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Dell Inspiron 600m Starting Problems


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#1 BenjaminGordonT

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Posted 08 March 2015 - 08:30 PM

OK, so I just today purchased a Dell Inspiron 600m at Goodwill. It showed no signs of wear and tear and it seemed to have all its pieces and parts. I know I know its old but it was only 5$ (It had been discounted because it was old and nobody wanted it, not because it was broken). I grabbed a battery for it in one of the bins (for those who don't know, Goodwill takes the batteries out of all of the laptops they receive and puts them in a bin for people to purchase separately) which was only 1$ and paid for it and left. When I got home I used the power adapter and plugged it in but when I turned it on, the power light, caps lock light, and num lock light glowed for a few seconds, then it just turned off. I can get it to do nothing when it is turned on or off, the DVD Drive does not open, and the num lock and caps lock buttons don't do anything either. If I take the battery out it will not turn on at all, and when I take the power adapter away it will also not turn on. It will only turn on when it is plugged in and has the battery in it. The only indication whatsoever that it has been turned on is the power lights and the caps and num locks lights. Can anyone shed light on the subject of why it is not working. I am willing to buy replacement parts and to fix it myself but I would like to know what is wrong with it before I purchase the replacement part. And I am NOT going to take it to a computer repair shop, that would cost more than what the thing is worth. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks,

-Benjamin



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 08 March 2015 - 08:48 PM

I would open up the drive bay and memory panels and see if there is anything there. If there is more than one RAM module try only one and switch between slots. If that does not work try the other module and swap between slots. Sometimes a bad CMOS battery will cause a laptop not to boot. Hopefully it is easy to access. If you do replace it, reset the CMOS settings back to default. I saw a youtube video where the keyboard cable was removed and the computer booted. I would also pull the DVD drive and see if the computer boots.

 

Here is the service manual


Edited by JohnC_21, 08 March 2015 - 09:07 PM.


#3 BenjaminGordonT

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Posted 08 March 2015 - 09:04 PM

I feel stupid for asking this but what is a CMOS Battery and how do I reset the CMOS settings? I will try everything you suggested in the morning and let you know how it goes.

 

-Benjamin



#4 JohnC_21

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Posted 08 March 2015 - 09:12 PM

The CMOS battery is the battery that maintains your BIOS settings. On a desktop it is usually a CR2032 button battery. On a laptop it could be a button battery or a small wired battery. According to Ebay, it looks like this. You may find a cheaper one. Check the manual I linked to. It should show the location.

 

For a Dell you would tap the F2 key to access the BIOS at bootup. Depending on it's age it could be some other key. The manual should tell you which key to tap at boot. For Dells you can tap the F12 key at boot and is should bring up the diagnostic screen.


Edited by JohnC_21, 08 March 2015 - 09:16 PM.


#5 BenjaminGordonT

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 07:13 AM

Thanks for the advice, I tried taking out the DVD Drive first, did nothing. Then I opened the memory door and played around with the memory chips, unplugging them, switching them, etc. but that still did nothing. I think I should clarify something. There is no way I could access the BIOS because the computer will do nothing more than light up the power button and caps/num locks button. While I know there is a possibility that another internal hardware item could be corrupting the boot, I do think that even if that were the case, the computer would do more than just turn on. Actually this morning I tried turning it on and it wouldn't do anything. I had to unplug the power cable and the battery several times before I could finally get it to turn on. I left it charging all night but despite that I don't think the battery was charged. I think I might be able to narrow this down to the battery, motherboard, CMOS battery? But how can I tell which is the culprit so I can buy the replacement. I don't want to pay 30 bucks and buy a new battery only to find out that didn't work. Thanks for your help.

 

-Benjamin



#6 JohnC_21

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 07:27 AM

I would first check the power adapter. Is this adapter the one that is designed for the computer. Does it say Dell on the adapter? If you have a multimeter make sure the voltage from the plug is the same listed on the adapter.

 

You will not be able to access the CMOS settings until you replace the battery. I cannot be sure it is a dead CMOS battery but some laptops do not boot when it is bad. Try the following. Remove the power adapter and battery. Hold the power button down for 30 seconds. Replace the battery and power adapter. Try to boot.

 

I have never heard of a laptop that would not boot without both the battery and power adapter in place. The laptop I have runs fine without the battery. That leads me to believe there is not enough power getting to the computer by the power adapter alone or maybe something is wrong with the charging circuit.

 

If you live close to the Goodwill store you might want to ask for a refund or try exchanging with another laptop they have. Ask them if you can power the computer up in the store so you know it works. Was this a final sale?



#7 BenjaminGordonT

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 10:16 AM

I bought it at Goodwill classified under a "Laptop Shell". There was nothing that said it worked or didn't work. If I wanted to buy one that I was sure worked than it would cost 100$. The Power Adapter I am using is a Dell PA-10 which is the same model for this laptop. I have a hunch it is the battery but I don't know how to confirm it. It could also be the motherboard but again I would like to find out how to confirm that that is the case before I purchase a new one. Goodwill didn't have a power adapter for it so I didn't test it in-store. I just used the power adapter for another 600m we have. I can't seem to figure out whether it is the battery of the motherboard at fault though. I will add that the battery does not charge or does not seem to charge so that might be some of the problem. If you can provide any more insight into the problem and/or how I can narrow down what is failing let me know. Appreciate the help.

 

-Benjamin



#8 JohnC_21

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 10:38 AM

If you have another 600m have you tried substituting the battery? I would detach the keyboard cable and see if the computer boots. If you remove all RAM modules and try to boot, do you get any beep codes? Do the LED lights flash rapidly when you first boot. That can indicate a bad motherboard. Other then that I am pretty much out of ideas. Hopefully somebody else on the forum has other ideas on how to diagnose the problem.

#9 BenjaminGordonT

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 01:43 PM

Whoops, it is not another 600m. It is a different Dell but it uses the same power supply, I googled that already. Yeah removing the Keyboard Cable or RAM Chips don't help. The computer doesn't do anything whatsoever except show those three lights. Your probably right it is a bad motherboard or battery. I will go to Goodwill and see if they have another 600m battery, I noticed they had several of them. If that doesn't work it's probably the battery. Thanks anyway, if anyone else has a solution that might help I'm all ears. Otherwise I'll try that.

 

-Benjamin



#10 YeahBleeping

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 05:56 PM

The caps lock scroll lock and num lock buttons are the laptop computers' post code error messages.  What are they doing exactly?



#11 BenjaminGordonT

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Posted 11 March 2015 - 08:26 AM

They are just lit. They light up at start and just stay lit. Is it possible the RAM chips are dead?



#12 YeahBleeping

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Posted 11 March 2015 - 03:35 PM

I would see if you cant get any post messages at all.  Pull out the ram and the battery and just work off the laptop power brick. (plug it in) without the battery it should still work .. in fact the laptop I am on now hasn't had a battery installed in over 2 years. So .. it should work if the power supply is good.  If you pull out the memory and turn it on do you get any post codes then?  If not then I'd say either the cpu or mainboard is bad.



#13 BenjaminGordonT

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Posted 11 March 2015 - 07:51 PM

Well we did learn that the RAM Chips were bad. We finally got around to testing them on another compatible computer and sure enough, they were bad. However even with the RAM Chips removed it still does the same thing. And no like I said before it does not run without the battery and power supply in, and the power supply is good we have tested it on another computer. No beeps or POST Codes just solid Caps Lock and Num Lock Button. I will order more RAM and then let you guys know what happens from there.

 

-Benjamin






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