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VAIO R505TSK won't see PC Cards

I have been given a Sony VAIO RCG-R505TSK to look at.  It doesn't recognize PCMCIA cards.  I have tried several, and the Install new hardware wizard never appears.  I have tried other known working PC Bus cards, but they don't get recognized either.

Whenever the computer started, the wizard did locate a PCI device, which I am thinking is related.  I couldn't find any driver on the computer, and the Sony Website doesn't have a specific driver for PCMCIA.

The Device Manager shows the PCMCIA adapter as working.  Its location is PCI bus 1, device 2, function 0
If I uninstall the device and restart, it is reinstalled but cards are still not recognized.  

No PCMCIA devices show up in the Sony Notebook Setup.

The owner of the computer said that somebody "turned something off"  -  but that may be coincidental.

Is there a diagnostic from Sony or somewhere else that could test the PCMCIA bus hardware?
Are there System devices that I should uninstall and then reinstall?


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1 Solution
First of all I would flash the BIOS, with the new version if available, it seems like it's a BIOS problem. After that, I would check under System Properties->device manager, if it sees the PCMCIA at all. If it doesn't and you have flashed the BIOS 99%  this is h/w problem.
Also try to go here:
and check in download section for h/w test utility, they usually have it under download section. Also check the knowledge base.

But flash the BIOS first. Be careful though, make sure u have the right version, and there is no power interrupt/failture while flashing.
computerlarryAuthor Commented:
I have downloaded every BIOS upgrade for this model under Win2000, and each shuts down towards the end.  I assume that's what you mean by BIOS 99%.

I noticed that the PCMCIA card is PCI Bus 1, device 2, function 0

The PCI  devices that aren't working are:

PCI Bus 0 device 31, function 6

I can't seem to find a driver for this unknown PCI device.

I didn't understand, "and each shuts down towards the end" ? Were you able to flash the bios?
About unknown driver. Can you see it in device manager? If can try to update the driver, and select the option Microsoft windows update, it worked for me in similar cases.
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computerlarryAuthor Commented:
I see two unknown PCI devices in the device manager.  Microsoft Windows update doesn't find either of them.

Could it be that Sony has drivers that are only available on their CD's?  We don't seem to have the CD for this computer.  

There was a driver from Sony's site that wouldn't install - SM Bus Driver

When I ran the installer, I got a message - Your computer contains the wrong model information.

A look on Google for  SM Bus Driver Sony   turned up a comment from a Linux user that was related to PC Bus.

So maybe it's a missing driver issue.  


It appears that I was able to flash the BIOS.  I took a thorough look at the update process.

The BIOS update runs.  It does the following:

There is a section called:  Flash memory block:
It erases the block, and programs the block.  

There is a line on the bottom on the list that says Programming complete.
The computer restarts without any input on my part.  I would normally expect a message to appear asking me to confirm the upgrade.

After the update, setup shows the BIOS to be the latest version.

I assume, then, that the BIOS WAS correctly updated.

If you see the latest version of BIOS, then it was upgraded ok.
About missing drivers. I'm not sure if it's laptop or desktop. If it desktop try to disconnect the PCMSIA and reboot. And check the device manager, so you will know what makes a problem. It might be a problem with PCMCIA, that the firmware (little chip, that is installed on every H/W device) is corrupted, so when OS trying to authenticate it, it tells some gibberish, or nothing at all. Or it can be something else as well.

If it's laptop, this is really problem.

Any way, I don't believe there are any updates that available on CD only, because usually everything is on the web.

So if the problem is still unsolved, you got three options:
1.Call Sony tech support. But usually it's waist of time, because you will wait for 45 minutes, then they will go through registration for 15 min. And then you will find out that the tech knows nothing about comp.
2.Check the support forum and known problems with Sony web site. Or send them an e-mail. It usually take s a long time, to get the e-mail replay, but it might work.
3.If it's under warranty send it to Sony.
4.Give it up.

I would try 2 and then a third option. You will still have to call tech support, so try to cut them right there, so they don't start: " turn you comp off, turn it on "...and so on. Just say that you've consulted professionals (and I'm the one :) ) and it's a problem with motherboard or PCMCIA. But at least make sure they replays the PCMCIA , because since you have flashed the BIOS , I would less suspect motherboard.

One more thing you can try, if you have time. Is to reinstall the chipset driver. But don't take it from Sony web site, since it might be dated, go to the manufacture web site and get it there. If you don't know how to recognize the chipset, its a big flat, square chip, sometimes under little ventilator or heat sink don't know how to spell it, sorry). It might be Intel, Via, Nvidia or Sis, they are the most likely. If you still not sure, google through the web, there are a lot of tutorials, with pict, I can post here any pict, so you will know. Then just select the OS you have and get it. Then run install, you don't have to uninstall the previous one, make sure you install that one, since Win some times sagest other driver (from it depository) and if you have XP, don't mind if it says it not digitally signed.
computerlarryAuthor Commented:
I went to the Intel site and downloaded and installed chipset drivers.  I no longer have an unknown device listed in Device Manager.  But the computer doesn't respond to any PC Card.

I give up. I used a USB Nic to get it on the network.

I assume that there's a hardware problem, which will take too much time and money to repair.

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