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Dell Inspiron 1546 won't start


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#1 infojunkies

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:28 PM

Okay, this one's a poser.

 

Got a 3-year-old Inspiron 1546 - actually I have two identical ones from the same customer with what appears to be the same problem. It won't start up.

 

When I press the power button, the power light lights, I get a humming sound, and the system fan starts - all good so far.  Then the fan immediately loses power and spins down after about 4 seconds.  After 15 seconds of humming, everything stops and the power light goes off.

 

Whether the laptop battery is in or not doesn't seem to matter.  I tested the RAM, hard drive and power adapter in both PCs, all of which were OK.

 

I then replaced the coin battery in one of the PCs with a new one, and got a change in behavior: The process detailed above repeats as a cycle.  At the end of 15 seconds, the power light blinks, there is an audible clicking sound, and the process starts again.  The cycle then repeats itself indefinitely.  (I only did this to one of the laptops because Dell, in its infinite wisdom, requires one to tear the laptop apart to replace the bleeping coin battery ... Sigh.)

 

After 15-20 of these cycles, I got another change in behavior - the automatic repetition stopped. The system now goes through a single cycle, like it did in the first place, and then powers itself off.

 

It looks to me like the fresh charge in the coin battery was being used to keep the cycle repeating until it drained. It does not appear to me that the system is getting enough power to boot.

 

I've done a lot of web research and haven't come up with anything except a possible issue with fractured pins in the CPU (http://www.hardwareanalysis.com/content/topic/43678/), though that was with a different model of Inspiron.

 

Any ideas? Thanks in advance.

 

Lou



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#2 dc3

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 12:04 AM

The "coin" battery is the CMOS battery which keeps the BIOS settings.  When the battery fail and is replaced it reverts to the default settings.

 

What you are describing sounds like the POST is recognizing a peripheral device failing and doesn't complete the POST.

 

In a laptop where the CPU is hard to access it seems rather far fetched that damage to the CPU pins would be possible, especially considering the fact that it was working previously.

 

I would suggest testing the RAM with Memtest86 to start.

 


***** A. If you have more than one RAM module installed, try starting computer with one RAM stick at a time.

NOTE Keep in mind, the manual check listed above is always superior to the software check, listed below. DO NOT proceed with memtest, if you can go with option A

B. If you have only one RAM stick installed...
...run memtest...

1. Download - Pre-Compiled Bootable ISO (.zip)
2. Unzip downloaded memtest86+-....iso.zip file.
3. Inside, you'll find memtest86+-....iso file.
4. Download, and install ImgBurn: http://www.imgburn.com/
5. Insert blank CD into your CD drive.
6. Open ImgBurn, and click on Write image file to disc
7. Click on Browse for a file... icon:

p4393897.gif

8. Locate memtest86+-....iso file, and click Open button.
9. Click on ImgBurn green arrow to start burning bootable memtest86 CD:

p4393911.gif

10. Once the CD is created, boot from it, and memtest will automatically start to run.

The running program will look something like this depending on the size and number of ram modules installed:


main_menu.jpg

It's recommended to run 5-6 passes. Each pass contains very same 8 tests.

This will show the progress of the test. It can take a while. Be patient, or leave it running overnight.

testarea_cu.jpg

The following image is the test results area:

p4393925.gif

The most important item here is the “errors” line. If you see ANY errors, even one, most likely, you have bad RAM.

 

I would also suggest finding out who the manufacturer of the hdd is, going to their website and downloading their diagnostic tool to check the condition of the drive.


Family and loved ones will always be a priority in my daily life.  You never know when one will leave you.

 

 

 

 


#3 infojunkies

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 06:25 AM

Hi Arachibutyrophobia.  Thanks for the reply.  I actually tested the 1546's RAM by pulling both RAM sticks from the 1546 and plugging them into my own (working) laptop (they were of compatible types).  My laptop booted fine using only the 1546's RAM, so it can't be the memory sticks, right?

 

Good user ID!  Too bad it isn't a real phobia - as Sally said in "Peanuts", it would be a great excuse to miss school sometime!



#4 dc3

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 10:22 AM

It is a real phobia.

 

http://www.phobia-fear-release.com/arachibutyrophobia.html


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#5 infojunkies

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 12:07 PM

Re. the phobia - Really?  Sorry about that ... I read differently elsewhere.  My apologies.  Just goes to show you've got to take what you read on the Net with several grains of salt.

 

I've decided that the problem lay in the power jack, and have ordered a replacement board that contains the power jack, 2 USB ports, a video port and an Ethernet port - got it for ~$25 on eBay.  I checked out the options for replacing just the jack, but I'm not comfortable with the soldering that would have to be done.  I'll let you guys know in a few days if that fixed the problem.



#6 dc3

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 12:28 PM

Years ago I was doing a search of phobias and ran across this one.  It's obscure enough that it appealed to my convoluted sense of humor.

 

Good find!  And a good price.  I wish I could help with the soldering, I have many years of experience there.

 

Let us know how it works out.

 

Just to let you know, Arachibutyrophobia is my member name.  Yours currently is New Member.  My user name is dc3.  Ain't no biggy, I answer to most anything repeatable in public. :thumbup2:


Family and loved ones will always be a priority in my daily life.  You never know when one will leave you.

 

 

 

 





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