Dell Inspiron 1501 no sound

I am looking at a Dell Inspiron 1501 that has no sound. All volume is on and at full level and I have updated the sound driver from the Dell site so I assume this could be a hardware problem. Does anyone know if this laptop has a sound card or would I need to replace the motherboard to replace the sound card?
grapey100Asked:
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nobusCommented:
you can test if the sound card works or not by running rhe live Knoppix cd; at least, you should hear the welcome sound...and others :  ftp://ftp.kernel.org/pub/dist/knoppix/KNOPPIX_V6.2CD-2009-11-18-EN.iso
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booster49Commented:
try following these instructions:

Here are a few other possibilities:

 

1. Could be the wrong driver. If you have XP it should be Sigmatel R171789 (5.10.0.5515).

 

2. The old driver could need to be cleaned out to ensure a clean new installation. Go to your hard drive
 c:\Dell\Drivers\R...(Sigmatel driver file name beginning with the letter R)
and delete the folder(s). Only delete folders whose 'R' names correspond to a Sigmatel driver.  Then try to install the new version.

 

3. The supporting software might need re-installing. From the 1501 downloads page,

a. Install Dell Notebook System Software (expand the System Utilities category). Restart.

b. Next install the AMD processor driver (expand the Chipset category). Restart.

c. Install the Sigmatel audio driver.

 

4. Go to Start/Run and type "services.msc" then hit the 'Enter' key (or click 'ok'). The Services window will appear. Scroll down until you find "Windows Audio" towards the bottom of the list. Check that it is enabled, set to automatic, and running. If it isn't, double click on it and change the Startup type to Automatic, then click Start, Apply, and OK.

 

5. Go into the Device Manager and check that 'Plug and Play Software Device Enumerator' is installed and running. It will be listed alphabetically if there.

 

6. In some models the modem can have an undetectable problem that prevents the audio from working properly. To test this you have to physically remove the modem, not just uninstall the driver. With the modem removed, try again to install the audio driver. If the audio works after removing the modem then you might need to replace it.

 

7. A bad audio chip. Try running the audio test in Dell Diagnostics to check it. To run Diagnostics restart the computer and as soon as it starts to boot up tap f12. Select 'Diagnostic' from the boot menu. The computer will run its pre-boot assessment tests (PSA) before the Dell Diagnostic starts. The PSA tests play some beeps and tones through the system speaker but this doesn't test the rest of the audio hardware, so you still need to let Dell Diagnostics run after the PSA. Dell Diagnostics plays an instrumental piece of music complete with drums, so if you only hear some tones then you have only run the PSA.

When Dell Diagnostics opens, select 'custom', then the audio test. This will test your audio system independently of Windows and drivers, meaning it doesn't matter if they are working correctly or not. If the audio test is not offered as an option under 'custom', that is a symptom of a dead chip.

[If you have ever reformatted your hard drive then the Diagnostics partition might have been wiped off. If the Dell Diagnostics option fails to open, run it from the Drivers and Utilities (Resource) CD if you have one.]

Dell Diagnostics will play some audio and ask you whether you heard it. If you answer 'no' then the test generates an error code that means you indicated you did not hear the sounds it played, but it doesn't and cannot pinpoint the exact component that has gone bad. If you don't hear the music during the test it definitely means there is a hardware failure somewhere in the system.

If you do hear the audio that almost always means the hardware is okay but there is a problem with the software or configuration.



credits go to jim from the dell community forums.
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grapey100Author Commented:
Booster49
Thanks for your very comprehensive response. I have tried everything you suggested and here is the result:
I followed the steps in sequence except I delayed the modem removal until the end.
When I ran the Dell Diagnostics I heard the audio track okay.
Then I removed the modem and restarted but there is still no sound.
Any more ideas on what I can do as this clearly seems to be a software, rather than a hardware, issue?
Thanks
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nobusCommented:
why don't you try my suggestion ?  easy...
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grapey100Author Commented:
nobus,
Thanks, I did try your suggestion. I had to download the iso image twice as the one I got from the lilnk you supplied would only run to a certain point. I tried it on another PC and it still failed to run properly so maybe the download wasn't good? Anyhow, I got it from another source and ran it but, to be honest, I couldn't see anything on it that would help me! Perhaps you can give me a bit more detail as to what I need to do.
In any case, it looks like, from the Diagnostics, the sound is working outside Windows so I need to keep digging as to why it won't work under Windows!
Thanks
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booster49Commented:
try downgrading the driver to an older version.

Also what version of windows do you use?
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nobusCommented:
i posted everything above :  at least, you should hear the welcome sound...and others
if you don't hear it - consider the sound card dead
btw - don't throw the cd away, it's useful for accessing data on pc's that don't boot + the net...

now you said it worked in the diags, so try this :
My sound procedure checklist :
-in device manager, check if the card is installed without errors
- or #2 - in Device Manager>view - click "show hidden devices" and delete all reference to your card
-reboot, and install the driver
-in the audio and sound applet>audio tab check if the sound card is selected
-in the volume section, check if the sound is turned up enough, and NOT muted
-in the audio and sound applet>sounds tab select the start windows sound, and check if you can play it
-check if the speakers are connected to the proper sound output (green)
-test the speakers on another PC
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grapey100Author Commented:
booster49
the OS is Windows Xp with SP3
If I downgrade the sound card driver will it be compatible with the other drivers I installed from your checklist?
Here is what is listed in Device Manager under Sound, video and game controllers.
Audio Codecs
Legacy Audio Drivers
Legacy Video Capture Devices
Media Control Devices
Microsoft Kernel System Audio Device
Microsoft WINMM WDM Audio Compatibility Driver
SigmaTel High Definition Audio CODEC
Video Codecs
The two Microsoft ones only list if I select Show Hidden Devices
There are no warning icons showing agains any device
I do not have any speakers plugged into the laptop as the headphone socket is slightly damaged. However, since I heard sound coming out of the laptop speakers during the Diagnostics test I assume this is not relevant?
Thanks

 
 
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grapey100Author Commented:
nobus
Thanks for your response. Yes, I will keep the CD although I do have some other linus based rescue CDs but this could also be useful!
I listed the audio devices in my response to booster49. Do you see anything missing there?
I have carried out all of the other checks you suggest and all are positive.
Do you think I need to check inside the laptop since the headphone socket is damaged?
Thanks
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booster49Commented:
Yes its probably a software related problem. I dont think compatability will be an issue but you can always upgrade back to newer drivers if it doesnt work just try it.

if downgrading the driver doesnt work try what nobus posted:
- or #2 - in Device Manager>view - click "show hidden devices" and delete all reference to your card
-reboot, and install the driver
-in the audio and sound applet>audio tab check if the sound card is selected
-in the volume section, check if the sound is turned up enough, and NOT muted
-in the audio and sound applet>sounds tab select the start windows sound, and check if you can play it
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booster49Commented:
discard the second part of my last post.

I dont think you have to check inside the laptop as the hardware seems to work fine outside windows.
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grapey100Author Commented:
booster49
From the list of devices I have can you tell me which one (or ones) I would need to delete to remove the sound card driver? Is it just the SigmaTel Codec one?
Thanks
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grapey100Author Commented:
booster49
Where do I find the older sound card driver?
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nobusCommented:
i'm sorry to insist - but did you hear the welcome sound in knoppix?
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booster49Commented:
Do you have this driver installed right now?
I would uninstall these to completely remove it:
Legacy Audio Drivers
Microsoft WINMM WDM Audio Compatibility Driver
SigmaTel High Definition Audio CODEC
the codec is probably the driver to.
@nobus ditnt grapey state this here?
In any case, it looks like, from the Diagnostics, the sound is working outside Windows so I need to keep digging as to why it won't work under Windows!
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grapey100Author Commented:
nobus
No, I didn't but I think there is something wrong with my Knoppix downloads or burns. I looked at a video today showing a Knoppix screen and I didn't see that. i only saw some options listed 1 thru 12 like on an old DOS environment.
I have ordered a Knoppix CDROM from a UK company.
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nobusCommented:
ah - that explains things.
did you download and create it on a working PC? then the download should work
pick the one you need from the sart page : www.knoppix.org   - select your language and mirror..
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grapey100Author Commented:
booster49
I uninstalled the WINMM and SigmaTel drivers and installed the one you have linked to (although I think it is the one that was installed already anyhow - same version number). I couldn't see any option for uninstalling the Legacy Audio drivers. Still no sound
Incidentally, after I uninstalled, the computer did beep a few times when starting up (on error messages not related to this problem e.g. an Outlook profile error message) but once the driver was reinstalled this didn't happen again.
 
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TrustWiseCommented:
Sigmatel has its own software via control panel try to diagnose from there
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grapey100Author Commented:
Thanks for your help. I took the laptop apart yesterday and I believe the problem could be hardware related. The headphone socket is damaged and, after fiddling a bit with the the jack of some headphones i managed to get some sound throught he headphones so I imagine the problem with the headphone socket is somehow disabling the speakers.
Although, I must say, having got the Dell (non Windows) diagnostics to play through the speakers okay I am still puzzled!
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nobusCommented:
My sound procedure checklist :
-in device manager, check if the card is installed without errors
-start>run>services.msc  and check if the Windows Audio service started and set to automatic?
        then, from Device Manager>view   click "show hidden devices" , now  right click your sound devices, and select Uninstall.
        Reboot, and cancel the wizard to reinstall
        Install your latest drivers, and reboot to complete the install......
-reboot, and install the driver
-in the audio and sound applet>audio tab check if the sound card is selected
-in the volume section, check if the sound is turned up enough, and NOT muted
-in the audio and sound applet>sounds tab select the start windows sound, and check if you can play it
-check if the speakers are connected to the proper sound output (green)
-test the speakers on another PC
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grapey100Author Commented:
I have had to close the question as my client wanted his laptop back and has accepted that, due to  damage to the heaphone socket, he will use this as a backup laptop and use it without sound.
Thanks to booster49 and nobus for their help which will be very useful for similar situations.
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nobusCommented:
thanks for the feedback !
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