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Dell Inspiron 15 7548 with sudden start-up issues


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#1
Mische7

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Hi there. I came across another post last night that touched on this but thought it might be good to start my own topic. My first question: is it possible that a dying video card fan could keep my laptop from starting properly? Another member, Mr Gadget, describes what is happening perfectly:


I have an Inspiron 15 (7547) that does get a power indicator but when the power button is pressed, it makes a whir sound and then shuts down within about 3 seconds.
I removed the RAM and it beeps like crazy. I replaced RAM 1 stick at a time to no avail. I replaced the HDD, and even took out the HDD. No change. I removed the battery, pressed the power, removed the coin cell, pressed power again, replaced all and still the behavior is the same (power button lights up, power indicator lights up, whir/swish sound & seconds later power down). Using a power adapter does not change the behavior either.

So here are some details: It started out of nowhere this past Wednesday night. I dont know exactly what it did before it died because Id gone out for a walk after work but I had been using it all day with Vs Code, Photoshop, Outlook and several instances of Chrome running. (Normal day for me and the laptop) The only thing out of the ordinary is that I finally let iCloud update after avoiding it and the iTunes update forever. Otherwise, same as every other day.

Ive found all sorts of oddities in my testing but heres the rundown:
1. I removed the battery and static just in case it was a hiccup. No difference
2. I removed all RAM and tried to power up and got the warning beeps so the motherboard still seems to be alive.
3. It orig came w 12 gigs of RAM which I changed to 16 so I got the spare 4gb card from the attic and tried only that one. This was the 1st time I was successfully able to boot up since this happened so I left it alone to run a backup overnight. It was SLOW but it worked fine. It will start if I have one RAM slot filled with a 4 gig card. That same slot with an 8 gig card will not start.
4. I updated the BIOS just to rule that out. (And the clock is fine so I dont think it could be CMOS?)
5. Running the Dell diagnostics (ePSA) its been telling me from the start that the batterys life is coming close to done but that was the only warning. In windows, however, when I do a hardware check the battery reports that its functioning normally.
6. For the first time last night (after a BUNCH of ePSA tests) I got my first warning beeps. It told me the video card fan didnt respond properly. I believe the beeps were 5-1-1 and the written info was definitely the video card error.

So first I thought it was the motherboard, then I thought it was bad RAM. Im wondering if, when the startup precheck runs and the video fan says its not working, if the machine simply wont boot as a safety measure. And I imagine the machine definitely needs working fans if its running more RAM and perhaps thats why the larger cards wont work at all. So Im very hopeful the entire issue is a dying fan causing a massive hiccup.

I should mention that even with the 4 gig card in, pressing the power and having it actually boot is hit and miss. Sometimes it just whirs for 2 seconds and stops. Sometimes it catches and boots up fully. I just pressed it about 8 times (cover off, holding it like a pizza but upside down and hitting all these buttons is not easy but seems to be the only way) and it finally caught on the 8th or 9th try. And the the ePSA test Im doing right now did not return the fan error it was giving last night.

Anyone else run into this? Id love to avoid having to buy a new laptop. Im scratching my head here.
Thanks in advance!

Edited by Mische7, 19 May 2019 - 10:43 AM.

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#2
SpywareDr

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Computer systems are designed to shutdown when they overheat to keep from melting themselves and starting a fire.


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#3
Mische7

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I support that. It sounds like great logic to me. But I’m trying to figure out the exact issue so I can fix it. The machine isn’t actually hot when this is happening so I’m trying to sort out what the machine is detecting. Any guidance there?
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#4
SpywareDr

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Without proper cooling, it only takes a few seconds for some CPUs to overheat.

 

Some BIOS Setups show current temps.

 

Also note, when blowing dust out of fans you need to use something to keep the blades from spinning while you do so. Like a Q-tip, Popsicle stick, toothpick, etc. Spinning the fans faster than they were designed to spin, can damage and even destroy the fan bearings.


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#5
Mische7

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Ah. Thanks for the additional explanation. That helps. Before I order a new fan (already tried cleaning it but it wasn’t horribly dirty), I have an additional question. Or two..

1. Would you expect the same shutdown behavior from the machine during the boot up process regardless of the RAM inside of it? I ask because it’s on right now (with only 1 4gb RAM card in it) and I’m running windows, using it to research potential issue explanations, etc) It’s been on for hours, isn’t hot and isn’t making crazy noise or burning smells. Just trying to rule things out.

2. In doing a deeper dive this morning, I found that it actually ran a Windows Cumulative update (kb4499167) while I was out for my walk, which I definitely didn’t set it up to do. (And is why I just discovered it today) That was the last thing to happen before all [bleep] broke loose. I’m wondering if that may be it but I don’t see that it changed any drivers at all so I’m confused by that. Have you by chance seen any others that ran into that same issue? I ask because I see your name in other places on the forum so I think you get around - - and I mean that in a good way. ;)
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#6
SpywareDr

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A motherboard must have at least some compatible RAM in it before it can even boot into the BIOS Setup.

 

Two incompatible RAM sticks, either with each other or with the motherboard, can cause al kinds of strange behavior, and that's only IF it will even boot with it plugged in. Run a RAM test, like MemTest86 overnight. If you see ANY errors the next morning, replace the RAM.

 

It is always best to use matching RAM that is sold in "Kits". Crucial.com carries 100% guaranteed-compatible RAM.

 

Keep in mind that if the hardware is not running 100% perfectly, then there is no way the software being run on it will be able to either.

 

--

 

If you are running Windows 10, Microsoft's updates for it often cause all kinds of problems.


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#7
Mische7

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Right. Regarding the RAM... so I’ve owned the machine since 2015 and it’s been a total champ. The initial RAM was upgraded immediately. (Totally compatible and was from Crucial so excellent quality too) The new, Crucial RAM went into the 2nd slot that originally held a 4gb card. The 2nd slot kept the 8gb dell RAM. (So I went from 12 to 16) That 4gb card has been in the box ever since until Thursday when I was troubleshooting every possible thing I could think of. So the RAM, I know, was a-okay all these years and all of Wednesday until that (insert terrible words here) update ruined things.

I’m going to blame the update, I think, since everything was dandy until then. Why the machine will start with 4 gigs but not 8 is confusing to me but I guess it’s possible something about the update corrupted both 8gb cards that were in it. Wow what a pain this is turning out to be.

Anyway, thanks for the info. I appreciate it.
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#8
SpywareDr

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You're welcome.

 

Note that RAM sticks do go bad.


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