1. This forum section is a read-only archive which contains old newsgroup posts. If you wish to post a query, please do so in one of our main forum sections (here). This way you will get a faster, better response from the members on Motherboard Point.

Dell Inspiron 8200...no battery charging, but possibly not the batteries

Discussion in 'Laptops' started by Rivergoat, Sep 17, 2005.

  1. Rivergoat

    Rivergoat Guest

    Got the laptop in a bankruptcy sale, so the price was right :) Issue
    with the batteries is, yes, they do not charge, but what makes me
    suspect it's not just the batteries being old is that if you leave
    them in while on the AC adapter, the adapter will eventually shut
    itself off (tried other adapters, too), then I get a "battery
    critical" error. The laptop dies. Only then can I remove the adapter,
    plugging it back in and getting it to work again. My short term
    solution has been to pull out the batteries and run exclusively on AC.
    Then the laptop works fine. Someone suggested the DC charging board
    may be bad. I hate buying parts in an unsure mode. Although that board
    is less expensive than batteries. Someone else said it could even be
    the motherboard, but that being the case, I'd likely throw in the
    towel and find another laptop. Wondering what anyone else has to say
    about the 8200?

    Oh, and one of the battery latches fell out. I'm looking towards a
    computer boneyard for scrap parts (rather than whatever Dell might
    want for some small plastic). Any tips for good laptop recycling
    places?
     
    Rivergoat, Sep 17, 2005
    #1
    1. Advertisements

  2. Well, the I8200 isn't really a bad system, it is made form mostly
    the same parts as a Latitude C840. Mobile P4m processor, up to 2GB
    RAM, fixed optical drive (can be upgraded to DVD writer), etc.

    From what you describe, it is either the system board or the battery
    charging board. It is hard to say for sure. The power adapter
    shouldn't shut itself off at all on your system, and it doing so says
    that the power adapter is sensing a current over-draw (or short
    circuit) in the system and is shutting off to prevent doing more
    damage to your system. You could check the DC board to make sure that
    it is fully seated. I had a C840 where that board came loose and it
    wasn't until the Dell tech came out to replace the system board (under
    warrantee) that we learned the cause of the problems. You can pull
    the keyboard and check the DC board. It is in the general area of the
    "K", "L", and "," keys (near the back of the HD tray when inserted).
    Make sure that it is fully seated.

    If your system is still under warrantee, you might be able to get an
    ownership transfer and have Dell fix it for you (at no cost). My C840
    I still under warrantee until this December, so you may have a chance
    here. Lastly, if you're in the Chicago area, we might be able to
    get together to try swapping your DC board with the one from my C840
    to see if that really fixes it for you, then you'd know before you go
    ordering any parts.
     
    Jerry Bloomfield, Sep 17, 2005
    #2
    1. Advertisements

  3. Rivergoat

    Rivergoat Guest

    <snip>


    Thanks for the response. Unfortunately (or fortunately weather-wise)
    I'm not in the Chicago area, but in the San Francisco Bay area.

    I might try your suggestion of checking to re-seat the DC board.
    Today, however, the following...

    Since I'm in Silicon Valley, there's a few computer surplus places. I
    found some batteries that showed good charge on their status lights,
    although these are the lesser capacity 3600mAh batteries. The manual
    says you can get away with using them, and at $5 each it was a good
    thing to test with (btw...I never had the floppy drive, and this place
    has the Dell for $10 in perfect condition, so why not...for $10 I get
    the floppy added when/if I need it!).

    The batteries only show one status light out, but will not boot the
    system. Perhaps they are just weak enough. Putting the AC adaptor on I
    momentarily get a green charging light, then a rapid orange (status of
    a weak battery). I would think the charging light should remain green
    if the system's charging circuit is working.

    Also interestingly, when I put the original batteries back in (no
    status lights, they are dead), the green charging light comes
    on....but then I started to hear a smal "zap" or crackle sound and the
    charging LED began to flash green. If the charging board is just
    loose, fine, but a replacement will likely cost between $50-$90 from
    the suppliers I've talked to (shows you the variance in prices they
    quoted...but if I replace the board I'd prefer a name product, not a
    cheap imitation that is supposed to be compatible.

    The laptop is not under warranty. If I didn't mention prior, I got it
    from a business liquidation/bankruptcy sale (a lot of those around
    Silicon Valley). The price was too good to pass up, and the laptop
    otherwise works fine when on AC power (and the batteries removed). I
    just added a wireless NIC which allows me to take advantage of high
    speed Internet in restaurants, coffee houses, etc, both around home
    and when I'm on the road.

    Batteries would be convenient, though I've never had them work with
    this system. What is the maximum working time with them? I've heard 2
    hours is about average for laptops, but I'm not sure.

    Thanks...
     
    Rivergoat, Sep 17, 2005
    #3
  4. Rivergoat

    Rivergoat Guest

    OK, let me respond to my own message.

    Here's what I've found....

    I disassembled the laptop, checked all connections. I thought the DC
    board *might* have been a little loose. Still, upon reassembly, not
    much difference but....

    In BIOS I look at the battery charging status page. The system does
    recognize batteries inserted. The original 4460 mAh batteries cause a
    rapid charge/discharge display (along with the slight zap sound I
    mentioned in my last post). The 3600 mAh batteries don't cause the
    sound, but the green charge LED only stays green for a moment, then
    goes flashing orange. The BIOS page shows the battery is charging, but
    the charge status (despite 3 green LEDs on the battery, with one green
    flashing LED) shows 0% charged and does not increase.

    It appears the charging in the laptop is not happening. Perhaps the DC
    board is fried.

    Any thoughts? With the system recognizing the existience of the
    batteries, and readout that it is/is not charging I might hope says
    the motherboard isn't the issue, but perhaps the DC board.

    Further comments welcome,it's obvious I cannot use any batteries in
    the laptop at the present time.
     
    Rivergoat, Sep 18, 2005
    #4
  5. OK, well, an orange light on the system flashing, or any status
    light on a battery that flashes indicates that the "smart circuits"
    think that there is something wrong with the battery. Regretfully,
    this can sometimes be the small circuit inside the battery pack, and
    have nothing to do with the battery cells themselves. Once a cell
    gets bad enough, it will actually prevent the system from booting
    while it is inserted, but that is usually the case when it has been
    at 0% for some time...
    Well, the sound you are hearing might be normal, but I wouldn't like
    it if it were my system. I know that on the Dell support forums, a
    number of users had issues with their notebooks making buzzing or
    crackling sounds. I only noticed a "whine" which appeared to be due
    to a capacitor discharge if I suspended the system and pulled the
    battery. As long as I got a replacement battery in while I could
    still hear the sound, the system would resume with no problems, but
    if I took longer to replace the battery, the system would lose the
    standby and have to full boot to get back running.

    When you hear your sound, can you tell where it is coming from? Is
    it he battery itself, or form the DC board? Based on your other
    post, and my past experiences, I would guess it is the DC board. Of
    course, like you, I would also want to be sure before I spent the
    money on the part. I would suggest trying to find someone who is
    willing to let you try their part in your system before you go buy
    one, or if you can find a vendor willing to work with you, let you
    verify that the part fixes your system before your deal is complete. I
    know some folks who have doen that before. They charge a little more
    than other vendors, but they will let you install (or have them
    install) the part to verify it works before you buy it. There are not
    many places around like this, but they are great when you need them.
    If you need a replacement system board, you might be able to get one
    on eBay for a reasonable price. If it is guaranteed to work, you
    might just want to go this route to fix your system, and have a few
    spare parts in case something else breaks in the future...
    Well, this part does not necessarily mean that it is out of
    warrantee. Many Dell systems are sold with a 3 or 4 year warrantee,
    so you might still have a chance here, albeit a slim chance. The
    harder part here would be getting Dell to perform the transfer of
    ownership to you so you could use any warrantee the system has
    remaining.
    Well, from what I recall, I got about 1.5 hours of "normal use" and
    a little over 2 hours of "frugal use" when running on a single
    battery. I recall that a friend of mine watched a DVD ("Hunt for Red
    October") while running with dual batteries and still had about 10-15%
    battery charge left afterwards. Not the best, but hey, he got to
    see the whole movie. Later, I found that if I used NVDVD (from
    NVidia) I could do better because that player would take advantage of
    the hardware mpeg decode of the NVidia video board in the system and
    need less CPU, and therefore, less battery to play a movie. Running
    dual batteries in that system should get you near the same life as a
    Pentium M system (that is running on a single battery).
     
    Jerry Bloomfield, Sep 18, 2005
    #5
  6. Rivergoat

    Rivergoat Guest

    As far as the crackling sound, hard to be sure, just somewhere under
    the case.

    In BIOS I watched the battery status. It registers when a battery is
    inserted, and with the smaller capacity battery I see it say
    "charging", although it never seems to charge. With the original 4460
    mAh battery it rapidly goes from charge to discharge (and makes the
    crackling sound - so I really doubt anything is normal here). If I
    keep the higher capacity battery in, the AC power pack LED fades out
    and goes off, and the system shuts down.

    I did the disassembly last night right down to bare bones. I now know
    how to get the boards out (and put them back in). I found a parts
    warehouse that has the DC board for $35, so I went ahead and ordered
    it. Hopefully it is the DC board. Nowhere have I found a motherboard
    for less than $350, and that's more than I want to spend.

    With a replacement DC board I will see what happens. I should have it
    late this week. Meanwhile I run the system without batteries.

    One other odd thing I noticed. The startup splash screen of Win2K and
    the progress bar loading Windows is very small on the screen now, yet
    when Windows fully boots the resolution and screen size is my normal
    setting. I did not see anything in BIOS that might affect default
    screen size (before the video drivers load). Is there something amiss?
    Since I'll have to open the box again when I install the new DC board,
    I'll be taking out the video card again. I'll look everything over for
    proper reassembly.

    Thanks.
     
    Rivergoat, Sep 18, 2005
    #6
  7. Actually, it is nothing that you've done, it is an odd thing that
    Dell does. By default, the system will display in 640x480 resolution
    (non-expanded so it is small fonts centered in the LCD panel). This
    can be "resolved" by hitting the Fn-F7 (Font) key combination during
    boot-up. This should cause the system to expand to use the entire
    screen. Of course, the next time you remove the video board, or at
    a minimum remove the BIOS backup battery, it will reset back to that
    default setting you see now.
     
    Jerry Bloomfield, Sep 19, 2005
    #7
  8. Rivergoat

    Rivergoat Guest

    Thanks, I'll give that a try.

    In the meantime I went to Dell's site last night, downloaded a BIOS
    update (The laptop was still running A03, now I brought it up to A11),
    and downloaded the diagnostics, running them complete. The only thing
    it couldn't complete is running on battery only, which, of course, is
    no surprise as I don't have any batteries with sufficient power.

    I did notice that after the BIOS update, when I go to BIOS page
    showing battery status, it now shows that the 3600mAh batteries have
    69% charge. The system then goes into mode stating it is charging, but
    it is not, no further increase in battery power. Yes, I supposed those
    batteries might now be taking a charge (they were purchased at a
    surplus parts house used for next to nothing), but I am hoping it
    furthers the likelihood that the DC board is bad. As I mentioned, I
    should have a replacement board later this week.
     
    Rivergoat, Sep 19, 2005
    #8
  9. Rivergoat

    Rivergoat Guest

    PS...one other odd glitch (thanks for the fn-F7 tip, that fixed the
    startup screen).

    I find that the laptop often does not recognize my 1GB USB thumb drive
    (a Lexar Jump Drive). The device manager will likely show an "unknown
    device" in USB. It works on every other system I put it in, and many
    times works in the Inspiron. Anything special to look for to cure that
    oddity? I don't really want to zap and reformat the drive, but will
    ultimately do what it takes to make the laptop 100% useful to my
    needs...
     
    Rivergoat, Sep 20, 2005
    #9
  10. Rivergoat

    I hate Dell Guest

    I have a Dell Latitude that does this same thing.. I bought a ne
    power supply for it (actual Dell power supply, not generic) because
    was getting an error message with the universal one I was using. Th
    error message said, and still says, I am using a 70W power supply
    and the computer needs a 90W power supply. But even after purchasin
    this new power supply, and verifying that it IS, in fact, the correc
    one for my laptop, I am still receiving this message...

    Anyway, the point I'm getting to is this: When I get the erro
    message, I have two options.. press F1 to run in "battery optimize
    mode" or press another key (F2 I think) to shutdown. I always choos
    F1, and then it will run fine... yet I always have to have the A
    adapter plugged in. Actually about one week ago, for some reason,
    left it in suspend mode and it was plugged into the wall for a whol
    day... and when I opened it, there was a battery in the tray tha
    said I had 32% battery life remaining.. but even then I unplugged i
    in and it lasted for only about 10 minutes. But that's still bette
    than it has ever been.

    Now I'm back to having to plug the stupid thing into the wall when
    want to use it

    Do you also receive this 70w error message

    I have also updated the BIOS. I, too, am wondering about the D
    board. Could you let me know if this works for you

    Good luck! And sorry, didn't mean to hijack your thread
     
    I hate Dell, Sep 21, 2005
    #10
  11. Rivergoat

    TheBurgerMan Guest

    Sounds like you do not have enough power to run the laptop and charge the
    battery. Try shutting the thing down and let it sit plugged in, see if the
    battery charges in a shorter period of time.
     
    TheBurgerMan, Sep 21, 2005
    #11
  12. Rivergoat

    Rivergoat Guest

    I don't get any error messages regarding the AC power supply. Witht he
    lower capacity batteries I tried, the system does recognize them as
    smaller and warns me. Still, they don't work at all. It's reported at
    69% charge, and never charge more than that.

    I got a confirmation that my replacement DC power board arrived at my
    PO Box. I'll pick it up in a day or two, install, and see what
    happens....
     
    Rivergoat, Sep 22, 2005
    #12
  13. Rivergoat

    Rivergoat Guest

    Here's a follow up for those watching the thread.

    I installed the replacement DC charging board this evening (and after
    having disassembled the laptop last week to check if the DC board was
    tight, and thus learning how to disassemble it, tonight's board
    replacement procedure took at most 10 minutes....gang, IT'S EASY!
    Don't pay to have someone do it...unless it's me :) )

    I am pretty sure the old board was toast. One of my 4460 mAh batteries
    seems to not take a charge, but the other one is now slowly charging
    up OK. Prior, either 4460 batteries would cause a rapid
    charge/discharge to read on BIOS battery page, along with a slight
    zapping sound. Not so any more. I'll know for sure how it goes after
    the one battery charges as far as it can.

    My experimental surplus store batteries (which are lower capacity 3600
    mAh) each had about 70% charge on them when I got them, but do not
    seem to be taking any further charge. OK, they might be bad. At $5
    apiece at the surplus store it was a worth while experiment.

    I saw an eBay store selling 4460 mAh batteries (not Dell brand, but
    fully compatible) for $47 each (rather than around $120 for true
    Dell). The eBay store has thousands of positive responses (if we can
    trust all those feedbacks). Has anyone tried those batteries? I
    wouldn't be adverse to getting 2 new ones at $47/each, but dropping
    $240 on a pair (when they last less than 2 years from what I hear)
    seems steep.

    over and out....
     
    Rivergoat, Sep 23, 2005
    #13
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.