Help needed solving black screen and single beep error on M17x 2013/2014

Discussion in 'Alienware 17 and M17x' started by ronors, Feb 2, 2021.

  1. ronors

    ronors Newbie

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    Help, how to create VAS00X64.FD / .fd files from the newest A17 BIOS update?
    https://www.dell.com/support/home/en-uk/drivers/driversdetails?driverid=rc95x

    Background info:
    M17x, 2013/2014-model, yesterday, after sitting unused for a few months, suddenly it would not boot up. Black screen and single beep error continuosly until battery drained. BIOS was updated last year to A17, and it worked fine and has never been transported around, only gentle desktop use, so hardware should be ok.

    I am trying to find out if it would help to do the BIOS emergency recovery as per instructions here, but the fat32 formatted usb stick with the recovery bios files on it only reads for a moment then stays lit and the fans just keep on spinning. Tried waiting for it half an hour, but doubt this should take more than 5 minutes if successful?
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/alienware-17-r5-r1-ranger-emergency-recovery-bios.811870/
     
  2. ronors

    ronors Newbie

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    So it turns out the emergency BIOS recover from USB flash does not work on the Haswell machines with NVRAM BIOS.


    Mine is an AW17 (Ranger) with 120Hz 3D display, i7-4800MQ

    Trying to follow the instructions found here, without success:

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/alienware-17-bios-bricked.769808/
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/alienware-18-bios-a07.751794/page-4#post9646431

    1) Remove all memory modules
    2) Disconnect CMOS battery and system battery
    3) Let laptop beep until it turns itself off
    4) VERY QUICKLY, WHILE IT IS OFF, BUT BEFORE IT ATTEMPTS TO BOOT AND LIGHTS COME ON AGAIN, INSERT A MEMORY MODULE.
    5) System will start to beep 5 times
    6) Power system off
    7) Reconnect CMOS battery and system battery
    8) Replace any panels removed for access to memory modules
    9) Done…

    /
    1. Turn the system off and disconnect the AC adapter
    2. Disconnect CMOS battery and system battery**
    3. Do a power drain (press and hold power button 30 seconds)
    4. Remove all memory modules
    5. Reconnect AC adapter and power system on
    6. Let laptop beep until it turns itself off
    7. VERY QUICKLY, WHILE IT IS OFF, BUT BEFORE IT ATTEMPTS TO BOOT AND LIGHTS COME ON AGAIN, INSERT 1 MEMORY MODULE
    8. System will start to beep 5 times
    9. Power system off
    10. Reconnect CMOS battery and system battery
    11. Replace any panels removed for access to memory modules
    12. Done…
    /

    1. Unplug laptop and battery
    2. Power drain for 30 seconds
    3. Remove all RAM modules (if you have 16GB you need to access underneath the keyboard as well
    4. Connect AC adapter, turn on laptop without RAM modules in
    5. When the laptop beeps (4 beeps) it will eventually turn off
    6. The moment it turns off, insert 1 RAM module
    7. The laptop will beep 5 times, then you can turn it off
    8. Insert RAM modules and turning it on should bring you back to normal



    All four RAM modules are out, but it keeps on 2 beeps until it eventually shuts off, never reboots.

    What remains to try is to do the CPU swap to reset the NVRAM
    BIOS that way, but I don't have any 4700MQ laying around.


    Any ideas on what else to try?
     
  3. Clamibot

    Clamibot Notebook Deity

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    1 beep means BIOS failure.

    With the BIOS reset procedure, you need to take all the RAM modules out and turn on the laptop. Let it beep twice (no ram error code) until it shuts off. When it does, quickly insert in a RAM module before it turns back on. When it does, the reset should be complete and you should be able to use your laptop.

    Unfortunately this model cannot be blind flashed unless you are using the legacy option ROM.
     
  4. ronors

    ronors Newbie

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    Thanks for replying.

    I've tried over and over.
    It will beep twice for a varying amount of time before the lights go out, however, it only shuts down every time. No matter how quick, there is no result from reinserting the RAM.

    I've read here someone mentioning 100% success using this method, unless with 120Hz 3D Vision models.

    Mine is the 120Hz model. So what makes these different? I know that 120Hz Haswell laptops have the iGPU / Optimus disabled due to incompatibility.
    If somehow that's why it's not working, then what exactly is it that makes it interfere with this BIOS reset procedure?

    I have already tried to disconnect the 780M GPU card, and even the flat cables going to screen and 3D emitter before attempting the RAM module BIOS reset procedure.
     
  5. Clamibot

    Clamibot Notebook Deity

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    I'm not sure why it wouldn't work. I also have the 120 Hz eDP panel installed in my Ranger and the procedure works fine. I had to use it once to recover from bad BIOS settings. The screen should not affect the reset procedure.

    What happens if you don't reinsert the RAM? Does it do the same thing? Also is the CMOS battery inserted? You don't have to remove the CMOS battery to perform a BIOS reset.
     
  6. ronors

    ronors Newbie

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    Same thing. There's no automatic reboot, whether RAM is reinserted or not.

    Without RAM it beeps twice for a while then lights go out, that is all it does.


    Is the CMOS battery necessary for the BIOS reset? The original one was a CR2032 3V which I measured to 2V, so replaced it with what I had at hand, a 3V CR2025 + a shim on top. Not 100% sure if it makes contact in the battery holder or if that has anything to say.
     
  7. Clamibot

    Clamibot Notebook Deity

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    No, the CMOS battery is not necessary for the reset process. I was just wondering if you had pulled it out thinking it was necessary to do so.

    Interesting that there's no automatic reboot. Do you by chance have different RAM you can try? That can cause a reset as well. You also mentioned having an extra CPU. I'd give that CPU swap a go too since a hardware change is supposed to trigger a reset.
     
  8. ronors

    ronors Newbie

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    No, I don't have any other CPU than the originally equipped 4800MQ. And I also only have the original 4 RAM sticks. Have tried swapping those around for the single stick reinsert, no change.

    I did however just now try change the CMOS battery for a slightly fresher one, and, for the first time, it did actually reboot after doing the 2 beeps without RAM. It did so only once, but didn't trigger the reset even though RAM was reinsert within the 1st of the 3-4 seconds it took to reboot. Then back to 1 beeps and no automatic reboots again.

    So maybe the reset process requires a fresh CMOS battery after all?
     
  9. Clamibot

    Clamibot Notebook Deity

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    Interesting, I didn't think the procedure required a CMOS battery.

    Try inserting in a fresh one and see what happens. My instinct says the motherboard is having problems, but I'd be glad to be proven wrong.
     
  10. IVHOTEP

    IVHOTEP Notebook Consultant

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    I went for the nvram reset few times and it did not go as described in instructions on how to do it
    When I slapped the ram module in, it boots normally right after, no 5 beeps, no powering off...it was just up and running.
     
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