job done...

Hey presto! the replacement board now works.

The original board remains non-functioning as expected. Either the replacement board was sent already faulty, or it developed the corrupt BIOS in transit from being wrapped in static-inducing bubblewrap.

I have reassembled the laptop and started it up as far as its Windows 7 logon screen (the previous owner having put a password on it).

I need to replace the hard drive and try Windows 10 on it to see if all the features of this laptop work, namely that snazzy little remote, otherwise I'll have to consider putting Windows 7 back on it instead. For now, I'm happy it's working this far!

[Update May 2021] The remote works... as far as volume control is concerned but it requires HP software for all of the functions and this I can't find to install on Windows 10. I still have access to the Windows 7 system, sadly the previous owner created recovery discs which I don't have and the system won't allow me to create another set, so I can only do a OEM install of either 7 (or 10). While I still quiet like this laptop as a piece of tech, it is quite loud. I'll probably sell it on, some time soon.

*[16 June 2021] I just came to list this laptop on ebay and when comparing other listings realised this laptop is only a 15 inch one, rather than a 17 inch! It's so hefty and with the keyboard featuring a numpad it had me fooled all this time!

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