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Dell Latitude D410 netbook freezes at splash screen and random reboots


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#1 ziechael

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 11:03 AM

Dell Latitude D410 netbook

Standard specs:

·       Intel Pentium M 760 (2.0GHz, 2MB Cache, 533MHz)

·       40GB 5400RPM Hard Drive

·       12.1" XGA LCD (non-glossy)

·       512MB DDR2 400MHz SDRAM (now 2GB)

·       Microsoft Windows XP Professional (now windows 7 post error, see below)

·       Dual pointing device via touchpad and pointing stick, multiple mouse buttons

·       6-cell battery and 9-cell extended life battery (both ExpressCharge)

·       Media Bay expansion

·       Intel PRO Wireles 2915 802.11 a/b/g Wi-Fi

·       Ports: 3 USB 2.0, 1 PCMCIA, 1 SmartCard slot, headphone jack, microphone jack, D-Bay connector, Optical drive connector, monitor out, ethernet port, modem jack, ac power jack, security lock, infrared port.


Last week the machine rebooted itself at random and froze on the Dell splash screen (approx. 10% of the loading bar filled). Having had many computers with many problems, most heat related, I left it a while and restarted.

 

It worked but was slow to complete POST. 10 minutes into windows and it rebooted and froze again. This is the general way of it now, it will work intermittently but more often than not it is frozen on the splash screen.

 

Steps taken thus far:

Checked and remounted RAM (single 2gb stick): result = seems to encourage it to complete POST but will still reboot shortly after, mainly when running a program, most recently an official BIOS update .exe file.

 

In case of software issues have formatted HDD and installed win7 ultimate 32-bit for that fresh, crisp laptoppy feel: result = win7 runs fine (minus some drivers which had to be manually acquired, no biggie) but computer still suffers from random restarts and regular flash screen freezes.

 

Have tried full discharge as I read that it might help (that’s how desperate it is getting): result = no change, none expected.

 

Have also read it could be the CMOS battery which is dying, haven’t tried replacing it yet however.

 

I strongly suspect it is MOBO failing or something similar that will result in a replacement rather than a repair but as laptop is only used browsing and occasional documents it seems better to try to repair if cheap or DIY.

 

Thanks for any ideas, I’m computer capable but not an expert so willing to try most things.



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#2 dc3

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 12:54 PM

Having made a fresh installation of Windows 7 and the problem still persists it sounds like a hardware problem.

 

Look in the Even Viewer under Summary of Administrative Events look in Type Event for Critical Event IDs.  You will want to click on the plus sign (+) to expand the list.  Please post those IDs back here.  These may give us an indication of what's happening.

 

You can access the Event Viewer by clicking on the Start orb and then typing in eventvwr in the Search programs and files box.  The Programs box will open above, click on eventvwr to open the Event Viewer.

 

I can see some potential problems running Windows 7 on this computer, 512MB of RAM is way to little, and a 40GB hdd is going to get crowded very quickly as Windows need 16GB of space for the 32-bit version, and 20GB for the 64-bit version.

 

You can go to Windows and run their scan to see if this computer is compatible, it will list any deficiencies.


Edited by dc3, 14 March 2013 - 12:58 PM.

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

 

 

 

 


#3 ziechael

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 04:11 AM

I can see some potential problems running Windows 7 on this computer, 512MB of RAM is way to little, and a 40GB hdd is going to get crowded very quickly as Windows need 16GB of space for the 32-bit version, and 20GB for the 64-bit version.

 

Hi, thanks for the reply. I agree that the machine isn't best suited to windows 7, thought a fresh installation might help but was pretty sure it's a hardware issue. The RAM is upgraded to 2gb and it is only used for browsing really so HDD space isn't an issue. When it runs win7 runs nicely on it so i'll stick with it as it looks prettier than the dodgy old xp SP3 it came with ;)

 

I managed to get it on long enough on safe mode last night to look at the event viewer, i'm afraid since time was limited i took pictures of the screen the best i could due to screen size/resolution issues:

zmyzba.png

 

Sorry i couldn't get any of the detail off the event viewer, it tended to reboot if i pushed it too far although i did find out that the critical error was the ever helpful 'stopped working suddenly due to a, b or c'!

 

I also managed to run a RAM diagnostic which came back with no problems found and it even let me update the BIOS to the latest version which also did nothing, again suggesting deeper hardware issues.

 

Thanks again for trying to help me =)



#4 dc3

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 07:38 AM

It would be well worth finding what the 12V, 5V, and the 3.3V PSU rail voltages are putting out.

 

If you have a multimeter with a DC scale, digital multimeter or can borrow one you can use the instructions below.

 


Reading Desktop PSU Rail Voltages

Caution: Please read this before continuing.


·    Since it will be necessary for your computer to be on during this procedure, you need to be aware that you will be working with live 12Volt DC potentials, which if handled improperly may lead to electrical shock.

·    There are electronics inside the case that are very susceptible to electrostatic discharges. To protect your computer, touch the metal of the case to discharge yourself of any electrostatic charges before touching any of the components inside.

·    If you are not comfortable doing this procedure, then I would suggest that you not use this tutorial. The risks involved are minimal, but are there nevertheless. Anyone who uses this tutorial will be doing so at their own risk.


There are two devices commonly used to read the rail voltages: a PSU tester, and a multimeter.

The PSU tester is the easiest to use since all that is necessary is to plug the different connectors into the tester and read the results on the LCD display. The problem with most of these is that they only perform a pass/fail test.  They will not provide you with actual voltage readings.

There are a variety of multiple meters, but this tutorial will address Analog and Digital multimeters. The advantage of these meters is that you will be able to obtain accurate real time voltage readings.

For those of you who wish to know more about multimeters there is an excellent article in Wikipedia.


Analog Multimeter

th_analogedited.jpg


An Analog multimeter is a little more complicated to use. Both Analog and Digital multimeters need to be set to the appropriate voltage, but with an Analog multimeter, you will need to choose the voltage range and must read the proper scale.

The Analog multimeter uses a needle display which moves from 0 across the scale until it reaches the voltage being tested. This multimeter has five major linear divisions with multiple scales to read a variety of ranges. An example would be three different ranges. The first is graduated in increments of 0 through 5, the second, 0 through 10, and the third, 0 through 25. Each of these ranges are subdivided into divisions that are graduated into tenths. In order to read 12 volts the 0 through 25 range would be the appropriate one.

Because DC voltage has positive and negative potentials this device is polar sensitive, this means that if you reverse the two probes when reading a positive DC voltage it will read as a negative voltage. This is actually necessary to read negative DC voltages. The two probes are differentiated by their color, Black (negative), and Red (positive). To read a positive DC voltage, the correct probes must be used with their corresponding potentials (positive to positive and negative to negative).

With the probes being used normally to read a negative DC voltage, the needle moves from the 0 to the left, "pegging" the needle. By reversing the probes you can properly read the negative voltages.

Digital Multimeter

th_digitalmeteredited.jpg


The Digital multimeter (DMM) is much simpler to use. As was mentioned previously, you will need to set the appropriate voltage. One of the advantages is that the DMM has an LCD display with a numeric readout, so there are not any multiple scales to read. Another advantage is that most DMMs are autoranging when reading voltages, which means that you will not need to set the range with these DMMs. A DMM will read both positive and negative DC voltages and display them correctly. When reading a negative voltage, a minus sign will appear on the display before the numeric value. This still is a polar sensitive device, so you will still need to use the positive and negative probes with their corresponding potentials.

There are five different DC rail voltages which are color coded. The Black wires are always negative.

Yellow +12VDC

Blue -12VDC

Red +5VDC

White -5VDC

Orange +3.3VDC


There are only three voltages that can be measured easily without disconnecting the 20/24 pin connector from the motherboard: +12V, +5V, and +3.3V.

The +12V and +5V voltages can be read from a four pin Molex power connector.

Four pin Molex power connector

th_250px-Molex_female_connector.jpg


The same voltages can be taken from a four pin SATA power connector, but in order to read the +3.3V you will need to read this from a five pin SATA power connector as seen below.

Five pin SATA power connector.

th_sata-power-cable.jpg

To read these voltages you will need to insert the Black (-) probe into any of the black  sockets, and insert the Red (+) probe in the different colored voltage sockets.   To read the voltages from a SATA power connector it is easiest to insert the probes into the bac k of the connector where the wires enter.  Unfortunately the sockets of the modular SATA power connectors are not accessible from the back, so the readings will need to be made from the socket side.  Some probes are going to be too large to fit in these sockets, so you may need to insert a piece of wire into the socket of which you want to read the voltage of and place the probe on this for your reading.  To reduce the potential of creating a short I would suggest taking the ground potential from another connector so that the two wires will remain physically separated.

Caution:  It is very important to make sure that you don't allow the two probes to touch each other when taking the voltage readings.  This will cause a short which could damage the PSU or other components.

To get accurate readings of the rail voltages it is important that there be a load on the PSU. In order to do this I would suggest downloading Prime95 for this purpose. This program was designed to be used by overclockers to put a full load on the RAM and CPU to determine the stability of their overclocking.  Because of this it will put stress on the CPU and RAM which will create higher than normal temperatures.  For this reason I would suggest not running this program any longer than is necessary.  I would also suggest that an inspection be made of the interior of the case to make sure that there isn’t an accumulation of dust which would impede adequate cooling.  Pay special attention to the heat sink and fan assembly on the CPU.  If there is a dedicated graphics card with a fan installed on it, look at this fan as well.      


Readings should not have variances larger than +/- five percent.  

Maximum.........Minimum
12.6V.................11.4V
5.25V.................4.75V
3.47V.................3.14V

 

 

Edited to amend title.
 


Edited by dc3, 15 March 2013 - 09:14 AM.

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

 

 

 

 


#5 ziechael

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 08:57 AM

Hi dc3, thanks for the tutorial. I'll see if i can find/borrow/buy a digi multimeter sometime soon. A quick search shows i could order one for next to no cost so thats reassuring.

 

Before i do could i ask what the procedure would be to repair anything should the ranges come back as out of the normal? As it may be easier and cheaper to just replace (and therefore upgrade) the laptop rather than repair it.

 

I'm loathe to do this as i hate to be beaten by machines and would hate to have no conclusion to this thread however!  :lmao:

 

Thanks again for your help



#6 dc3

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 09:18 AM

My apologies!  This tutorial is intended for desktop computers.  I will amend the introduction to make it clear that this is for testing desktop computers.

 

Let's back up a bit. 

 

The Event ID indicates that there was a lose of power which caused the unexpected shut down. 

 

Do you remember this computer shutting down by itself?

 

If you do, was the computer running only on the battery?


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

 

 

 

 


#7 ziechael

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 09:34 AM

We may well be onto something here...

 

I recently had to replace the power lead and while the battery isn't great on the machine itself when it is purely running off it things do seem better.

 

I made sure to get a new power adapter/lead that matched the old one in every spec but now i'm doubting myself.

 

When i get home/chance i'll compare and post details.


Edited by ziechael, 15 March 2013 - 10:08 AM.


#8 dc3

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 09:42 AM

Please make a new post rather than editing, this way I will receive a notification of the post and will return to this topic.


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

 

 

 

 


#9 ziechael

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 05:04 AM

Hi again, sorry for delay. My weekend was ridiculously busy.

 

I've compared the power leads and while the new one isn't an official Dell one it matches it in every detail listed and was originally found by searching online for the product code for the original official one.

 

However i'm becoming more and more convinced that this is the problem because on pure battery power (which sadly doesn't last long, probably need a new battery as well!) things seem better if not back to normal. Through the power lead the same errors occur at random intervals.

 

Could it be possible that it is using up more charge on the battery than can be put into it from the new and potentially dodgy lead and when the battery is dead it is relying on the less than adequate charge from the cable and then cutting out, freezing at POST etc (therefore explaining its ability to work for longer when 'charged' for a while first and its inability to work at all when attempting to get it going repeatedly in a short space of time)?

 

As stated i'm experienced but in no way an expert so please correct me if i'm wrong as i would have assumed it would bypass the battery when the cable is plugged in anyway?



#10 dc3

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 10:47 AM

Most laptops will run off of the power supply without the battery being plugged in, most of them.

 

If the power supply isn't putting out the proper voltage it could cause problems.  I looked online and found a power supply for that computer for about fifteen US dollars, so it can be replaced at a comparatively low price, I usually see prices of about sixty dollars.

 

The battery isn't that important as long as it still functions with the power supply plugged in.  The battery not only provides DC voltage, it also acts like a filter for the power from the power supply, so it is helpful to have one installed.

 

One problem you should be aware of is that if you are running off of the battery and it runs out it can cause a hard shutdown, the computer shuts down abruptly.  This can cause damage to applications which were running at the time of the hard shutdown.  Fortunately, a sfc /runnow usually will repair any corrupted files.

 

I may not be here as often as usual for the immediate future.  My wife is in the hospital and is my first priority.


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

 

 

 

 


#11 ziechael

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 04:18 PM

Thanks dc3. I'm going to get a proper dell replacement power lead for this model and see if it helps. As you say they aren't that expensive so it can't hurt to try.

 

Will be a while before i post an update but i will report back either way in case others stumble across this thread for similar problems.

 

Naturally your wife comes first, i hope everything will be ok!



#12 dc3

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 05:49 PM

My wife was moved out of the ICU this afternoon, will be in a private room for two days and then another five days at a rehab facility.

 

I'll be around in the early morning and again in the afternoon, PS time.


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

 

 

 

 


#13 ziechael

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 12:27 PM

Finally got the new, official dell, power supply. Sadly no change in situation. A dead end.

 

Hopefully your wife is almost home again by now, thats great to hear! I'm still sending out all the positive vibes i can spare just to speed things along for you ;)

 

Thanks for any new ideas you might have.






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