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DELL laptop HELL... or Broken laptop...

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by dmarsh, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    My laptop has been on its way out for several months now, looks like its finally decided to roll over...

    The laptop is a DELL XPS M1710.

    There seems to be some sort of problem with the power connector or motherboard.

    On boot with power supply plugged in I get the DELL BIOS splash for a very long time, after that it displays this :-

    "The AC power adapter type cannot be determined. The system can only boot with a 130 W power adapter or greater.
    Strike the F1 key to shutdown.
    To resolve this issue, try to reseat the power adapter."

    I've seen the problem with multiple power adapters, so I don't think thats the issue.

    Unfortunately this started when the machine was just out of warranty, ironically my last laptop seemed to die a similar death.
    I really don't want to have to give up on this one as well.

    Does anyone have any expertise in repairing DELL laptops ? Is it likely to be a simple job or a full mobo replacement ? Can I get parts and fix myself or anyone know a good way to get it fixed ?

    thanks !
     
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  2. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Most likely the mobo tbh mate. I've seen this problem a few times with the D series laptops but I was able to get a replacement mobo under warrenty.

    I have had to change a few screens on Dell laptops that were out of warrenty and it wasnt too difficult in comparison to some other makes such as Sony Vaios.

    Even though its out of warrenty I would still phone Dell and give them the service tag so you can get the exact mobo as replacement. Also they might send you some diag software so you can confirm it is actually the mobo thats the problem before you spend any cash.
     
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  3. Notes_Bloke

    Notes_Bloke Terabyte Poster

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    This problem affects some of the later Dell models, and is usually either a faulty power supply or a knacked motherboard.

    If you have already swapped out the power supply for a known working one, then it would suggest a dodgy m/board and these can be obtained on ebay.

    I buy and repair faulty laptops (mostly Dell) off ebay and quite often swap the m/boards around. So my advice would be, that as long as you are careful/methodical then you shouldn't have any probs. Just remember where 'all' the screws go!

    HTH

    NB
     
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  4. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    I did phone dell tech support to get their take, they said because its out of warranty I'd have to ship it to them and write them a blank cheque..

    This didn't really sound like a great option.

    They made me boot into the BIOS and check some power charge stats, then confirmed it was probably power connector on mobo or whole mobo replacement.

    I can no longer boot even into the BIOS so can't really provide mopre details.

    It seems like a common fault with DELL laptops, apparently they refuse to work if they don't pass a bunch of diags which require everything to be 110%, most annoying.

    If I knew the laptop was gonna be this flakey I'd definitely have taken extended warranty...
     
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  5. Notes_Bloke

    Notes_Bloke Terabyte Poster

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    How old is the laptop?

    NB
     
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  6. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    It was ordered around 21 May 2007, would have taken about a month to arrive. I've been using it broken for quite soome time as I could boot off battery power and then plug in the mains adapter, now the battery has gone flat so I have a catch 22 scenario. Whole thing is less than ideal but to get new mobo fitted looks like £250+ or could be just soldering on a new DC jack ?
     
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  7. Notes_Bloke

    Notes_Bloke Terabyte Poster

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    I'm not sure if re-soldering a new dc jack onto the m/board would do it. From a quick look on goggle, it looks like it is a chip on the m/board to prevent you from using a third party power supply that is causing the issue.

    NB
     
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  8. Notes_Bloke

    Notes_Bloke Terabyte Poster

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    Also, does the dc socket appear to be loose?

    NB
     
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  9. dales

    dales Gigabyte Poster

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    if its now completely busted and depending on how good your eyes are you can try re-flowing the solder on the chip NB mentioned that works sometimes.
     
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    WIP: Nothing
  10. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Thanks for the tips, The connector looks solid, also the other adapter I tried is for a different model DELL laptop so it may still be a power adapter issue.
    This adapter supplies only 90 Watts but seems to have at least taken the battery from 80% to 100%, on a fully charged battery the laptop can boot, so i'm back to my workaround state at least.

    The BIOS indicates 'Unknown AC Adapter' on two different screens, still doesn't let me know if its mobo or adapter as both have a chip in.

    I might try see what my multimeter says about the power adapter tonight. Thanks for the input guys !
     
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  11. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Tested adapter, voltages come out fine, turns out its a design fault whereby DELL put a chip in the power circuit, once spark or spike and blamo no more chip !

    Of course power cables never fall out of laptops, and laptops never get moved around with regular docking and undocking, plugging and unplugging, do they DELL ?

    At best its a vendor lockin design for their power supply, at worst its designed in obsolescence !

    What a bonkers design, well done DELL ! Now theres thousands of laptops and adapters headed to landfill that otherwise work perfectly. :dry

    What would seem a good idea would be for DELL to release a BIOS patch that allows a user to disable this 'feature', over to you DELL ?

    Want to know more see here :-
    http://getsatisfaction.com/dell/top...perate_slower_and_the_battery_will_not_charge
    http://www.laptops-battery.co.uk/blog/dell-ac-power-adapter-type-cannot-be-determined-solution/
    http://www.laptop-junction.com/toast/content/dell-ac-power-adapter-id-chip-died
    http://www.laptop-junction.com/toast/content/dell-ac-power-adapter-not-recognized
    http://www.laptop-junction.com/toast/content/inside-dell-ac-power-adapter-mystery-revealed
    http://getsatisfaction.com/dell/topics/xps_m1730_invalid_ac_adapter_cannot_be_determined

    I seriously can't see how these things passed CE testing without blowing the chip.

    Ordered a new adapter in the vain hope its the adapter chip thats blown or a break in the wire but I don't hold much hope... :(
     
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