Saturday, December 19, 2009

Possible fix: Dell Inspiron 1525 won’t power on

Update 12/20/2009: My stepmom is continuing to have the same problem with her laptop, so apparently the possible solution outlined below is not a "real" solution. (She ended up calling Dell tech support and they're going to replace her machine's motherboard.) Still, leaving this post here on the off chance that it might prove helpful to someone.

My Dad and Stepmom came to visit my house for the weekend this weekend.  My stepmom tried to power on her laptop, a Dell Inspiron 1525, to finish up some work; however, the machine wouldn’t power on.  All of the power LED lights on the bottom-left corner of the machine were completely dark; pressing the laptop’s power button had no visible effect at all.

We tried, without success:

  • Reseating the battery (removing and replacing it)
  • Plugging in the AC power
  • Removing the battery, but leaving the AC power plugged in

None of these steps helped; after trying each step, pressing the laptop’s power button had no visible effect, and all of the LED lights on the machine stayed dark.

At this point, I was just about ready to give up and punt the problem to Dell repair (as the machine was still under warranty), but I tried one more thing: I (1) disconnected the AC power (for safety); (2) removed the battery; (3) cleaned/polished the metal contacts both on the battery, and on the laptop itself where the battery connects to the laptop; (4) and then replaced the battery.

After doing this, upon pressing the power button once again, the machine powered on!  The LED lights at the bottom-left came on as normal, and the machine proceeded to boot into Windows.

The machine did power off without warning once during the evening while my stepmom was using it, so the problem apparently isn’t completely resolved.  I did just use my sweater to clean the power contacts on the battery and the laptop; if the connection between the battery and the laptop wasn’t actually the problem -- and I’m not convinced that it was the problem, but the symptoms do seem to be consistent with an issue related to the power supply – then maybe using a better method of cleaning the contacts would yield better results.

In the meantime, though, I thought I would post this, as I didn’t come across this solution in the course of my Googling for inspiron won’t power on – although I did come across many forum posts from users looking for a solution to a problem with this same set of symptoms.

If anyone does give this solution a try, and is successful, please leave a comment to let me and others know!