31 total posts
Did you get the free EBOOK on laptop repair?
You didn't tell if you installed a new HDD.
It's a common failure. But you didn't tell us if the HDD was installed or good/bad!
It's the original drive.
At least I believe it is. I did not install anything new. After failing to get it to boot, I did remove the hard drive a few times and put it back in, but it's all the same.
So did you test the drive?
It's a common failure. I use a desktop or a cable like this one at supplied link.
I'm unsure how to ask you why you didn't do all this. Some folk get upset when you ask.
Re: So did you test the drive?
Not sure what you mean by "test the drive."
This is the first time I've tried to fix a laptop.
I did try to open it and check if a cable inside was loose, but it's stuck shut.
So here you have a HDD that is not detected
And not tested and has not been swapped with a known good drive.
I think you should be clear on what to try next by now.
I may have finally found the problem.
I decided to try once more to open up the laptop and check for a loose cable. Turns out I didn't have to go far.
Near the hard drive is a panel that opens in the bottom of the computer. I opened it up (again) but this time payed closer attention to the small gray cable connected to it. I'm not sure, but I think the board it's connected to is the CPU. I disattached the cable, and noticed the circular "plug" it was connected to is actually broken. Plus, the connector on the cable looks burnt.
I think this may be the source of the problem (not detecting the hard drive).
So, I think I need a new board for the CPU, and a new cable.
Anyway, there are two circular "plugs" in this board. The broken one is marked "Main." The other one is marked "Aux."
Am I right? Is this the CPU board?
I can't see what you see. What about?
Did you try to boot and run some Linux off an USB stick? I've done that on old machine since repair is not worth it.
The P4 laptops had a lot of issues so unless you get the board for free I would not bother.
Thanks for all the replies.
This laptop does not have an option to boot from USB listed in the BIOS. I tried it anyway, and it does not recognize the USB stick. Just to check, I plugged a USB-powered book light in, and it turned on, so the port gets power, it's just not recognized by BIOS.
I guess I'll have to make a bootable CD and try that next. I don't have a burner, but the library does; I hope that does the trick.
Okay, that part near the hard drive is not the CPU, it's the Mini PCI. Anyway, it has two connectors one marked "Main" one marked "Aux."
So I guess I have a lot to learn about Dell laptop construction.
This on google?
Dell (insertmodel and number here) SERVICE MANUAL
Tonight there's a free EBOOK offer on laptop repair. I posted it for all in the CNET Deals and Bargains forum as well as this forum and the Laptop Troubleshooting Forum (@cnet)
Almost all mini pci slots
Were for the WiFi card. And a common mistake some did was to remove the card but forget to insulate and tape the antenna connections down. I've seen a few blown boards over that mistake.
So I finally got to the microprocessor. I'm not sure it it's burnt-out or not. Any way to tell?
Why did you think it was?
The CPU was working well enough to boot and display so it was not a suspect item.
Re: Why did you think it was
There is a thin amount of black substance that resembles wax. When I looked at a photo of the microprocessor online, this substance was evenly aligned around the square; on mine, it seems to have run in one direction.
And since it booted up and displayed.
That told us not to consider the CPU at all. The CPU is that big chip made by Intel. Maybe your terminology is off a little.
CPU and microprocessor
I'm looking at the CPU right now after having removed the video graphics board.
The part I'm talking about is identified in the service manual as the microprocessor module, which is a different part near the CPU.
Anyway, I've pretty much completely disassembled the laptop now (finally), and don't see anything disconnected or broken; so that means my problem is either the microprocessor or the hard drive.
Sad to read this.
I would have left it as-is since the cost of the board with the burn marks unless free means I could have booted any of the bootable OSes and used USB for storage. When I read such above, better than half the time the laptop is then left in a pile of parts. Worse than before.
Well, I've gotten it mostly re-assembled, except the keyboard and display. Those are next.
The keyboard is tricky. Everything else was easy.
I'm hoping it's just a hard drive problem, because that would be easier to replace than the microprocessor.
See the FREE laptop repair book?
And I never found where you tested the drive.
Test the drive?
I never tested the drive; how would I go about that?
I don't see a link to the book.
Okay, I see the link at the top.
However, I don't have a Kindle.
Okay, I get it now
I don't have such an adapter, but that sounds like a good idea to get one. Only thing is, how do I make sure the hard drive doesn't have any viruses, before connecting it to another computer?
Since autoplay was disabled long ago
And we can scan in if it comes up, what's the worry?
Okay, so, I think I fixed something by accident
The computer is still giving me the same error message on startup:
Primary hard disk drive not found
No boot device available -
No bootable devices--strike F1 to retry boot, F2 for setup utility
The difference this time is the error message is accompanied by two beeps. Before, it was silent. Also, when I adjust the volume in BIOS, it is accompanied by a beep to indicate the selected loudness. Before, that was silent also.
So I guess now my focus should be on the hard drive, and making a bootable CD.
I'm going to look into the beep codes, too.
Sounds like more troubles.
All the disassembly was uncalled for given the story. If nothing else you know what's inside.
Well it was worth the experience.
And it's been quite educational.
Bob, thanks for all the replies.
I'm now convinced it's the hard drive and that I'll have to replace it.
This has been a great project, I've sure learned a lot!
Again, thanks for all the help.