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tcerdman
Posts: 6
Member Since: ‎01-25-2011
Message 1 of 12 (1,169 Views)

pavilion zd7000 crashes daily w 2GB RAM, runs fine w just 1GB

[ Edited ]

I recently upgraded from 2x512MB RAM to 2x1GB RAM.  Following the upgrade, the computer crashes once or twice daily.  The crash is very distinctive ... the computer immediately loses all power.  Like turning off a light switch, it just goes off ... no BSOD or any other warnings.  Pressing the power button after this type of crash restarts the computer from a cold boot with a distinctively loud "click" noise (not sure what this is).  The crashes occur randomly, with no pattern based on my activity with the computer.  Usually I'm just surfing the web.

 

The two RAM SO-DIMM's are identical, both manufactured by Samsung.  I have run memtest on both, they are error-free.  Further, if I remove one of them and run the computer with just 1x1GB, the crashing issue goes away completely.   Either of the two SO-DIMM's will operate crash-free in isolation.  Together, once/twice daily power-off crashing.

 

Based on my old RAM configuration, I think I can rule out some kind of problem with the 2nd SO-DIMM slot.  Based on the tests of the new 1GB SO-DIMM's, I think I can rule out bad RAM.  I have upgraded BIOS to the latest version I can find on the HP website, but it doesn't seem to have helped.

 

OS Name    Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
Version    5.1.2600 Service Pack 3 Build 2600
OS Manufacturer    Microsoft Corporation
System Name    ERDMANPAVILION
System Manufacturer    Hewlett-Packard
System Model    Pavilion zd7000 (DU887AV#ABA)
System Type    X86-based PC
Processor    x86 Family 15 Model 2 Stepping 9 GenuineIntel ~3059 Mhz
BIOS Version/Date    Hewlett-Packard F.34, 7/12/2004
SMBIOS Version    2.31
Windows Directory    C:\WINDOWS
System Directory    C:\WINDOWS\system32
Boot Device    \Device\HarddiskVolume1
Locale    United States
Hardware Abstraction Layer    Version = "5.1.2600.5512 (xpsp.080413-2111)"

 

Any ideas?  Thanks very much.

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Intern
Al2
Posts: 45
Member Since: ‎10-04-2009
Message 2 of 12 (1,140 Views)

Re: pavilion zd7000 crashes daily w 2GB RAM, runs fine w just 1GB

[ Edited ]

Just brainstorming here in no particular order...   

 

  • Do both the BIOS and WIndows recognize the total amount of memory when on 2 GB?  
  • Are there any BIOS parameters that can be adjusted? (timing, delays)   If yes, the memory manufacturer may be able to provide help as to what parameter values are required.  
  • Try running a very long memtest (such as overnight) using for example Memtest86 on a bootable CD.  If nothing happens then your issue may be Windows/software related
  • Also look closely for any debris trapped in the memory slots that may cause an intermittent short-circuit.  Other than that, bad power regulating circuitry on the motherboard may be the culprit.

 

Top Student
tcerdman
Posts: 6
Member Since: ‎01-25-2011
Message 3 of 12 (1,077 Views)

Re: pavilion zd7000 crashes daily w 2GB RAM, runs fine w just 1GB

  • Do both the BIOS and WIndows recognize the total amount of memory when on 2 GB? 

Yes, both recognize 2GB.

 

  • Are there any BIOS parameters that can be adjusted?

I do not see any options within the BIOS menu's re RAM parameters.

 

  • Try running a very long memtest (such as overnight) using for example Memtest86 on a bootable CD.  If nothing happens then your issue may be Windows/software related

OK.  Created and ran Memtest86 from bootable CD (great idea, and great utility).  Unfortunately, I don't remember my exact sequence of steps using it, but the results went something like this:

  1. Ran with 1GB only for just a few minutes, with no problems.
  2. Added the other sodimm, and got an issue within 5 minutes -- a bunch of hexadecimal appeared on the screen.
  3. Tried again, and again got an "issue" within 5 minutes -- no hex this time, Memtest locked up (the clock stopped counting).
  4. Removed the 2nd sodimm, and let Memtest run overnight, no issues.
  5. Blew compressed air directly into the 2nd sodimm slot in an effort to remove any debris that might be causing a short.  Nothing visible came out during this.
  6. Added the 2nd sodimm, and let Memtest run overnight: surprisingly, no issues!  Started to believe that the air in the socket had cleared non-visible debris, or that perhaps the 2nd sodimm had not been seated properly.
  7. Used computer with 2GB for several days with no crashes ... until I got one yesterday.
  8. Ran Memtest overnight again last night, with no errors.

So, I was hopeful that it was resolved, but it appears to not be, and I'm unsure what to try next.  If I do have bad RAM, is it possible for it to fail only intermittently, and to sometimes pass a full 8+ hrs of Memtest86?



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Intern
Al2
Posts: 45
Member Since: ‎10-04-2009
Message 4 of 12 (1,061 Views)

Re: pavilion zd7000 crashes daily w 2GB RAM, runs fine w just 1GB

There is a chance conductive debris got inside the computer and is causing an intermittent short-circuit in the memory addressing circuitry (think of a small fragment of speaker wire, or a broken 0.5 mm or 0.3 mm pencil lead tip, they could easily get inside and cause trouble.)  Blowing air in the memory module slot may have displaced it temporarily.  

 

I suggest a complete disassembly and blowing compressed air on both sides of the main board, but insisting on all slots and the area surrounding every chip.  At a very minimum I would try blowing compressed air through all available air vents and openings, and any slots and connectors you can see.

 

As to your question, the one time I have seen intermittent memory failure was related to the chip temperature.  If the suggestion above does not fix the issue, try running Memtest after warming up the modules with a hair dryer, or after cooling them down with the canned air.  Also, if one of the modules is indeed deffective, Memtest will produce different error addresses when you swap the modules between the two slots.   

Top Student
tcerdman
Posts: 6
Member Since: ‎01-25-2011
Message 5 of 12 (917 Views)

Re: pavilion zd7000 crashes daily w 2GB RAM, runs fine w just 1GB

Bump

 

This problem is still dogging me.  Over the last couple months, I have been mostly running the laptop with just 1 GB.  For two weeks, I used SODIMM #1.  After that, swapped out for SODIMM #2, and ran with it for 2+ weeks.  During this testing period, the machine had no crashes whatsoever.  But as soon as I put them both in, it begins crashing at least once a day, per my previous descriptions.

 

> I suggest a complete disassembly and blowing compressed air on both sides of the main board,

> but insisting on all slots and the area surrounding every chip.

 

Finally got to this yesterday.  Completely disassembled laptop, including removing the heat sink and reapplying new thermal compound.  Removed every bit of dust, as much as possible.  To my dismay, the crashing continues with the full 2GB, even after this thorough cleansing.  And the memory passed another 8 hrs of Memtest86 last night, after the cleaning.

 

I am hoping someone, anyone, has another idea?  As of now, my current plan is to replace the SODIMM's to see if another pair can work well together (?), and failing that, I suppose it's time for a new laptop.  Probably won't be a HP though.

 

Intern
whizzy39
Posts: 41
Member Since: ‎10-07-2010
Message 6 of 12 (912 Views)

Re: pavilion zd7000 crashes daily w 2GB RAM, runs fine w just 1GB

Have you tried each SODIMM seperately?

 

Could be a faulty module, as you say if you can get hold of another matching pair of SODIMM'S and they work that will be your answer. HP use budget SODIMM's so would be worth investing in decent ones if this turns out to be the problem.

Intern
Intern
Al2
Posts: 45
Member Since: ‎10-04-2009
Message 7 of 12 (887 Views)

Re: pavilion zd7000 crashes daily w 2GB RAM, runs fine w just 1GB

The next likely suspect is the integrated Northbridge/graphics chip which may be an ATI or NVidia, both known to have thermal control and associated soldering issues (especially with the insufficient cooling many notebooks suffer from).  If you ever completely give up, but before purchasing a new computer, try to reflow this chip using a heat gun.  There are several videos on You tube showing how to do this.  

Teacher
floydefisher
Posts: 141
Member Since: ‎01-05-2009
Message 8 of 12 (885 Views)

Re: pavilion zd7000 crashes daily w 2GB RAM, runs fine w just 1GB

The symptoms you describe suggest this may also be a power supply issue.

 

Try replacing it and see what happens.

Top Student
tcerdman
Posts: 6
Member Since: ‎01-25-2011
Message 9 of 12 (826 Views)

Re: pavilion zd7000 crashes daily w 2GB RAM, runs fine w just 1GB

[ Edited ]

I have new clues, I need your new ideas ...

 

Recap:

  • Computer worked fine w 2 x 512k SODIMM's (leading me to believe that both RAM sockets are fine)
  • Upgraded to 2 x 1gb SODIMM's, and computer began randomly insta-power-off'ing (as if power was cut with no battery installed)
  • The new SODIMM's pass overnight tests with Memtest86 on this very same computer, both together and in isolation
  • With either SODIMM in isolation (that is, running w 1 x 1gb), the computer operates normally (leading me to believe that mobo, power supply, and the SODIMM's are all fine)

 

Steps taken:

  • Completely disassembled the computer, including removing heatsink and reapplying thermal compound, for very thorough cleaning ... no change to symptoms
  • Bought and installed a new battery, as the old was barely holding a charge anymore (as the zd7000 is a "desktop replacement", I use it plugged in at a desk >99% of time) ... no change to symptoms
  • Recently purchased a third SODIMM with specs matching the first two, on the theory that perhaps the first two SODIMM's just do not work well together (despite being identical) given that problems started with the two SODIMMS,  ... however, this third SODIMM passes all Memtests both in isolation and paired with either of the first two, yet there is still no change to the symptoms (leads me to believe that all SODIMM's are OK)

New clues:

  • I examined my Virtual Memory settings, and found my paging file set at a "Custom Size" of 1,536MB initial size and 3,072MB maximum size.  Info on the Internet suggests that these settings are too small for 2GB of RAM, so I changed the setting to "System managed size".  I was very hopeful that this would finally be the issue, but alas, no change in symptoms.  Also tried "no paging file", didn't work either, so went back to "system managed size".  I thought it odd that my paging file was configured with this custom setting, but it must have gotten that way when I ran some diagnostic/tune-up/registry-cleaner utility a few years back.
  • I have noticed that the computer never insta-power-off's when more-or-less "idle".  My normal usage pattern is to turn it on first thing in morning, and turn it off just before bed, so its powered on all day long, even when I'm not using it.  It never insta-power-offs when I'm not using it.  It also never does it when, say, I run Memtest overnight all night.  However, it can and does insta-power-off when I'm doing something as innocent as browsing and reading articles on the Internet.
  • Lastly, I have finally found something that repeatably and reliably causes the insta-power-off to occur.  I can open Picasa Version 3.8.0 (Build 117.43, 0) for Windows, and do several things in the app.  However, if I try "File -> Add Folder to Picasa ..." OR "Tools --> Folder Manager ...", the computer will insta-power-off either just before the dialog box appears, or 2 - 10 seconds after it appears.
  • The insta-power-off's leave no trace in Windows Event Viewer, even if I know its coming, as described when using Picasa above.

I'm really starting to suspect some kind of disconnect between some random setting in Windows and the computer with 2GB of RAM.  Most of the evidence above seems to establish innocence of most of the hardware, unless it's something like faulty BIOS (?) that is not copacetic with 2GB of RAM.  Do you agree?  Any new ideas on what to try next?

Top Student
tcerdman
Posts: 6
Member Since: ‎01-25-2011
Message 10 of 12 (822 Views)

Re: pavilion zd7000 crashes daily w 2GB RAM, runs fine w just 1GB

I just tried booting in Safe Mode with Networking.  Tried to crash it with Picasa as described above.  It worked!  No crash.  Rebooted Windows normally, and it again crashes in Picasa.  So symptoms are at least improved in Safe Mode, if not resolved.  This seems significant.  So, what do I do next?

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