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Battery confusion and boot failure - Dell Inspiron series

November 27, 2012 4:22:51 AM

My Inspiron 8600 (XP sp2?) had not been used for over a year, and when I restarted it, unsurprisingly I found the CMOS clock battery had failed.

The computer also fails to boot, even using an OS disk, giving the dreaded blue screen of “Unmountable_boot_volume *** STOP: 0x000000ED (0x82F36E30, 0x0000015, 0x00000000, 0x00000000) “. I don't think this can be related to the CMOS battery issue, can it???? I don't have any non-standard configurations stored in BIOS. However I am suspicious of coincidences: I see no reason why the disk should have been corrupted, just sitting in a closet????

Chkdsk /r failed at 39% with a message about unrepairable files. I am not pursuing HD repair options until I know a bit more, but Fixboot is a possibility (which I do not expect to be successful).
RAM checked out OK.

My main question is about batteries. There are numerous repetitive threads about CMOS batteries scattered across the web, how to replace them and and their location, but precious few clear answers, just a lot of confusion. The confusion in part comes from the potential 4 batteries found in the 8600 & similar models. They are:

1. The main power batteryn OS diskwer battery that can be placed in a multifunction bay - which more commonly holds a DVD drive.
3. A coin CMOS battery, alleged to be somewhere inaccessible under the mother board, and not "field replaceable" and so not listed by Dell or even mentioned in the manuals. In some models the battery is soldered in place: I cannot find out if this is the case in the Inspiron 8600????
4. A seldom-mentioned "Reserve battery" which is placed in a hidden compartment accessed from inside the main battery compartment. This battery is composed of (I think) six stacked watch-type batteries encased in green plastic, and its connecting leads are associated with the speakers (but not necessarily powering them). The reserve battery is frequently referred to as the "CMOS battery": its capacity is 7.2v 40 mAh. It's function appears to be undocumented?????

My 8600 never had a Reserve battery installed. Is it a reserve CMOS chip battery, or something else? If the former, would installing one take care of the failed coin battery?

This old machine should have been simple to resurrect, I thought, but I have spend over a day scouring the web for information, with limited success, as the clusters of question marks are intended to indicate. Answers to them will help me decide whether it is worth putting further effort into this machine, which I really only wanted to check for possible data of interest, and set up in my shop.

If I can get some answers, I will add some links to some hard-to-find info about disassembly of the 8600 and related matters, superior to the Dell Service Guide and to related topics, so all the relevant info will finally be accessible and in the same place.

Thanks for any definitive answers to these questions,

Cranky Critter