For my next trick – I’ll need a tablet PC and a towel

A strange tale this time. On turning on a HP Touchsmart TX2 I was greeted by a blank screen with two small flashing white indicators on above the num lock key – the other to the left of the caps lock key. The power indicators were all on but no output on screen. Removing the battery and powering up on mains made no difference. Removing the battery and allowing the machine to completely drain charge – no difference.

I had remembered an issue in the past where over heating (ie the laptop not shutting down completely before being placed in a bag had caused screen corruption which had cleared after cooling the unit.  I was reasonable confident that the problem related in some way to overheating as these TX2 units run quite hot due to the size of the unit and the small fans in them. After researching if seemed that the problem was likely that some of the joints on the Ball Grid Array.

A ball grid array (BGA) is a type of surface-mount packaging used for integrated circuits. The BGA is descended from the pin grid array (PGA), which is a package with one face covered (or partly covered) with pins in a grid pattern.

The advice to cure the problem was more that a little bizarre. The idea is to overheat the unit to cause it to effectively melt the solder in the BGA and allow it to remake the connections. I’m not sure who actually came up with the idea and how many units they fried doing this but this works and heres how.

Warning – doing this could seriously damage your TX2 and is not recommended in any way. If you cannot afford to destroy the TX2 accidentally do not do this !!  I chose it as an option before starting to dismantle the unit to see what sort of repair might be required. You follow these instructions completely at your own risk !!! You have been warned.

Depending on how hot your unit is running (you could use a temperature meter to get an indication) you need to block the fan outlets on the right hand side for a period of time. For this I used a heavy bath towel wrapped around the machine. Turn the machine on with the mains power connected.

Do not under any circumstances leave the Tx2 unattended as this is a fire risk.

Checking the temperature every five minutes you should feel it getting uncomfortably hot. Once you do you should power off the unit and then power on to see if the POST is displayed. If so then power off and leave to cool. If not you will have to proceed with the overheating. Mine took about 30 minutes.

In my case the machine has behaved normally since this incident.