TechSpot

Issues with a Dell

By TCool
Mar 9, 2007
  1. I bought a Dell Inspiron 9400 in sept of last year. A few months ago I started having problems with it charging, with the usb ports working, the speakers stopped working, and the processor would only run at half speed most the time. I sent it in to dell and just got it back yesterday and it still has the same problems except the speaker works now. What happens is sometimes it just doesn't recognize the charger (which I don't understand because they had the computer and the charger, they should've known there was a problem and fixed it) and it'll start up running at only 1ghz instead of 2. Every once in a while it will go back up to 2 ghz but if that happens it sometimes stays but sometimes drops back down, and it always starts up running at 1ghz. Dell claims to have replaced the mobo and the processor, and they said they were going to check the charger (not sure if they actually did it). So, if I have a new mobo and new processor and still have these issues could something else be the problem? Or, does it just sound like dell is full of crap?

    Btw, I contacted Dell again and they just told me that I have to use if for a while and then get back to them. But, I don't see how using it is going to miraculously fix the issues.
     
  2. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    the first thing I would have done is replace the battery, then the charger.
     
  3. TCool

    TCool TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 64

    They told me not to send in the battery. I guess i can remove the battery and see if it has any problems recognizing the charger.

    What happens is it won't charge, but it will still run off of ac power and it says the battery is idle. If I restart the computer I get an error during the POST saying that whatever is plugged in is not right, so it sees something is plugged in, just doesn't think it is the right thing most the time.
     
  4. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,393   +107

    Take out the battery on DELL it has a LED read out in green amber lights showing you if it's fully charged? If I was like you take out he battery and the CD/DVD drive bay and reboot the laptop see if that error goes way. Another you could do is update the BIOS. And replace the DOA battery.
     
  5. TCool

    TCool TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 64

    There is not led on the battery saying its fully charged, but there is on the laptop. What would the dvd drive have to do with the charger error?

    I did update the bios, and that didn't do me any good with any of the problems.
     
  6. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,393   +107

    If one of these devices has a problem then the DELL won't function correctly sometimes it will hault the boot process. If the update to the BIOS didn't work and you got this last year the system. Have DELL service laptop. They will replace the MOBO and test out the features to see if it's charging the battery and also all the other devices. Tell should also replace the Battery also. Again have it serviced..
     
  7. TCool

    TCool TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 64

    The thing is, I just got it back from being serviced.

    Man, I hate dell, I'll never buy anything from them again. But, I guess I'll send it back in again. I hope they actually fix it this time.
     
  8. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    The battery is a "consumable" device. This means if you suspect it, replace it. Dell won't cover it under warranty. If the battery is going bad, it will load the charging circuits and this may cause the laptop to malfunction in many ways. Dell wants you to use the laptop for a while to see if the battery finally settles down. Removing the CD/DVD drive will lessen the load on the power circuits. These drives can actually short out
     
  9. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    one thing with laptops is to use the battery periodically. Leaving a laptop plugged in all the time will tend to kill off the battery.
     
  10. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Yes it will... I recommend removing the battery only after it has been fully charged, if you plan to have it plugged in for extended days at a time. Most laptop owners don't do this unfortunately. The reason for storing the battery fully charged, is to keep it from forming a "memory"...
     
  11. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,393   +107

    True, but I leave my batteries in DELL, HP and Toshiba laptops all the time. Where at times power drops in the house then the battery kicks in. Yes DELL batteries have had a lot of issues, but they're quick on replacing them if they don't charge. I've serviced a lot of DELLs and replaced a lot of bad batteries. Good idea when you buy a laptop buy a second battery for it. Also get another AC power cord for it too to be safe.
     
  12. TCool

    TCool TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 64

    Well, I'm not so sure its the charger. Dell had the charger and they were supposed to test it. They didn't say there was a problem with it. I'll talk to dell about the disconnecting the dvd drive, I've been reluctant to work on it myself because I'm not sure what will void my warranty and if there is actually a piece of hardware that needs to be replaced I want Dell to pay for it. This thing is only like 6 months old and costed me 2,000 dollars, it should last a lot longer.
     
  13. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    You are right TCool,
    don't mess with it. Talk to Dell and insist that they take another look at it. Be as detailed as you can about the problems. Good luck...
     
  14. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,393   +107

    DELL will fix it, don't worry.. They're suppose to send out a Service Tech to your dwelling or tell you were to take the laptop to or have you send it back to DELL. No you have tell them what's wrong otherwise it doesn't get check out. More MOBO get replaced, it's easy to do that then to waste time trying to find out the cause of the problem. The problem I see if DELL sends out third pary Certif DELL Tech and he makes the wrong findings for trying to fix the problem. There are times when I am so busy I called DELL to have the tech come out and repair laptops that are DOA. I find myself telling the Tech what he needs to order for to fix the problem.

    No.1 Problem with DELL laptops: Battery Not Charging
    No.2 Won't Boot
    No.3 Boots then Shutdown
    No.4 No Modem (why because no modem was installed)
    No.5 Wired NIC or Wireless not Connecting
    No.6 Not working while Docked in Docking Station
    No.7 No Sound
    No.8 Video Display Garbage
    No.9 Boots Up into XP then Monitor Attached to Docking Station goes into Standby Mode

    Since I can service my own here I do it when I can, but I don't recommend you doing since you're still under the eye of DELL. You can replace the battery, and DVD mods. Add Memory and that's about it.
     
  15. TCool

    TCool TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 64

    It was serviced by Dell, I sent it back to them. The problem I have is I told them the issues I was having and they were supposed to find and fix the problem. They told me it was fixed and sent it back, and it has the same exact issues as before. If the battery is causing all the issues then I can understand because they instructed me to leave the battery. However, is the problem with the battery not charging the same thing causing the CPU to run at only half speed? It had these problems as soon as I fired it back up when I got it back, so its not as if it was working and then something went wrong again. And, even if the battery is the problem, why would they go and replace the cpu and motherboard? If it were the battery, shouldn't they have tested the system and saw that nothing was wrong (cuz the battery wasn't with) and then contacted me and told me they had no problems? It seems as if they didn't even test it, they didn't even bother to try to figure out what was wrong with it, they just sent it back to me the same way I sent it in. Thats why I'm mad, this thing costed me $2,000 and its a pos. I do plan on contacting Dell again, I came here tho to see if I could get an idea of whats wrong because apparently Dell technicians don't know a heck of a lot.
     
  16. imstilllearning

    imstilllearning TS Rookie Posts: 22

    my laptop does the same thing with the CPU going to 1/2 power,

    When I went to power options in the control panel and set it to desktop the cpu runs full now.

    Worth a try?
     
  17. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Replace the battery... It's worth a try ;)
     
  18. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,393   +107

    InteL Mobile CPU always run at 1/2 speed to save battery life. That's how it's done. I prefer full power, and the reason while you loose performance. Intel suppose have a tool where you can run under XP so you can adjust the speed power. AMD has this feature their CPUs run at 800MHz when the battery is in use. I use AMD Power and set it ot Always On using 1.9GHz speed but thus my 12 Cell battery only last 3 Hrs. Under 800MHz mode it would be more like 6 Hrs.
     
  19. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,393   +107

    You have ongoing issue and hasn't been solved yet. In your case if they have swapped out the battery many times and also replace the MOBO and CPU you would get a new system if you're at my site. Nosense going through this hassel with DELL.

    DELL has to decide your case, make sure you talk to a suprivsor at DELL besides the tech on the phone. The person on the phone when you call DELL is a technician. But you have to excalate this problem because it's ongoing.

    As for the CPU running at 1/2 speed that's what it was designed to do when the battery is in use only. I've notice even on AC power it does the same thing. You can download a SPEED tool from Intel to control the speed. Older DELLs could be done in the BIOS setting it to max performance. It might work with your DELL in the BIOS. I've tried some here and a lot just don't it.

    Btw I work on IBMs, HP/Compaq, Toshiba and DELL laptops. I own 2 DELLs, couple of Toshiba's, 2 IBMs, new HP and a old CTX Laptop. Out of all the brands I've worked on the DELLs are the most problemic ones. IBMs are fixed by IBM, but there are times you just have to the work yourself.
     
  20. TCool

    TCool TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 64

    Thanks for the advice Tipstir, I figured that might be the case with the 1/2 speed cpu but it didn't make sense to me that it would run at half while plugged in.

    imstilllearning: I actually did try what you said, and it did work. Thanks. I'll keep an eye on it and see if it'll stay at full speed.

    Now, my only problem is the charging battery. I'm gonna get a hold of Dell and see if they'll replace my battery for me. I can't exactly afford to buy a new battery at this point, but I'll give them a hell of a time if they refuse to do it, and hopefully I'll be able to talk to a decent person at dell that will understand that I should not be having these issues on a laptop that is still very new and costed so much.
     
  21. TCool

    TCool TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 64

    I believe Dell messed up with their "testing" of my stuff. I ran into someone with a dell and the same charger as me at school so I had them plug it into my laptop, and it charged the battery just fine.

    Also, the power thing for the processor only worked for a few minutes and then would bump the speed back down, but I discovered the bios setting(intelspeed step for those with similiar issues) and disabled it, so that problem is taken care of. I'm kind of curious as to why in the first few months of me owning this computer it did not reduce my processor speed when running on battery, and I'm also curious as to why when I asked Dell about it they did not even mention that possibility and automatically assumed the motherboard was bad. I'm thinkin Dell needs to hire some better technicians.

    So, I think the issue is the charger.

    Thanks for all the help guys.
     
  22. imstilllearning

    imstilllearning TS Rookie Posts: 22


    Good deal,I know the feeling of not using full power and I'm glad that worked for you,look for that setting with every new computer you buy they seem to "tone them down" often from the factory.Me personally,I've only had luck with dell support going directly to their building I had to take my best friends new XPS there and they finally gave me the right parts.
     
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