Join Date: Sep 2005
Problems with a Sharp Actius MM10
Computer: Sharp Actius MM10 running WinXP Home Edition SP2
256 MB RAM
Transmeta Crusoe TM5800 CPU
This is a little long, because it is a complex problem. Apologies ahead of time, but I would REALLY APPRECIATE some advice.
Two years ago, I purchased a Sharp Actius MM10 ultra-light notebook computer. As a birthday present, my dad compensated me for the cost of the laptop, and additionally bought me a 3-year service contract with MicroMedics.
Almost immediately after I got the computer, it started exhibiting some very peculiar problems.
1. At seemingly random intervals, the hard drive would spin down, power up, spin down, and continue this cycle indefinitely until Windows bluescreened. This frequently happened in the middle of saving files, playing games or starting up applications. This was by far the most irritating problem.
2. Occasionally, the audio output would "play at hyperspeed"--all wave-out sound, including streaming video sound, mp3s, WAVs, DirectSound--anything, would play at doublespeed; also seemingly at random intervals.
I'm no computer genius...but I am A+ certified and I know how to troubleshoot. I turned off all unnecessary programs. I ran Ad-Aware, Spybot and HiJack This. I played with various windows settings, including the power options, startup applications and services in MSCONFIG, and tried restoring the computer to its original configuration using the restore CDs that came with it. Nothing I did from a software standpoint seemed to fix the problem--and the problem was not limited to Windows. It could occur before Windows even began to load, causing the laptop to display an "OPERATING SYSTEM NOT FOUND" message moments after the computer posted. But, once again, all of this was intermitent, and I could not find a way to reliably reproduce it.
I suspected it was a hardware, rather than a software problem. I started testing theories--keeping the laptop on a cool surface to assure it was not overheating, making sure I was grounded before touching the computer. I finally discovered that when the computer started locking up and the hard drive started spinning down, it could be prevented from bluescreening if I lightly shook or tapped the computer over the hard drive; the computer would stop its hard drive power down/up cycle and continue to function normally until it got stuck in the loop again. Each and every time, the same solution would temporarily fix the problem.
Obviously, hitting or shaking the computer to get it to work is not an acceptable solution. I called Micromedics and jousted with them for 3 hours to try and get them to agree to service my computer, but since I couldn't recreate the problem on command over the phone, they refused. So I kept the computer, putting up with the annoyance, until, predictably, one day it refused to boot at all and I was unable to restore Windows from the CDs due to a complete hard drive failure.
Since the computer was completely fired, I was allowed to send it in to be repaired. The hard drive was replaced and the computer sent back to me. However, the exact same problem persisted, and two months later, the hard drive failed again.
I have been through this three times now--three times, the hard drive has failed and three times, I've sent it off and had it returned with a new hard drive, but the same problem. I cannot seem to explain to Micromedics that the problem is not the hard drive itself, but apparently something wrong with the system board itself. I have Googled for this problem all over the Internet, and found nothi8ng remotely like it with any other laptop, much less the Actius MM10, so it does not seem to be a design flaw in the model itself, rather I have a defective unit that needs to be replaced.
I do not have the money to replace this computer, but I need the laptop for my work. In its current, unreliable condition, it is useless to me.
So, my two main questions:
1. Is there anything else I should try? I have done everything I know how to try and reliably recreate these problems on-demand, but I haven't been able to, and that's the main reason I can't have it fixed. Has anyone encountered this sort of problem before?
2. Does anyone know of someone else who services Sharp laptops? I might be able to pay someone else for a service contract if it's reasonable and the actual service is worth its salt...otherwise, I've dumped $1,500 down the drain.
Apologies if this kind of question is inappropriate for this forum, but I wasn't sure where else to post it.