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Old 07-23-2004, 10:39 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Short in Power Supply?

So, I've got a Dell Inspiron 4150, that is just turning off when I use it. The timing for this has been as high as half an hour (give or take) and as low as 5 minutes. I know I need a new battery, because it doesn't hold a charge, but I am thinking that there may be a short in the power supply because it should be operating on AC power but doesn't... what is the likelihood that this is my problem? By the way, as usual, the corporate world is completely unhelpful. Dell makes me so mad... Thx!
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Old 07-23-2004, 11:00 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the forum! This does sound like a PSU problem but could be a number of other things as well. It most likely isn't your CMOS battery, if you CMOS battery were low on charge or lacking a charge you would notice that your computer wouldn't remember your BIOS information and would reset it whenever you turned off your computer. This would result in boot problems etc.
Now on to the PSU, have you recently added any hardware to the system? If so, maybe your PSU isn't capable of handling the load. What is the wattage on the PSU? 200W is typical for a bare bone system but if anything is added to a system with a 200W PSU, problems will surface like what you’re experiencing. If you haven't changed anything on the system and it is acting like you say, you could very well have a bad PSU. I would recommend purchasing one with at least a 300W load for around $50.
The second problem you may have is overheating. Take off the casing (be aware of the hazard involved in running the PC with the case off) and check to see that your case/cpu/PSU fans are fully operational. If they are, it likely that you PSU is the culprit. If you have a fan out you may need to replace it. If it's a fan on your PSU replace the PSU. Hope that solves your problem.
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Old 07-23-2004, 11:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I apologize for not being clear. The thing is this is a factory built Dell laptop system. I have had it for 2 years now, and no hardware has been added. Also, since it is shutting off (*note-not the shut down process) at varying times, I am really confused. Any help here is more than appreciated. It might be wise to note also that the battery does not hold a charge for very long anymore. I am not sure of the wattage... would it be on the AC adapter?
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Old 07-23-2004, 11:08 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Also, the fan didn't ever run until the comp got really hot, but it really hasn't been working now. So, even though I don't think the problem is overheating (last time it shut off after only 5 minutes!!) it may need replaced.
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Old 07-23-2004, 11:18 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Yes it souds like a problem with your AC power cord, I would replace it for one. When the system shuts off or before it does can you see how much the battery indicator shows? You could have a faulty battery. Heat could also be an issue, did you install more memory before this started to happen? You could run a memory diagnostic program to see if one of the modules is bad.

http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp

Run and let me know what happens.
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Old 07-23-2004, 11:20 AM   #6 (permalink)
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It is unfortunate that you’re having these problems on a laptop. I don't have any experience in that area unfortunately and since laptops are completely proprietary products (meaning their parts are not interchangeable with any type of standard parts on the market) it is hard to replace components on such items. Since your having this problem with both the battery AND the AC connector it could possibly be a problem with overheating but again, laptops usually use power saving techniques where fans don't run unless absolutely needed. Does your laptop seem REALLY hot or just warm? I mean, has the temp increased ALOT since it was last working? Like you said though, turning off after 5 minutes is an interesting problem, maybe there is a malfunction with the part that connects your battery/AC connector to your computer and supplies it with power. The only solution I can recommend is sending it in to Dell and having them check it out. Sorry if that doesn't help...
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Old 07-23-2004, 11:27 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Well, the computer is absolutely not overheating if it is turning off after 5 minutes. Besides, although it is warm, it has been much hotter. When it is turned on before it shuts off, the battery indicator on the desktop taskbar shows the AC sign, not the battery sign. No new anything was added to the comp. I have notced that when it is shut down the three ights on the side of the comp seem to turn on and off occasionally. This is a new development, and only occurs when the computer is plugged in. Also, the battery is at 100%, but as I said earlier, this is misleading because the batter itself does not last very long anymore.
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Old 07-23-2004, 11:33 AM   #8 (permalink)
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It could be a bad battery. Indicators are misleading sometimes. It could show full but be a false reading. How long have you had the system? Battery? Usually there is not too much that could go wrong with laptops.
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Old 07-23-2004, 11:34 AM   #9 (permalink)
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sounds like a power interface problem. Dell should recommend something for that as they are the only ones capable of replacing that part.
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Old 07-23-2004, 11:39 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I have had the battery and computer for 2 full years, so the battery's life is probably just over. Dell is being completely unhelpful, and for the price they want to charge me for a repair, I could almost make a desktop system. And if it requires any change on the motherboard, they are really prepared to rape me. The bottom line is, since I am out of warranty, if I can't solve the problem, I'm screwed. I'm just looking for solutions before I lose hope. ^_^
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