Buyer's Guide

What Causes a Laptop to Short Circuit?

What Causes a Laptop to Short Circuit?

Any physical or electrical damage can cause a short circuit in your laptop. There are many examples of these damages which causes your laptop to get a short circuit. There are many such issues that your laptop face sometimes in its lifetime because of your negligence or mistaken misuse. By the way, there is no need to get worried at all.

A complete guide will be shared with you here and you will get to know which things can be the reason of your laptop short circuit and how you can fix those problems.

What Causes a Laptop to Short Circuit?

There are many causes of short circuit which are going to be described here. A short circuit consumes all of the power in a laptop and it turns off immediately. Let’s jump directly into the reasons causing a short circuit.

Spilled liquid

If your laptop is got exposed to a small quantity of liquid, then it is repaired able. Otherwise, it is in trouble. If the water has entered inside of your laptop through keys or ports, it can definitely cause a short circuit.

It means as soon as water enters inside of your laptop, the short circuit will occur in any part of the motherboard which are the resistors and capacitors belonging to connection to different parts of your laptop. It will immediately drain all the power in your laptop and turn it off.

In this case, you should unplug the devices or charger connected to your laptop very carefully. Caution: Be careful while unplugging the charger or any other device when short circuit attacks your laptop. Be aware, stay away from the laptop and unplug it immediately when a strong smell (burning smell) is coming from your laptop.

There might be a short circuit due to wet liquid but if the liquid is immediately vaporizable then the problem is less. This problem goes away as soon as the liquid evaporates. Short circuit may be due to corrosion inside your laptop because of strong beverages with soda like Pepsi or Coke.

It may be due to the dried liquid residue. Or maybe the electronic components are damaged because of the liquid which promotes short circuit conditions.

How to fix it?

When there is a liquid spilled over your laptop, then immediately shut down it and turn your laptop upside down. This will help you remove the liquid from laptop quickly. But you don’t have to do this thing only. You also have to remove the laptop’s battery immediately and allow it to dry.

Leave your laptop for overnight to let it dry and don’t plug in or open it during its resting and drying time. Leave your laptop in a dry place and you can turn on the fan also to help it in drying or blow a normal temperature air.

Caution: Do not leave your laptop to dry in a humid area because it would be completely insane. Keep it in a completely dry and airy place. That area shouldn’t be hot nor humid. It should be a normal room temperature.

What if liquid spill condition really worsens?

If the liquid spill condition gets really worse and water goes to your motherboard then immediately follow these steps.

  • Immediately turn off your laptop and unplug it from all of the devices, charger everything very carefully.
  • Now, open your laptop and quickly put a soft absorbing cloth on a motherboard if the liquid is on it.
  • Insert a precision flat blade screwdriver in the corner of the plastic plate which covers the power button. Lift this plate carefully from your laptop.
  • If the liquid is evaporable immediately than just applying the cloth on it and absorbing the slight liquid can help your laptop to work again.
  • Whatever the liquid is, clean it from motherboard immediately and clean the remaining liquid by dabbing it with a soft cloth which is dipped in 99% of the isopropyl alcohol.
  • Leave it for overnight and after that plug in the charger and open it the problem will be definitely solved.

Clogged fans and overheating

Sometimes the clogged fans also a short circuit and we don’t even understand the reason often. When the fans get clogged, the power gets overloaded in the adapter, the battery gets overheated, the processor also overheats and pushes the power button.

The Windows immediately send message to BIOS to lose the wires, especially the wire cord and it results in an intermittent short circuit. This condition also happens when the fan is broken or clogged by some broken piece inside your laptop. Or maybe the dust or dirt clogging the laptop fans. Or maybe the barrier causing clogging can be any other thing in your case.

By the way, all of this results in overheating and causes short circuit but the solution is the same.

How to fix it?

The solution for this issue is to keep your laptop cool. Now, this doesn’t mean to put your laptop in an air-conditioned room, lol. This means that you need to check the proper functioning in your laptop. Most of the times, these kind of problems are sending the notifications or better to use the word signals, which we kept ignoring.

Like if some plastic piece or something else is clogging your laptop then, it would make some strange noises or immediately turns on and off or doing these kinds of strange things that we mostly ignore. If your laptop is getting overheated than you must understand that there is something wrong inside.

If your laptop is clogged with dust then it will make fewer noises which you can guess if you keep your mind open regarding your fan normal noise. Then, when the noise gets changed, you would immediately get to know to pick up that there is anything wrong with my laptop fan.

In order to prevent any short circuit, before letting the things to get worst, keep the laptop processor, battery and everything cool from inside. The only solution to so much overheat to cause a short circuit, prevent the hot air to accumulate in your laptop. Open your laptop from below and clean up the fans. You can also buy a laptop cooling pad to avoid overheating.

Remove the barrier stopping the fan and blow air to remove the dust. Use an ear stick to clean the congested places where dirt is stacked. Now, clean the exhaust ports and vents completely so that the hot air may not get accumulated in your laptop and remove from that escape area easily. After that close attach the laptop back again and tight all of the bolts it has. You are done now.

Caution: After completing your work don’t forget to tighten the bolts of laptop’s back.

Issues in laptop power supply

If there is an issue in laptop power supply it can be the reason for the short circuit too. Check the power supply by plugging it into the wall of the outlet. It the adapter light is on then it means that a normal current supply it reaching to the adapter and cable and it will finally charge your laptop.

But if the adapter light doesn’t turn on even if the power source is okay and current is flowing smoothly, then this is an indication that there might be something wrong with the adapter cable. In this case, the power cable should not be connected with the laptop just the adapter should be connected with the wall of an outlet.

Laptop’s adapter LED light indicates that the current is passing through the adapter or not. If the light is not turning on then first check for another outlet. If still there is no current coming to your adapter and adapter’s LED light is not ON, then it means that the surge protector in the cable is burnt. You might feel the burning smell.

How to fix it?

For fixing this issue, you can buy a new adapter for your laptop. Otherwise, it can cause a short circuit in your laptop. Because you know that a burnt cable can’t provide enough or proper current in your laptop and it can cause damage also like a short circuit. So if you are facing this situation then buy a laptop charger now.

Hardware devices causing a short circuit

A short circuit can also be caused by defective hardware devices. Like if the  USB, DVD, CD or a DVD player hard drive is defective, it can cause a short circuit. Because these devices may have the virus in them that can affect the circuit system of your laptop and can cause a short circuit.

How to fix it?

Remove the defective devices from your laptop immediately. Your laptop would also give an indication of a virus attack. Remove the defective CD, DVD, ROM, battery or any other device connected with your laptop to prevent short circuit. Never download the broken or spam files from such devices.

Extremely High voltage

An extremely high voltage can damage the adapter of the laptop and ultimately an extremely high current runs in your laptop which causes it to short circuit. A high laptop can cause errors in the laptop processor and damage it badly. A high voltage may be due to electricity issues in power source.

A high voltage can badly damage your laptop. It affects the circuit of your laptop. The resistance of current in the laptop circuit decreases and a large number of current flows in your laptop and ultimately a short circuit happens.

How to fix it?

In order to fix this issue, test the output voltages. You have to put the positive pin inside the cable power connector that inserts in the laptop. Now, put the negative pin on outside of the cable connector. Check out the digital display to see the reading.

Test that the output reading is corrected by the recommended output levels. Replace the power cable if the voltage output is carrying the large variability.

Extremely Lower voltage

If the improper current is passing through the power supply it can cause a short circuit in your laptop. A laptop needs a proper amount of current for charging. If a proper amount of current is not passing through a laptop or if the voltage is continuously going up and down then it will definitely cause a short circuit in your laptop.

How to fix it?

By replacing the power supply you can protect your laptop from a short circuit.

How to Check Laptop Motherboard with Multimeter?

Checking your laptop’s motherboard is very easy. It has different resistors and capacitors and chips and coil on it, for the various parts of your laptop. For checking the motherboard for troubleshooting for the short circuit issue, you can follow these simple steps.

First of all, remove the battery of your laptop. Then open the bottom bolts of your laptop to have access to the motherboard. Now, it’s time to check the motherboard to find out the site of a short circuit. Take the multimeter or voltmeter for checking the motherboard and getting the reading.

The motherboard has the coils, capacitors and all the stuff like this represents the voltage source. To find a short circuit in the motherboard, you will hold the two wires of the motherboard; one of which is ground and one is the checking wire.

Connect the ground wire with the ground part of the motherboard and the other wire on the other coils and capacitors one by one. Keep checking the readings on the multimeter. If the reading is zero somewhere, this means that there is a short circuit in that part.

If the reading is above than 0 and 1.5 it means that that there is no problem in that part but as soon as you get the reading of zero or 1 from anywhere in coil or capacitors, then it means that there is a short circuit in that part. Now, you can also clean the area around your motherboard to avoid the overheating problem.

A more advanced multimeter will also beep along with the zero or short circuit readings. Now, I have explained to you completely that how can you check a laptop using a multimeter. If you have more know-how about fixing the short-circuited laptop fixing, then you can fix it.

Like you can fix a new capacitor or any coil which is short-circuited.  You can also use a microscope to see the mini chips and coils on your laptop’s motherboard. After that, you can open your laptop and check it that either it is okay now or not.

Tips to prevent a short circuit in the laptop

As you have read the proverb that prevention is better than cure so that’s why here are some of the short circuit preventive strategies for your laptop.

Here they are;

  • Avoid the use of liquids near your laptop.
  • Don’t eat and drink near your laptop and keep the liquid filled cups, mugs away from your laptop table.
  • Use a motherboard protector so that if any liquid or something comes over the motherboard it could prevent the short circuit to occur.
  • A laptop should be used in normal room temperature, don’t keep it in a high-temperature environment.
  • Make it sure the electricity supply from the power source is in its normal range otherwise high and continuous up and low voltages can definitely damage the adapter and ultimately your laptop.
  • You should attach the hardware devices only when you are assured that they are free from the virus. You can also install anti-virus software as a precaution.
  • A laptop should be treated carefully, any damage to its hardware can definitely cause problems. Like, try to keep it safe from hits by hard objects, drops, and falls.
  • The adapter and charging cable should also be kept away from liquids.

Final words

I have covered each and everything in this topic so read it carefully and prevent your laptop from the short circuit from now. Or if your laptop is already faced this condition than read the solutions for fixing the issues. I hope you will find this guide helpful.

Good luck.

Team – Why Laptops

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