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Inspiron 1501 power/charging problem

by Bambino54 / November 27, 2009 4:31 AM PST

I have two identical Inspiron 1501 laptops which have failed in exactly the same manner within 1 week of each other.
The basic problem is that the laptop will no longer recognise the AC power adaptor and hence will neither power the PC nor charge the battery. For both PCs the failure mode was pretty well identical as follows:
1) The power adaptor shows a green light and a multimeter shows DC power being output
2) I have previously repaired the power adaptor at the connector end where flexing had broken the connections ( a common problem of poor design). It had subsequently worked OK charging the batteries in both machines for about a month
3) The laptops then intermittently showed the battery green light as charging then not charging. This appeared to be solved by fiddling with the connector but eventually this failed to get any indication on the laptop light.
4) One laptop stopped seeing the charger whilst the other one would still see the same charger for about another week
5) With a charged battery the laptops appear to function perfectly in all other respects
6) Both batteries were in good condition and would charge normally and hold charge for several hours
7) I have had the sockets on both motherboards professionally replaced as I suspected a poor connection but still get no indication of power to the laptop
Cool As suggested in one forum I have updated the BIOS successfully on one laptop but this had no effect

Having read many forums they tend to suggest replacing the motherboard but this is an expensive option I am not willing to take until I understand the failure mechanism. If a device has died on the motherboard I would have expected an instantaneous failure mode not an intermittent one. I could buy a new AC adapter but again I don?t understand why this should work. Can anyone please give me a view on the failure mechanism or I could end up wasting a lot of money!

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Failure mechanism.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 27, 2009 7:19 AM PST

I did failure analysis for the military years ago and the costs run more than a new machine. Are you sure that you can afford this sort of diagnosis? I find that for consumer gear it is cheaper to swap boards for the test and since no one repairs motherboards (save that power jack issue or simple USB port solder work) what you are asking can run up quite the bill.

I'd be amazed at anyone paying up for such a diagnosis and report.

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Interesting, I'm having the exact same issue with my 1501
by dove-7 / November 27, 2009 1:35 PM PST
In reply to: Failure mechanism.

Mine started a couple yrs ago when I bought it. First my video card was acting nuts, turning screen different colors and the ac plug wasn't detecting battery, although it was charging, not it says, "plugged in but not charging." ***? Dell are putting together piece sh@# computers for the consumer knowing that these issues exist. Now my damn laptop just cuts off while I'm on it. I have to wait a second before I can get power to it. Sad.

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Inspiron charging problem
by Bambino54 / November 27, 2009 6:45 PM PST

I agree with your financial view and have actually ordered two new laptops for my sons for Xmas but not told them yet. Not Dell this time though! I work in an electronics company so getting components changed is not a problem for me and I just hoped someone might know the solution which would allow me to get a cheap interim fix until the new ones arrive.

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Now that's a GOOD QUESTION.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 28, 2009 12:25 AM PST

Where are the SCHEMATICS to today's electronics? The makers are not releasing schematics. I can see why since 99 percent of the time the requester would likely not have an electronics background and would demand help in repair. Don't laugh. As an experiment I did send the requester the schematics (in PDF) and time after time they would ask for help in reading the schematics. I could write at length about those days.

-> But here's what I do. I will, once we deem the machine gone and dead open it up and look for scorch marks, burned chips and see if replacing those brings it back. Given the price of the gear (now cheap) that's all I do.

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by Bambino54 / December 10, 2009 6:02 AM PST

To overcome the battery charging problem I have replaced the system board. I have swapped over the wireless card, memory and main processor from the old board. The PC will now show that the battery is charging but won't show any other real signs of life when I turn it on. The power on led lights up and the part of the display showing that uppercase is selected flashes but there are no sounds of the disk booting up or anything on the display. Have I missed something in the process?

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Good try.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 10, 2009 9:54 AM PST

But the charging circuit is on the main board. So if this must work, it's that big board.

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by Bambino54 / December 11, 2009 12:59 AM PST
In reply to: Good try.

I have found the answer by trawling various forums and the solution was that when re-installing the RAM I had not pushed it in far enough to properly locate. Now fully up and running!!!

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to be fair to dell
by chickenorfish / December 25, 2009 11:46 AM PST

to be fair to dell, they dell explain how to change the hdd, ram, and wifi card

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