My Acer Swift 5 SF515-51T failed to enter sleep mode when I closed the lid. Through the small gap on the sides of the closed laptop, between body and display, I could see the light from the display shine on the keyboard. The display was still on.
Spoiler / executive summary: Hardware issue, and design potentially susceptible towards magnetisation!
I thought it might be a settings issue. I checked all power options, also advanced settings – I know my way around in Windows, and Windows 10 hasn’t changed much since windows 7 with regards to power options. So the settings were correct. It didn’t work. I also made sure the quick startup option was disabled, as I think it is pretty pointless to start with, and it may cause errors like the one I was experiencing.
After a while of working with the laptop and closing the lid a few times without the laptop going to sleep, I contacted support.
Actually I contacted Acer support several times. First on their UK support mail address. I got a reply fairly quickly. They pretty much said I should send the device in. Then I said, better contact Acer support Germany in case this should really materialize. I didn’t get an answer really quickly. So I called. In a very short time, I had a very qualified and fast german person on the line who went through a few settings with me. Pretty much verifying the problem and the fact that the settings were correct. He made me compare the sleep action when pressing the sleep button with the sleep action when closing the lid, after also setting the lid close action to sleep. Pressing the buttons gave me a black screen, closing the lid didn’t. He also came to the conclusion that settigns were pretty much okay, and the laptop should have gone to sleep. So I got a return label and should have sent the device in.
Before doing so, however, I did a bit more testing. I created an image of my windows installation and reset windows to default settings. I admit it wasn’t my real plan to reinstall stock windows, it kinda happened to me, but as I had the image backed up, it was only a matter of a few hours transferring 230GB back onto the device through USB 3.0 to get the system back up and running with everything I had installed. Anyways, also stock windows didn’t behave differently.
I also received an answer from Acer support. This answer read like this:
Gerne sind wir Ihnen bei der Beantwortung Ihrer Fragen behilflich.
Zunächst zur Begrifflichkeit:
Es gibt gibt den Standbymodus: erkennbar an der Power LED (blinkt Orange 1s an/3s aus) und den Ruhezustand.
Prüfen können sie deren Funktion durch die Befehle im Windows Menue:Anschließend vergleichen Sie diese mit der Zuklappfunktion.Sollten Sie hierzu noch Fragen haben, Herr Focken, so können Sie uns gerne auf diese E-Mail antworten.
Er… well I just realize that I am writing this post in English language whilst Acer’s reply was in German. Anyways it didn’t say much. It only explained that I should be looking for the colours of the status LED’s on the side. Sleep mode should be blinking orange.
While I never understood how this power LED would be blinking when in sleep, which it never did, this reply got me testing a little more.
What finally got me a step ahead was using hibernation mode instead of sleep.
After setting the lid close action to “hibernate”, both on power and on battery, suddenly closing the lid did give me the result it was supposed to give. The computer hibernated straight away.
So apparently, the assumption that the lid close sensor might be faulty, was just proven wrong.
Apparently, only the sleep function didn’t really do much, whereas the hibernate function worked just fine.
My conclusion: I had a few things hooked up to the laptop, and also it does have a touchscreen; so probably one of the attached devices, or the touchscreen, or the combination of all above, caused the laptop to wake up straight away after going to sleep. The result would be insomnia.
Hibernation wasn’t affected by anything hooked up. The only way to wake up a hibernated Windows 10 laptop is pressing the power button. So that’s pretty safe and effective.
I also noticed that hibernation happens pretty fast. Actually faster than sleep. After setting the laptop to sleep, the fan would turn for a long time, and the keyboard lights would stay on – maybe some sort of timer involved, or maybe the sleep function doing somthing very time intensive? I don’t know and I may not find out. However hibernation worked fast, and waking up from hibernation also worked surprisingly fast. It is a very nice, fast laptop, this Acer Swift 5.
From now on, hibernation is the only alternative to shutdown for me.
Update: Problem “unsolved” – it reappeared again.
Also with hibernation settings enabled, suddenly the lid didn’t do anything any more when closing the lid. I am sort of clueless and tend towards sending in the laptop after all. It is very weird. I just restored the last known good windows image – the very image with which I had achieved the successful results described above. No change. Right now, the laptop doesn’t enter hibernation mode when closed, even though the settings are all exactly like they were before, when it actually worked.
The problem remains unsolved and the laptop doesn’t do anything when closing the lid. I run out of options what to test and will likely send the device back to Acer for fixing.
I did send my laptop to Acer. It took them almost one month to get it fixed.
I checked regularly on the self-help page from their website, where the case status was displayed. Every few days I would log on and check the status. At least three times, I saw the status change from “In Progress” to “In Testing Process” and back. I assume they had at least three attempts to fix the problem. First may have been the software side, resetting the OS (futile, since I tried that several times before, just before sending the laptop back to them). Then the USB I/O board was replaced, and maybe last, the display unit (!) was changed. I don’t really know how these things fit together. Potentially, the USB board was suspected to interrupt or prevent the sleep or hibernation process. Potentially, the touchscreen somehow has something to do with feedback about the lid being closed. In any case, it was a problem I could not resolve on the software side, and Acer got it to work in their workshop.
Even after the repair, the problem re-appeared. The laptop worked fine for about 2 weeks, then stopped hibernating when closing the lid. Again.
I sent the laptop away to Acer. Again. It has arrived there last week (tracking shows the date and time) but it hasn’t yet been booked as “arrived” by Acer. Maybe that’s how they manage their internal performance indicators. A repair is supposed to take no more than 5 days. So what do they do? They just put an arrival on hold until they can process it, and then they conveniently start their watches and book it in, about 2 or 3 days after receiving the device. Well I’m being negative right now, maybe they simply have a lot of returns and need this time to book all arrivals. Let’s see.
End September update:
The repair took 2 weeks door-to-door. Works fine now! Acer replaced the screen unit (again) and also the lid cover (the piece of magnesium alloy that covers the back of the display). They didn’t specify why, or the root cause, or anything else. Just the fact that those two parts were replaced. Now there are two possibilities that come to mind as to why the lid cover was changed. One: They may have damaged it during the repair. Two: They may have found an issue relating the lid to the fault of the machine.
Bottom line, hardware issue.
I have the slight suspicion that there may be a sensor which works on a physical principle related to magnetism. Given that the screen unit and magnesium alloy of this laptop’s body were partially replaced, and given that I also own an ASUS screen (ASUS Zenscreen GO MB16AP, the one with the inbuilt battery but only 1 USB-C connector) which has a stand that attaches to the screen’s body with magnets, and I used to store those two devices – given their very similar dimensions and connected usage – stacked on top of each other in the shelf, I now think those magnets may have managed to magnetize the laptop cover and/or display unit to an extent which eliminated the functionality of the lid close sensor. Of course this is all purely imaginatory, hypothetical and not proven in any way. There is just this simple coincidence of having those devices and observing the same fault twice in a row.
I gave ASUS a message on this matter, they said if anything, the magnets in their device might be able to accidentally trigger the switch, but not damage it; Otherwise it would rather be a design issue with the laptop.
So maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. I found Asus’ reply a bit simplistic, pushing all responsibility away. I think their magnets are a bit strong and I wouldn’t want to put a credit card or hard drive near it. But they may have a point. Perhaps the magnesium alloy used in my laptop can be magnetized (although normally magnesium isn’t magnetic) and perhaps this makes the lid close sensor fragile.
I hope I won’t have issues of the same type agin.