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Inspiron 6400 "battery not installed"

Discussion in 'Laptops' started by mike, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. mike

    mike Guest

    I picked up a junker Dell Inspiron 6400.
    Got everything working except the battery.
    In the BIOS, there are battery info and a battery health
    screens.
    Both show "battery not installed".
    Has latest BIOS 17.

    Test button on the battery shows no lights.

    In windows XP, the icon shows AC powered.
    The battery gauge shows all bars, but "unknown"
    state of charge. Charge led suggests it's charging.

    When I unplug the AC, the laptop runs about three minutes
    before shutting off. The icon stays at "AC powered".

    This is a new set of symptoms to me.
    I've read hundreds of web pages complaining about Inspiron battery
    sudden death, but nothing about fixing it.

    I have a battery tab welder, but have never been successful
    resetting the chip.
    Old Latitude batteries will run the computer, but flash
    an error code and the battery gauge doesn't work.
    I've had one system that would only charge when the computer
    is off and will only run on battery unless you remove it to
    enable AC power...by design. Some won't even enable after
    the chip loses its settings.

    There used to be a chip reset utility, but the price of the
    program was prohibitive. Anything freeware out there?

    Before I go tearing into this one, I'd like to see if anyone
    has any relevant info.

    Batteries are cheap on EBAY, but if this is an internal
    laptop problem, I'd not like to waste the $$.
    And, any "new" battery you buy is likely to be 8 years old
    and have issues of its own.

    Suggestions?
     
    mike, Jul 29, 2013
    #1
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  2. mike

    mike Guest

    I got impatient and disassembled the battery.
    New symptoms.
    Now, the test lights work and show all green.
    Battery measures 12.4V at the cells.
    11.6V with 1A load...not great, but should work.
    No evidence that I hurt anything during disassembly.

    The bios battery info page still says, "battery not installed"
    but the battery health screen says, "the system cannot communicate
    with this battery.

    The keyboard response is sluggish in the bios and in XP.
    Removing the battery restores keyboard response.

    ?????? stranger and stranger...
     
    mike, Jul 29, 2013
    #2
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  3. mike

    Sjouke Burry Guest

    Not so strange. A laptop trottles down in clockspeed as the battery
    gets low .
     
    Sjouke Burry, Jul 30, 2013
    #3
  4. mike

    mike Guest

    When it's running on AC?
     
    mike, Jul 30, 2013
    #4
  5. mike

    Sjouke Burry Guest

    Yes, because the battery is in between the charger and computer,
    and if the charger cannot pull up the battery far enough,
    instant low speed.
     
    Sjouke Burry, Jul 30, 2013
    #5
  6. mike

    mike Guest

    of
    OK, I've seen that architecture, but it's rare.
    If that were the case, a computer with a working but
    discharged battery wouldn't speed up when you plug in the AC.
    And the battery measures 12.4V at the cells.

    There appears to be a communication problem. I'm trying
    to determine if it's the battery or the computer that needs
    fixing.
     
    mike, Jul 30, 2013
    #6

  7. The reason keyboard lags is because something is in a tight polling
    loop and/or something is interrupting a lot, queuing so many that even the
    keyboard has to wait some. I'd say "Toss the battery and try a known good
    or a $20 knockoff via Ebay." And make sure the little copper 'fins' on the
    laptop that connect to the battery aren't bent or misssing.

    If that don't help keep the laptop for spare parts and head back
    to Ebay :)
     
    the wharf rat, Jul 30, 2013
    #7
  8. mike

    ~misfit~ Guest

    When you disassembled the battery did you keep power to the circuitry when
    the cells were disconnected? (Such as with a bench power supply.)

    It's well known on the ThinkPad forums that this needs to be done with
    ThinkPad batteries (for instance when you're replacing cells) as the data
    and code that's stored in the battery is stored in volatile RAM. If it's
    lost not only is the battery bricked but any laptop it's connected to will
    keep polling it to try to aquire said data......
    --
    /Shaun.

    "Humans will have advanced a long, long, way when religious belief has a
    cozy little classification in the DSM."
    David Melville (in r.a.s.f1)
    [Sent from my OrbitalT ocular implant interface.]
     
    ~misfit~, Jul 30, 2013
    #8
  9. mike

    mike Guest

    I should have been more clear. I removed the plastic from the battery so I
    could get at the cells. Thought I'd ask here before I disconnected the
    wires. Sometimes, you can charge the cells up to the critical disconnect
    voltage and make it charge again.
    There oughta be someone here who'd tried to rebuild a dead dell battery???

    Polling was my first thought. Confusion was the change in behavior
    with and without the plastic. Had no lights on the test function
    before and all lit after.
    I pounded on it plenty with my chisel,
    but I've opened a bunch of batteries and know how to avoid busting
    the electronics inside.

    Is there a recommended forum for dell batteries?

    At this point, can't figger how I'd make it any worse by disconnecting
    the wires?????

    I has one battery that wouldn't work at all after pulling the wires.
    But it had a PIC processor, so I could look it up and find the reset
    pin.
    That fixed it.
     
    mike, Jul 31, 2013
    #9
  10. mike

    mike Guest

    Yep, just don't understand why it didn't do that before I opened the
    plastic...wires left connected.
    I'd say "Toss the battery and try a known good
    Not sure i wanna spend $20 on a $2 laptop. Quite a waste if it don't work.
    I'm rather skeptical about buying a "new" 8-yera-old battery.
    Would be nice to have the
    old battery work for a short time and leave it at that.
    And make sure the little copper 'fins' on the
    Been there, done that. Shined 'em up.
    It's a perfectly good $2 dual core widescreen computer.
    I just hate to see anything broke. Not like I don't have
    half a dozen other laptops ;-)
     
    mike, Jul 31, 2013
    #10
  11. Battery not 8 years old. New manufacture, knockoff replacement
    for big used equipment market Asia+Africa. Laptop not worth $2, more
    like $150. I'll buy as is for 20 :)
     
    the wharf rat, Jul 31, 2013
    #11
  12. Recycle bin.

    :)
     
    the wharf rat, Jul 31, 2013
    #12
  13. mike

    mike Guest

    Certainly possible, but let's look at the situation...
    I'm a battery vendor in the US. I know that the street price
    for this battery is $15 shipped.
    Let's make us some money.
    I'm gonna commission a chinese battery factory to make these
    with high quality cells and stock 3,000 of them.
    Is that really the best use of my investment $$$?

    And why would an ebay listing say "almost gone" when they're just
    gonna order more new ones to fill the demand?

    I'd wager that most of the batteries for older laptops on ebay
    are new old stock
    that's been moving from warehouse to warehouse for many years.
    Yes, there are likely exceptions, but you have no way of knowing which.

    I found another interesting warranty statement.
    Guaranteed for 1 year...free replacement for 60 days. After that
    there's an unspecified replacement fee. You pay the shipping.
    New manufacture, knockoff replacement
    WOW!, I'd take $100 in a heartbeat. If you showed up at my door, I might
    even take $20.
    I've picked up 4 garage sale computers in the past 2-weeks. Total cost
    $2.
    I'm swimming in computers at least as good as the one I use every day.
    And it's twice what I need.

    Around here, the market is saturated. Every new iPAD obsoletes a laptop
    that eventually shows up for free at a garage sale. If it's not quad-core,
    media center, with huge screen and hard drive, nobody wants it.
    Current sweet spot for $1 garage sale machines is 2.2GHz. dual-core,
    2GB ram, >300GB HD. Some have flakey nVidia gpu cards, but most work fine.
    I'll buy as is for 20 :)But I digress...
    Research suggests that I ain't gonna get this battery to work without
    buying on of the two applications that talk to the chip.
    Way too expensive, even if they did manage to work on this battery.
     
    mike, Jul 31, 2013
    #13
  14. Big market in 3rd world for used equipment.
    No. I've bought hundreds. Literally.
    Will be in touch.
     
    the wharf rat, Aug 1, 2013
    #14
  15. mike

    Happy Oyster Guest

    1. Do not touch the battery. The bad thing is they might burn your
    house.

    2. Try to buy a second computer of the very same type, but with a
    working battery. Then use that battery. If the computer is crashed
    (monitor defunct), it should be cheap. So you get spare parts plus a
    usable battery.

    3. Wear a helmet. ;O)

    4. Good luck!
     
    Happy Oyster, Aug 3, 2013
    #15
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