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inspiron 5100 overheated

Posted on 2006-11-15
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Last Modified: 2007-12-19
Good day - I am trying to resuscitate a Dell Inspiron 5100 laptop.  I have looked on the web and found info about the heat issues - sounds like what happened here.  I have already taken the chip and cooling sink apart and spread more thermal paste, blew everything off, and reassembled, but I still have the issue - I press the power button and I get a couple of blinks on the power and battery lights, then nothing.  I have tried powering up on battery and on AC power.

Is there something I need to reset, or am I just about hosed?  If I have to look at parts to replace, what do I need to look at?  Unit is out of warranty and the budget is tight.

Thanks in advance!
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Question by:chipsterva69
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rid earned 250 total points
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You may of course have a dead processor on your hands, but did you try reseating the processor chip, taking care to have it really properly seated? Also, reset the CMOS by shorting the appropriate jumpers or removing the battery. Reseating everything that can be reseated is a good idea, RAM, add-on boards etc. Also, try starting up with all drives removed (CD, HD etc). If you get into BIOS, you can add hardware afterwards.
/RID
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by:rindi
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Don't add more thermal paste, but rather clean the old paste of very thoroughly, then add a very small amount of fresh paste. If you apply too much you actually prevent the heat from transferring properly to the heatsink. Also, when you reattach the heatsink, make sure it is clamped down firmly.

As rid has already mentioned, the RAM can be a problem. Reseating them may help, or if you have the possibility, get the modules tested on another, compatible PC.
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by:chipsterva69
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clean with rubbing alcohol or something like that?  will do.  reseated the RAM already - I am going to try switching some of the components out with my functioning 1150 tonight.
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by:garycase
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Be sure you have carefully and thoroughly cleaned off all of the old thermal compound from both the CPU and the heatsink.   Scrape when you can with a credit card; then use a lint-free cloth with isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) to wipe off the rest.   Wait until it thoroughly dries (ten minutes or so after you're done);  then apply a small amount of thermal compound and reseat the heatsink.

Clearing CMOS is also a good idea, but is trickier on a laptop than on a desktop.   On this model, you can clear the CMOS by unplugging it, removing the battery, and then holding the power switch for 30 seconds.

... However, this sounds like a more significant issue than simply refreshing the thermal paste or resetting the CMOS.   From what you've described, it's likely either a power problem or a bad motherboard, with a defective CPU a 3rd (but less likely) issue.   What happens if you turn it on with the AC adapter connected but the battery removed ??


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by:chipsterva69
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I have pulled everything apart and cleaned everything - in the process of testing last night, I did a quick check on the system and got past the blinking lights and actually saw some POST info on the screen.  Unfortunately, I was out of rubbing alcohol so had to stop there - I need to clean off the processor and heat sink and reapply paste.  I am not sure what I corrected, but it seems to be going the right direction.  Thanks for the CMOS pointer, garycase - I couldn't find anything about clearing that.  Hope to have this resolved tonight/tomorrow.
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by:chipsterva69
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The system is fixed - in the end, I think it was a loose RAM stick, but the heat was also wreaking havoc on the system.  Put everything back together, blanked the CMOS and everything was up and running.  One very strange thing I did notice - the BIOS on the motherboard was Phoenix version A06.  I was hoping to update the BIOS, but the only thing available on the Dell site is version A29 from Dell, and the updater won't allow you to update the BIOS due to the incompatible companies.  How do I go about updating the BIOS?
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by:rid
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Don't ever try something that is not to the letter identical with your BIOS type/version/subversion/etc and computer model, that's rule #1.

Don't do it unless you KNOW it will solve a particular issue that you are suffering from.

Dells usually display BIOS version on the POST screen. Does it say Phoenix or Dell there?
/RID
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by:chipsterva69
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I don't have the laptop in front of me at the moment to confirm the POST result, but hitting F2 and accessing the system setup pulls up Phoenix - v A06.  I am not addressing a particular issue at this point - the system is up, running and stable, which is much better than it was a week ago when it was handed to me.  I was looking at it as a maintenance update.  Thanks for confirming rule #1 - that was my gut instinct anyway.  I will let sleeping dogs lie in this case.
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by:rindi
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Dell and other companies? I'm not sure what you mean by that.

Anyway, when I look on the dell site, it shows version a32...

http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/format.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=gen&SystemID=INS_PNT_P4_5100&os=BIOSA&osl=en&deviceid=5466&typecnt=1&libid=1&releaseid=R87515&vercnt=8

It may be possible that a bios upgrade will no longer work if your current version is as old as yours. Maybe you'll have to call dell for some intermediate upgrades and then do it in steps.
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