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Dell e1505 won't complete post


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#1
thornhill

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Hi, I'm trying to help a friend fix her computer - I'm not a techie, but I've had some success fixing others in the past with the help of smarter people available online at places like this :-)

When you turn the computer on you get the Dell screen showing BIOS revision 12 and a bar that starts out lit about 3/4" across and never progresses. There are normal startup sounds. The power light is green and stays green. I read somewhere to hold down the Fn key while turning on the computer and that results in a Diagnostic Boot Selected message in the upper right of the screen and the cap and scroll lock lights flashing - I thought that meant bad ram, but they don't flash if I don't use the Fn key when starting so, that's confusing.

I've figured out the battery is bad, I get flashing orange light 4x followed by green when it and the ac cord are both active and when I checked the battery indicator it lit up all 5 leds showing more than 60% bad cells. I've removed and reinstalled the battery, ram and hd. I've removed and reinstalled the ram in every conceivable combination with the results appearing as if Dimm A is no longer functioning. I've also removed and reinstalled the modem, and I've replaced the watch style battery on the motherboard.

Any help would be MUCH appreciated.

Note: I've also now tried verified working RAM from another computer with the same results. Also tried starting it up without the dvd drive and the hard drive as well - no change.

Edited by thornhill, 05 March 2011 - 09:55 AM.

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#2
Macboatmaster

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It looks to me on first exmaination as though someone has tried to flash the BIOS.
This should NEVER never done on a working BIOS it is full of risk.

Secondly

I've been in the back several times today, and under the keyboard in the front, didn't notice any dust to speak of. As for when it was cleaned on the inside, I don't know if she ever has, but I get the impression she's almost never used this computer so probably not often. Not sure how she stores it, but it looks pretty clean on the outside as well.


From just one of the other sites on which you have posted the same question.
I am not of course saying that you should not ask on different sites, but may I suggest that it is in your interest to only work on the problem - on one site at a time.
Please do no hesitate to come back if you draw a blank on the other sites.

Edited by Macboatmaster, 05 March 2011 - 04:47 PM.

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#3
thornhill

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You're right of course that trying too many different things (re the different sites where I posted) would probably be a bit like having too many cooks in the kitchen. In the interest of time (I have almost none during the week to work on this) and not knowing where I might get a response, I thought it was worth the chance. I'm sorry if that seemed reckless or as if I didn't think this site could help. I've heard the dirt thing (which you quoted above) and bad capacitors needing soldered (which I would not be able to handle). I guess I'm just searching for as many suggestions as possible so I can tell my friend whether or not anything can be done.

I'm already thinking it's a lost cause, what with the battery being bad ($50-60 if you get an off brand or 150 for Dell) and one slot for the RAM not working (which I think she can just ignore, though her speed will be compromised unless she tried a 2 GB in the one slot - some say that works, if so, more cost). If the motherboard is bad, that would be pricey as well, I'm just not sure this computer would be worth the money to get it working (though of course that's her decision). It looks like on ebay you can get a functional (non upgraded) e1505 for $200 or less. That being said, if someone has a suggestion that could fix it reasonably, that would still be fantastic. :-)

Whoops, I didn't respond about the flashing BIOS thing. While I can't say for certain this hasn't happened, Lisa isn't much of a computer person (way less than me even) and I doubt she would have attempted that (or has even heard of such a thing). She's owned the computer since new, so no one else should have done that either (and I definately haven't). If that had somehow happened, would it be a fixable problem?

Edited by thornhill, 05 March 2011 - 07:24 PM.

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#4
Macboatmaster

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and I've replaced the watch style battery on the motherboard.


Can you enter setup - on boot normally F2.
Have you reset time and date.
Is the hard drive seen
Have you configured the BIOS
After setting time and date and configuring BIOS have you SAVED settings and exit normally F10.

Why do you think that one of the ram slots is not working.
If only one ram slot is populated it must be the first one.

If the battery is beyond doubt "bad", take it out and boot only on ac power.
Will it boot to diagnostics normally but not always F12
Check the Dell site for that model.
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#5
thornhill

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Nope, I can't enter setup, I've tried every F key out of pure desperation. The only key that changes anything is Fn. Since I can't get past that first screen, I haven't done any of the rest above.

When I was trying every combination of RAM, if only using slot A (with either stick of RAM, I got no response from the computer, not even the splash screen. On the other hand, if I had just one (either one) in slot B, I got the splash screen like normal.

I'm going with the battery being bad because it has that check thing on the back (you press and hold and if all 5 leds light up it's supposed to be more than 60% bad. I've tried booting on just ac and get the standard reaction - splash, no progress. No response from F12. The Dell site suggested removing battery, ac adapter, RAM and hard drive and reinstalling. If that didn't help you're supposed to contact them, useless because the computer is out of warranty and she doesn't want to pay them a huge fee just to find out it's not fixable.

Edited by thornhill, 05 March 2011 - 11:56 PM.

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#6
RealWingsFan

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"When I was trying every combination of RAM, if only using slot A (with either stick of RAM, I got no response from the computer, not even the splash screen. On the other hand, if I had just one (either one) in slot B, I got the splash screen like normal." It could be that there may be some unseeable debris in slot A, try cleaning the slot with a can of compressed air found at anyplace that sells computer items.

Edited by RealWingsFan, 06 March 2011 - 12:55 PM.

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#7
Macboatmaster

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The battery, referring to the laptop battery rather than the CMOS battery, will when disconnected, obviously not enter into the equation.
In my experience laptop batteries are quite expensive.
However whilst it is your decision I would not recommend a new battery, until you have solved the problem.

If you cannot enter setup on F2 immediately on the Dell screen, then you have either an internal hardware problem., OR a keyboard probelm. The Fn key is of course the function key and will normally do nothing without another key..
If possible and without expense of course try an external keyboard
See this link for your computer manuals
http://support.dell....en/om/index.htm
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#8
thornhill

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Thanks, even though someone else had suggested dirt as the cause of the whole thing, I thought it looked clean and didn't worry about trying it (dumb) anyway, blew out the slot and presto, both slots now work. So, that working caused me to give the whole thing a blow out while crossing fingers, that didn't work, but it needed to be tried.
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#9
thornhill

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I agree, no new battery unless the rest can be fixed. I did try an external keyboard, tried every usb slot in the laptop, and for some reason the keyboard never acted like it was getting any power and the computer never responded to the only key I tried (the Fn since it's the only one I've gotten a reaction from this whole time). I kind of doubt all of those usb ports are bad, so no idea why this didn't work.
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#10
RealWingsFan

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Forgive me if this has been covered as I haven't read this thread in depth. If this is an XP pc click Start and right click My Computer and click Properties. Then click the Hardware tab and and click Device Manager. If you see any yellow question marks by your USB devices you may need to update the drivers. If you have the utilities disk you can use it to reinstall the drivers, also the Dell website would have driver downloads. Also found this to troubleshoot drivers... http://support.microsoft.com/kb/283658
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#11
Macboatmaster

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If this is an XP pc click Start and right click My Computer and click Properties



RealWingsFan

Forgive me if this has been covered as I haven't read this thread in depth.


Please do not think I am being akward, but may I suggest you do - read the thread.
TITLE OF THREAD

Dell e1505 won't complete post


That said, we all get it wrong from time to time and with all the details on each post the error is easily made AND what a great suggestion re the ram slot you will have seen that it worked.

Edited by Macboatmaster, 06 March 2011 - 03:43 PM.

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#12
Macboatmaster

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As I said on a previous post the Fn key is the function key for instance Fn + F2 on a number of laptops disables the inbuilt wireless.

I suggest you check no keys are stuck. and then I suggest you keep tapping F2 immediately you switch on and then see if it will enter setup.
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#13
RealWingsFan

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Macboatmaster your absolutely correct in saying I should read the thread to avoid confusion. No worries :D The only other suggestion I can now think of is basically a last resort as if it were my pc I would want to be absolutely certain what is wrong with it. I would look through your local phonebook for computer repair shops that offer free diagnostics and call and ask if there is any charge once they tell you the problem and you decide not to have it fixed. I've done this once in the past and wasn't charged a cent when told the motherboard was fried. And yes I was given the pc back. Also a reputable repairshop will not ask for creditcard info since they have your pc as collateral.
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#14
thornhill

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Ok, all of the keys move freely. I tried repeatedly hitting the F2 key and unfortunately, got no response.

I asked Lisa about sending it somewhere and found out she's already paid one tech $25 only to be told they had no clue what was wrong with it (apparently their shop takes the diagnosis fee off the repair fee if they fix it). However, I think that idea still holds merit and though the only repair shop in my small town charges as well, I'm contacting a couple of others in the area to find out whether or not they do.

Thanks to you both for all of your suggestions. If you have any more, keep 'em coming. :D
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#15
Macboatmaster

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Whilst I have no idea how good that tech is, I think we can say that if he had it in his hand and cannot solve it, then post to post on this fourm, there is little chance.
Good luck with it.
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