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Dell Inspiron 600m laptop does not start!

Last response: in Motherboards
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November 4, 2009 6:55:14 AM


hi tom

i hope the title tells it all:

this laptop has been working ok since 2004 when it was bought.

about a couple of hours ago, i had to turn it off without shutting it down first because it had frozen in the middle of some program and did not let me access anything even the Task Manager for a proper shut down.

so i had to turn the entire system off manually by pressing the power button and holding it down until it was turned off. (i have done this before a number of times in similar occassions and have never had much problem so far.)

now, when i turn the computer back on, it works briefly but turns off again: the Power and HD LEDs light up; the small LED in the middle of a group of three LEDs to the left of the power button (marked A) also blinks (9 times) but the machine goes off again. no beeps are heard either btw.

i have removed the HD and replaced it with another one, still the same results. tried it without any HD installed, same results again: the system turns on but does not boot up to show me the BIOS screen. (don't remember if i ever upgraded the BIOS?)

AC power adapter ought to be fine but the battery is almost dead: can run the computer for only 10 to 15 minutes.

i'm hoping this is nothing serious really and can be resolved as this is the best / fastest computer i have presently.

Dell Inspiron 600m
1.3GHz
Mobility Radeon grfx//vid
1GB RAM
80GB Fujitsu HD
other USB peripherals:
500GB 2.5" external HD
4GB flash stick
CameraMate video grabber
2nd monitor
the above always connected and in use

please give me some clues as to where what has gone wrong!?

many thx!

November 4, 2009 3:40:35 PM

i wonder if your memory is dying, can you check your memory out, its hard to say when your computer keeps turning off like that.. plus a laptop its always harder to diagnose.
November 4, 2009 7:45:51 PM

hi fatsauce

thx for the quick response.

i think the problem is in *either* memory socket A *or* the power adapter, *or both* - read below please:

i followed your suggestion for a "dyinig memory" and replaced both 512MB DIMM modules with the older single 256MB one that had come with the laptop upon its purchase 5 years ago, and the system booted up into the BIOS startup screen even without an HD or any bootable media attached. but it also became clear that socket A cannot 'see / read' any memory modules attached (including none of the 512MB ones, which i swapped around a number of times later) and only socket B can be used effectivley.

i also got this message upon startup and after having the HD unit attached too:

"The AC Power Adapter type cannot be determined. This will prevent optimal system performance."

the above message is quite new to me and i had to eventually disable it from showing up each time i start the computer by pressing the F3 button according to BIOS's own suggestion.

now, that's why i'm thinking maybe i'm lucky enough and memory socket A is still fine, only since the power adapter is exhausted already (it's been feeding all those peripherals mentioned as wel as the dying / dead battery for a long time) that is why it can provide enough power only to one socket. (i'm wondering though, why it is socket B that can receive power? should it not be socket A first?)

also, i just got this notion right now btw that maybe if i removed the dying battery or any other external USB drives, then the same power adapter could also feed memory socket A too, but i just remembered that i had tried this even before swapping memory modules around to get to this point, therefore, it is most probably (but not quite *certainly* yet!) that mem sock A is really problematic.

i'll find out about this surely when i get myself a new power adapter, which sounds like i have to do after all. i know Dell computers are not the best in the market and this particular unit has seen its days too but i'm happy enough with this machine and i prefer to keep using it until i get myself a new and good laptop.

if i do manage to get the memory socket A back to work after replacing the power adapter or via any other means, i'll try to remember to update this post here for further clarification for those interested.

thx again tom / fatsauce for the reply here and good luck.

i'm glad i found this great and useful forum / site after having to search for info regarding my computer's problems.

best regards
SPD
!