M6600 bricked (fans very loud briefly, now only warm spot on bottom of chassis)

Discussion in 'Dell Latitude, Vostro, and Precision' started by swon001, Nov 26, 2016.

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  1. swon001

    swon001 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hi, my M6600 is suddenly totally unresponsive to AC or battery power. It happened when trying to turn it on. I cannot even get any indicator lights to respond, except for when the AC power is plugged in, the battery light will blink white briefly every 10 seconds or so. And, the bottom of the chassis gets warm, underneath where the primary SSD resides.

    I have removed that SSD, and it is not what actually gets hot--looking at some Dell diagrams, it is likely the "system board" that is producing the heat, during AC being plugged in.

    The last symptom before the M6600 bricked was when the laptop was plugged into AC, but with battery removed, (this is my normal configuration since I use it as a desktop at home), I pushed the power button, and one or 2 of the cooling fans immediately went extremely high speed. Louder than I've ever heard it/them before. That stopped after about 5 seconds, and since then the M6600 has been the unresponsive brick as described.

    I have tried various remedies such as pushing and holding the power button for up to about a minute, with and without battery and with without AC.

    I've also removed and replaced the CMOS battery, as well as testing it with a volt meter---seems fine at close to 3V.

    Also volt-metered the AC plug and it checks in fine at around 17V DC.

    The AC brick doesn't get warm either, only the mysterious underside of the M6600 chassis getting warm with AC plugged in.

    I have entertained the idea that maybe the physical power button has become disconnected, however the issue where the chassis gets noticeably warm when plugged to AC (even without the battery installed, so it's not that it is busy charging the battery), and also the weird issue with the fan going super loud that final time before bricking...

    Note, prior to this final fan blast and bricking, the laptop had been sitting idle and unused for 1 week, without battery, but connected to AC power, and to 2 monitors (my usual home work layout). I didn't touch the computer for that one week but I have a suspicion that the chassis could have been warm that whole time without my knowing it.

    I don't smell any burning now, but maybe it did all it's burnoff over that 1 week without my noticing.

    So I guess it's something to do with the "system board" and some kind of power regulator circuit that may have melted.I cannot even get as far as a BIOS screen or even power indicator lights, besides the infrequent battery indicator blinking white, during AC being supplied.

    So, I'm preparing to buy a used M6700, but this forum seems extremely knowledgeable so I thought I'd give this a try.

    This M6600 has i7-2620M, Quadro 3000M, Win7x64, 8GB RAM, and has two Dell-issued SSD's. No overclocking was ever attempted, I'm not all that tech savvy on computers...

    Thanks for any ideas or advice!

    Steve
     
  2. penguinslider

    penguinslider Notebook Consultant

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    Others here more knowledgeable will give more ideas but I think you might have done all of the possible troubleshooting already. Only other thing I can think of is to try a different power supply. The board sounds like its fried.
     
  3. swon001

    swon001 Notebook Enthusiast

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    thanks for your reply.
    The one other technical fix that I did try was to whack the laptop with my fist.
    Fonzarelli I am not... :(
     
  4. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    How long is your warranty? If in doubt you can put the service tag into the Dell support website. I thought the default on these workstations is 3 years.

    John
     
  5. swon001

    swon001 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Yes, the 3yr warranty expired over a year ago. I did a quick search on a computer parts website (not Dell, that would be $$), and found a motherboard for about $219, but I'm not sure it'd be worth it, since it could be something else.
    The MoBo requires taking apart almost everything, which I've never done for a laptop.
    I can buy a relatively barebones refurb M6700 (technically an upgrade from M6600) for around $700. Then transfer my SSD's and some RAM, and still have a spare battery and charger from the M6600....
     
  6. penguinslider

    penguinslider Notebook Consultant

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    Sounds like a good idea, there is no guarantee that its actually just the board unless you send it to somebody that can do thorough testing... just make sure that you have the usual 3 year warranty :)

    Also, I might be giving you unnecessary anxiety in saying this but I would make a backup first of your data from SSDs. With the possibility that excess heat/voltage/amperage might have killed your motherboard, it could have attacked the SSDs as well and thus compromise them.
     
  7. swon001

    swon001 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Good advice about the SSD's, but I don't even have another laptop to plug them into right now, haha.

    The refurb M6700 only has a 100 day warranty. But once some off-lease M6800's eventually show up, I may pick up my 3rd of these Dell workstations as a further backup.

    I'm sorta committing myself into a M6600/M6700/M6800 future because I like the unfulfilled "idea" of having a bunch of spare batteries to one day be able to do work on a picnic table in the middle of a park or hiking trail, with the sun shining down...

    There is another small local computer shop selling an M6700, that also offers "lifetime labour warranty" but I'm not sure how trustworthy or worthwhile that might be.
    They'd probably jack up the components costs, or take weeks to fix, or just disappear out of business...

    Soon I'll have enough spare parts to do my own warranty parts swapping.
     
  8. penguinslider

    penguinslider Notebook Consultant

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    I agree that having a lot of spare parts is a good thing but given that you are planning to spend to something like USD 1K already for the two laptops plus... why not purchase a newer model with a full 3 year warranty and maybe a spare battery?
     
  9. swon001

    swon001 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Yes the two refurbs have now added up to about $1500 Cdn (close to $1K USD---I thought Trump was supposed to "nuke" the USD?!?) :)
    When I got the M6600 it was in mint condition so I thought it would be relatively bombproof. This turned out to be a rather flukey brickage, I think/hope.
    But now that I have this brick, I might as well commit to the chassis style since it does give me the battery and spare parts.
    Mind U, before I purchased the refurb, I did price out a new M6800 and it would have been something like $5K+. Of course that's if I bought the SSD's from Dell, which are notoriously marked up.
    The other reason I went cheap was because I just recently became a freelance worker. And depending on client, I might work from home, or at site, some cases using the Customer's computer and software. So, there might be an entire year or longer when I don't even use my own hardware, so it could be a waste to have expensive new stuff...
    And I think having spares that I can "hot swap" might actually be superior to factory warranty, because downtime can be minimized since I don't need to ship the unit back to the manuf. In this particular case, if the MOBO was indeed the issue, it would lead to, I dunno, 2 wks downtime....? Now I plan to just swap the SSD's from M6600 to incoming M6700. That will be slightly interesting too, I guess the BIOS and drivers will be confused at first. Also, I hope to salvage the old RAM too, which means mixing 1333MHz with newer 1600Mhz... As long as I'm rambling: the M6700 comes with a crappy 1600x900 screen. I'll probably swap the 1920x1080 from my M6600. I've read M6700 may not have backlit keyboard as well, so maybe swap that too. This could be getting Frankenstinian!
     
  10. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Prophet

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    Just a note, all new Precisions come with a 3-year warranty and that includes next-day on-site service. No need to ship the unit out, downtime should be limited to one day or two at worst (unless it is a weekend/holiday).
    Not saying that would necessarily be ideal for you, but just maybe a little better than you thought.
     
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