Modify Dell Inspiron Laptop 2 work w C/Dock Docking Station

Discussion in 'Dell' started by JLA, Sep 21, 2005.

  1. JLA

    JLA Guest

    Modifying your Inspiron to work in a Latitude C/Port or C/Dock.

    Disclaimer: The information provided here is based on persona
    experience and data collected from the Delltalk customer forum. An
    damage, loss of profits or any thing that makes you unhappy is no
    the fault of the author. You are doing this on your own accord. Th
    author has taken every precaution to validate the accuracy of th
    data here, however, the author takes no responsibility for th
    accuracy of the data. By continuing, you are agreeing to thi

    Supported systems









    Through voodoo, trickery and physical blocks, Dell has managed to kee
    Inspiron users away from the powerful features of their Latitud
    C/Ports and C/Docks. I guess they figured that we would never wan
    things like using an Infrared port while docked, or having SCS
    devices attached without the use of e PCMCIA card. Or even adding
    PCI device. Well no longer will this hold us back.

    The secret is converting your Inspiron into thinking it is a Latitude
    Which is pretty easy and removing the metal hook from the por

    Lets start with removing the metal hook that blocks your access.
    (Note: If you have an 8xx0 series system you can remove the plate o
    the back that blocks the slot from receiving the hook) Remove th
    screws (if applicable) from the bottom of the Latitude C/port o
    C/dock. You should then be able to remove the "lid". Now that yo
    are inside notice where the metal hook attaches. There is a screw i
    the middle that holds it in place. Remove that screw and the meta
    hook will lift right out. If you have a C/Dock II like me, I had t
    remove the "motherboard" first to get at the hook. Take the meta
    spring too, because you don't want it rattling around inside loose.
    Put the screw and washer back in place and reassemble your por
    replicator or Docking Station

    Now it looks as you are all set, but if you try to dock your system i
    it at this point, you will recieve an error that says you have used a
    invalid port replicator or docking station and your computer will shu
    down. You now need to convert the BIOS from an Inspiron BIOS to
    Latitude BIOS. First of all, you need to determine what Latitud
    BIOS will work on your Inspiron system. Well you are in luck, we wil
    tell you

    3700 - Latitude CPxH BIO

    3800 - Latitude CPxJ BIO

    4000 - Latitude C600 BIO

    4100 - Latitude C610 BIO

    4150 - Latitude C640 BIO

    8000 - Latitude C800 BIO

    8100 - Latitude C810 BIO

    8200 - Latitude C840 BIO

    There, that was easy now wasn't it? Now head on over to the Del
    support site and download the latest Inspiron BIOS and the lates
    Latitude BIOS for your system. Download the floppy disk version t
    help eliminate any issues

    First boot from the Inspiron BIOS disk and allow it to flash you
    system. This will make sure your video BIOS is up to date, which ma
    not be included in the Latitude BIOS flash

    Now that you have flashed, insert the Latitude BIOS disk and boot fro
    it. It will come up and give you an error that it is not the righ
    BIOS for your system. That's ok. From the A: prompt type DI

    One of the files on the disk will be an .EXE file with the model o
    the Laptop in it such as C800_A20.EXE which we will use in thi

    Now type

    C800_A20 /jabi

    This time the flash program will say something like

    About to flash Latitude C800 BIOS on Inspiron 8000. Are you sure? Sa

    If you did not get this message then you need to try another switch
    On my Inspiron 4000, I had to type this

    C600_A20 /forceit /forcetyp

    After the flash is completed, reboot your system (don't go int
    windows yet!!). It should now say "Latitude" as it is booting. I
    you have a Celeron processor in your system the model might not b
    the same as listed above. Instead of CPx it will be CPT. Instead of
    C6x0 it will be a C5x0 system

    Slide your system into the dock and power up. Hit F2 to enter th
    BIOS. Here you can confirm that it correctly detected the por
    replicator or docking station

    Power down and boot up undocked. As it goes into windows, it wil
    begin a hardware detection. This is because the devices have moved
    around to make room for the future port replicator you are going to
    use. All of the drivers should still be on the system, so anything
    it asks for should be in C:\windows c:\winnt c:\windows\system and
    c:\winnt\system32 depending on your model. After a few reboots and
    whatnot your system should be back to normal with no (!) devices in
    the device manager.

    If you are running Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT or Windows ME,
    check the Dell website for drivers for the port replicator and have
    them handy. You should run the installation program before docking.

    Now boot up docked, your system will detect the new hardware in the
    dock and load the drivers.

    Congratulations, you now have a fully working "Latitude"! From this
    point forward, you should use the Latitude BIOS for all future
    upgrades to your system.
    JLA, Sep 21, 2005
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  2. <snippety of excellent read>

    <round of applause>

    BRAVO! Nicely done!! I wouldn't have thought it possible (I
    assumed Dell used different docking connectors between the two model

    This is, FWIW, the software (or firmware, if you wish) equivalent
    of what electronics techies often do to make some instrument or device
    they've purchased do more than the manufacturer intended, or make it do
    something that it was never designed to do.

    In short, this is a good example of tinkering at its finest.

    A visit to will provide further
    details on this philosophy.

    Now, with all that said: I wager 32,602.438 Quatloos that Dell
    will find a way to bollix this mod for others in times to come, just to
    be nasty. Any takers?

    Keep the peace(es).

    Dr. Anton T. Squeegee, Director, Dutch Surrealist Plumbing Institute.
    (Known to some as Bruce Lane, ARS KC7GR,
    kyrrin (a/t) bluefeathertech[d=o=t]calm --
    "If Salvador Dali had owned a computer, would it have been equipped
    with surreal ports?"
    Dr. Anton T. Squeegee, Sep 21, 2005
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  3. JLA

    mike Guest

    Nice work.
    But I'll wager that the mod has not been evaluated in all possible
    configurations and circumstances. I'll not be risking a perfectly good
    laptop until I'm DESPERATE for the additional docking features.

    Putting the wrong BIOS on a system is a candidate for the lament,
    "sounded like a good idea at the time...."

    But I agree, good job, keep them mods coming.

    Wanted, Serial cable for Dell Axim X5 PDA.
    Return address is VALID but some sites block emails
    with links. Delete this sig when replying.
    FS 500MHz Tek DSOscilloscope TDS540 Make Offer
    Bunch of stuff For Sale and Wanted at the link below.
    mike, Sep 21, 2005
  4. JLA

    Jerry Park Guest

    Excellent. Thanks.

    I have a question. I have an Inspiron 8200. The Inspiron BIOS does not
    allow booting from a USB disk. Does the Latitude C840 BIOS have support
    for USB disk?

    (The Inspiron 8200 does not have USB2, but I can add that through a
    cardbus adapter. Have an extra disk in a USB enclosure I'd like to run
    Linux from.)
    Jerry Park, Sep 21, 2005
  5. JLA

    Fixer Guest

    And of course any Warranty with Dell is now VOID
    Fixer, Sep 21, 2005
  6. JLA

    S.Lewis Guest

    "Warranty!? We don't neeeed no steeeenking warranty!"

    Unless we break something, and then we'll be like really pissed and blame
    someone else :)

    S.Lewis, Sep 21, 2005
  7. A USB port hiding behind a CardBus adapter is _way_ different from a
    USB port on the motherboard when you are talking about booting from
    William P. N. Smith, Sep 21, 2005
  8. JLA

    Jerry Park Guest

    Probably. Still would like to know if the C840 allows USB booting.
    Jerry Park, Sep 21, 2005
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