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RAM Voltage on Dell Inspiron 8500

Posted on 2006-05-29
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-10
Hello All,

I am have been having issues with a Dell Inspirion 8500 laptop. I have tested the voltage to the RAM at 2.2V and wondering if that is the correct reading for this laptop? What is occuring is that about every 6 months the ram seems to be failing. Once I replace the memory the system runs well again for that approximate time frame. Any ideas on this? Also, I was unable to purchase a schematic diagram from Dell and was wondering how one would obtain this? I have seem misc. schematics for Dell hardware posted on the net but, not the full blown schematic for the Inspiron 8500. Any ideas on where I can find this would be a huge help. Please refrain from comments that Dell is the only place - thanks.
Question by:UnitedPres
LVL 70

Accepted Solution

garycase earned 2000 total points
ID: 16786547
The correct voltage is 2.5v.   There's a 5% tolerance, so the voltage could be as low as 2.375v and be within spec ==> but 2.2v is too low.  

I've not seen a "full blow schematic" for the Inspiron 8500, but Dell does have some fairly comprehensive documentation (see the Service Manual in particular) for this model available on the web:

Expert Comment

ID: 16787053
I agree with the person above.  Have Dell chagne your laptop's motherboard.

Give him the points.

LVL 44

Expert Comment

ID: 16787702
Have you done a BIOS update on this laptop?  It is downloadable from DELL.  All the voltage per CPU type is listed in BIOS tables, and if the BIOS table is old, then it will preset the wrong voltage.

Before you give up on the board, just download the latest BIOS and FLASH it, per DELL instructions, making sure you do not power the laptop off between the time you start flashing, and a complete new reboot of the OS.  Once it has rebooted with the new BIOS settings, you might find it works just fine.  This is a TYPICAL BIOS update issue.
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LVL 93

Expert Comment

ID: 16787980
do you have the 2.2 V when running from battery alone, and from the AC adaptor alone?

Author Comment

ID: 16804594
I have the low voltage reading when running on both battery as well as the AC adapter. I have flashed the bios with Dell's most recent update and no change. What I am looking for here is to find a schematic for this laptop. I appreciate the suggestions and especially garycase answer to the correct voltage and will award him some points. Rather than spend $500 on having Dell replace the board I would prefer to board level troubleshoot this issue. Replacing a transitor or a few resisters would be my choice over feeding Dell too much for a simple problem.

LVL 70

Expert Comment

ID: 16804750
If you remove the motherboard you can probably find the voltage regulator for the 2.5v supply.   But whether the regulator IC is bad, or the control circuitry is out-of-spec, is difficult to say.   Look carefully on the motherboard for any sign of deteriorated capacitors (leaking or bulging).

Good to know there's still some interest in board-level repair instead of just throwing things away :-)
(although with modern multi-layer boards it's a lot trickier than it used to be)

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