I have been victim of a horrendous accident in which the power-on button of my laptop broke to never work again. For a week, I kept beside my desktop computer, to hack and hack Mesiga as I haven't for a long time. Yesterday, I went to the capital to connect to the Internet, inform the Wesnoth project of my situation, and find information about the official technical support offices for my laptop's brand in Chile. (If you're curious, it is an Acer Aspire 5050, and certainly not a choice I liked, but it was a birthday present and I couldn't reject it.)
So, I found a single location at Ñuñoa, Santago. Went there. Talked to the... salesperson. The deal was unacceptable.
The laptop has three hardware problems (known to me) at the moment: pinkish LCD at the middle, non-functional touchpad keys and, oh, the power button that sank like the first ship destroyed by the Kracken on Pirates of the Caribbean II (and this is not a metaphor). The support service would not let me decide what to repair, and they would examine the computer by themselves within a period of 4 work days, and then get me a nice report of what should be fixed and at what price. I managed to convince the man to spit the usual price for repairing the issues I'm aware of, in particular. It was beyond my possibilities. He told me that the other option was to buy the components myself and get someone to replace them.
To hell with them! How can there be a way such laptop components (the display, power button and touchpad parts) can be distributed in the same fashion as their desktop counterparts, and still make profit with that? I mean, WE ALL KNOW that every laptop model has completely different shape and size; worse if we put every manufacturer in the game. There are generic laptops that can be built from scratch with generic components, but if I owned one of these I'd not be coming to your damn offices in the first place!
So, knowing that there is no commercial solution for me, I decided to try and disassemble the laptop.
I removed the panel above the keyboard, and got access to the mechanism of the sunken button. Examining it in detail, there is a push-button below the plastic thing I usually press, just connected to the circuit below. However, that push-button didn't work. So the breakage affected more parts than I suspected, oh great...
Around 2:00 AM, I was examining the board with a non-conductor artifact, namely the remainings of an ink pen's external plastic tube, and while searching for clues as to where was the LED which illuminates when the power is on, I slipped my fingers and accidentally touched (rather impacted) a component which I didn't see, causing the computer to turn on, and notice that the LED seems to be part of a miniature chip. I'm no hardware man and I know little to nothing of this stuff.
Oh joys, so I have two options: either the round push-button below the laptop's cover is a fake button, just put there to make a click sound and have bindings to the circuitry for no reason at all, or it was damaged long ago and the broken external button just made it worse. Because, well, the power button was faulty for a long time; it wouldn't work unless I pressed its bottom-left corner in particular, an almost non-issue for me.
Now, if I only knew how to fix it, I'd be happy, LCD and touchpad aside. Really, I can live with the other problems*, but I want to be able to turn on and off the laptop without having to use OS facilities, which are unavailable when the power is down. For the mean time I'll not turn it down and only use suspend to RAM to let it inactive, connected to a power outlet. I'll have to specially make sure Linux kernel doesn't crash, and that I don't issue a power-off command accidentally.