Electronic mystery part.

I’m working on a Winbook XP5 Pro laptop that has trouble starting up. There is a mystery part that may be involved in the problem, and despite my experience with this stuff, I don’t know what it is.

Context: small board that contains the main on/off switch and the LEDs. The part is labelled “S2” (“S1” is the main switch). So maybe it’s a switch, but is sure doesn’t look like it. It seems to be two “tuning fork” shaped pieces of metal, with the tine ends touching and overlapping very slightly. These are encased in clear plastic so that’s how I can see this. That’s it. It’s in the likely position of a fuse but that can’t be: One end is ground and the other is switched +5. My DVM reads it as inf. ohms, so it’s open. It shouldn’t be a fusible resistor or some such, else it would be “R6”, not “S2”.

At this point, I don’t care if this part is involved in the startup problems or not, I just want to know what it is.

Magnetic switch? Or, a fuse as you had suggested but made of bi-metal in case of a short so that they open.

Can you take a picture of it?

Sounds like an electrostatic discharge device. It’s for overvoltage protection. The thing sparks over at a relatively low voltage.

If this is true, then I kinda doubt it’s a switch or fuse.

Some possibilities:

  • Transient voltage device (either a zener diode, solid state TVS, MOV, or gas discharge tube)

  • Capacitor

(Trying the “code” thing in VB for the first time. Ah, ascii art.) So here’s a drawing giving the general idea. The “gaps” are actually just where the ends meet, they do overlap a little. The “wires” are quite thick and flat. The whole thing is just a couple cms long.

         ___ ___
____/             \_____
        \___ ___/

Crafter_Man lists some good ideas. Esp. the gas discharge tube/surge supressor idea. Makes sense in the circuit.

Oh phnarq. Hit the “submit” button by accident. Oh well, I don’t think I can get the ascii art to come out right anyway, so just ignore that.

Thanks for the ideas, gang.

could it be a miniature Neon lamp?
like the ones pictured on this site:

Here’s a description of the things, along with photos.

http://www.mmek.co.kr/pdf/surge/surgeall.pdf (warning, .PDF)

They’re obviously a different brand and have different internal construction, but that’s still what they are.

Base 13, man!!! 6x9=42!!!

Did I jut post a ‘42’ reference?