Dell Inspiron crazy fan, now refusing to boot

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware' started by Shotgun Chuck, Mar 5, 2017.

  1. Shotgun Chuck

    Shotgun Chuck
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    My mother has an old Dell Inspiron laptop of some kind, and for some time it's had an issue where, whenever it is bumped or otherwise subjected to small shock loads, the fan, or something noisy that sounds like it, will start rapidly accelerating towards its maximum speed. When this happens, the machine will refuse to shut off (even in response to the power button) and pulling the battery out is the only way to make it stop accelerating. Someone else told me long ago that this was a firmware issue, and that a fix was available, but I was never able to find it.

    Well, tonight it did the same thing in response to the killing of a spider that was attempting to crawl into the keyboard. We pulled the battery, put it back in, system booted up, but a few minutes later the fan, or whatever it is, started revving up again, this time without any provocation whatsoever. Once again, we pulled the battery, and this time attempted to run it off the power brick alone without a battery inserted (which proved impossible).

    Now we have the battery back in, but it's refusing to fully boot. When started, it brought up the error recovery menu, when started in Safe Mode, it brought up a list of Windows files it was loading, but just after loading crcdisk.sys it just stalled forever and refused to load any further, with the hard drive light lit almost steady, only occasionally and briefly blinking off. When loaded with "last known good configuration" it stalls forever on the "scrolling bars" screen instead.

    What is going on here?
     
    #1 Shotgun Chuck, Mar 5, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
  2. Michaelflat

    Michaelflat
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    the weird fan behaviour sounds a bit like a short circuit somewhere in the motherboard. I dont really like Dell EC (embedded controllers) since when i last used a computer (dell) it had quite a bad fan curve, and nothing lets you adjust it (its either minimum or maximum) (and if you do then there is a chance that the system will stop)
     
  3. bob.blunderton

    bob.blunderton
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    Something is loose inside the laptop (vs broken off where you'd hear it rattle).
    It's not the battery or it'd just shut off/not power up at all. No lights (generally no anything) etc.
    Check the connections between components inside the laptop itself. A loose stick of ram or add-on video board may be the cause of your issue.
    I would look for the connections on ram cards (accessable from the bottom of the unit, usually behind 1~2 small phillips screws), and the connections to anything such as higher-end add-on video card (which may vary by model), some being integrated on the motherboard, though in others, manufacturers add an array of different video boards, that slot right into a connector on the side of the motherboard.
    Generally, if you knock the gfx card loose, the bios on the card 'crashes' and the fans associated with it's cooling will go 100% (inadvertantly, my Rx 480 8g in my desktop suffers a video bios error whenever i hit my case fan switch to it's lowest settings, and the fan lose their bios-controlled state and go 100%).
    Each component (except RAM) has a bios on itself, that identify the purpose and basic features of the product.
    If you knock out the connection to your video bios, by knocking a contact loose inside while bumping the unit, it can no longer keep functioning as it's lost it's connection to the motherboard bios. This scenario best fits as it is 100% alike to the problem you claim to be having.
    If you have no experience or desire (to) take apart a laptop, don't do it, take it to a service center VS getting in over your head.
    If you have worked on computers before, grab a paper plate/cpu or a dish or tupperware bowl and put the screws in it as you take the machine apart, they're small and super-easy to lose. Expect it to take most of an hour, more if you're a bit new to this.
    Backup her photos, super-important files, irreplaceable stuffs etc before you attempt to do this when and if the machine will boot. You don't want to break something and lose her files or you'll be in the dog house!
    This harkens back to bumping an 8-bit NES in the middle of a game... scrambled screen & stuck sound.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Michaelflat

    Michaelflat
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    yeah i reckon there is a short on the motherboard, the Dell EC is quite finicky as it is, a spider or whatever probably short circuited it, like what bob said, when the bios crashes fans go into failsafe mode and bounce up to 100% (I saw a Dell 3100 fan go to around 1600rpm which is an odd number when someone squirted salt water onto the motherboard).
    I will be honest the EC way of doing it is quite bad to be honest, I have an Advent PC that has a temp sensor and a separate chip that only takes information from that one sensors, that is bulletproof.
    There may be something loose in the motherboard, dismantle the laptop as much as possible and see if there is a loose screw or something like that.
     
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