XPS 15 9550 fried. What are my options?

Discussion in 'Dell XPS and Studio XPS' started by dandannoodles, Aug 15, 2017.

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  1. dandannoodles

    dandannoodles Notebook Enthusiast

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    I have an XPS 15 9550 that is almost two years old now. FHD, i7, 16gb ram, 512GB SSD, GTX960M.

    I couldn't boot it up the other day, so I plugged it in and immediately smelled something burning. A wisp of smoke came from the keyboard area and now it's fried. Not sure how this happened, but the only thing I can think of is that my dog peed on the side of the laptop several months ago. I cleaned it out pretty good, let it dry, and it worked just fine after that. But maybe something happened resulting from that? Anyone else have problems like this?

    Either way, what can I do? Any chances of repairing? I bought a torx screwdriver set and I plan to open up the laptop to take a look. I'll post pictures once I do.

    Is it safe to assume I need to replace the mobo? I'm looking at prices on eBay and it looks to be around $400 for a refurbished board. Is it difficult to install? Should I buy a 9560 mobo? Is it compatible?

    UPDATE:

    Got some images of the internals.
    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017
  2. pressing

    pressing Notebook Deity

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    Sorry to hear this. The burning smell and failure is a bad sign.

    Even the slightest bit of water on the boards is a problem. If it doesn't kill at first there are corrosive effects. Urine and sugary drinks can be much worse than water. If you got it cleaned professionally immediately after the incident, you might have reduced the probability of failure. But that is expensive and provides no guarantee.

    Do you mean the liquidation was on the side of the keyboard or that the laptop was closed and he soaked the ports? If it was the first case, your keyboard will likely have issues in the future. There are additional boards and components on the computer also that could be impacted. You really don't know what the damage was until you open the computer.

    Also, I would try to get the battery disconnected ASAP. You may need to properly dispose of it as outside the computer it does not provide much protection. There may be some charge/protection circuitry on the battery that was damaged by the urine. That battery has a lot of power and you want to reduce any probability of fire.
     
  3. dandannoodles

    dandannoodles Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the response. The laptop was open on the coffee table and he lifted his leg and squirted a bit of pee on the left side of the computer. Just marking, really. So only a bit of pee. It hit the screen and the top of the keyboard. Not sure how much actually went into the computer. Ports didn't get peed on. I cleaned it off as best I could and later on that night I fired it up and the laptop was working fine and it worked fine for several more months. It was only the other day that this happened...

    So I'm not entirely sure that the two are related. I'm going to open the laptop up once I'm able to and remove the battery, per your suggestion.
     
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  4. pressing

    pressing Notebook Deity

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    No way to know without opening the laptop as there is usualy trace evidence of failure, although that might not be definitive.

    If you search these forums, you will see lots of failures of the XPS 9550. But "burning smell failures" are not a popular failure mode.
     
  5. dave-p

    dave-p Notebook Deity

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    Replacing the mother board is not too hard to do

    I don't know if the 9560 board would fit in your case, would really need to have the side by side, or see if someone has already tried and posted reuslts

    Good Luck.
     
  6. MrBuzzkill

    MrBuzzkill Notebook Consultant

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    It might just be something like a capacitor, I believe those smoke when they pop. If you have some soldering skills, sometimes you can repair it yourself. It's not like you can break a broken motherboard.
     
  7. Philaphlous

    Philaphlous Notebook Evangelist

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    I'd replace the dog if I were you... and trust me...I've got enough dog issues of my own but thankfully not pee issues...
     
  8. kent1146

    kent1146 Notebook Prophet

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    You have a few options. One option is to buy a motherboard, and sell your damaged one. A damaged non-functional motherboard sells for about $80 on eBay.

    Other option is to buy a new laptop, and sell your existing damaged laptop. A used functioning XPS 9550 sells for about $900; and a damaged non-functional unit sells for about $400. Check the Dell Outlet if you don't want to risk any eBay scams.

    There are a few reasons why you would consider replacing the entire laptop, instead of repairing it:

    1) lf you are not confident in your ability to repair laptops, then something like the XPS 9550 isn't the ideal way to start learning. Thin-and-light laptops will use design you don't see in regular-sized laptops or desktops. There will be tons of little miniature screws, lots of thin ribbon cables, and a very specific order of dis/re-assembly. It isn't "easy" by any means for someone who hasn't done it before.

    2) There may be other damage to other components you don't know about yet (such as the battery, display, defective ribbon cables from the power surge, etc). All of that will take extra time and expense to troubleshoot and fix. If you don't have the time or patience to deal with that, then just pay a bit extra to buy/sell the entire laptop unit.

    3) Maybe you had your eye on another shiny new laptop? This would be a good time to consider buying the one you've had your eye on.
     
  9. dandannoodles

    dandannoodles Notebook Enthusiast

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    Update: so I opened up the laptop and to be honest, everything looked OK. I noticed some green corrosion on one component, which I assume is from dog pee. I cleaned it off as best I could, but if something blew out and I smelled a burning smell, I assume that won't fix anything? Just cleaning off components? I haven't put it back together yet because I need to pick up thermal paste, but can anyone take a look and let me know what they think?

    Images here:

    https://ibb.co/cAJL95
    https://ibb.co/duHDU5
    https://ibb.co/kstFbk
    https://ibb.co/j7DgGk
     
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  10. pressing

    pressing Notebook Deity

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    My hobbist thoughts follow. A local tech will provide you with a professional opinion, which may differ, after reviewing the machine.

    Well that green foam is typcial when liquids contact electronics so you know the probable cause.

    This damaged area is the vrm which regulates power and gets hot. It looks like at least two mosfets (the black squares) are damaged.Those mosfets are not off the shelf components. And the motherboard around them is charred and possiblely damaged several layers deep; if so, that will not be repaired. There seems to be physical damage to other components. The fact that we see several damaged components could mean there is additional downstream damage.

    Your data should be recoverable.

    I think it is safe to say your motherboard is toast. If a replacement motherboard is not too expensive, I might try to salvage the remaining components. Or just buy a new laptop.

    EDIT - sorry this happened to you
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017
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