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  • Inspiron 8500 Power Question

    Hi all. I've been working recently on putting together a collection of parts to get a carpc installed in my truck. I have a notebook (Dell Inspiron 8500) that I haven't been using, and I think it will make a great carpc.

    I have almost all of the details worked out, but there is one piece (and it is a fairly important one) that still has me puzzled. I've researched the various options for having the notebook power on when the vehicle starts and the most reliable seems to be the notebook startup controller that is wired into the power button on the notebook (or a port replicator). Wake on lan/link/ring doesn't seem to be a huge hit.

    Well, I was looking at the power button on the notebook last night, and it is in a weird spot. It is centered above the keyboard, and if you take the keyboard trim piece out that surrounds it you also get the power button. I'm wondering if anyone has used an Inspiron 8500 (or similar) as a carpc and how you have it power up. It will be more or less behind the back seat, so reaching back to power it on isn't an option! Thanks!!

  • #2
    I had a similar setup working on a C610, not the same as yours, but the idea is the same. Here is what I would recommend:

    If you dont want to mod the laptop, by far the easiest method is to use a Dock. Then you can hack it apart to do the modding instead of the laptop. An example is here:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Dell-Latitude-Po...em140081800223

    As I understand it, people are having good luck with the laptop turn on circuit that is shown in detail on this site. The poster has both preassembled units for sale, as well as the schematic if you want to build it.
    http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/show...top+auto+power

    An Auto/Air adaptor is available on eBay, example: http://cgi.ebay.com/DELL-Latitude-In...em220077677897

    Thank you for being specific
    2005 Ford Focus ST

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    • #3
      Thanks!

      I ordered an auto/air adapter (Dell original) off ebay, which I think will simplify my life a bit. After the reading I've been doing that laptop turn-on circuit sounds like the best option for sure.

      I like the idea of using a dock for a lot of reasons. Not having to mod the notebook, getting some more USB ports, ease of disconnect if I want to pull the notebook out of the truck, etc. I did spot one detail that concerns me a little though. It looks like the Dell dock requires a 90W power supply (AC Adapter) whereas the Auto/Air adapter is 65W I believe. So although it would physically work (barrell connector is the same) the Auto/air adapter may not be sufficient to power the notebook and the dock.

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      • #4
        I have an 8600 which I believe is substantially identical, I use the small replicator and to really simplify things (and protect the laptop), I ordered a monitor stand (they were like $10 shipped to my door on ebay), what I did was modify the monitor stand power button instead of opening up the dock.

        Here's the laptop+small dock in the monitor stand (under the vcr )



        Fortunately, with the 8600, all you have to do is jump the power button and it will startup when "AC" is applied. (Some laptops, my previous dell for instance, will reboot repeatedly when you do this),

        The dock does require the 90w adapter and will not power without it, you get an error in the BIOS. It may work with 65w, but it won't let you find out. Also, there was an issue with the 8500/8600 where dell was shipping too small an adapter stock and a lot of people had their laptops fried/batteries ruined by this. I can't remember if it was a 65w or 55w that was the problem.

        FYI, you can't boot the dock without the 90w adapter (ie on battery), though it works fine off battery if power is removed after it's booted up.

        Also, some of these auto adapters (or at least earlier ones), didn't have the proprietary third pin, which means it won't charge
        GE Cache Builder | me@cardomain |Coolstuff :autospeed.com | bit-tech.net | Nitemax Ultra Pinouts

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        • #5
          One more thing, some of the 8500/8600 batteries where recalled due to fire risk. Check yours on dell

          update

          I couldn't find it on the web at the moment, but thank goodness for Firefox + Scrapbook.

          Here's the issue I was mentioning...
          # re: Dell Inspiron 8600 Issues 4/30/2005 5:50 PM Darrin
          Hey people. I just spent half of my day on the phone with Dell, explaining what i think a lot of you are dealing with but probably don't even know. This might take awhile to explain but bear with me and read it, because it might be pertinent to your situation. READ ON>>>>>>>>>>>>

          My girlfriend got an Inspiron 8600 in December of 2003. It ran fine for about 6-7 months at which time the AC Adapter went bad (DP/N: 5U092, 19.5V/3.34A/65W). I bought her a replacement on ebay, same part number (we probably could have gotten one under warranty, but oh well). She then realized after getting the replacement adapter that the battery would no longer charge, not only that but Windows didn't even recognize that a battery was there. So she pressed on without a battery, just plugging the adapter into the wall when she wanted to use the computer. 2 months after I bought her replacement adapter a drink was spilled into the keyboard, frying the system. Dell wanted $800 to fix it, she said screw that and came to accept a life without her laptop.

          Fast forward until about 3 weeks ago, when I started pestering her about when she was getting her computer fixed. She didn't want to pay Dell $800, so I said "what the hell, I know a thing or 2 about computers, I will fix it for you" (figuring I could buy replacement parts on Ebay). So I started taking apart her computer, looking at the components, and this is when I made the BREAKTHROUGH!!!!!!!

          I SUGGEST THAT ALL OF YOU WHO ARE HAVING ISSUES DO THIS: look at the bottom sticker, the one with the DELL logo, www.dell.com, FOR USE WITH ADAPTER PA-10 or PA-12. Look at the amperage requirement. The label on my girlfriend's computer says 4.62A. Her Inspiron 8600 requires 4.62A in order to properly function. A 4.62A requirement equates to 90W of power. Now compare the amperage rating on your computer to the Output amperage rating on your AC Adapter. The adapter that Dell shipped with this computer WAS ONLY 3.34A, and 65W. DELL SENT THE WRONG AC ADAPTER!!! This explains why the first adapter went bad, why the battery went bad, and probably why a lot of you are having the same problems. The adapter is not providing enough power to the computer, and in the meantime the computer is trying to pull that power from the adapter, straining it to the point of destruction.

          If you have Dell Part Number 5U092, the 3.34A 65W adapter (the same one that came with my girlfriend's 8600), check your computer to see if it requires 4.62A (the 90W adapter). I found 2 Dell AC adapters that output 4.62A: P/N: 7W104 and P/N: 9T215. Maybe one of these adapters is what you need.

          So after spending hours on the phone explaining the situation and escalating to supervisors and talking to complete idiots, I was able to score a new adapter, the CORRECT one (4.62A) AND a new battery. One major obstacle I encountered was that Dell Technical Support thinks the 3.34A adapter works with this model, even though it says right on the computer that it needs 4.62A. So whatever documentation the Dell Tech Support people have is wrong. There may be some Inspiron 8600s that only require 3.34A, but not mine.

          I told the supervisor that this was a very serious issue, many people are experiencing this, and this is the kind of thing that results in class-action lawsuits. She said she would pass the information along to management, so cross your fingers for some sort of recall in the near future.

          I encourage all of you having these adapter/battery/power issues to contact Dell and make a fuss. They need to know the severity of this situation. Not only that but they are telling some of you to replace the motherboard, etc. when in fact the whole thing could be solved simply by replacing the adapter.

          Good luck, I'm interested to hear about some of your other experiences!
          GE Cache Builder | me@cardomain |Coolstuff :autospeed.com | bit-tech.net | Nitemax Ultra Pinouts

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          • #6
            Originally posted by joshh385 View Post
            Thanks!

            I ordered an auto/air adapter (Dell original) off ebay, which I think will simplify my life a bit. After the reading I've been doing that laptop turn-on circuit sounds like the best option for sure.

            I like the idea of using a dock for a lot of reasons. Not having to mod the notebook, getting some more USB ports, ease of disconnect if I want to pull the notebook out of the truck, etc. I did spot one detail that concerns me a little though. It looks like the Dell dock requires a 90W power supply (AC Adapter) whereas the Auto/Air adapter is 65W I believe. So although it would physically work (barrell connector is the same) the Auto/air adapter may not be sufficient to power the notebook and the dock.
            Did you ever get the adapter?

            FYI, found a Auto/Air adapter that's supposed to be recognized as a Dell adapter and at 90W (equiv to a PA-10). So, in theory, I can drop my inverter next week. Tell you if it works as advertised. (God I hate Dell).
            GE Cache Builder | me@cardomain |Coolstuff :autospeed.com | bit-tech.net | Nitemax Ultra Pinouts

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            • #7
              shotgun, keep us updated. I have a 8600 also and wouldnt mind using it as a carputer. I might just buy one of those stands and hack the power button on that like you did. Do you think we could use a carnetix psu with the laptop since its 19v? or will the proprietary pin get in the way

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              • #8
                Originally posted by CJ8501 View Post
                shotgun, keep us updated. I have a 8600 also and wouldnt mind using it as a carputer. I might just buy one of those stands and hack the power button on that like you did. Do you think we could use a carnetix psu with the laptop since its 19v? or will the proprietary pin get in the way
                You could use a Carnetix instead , but it won't charge the battery (unless something's changed). That was what I originally want to use.

                If I'm going to have a laptop as my carpc, I want it to utilize the battery.

                I'll post my results as soon as I get it.
                GE Cache Builder | me@cardomain |Coolstuff :autospeed.com | bit-tech.net | Nitemax Ultra Pinouts

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                • #9
                  damn I decided to look and see if I have the correct A/C adapter and turns out that my computer is only getting 65 watts when it needs 90 watts according to the label. I bought this used from someone so I guess Im screwed into buying a new charger on ebay. I guess thats why my 1st battery decided to crap out on me! Damn you DELL!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by CJ8501 View Post
                    damn I decided to look and see if I have the correct A/C adapter and turns out that my computer is only getting 65 watts when it needs 90 watts according to the label. I bought this used from someone so I guess Im screwed into buying a new charger on ebay. I guess thats why my 1st battery decided to crap out on me! Damn you DELL!
                    It sucks and they should have done a recall.

                    In other news, got the adapter....

                    It works!!!!!! No warnings or errors and the dock powers on. One oddity, I tried using it from a "Battery Booster" jump start battery and it didn't work. A click and the power led came on, but the Dell didn't see any adapter at all. But I went down to the car and it went without a hitch

                    Maybe the voltage on the booster battery was low.

                    A few things....

                    I originally found it on newegg.com under part number AA-5001, but I wanted to check out the specifics on whether it was charge only, etc.

                    You go to the website (battery-biz.com) and it's not a valid model number. Apparently according to newegg, they had to stock selling it (the mfg). So they are only carrying it until stop runs out.

                    Battery-biz lists AA-C27H as the current part. I called them (before ordering) and they told me it would work (charge and dock).

                    So it looks like I've got the old adapter (according to the case Model: AA-5001), whatever, it works and I am happy. FYI, ordering from battery-biz directly for the AA-C27H was near $90 (as opposed to $60 shipped from ebay for the AA-5001)

                    I got it from this ebay seller (good price, fast shipping and he answered my questions quickly).

                    eBay Store - DS Miller Inc: Laptop Notebook, Camcorder, Digital Camera

                    I think it was like $3 or $4 more than newegg.com, but he was helpful and answered those Dell questions quickly and with assurance so he got my business.

                    Another plus, I know have an AC adapter to leave with the spare dock setup in the house.
                    GE Cache Builder | me@cardomain |Coolstuff :autospeed.com | bit-tech.net | Nitemax Ultra Pinouts

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                    • #11
                      eBay: Dell Inspiron 8600 Auto/Air Adapter (item 280093243761 end time Apr-11-07 16:57:36 PDT)

                      Im guessin this is the one considering it has your ebay name listed under purchases lol

                      Very good to know! This will pretty much ensure the battery is charged and can definitly survive cranking since it will just use battery power when the voltage fluctuates...

                      Only problem for me now, is I can not get my external monitor to show up. Ive tried 4 different monitors. The Nvidia software sees that a monitor is connected (usually shows a name of the monitor, like Viewsonic 1912wb) but will not display anything. I hope my connector isnt broken for some reason...

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                      • #12
                        Couple of thoughts on the power issues, I have a 5100 and its a power hog. It had some power issues, like not charging with a 3rd party adapter, but I resolved most of them by updating the bios. I the bought a kensington 120w adapter on ebay for next to nothing. It has been great. Anyway. Just wanted to add my experience.
                        Mike M
                        2006 Accord VP Sedan

                        My worklog
                        http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/work...-dads-car.html

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CJ8501 View Post
                          eBay: Dell Inspiron 8600 Auto/Air Adapter (item 280093243761 end time Apr-11-07 16:57:36 PDT)

                          Im guessin this is the one considering it has your ebay name listed under purchases lol

                          Very good to know! This will pretty much ensure the battery is charged and can definitly survive cranking since it will just use battery power when the voltage fluctuates...

                          Only problem for me now, is I can not get my external monitor to show up. Ive tried 4 different monitors. The Nvidia software sees that a monitor is connected (usually shows a name of the monitor, like Viewsonic 1912wb) but will not display anything. I hope my connector isnt broken for some reason...
                          LOL, yup that's the one. Honestly, haven't tried it at crank, but that's what the laptop battery is for. I never had a problem even with the inverter when cranking.

                          What kind of monitor are you using? Docked or not? Even if your display connector is screwy, you could probably get away with using a dock as it has it's own. Oh yeah, what OS are you running? Do you have the lid open or closed when booting? I don't recall if it displays to an external screen when the laptop is open or not. Though under X11, the Nvidia driver sees all my screens. (VGA OUT, S-VIDEO OUT and the laptop screen itself). If I didn't want to avoid modding the laptop, I'd try and find a use for the laptop display somewhere in the car

                          Originally posted by mwmcginn View Post
                          Couple of thoughts on the power issues, I have a 5100 and its a power hog. It had some power issues, like not charging with a 3rd party adapter, but I resolved most of them by updating the bios. I the bought a kensington 120w adapter on ebay for next to nothing. It has been great. Anyway. Just wanted to add my experience.
                          The problem with that is not just the amount of power, the newer dells have a chip that identifies the adapter as a dell one. Some other laptops do this with some sort of voltage divider, but the dell one I think is a bit more advanced as it can not only distinguish genuine dell adapters, but also what wattage. If you look at the auto-airs for the 8600 and the other related laptops (D800??), most of the mfgs state right on it that it won't charge them, but just power it.
                          GE Cache Builder | me@cardomain |Coolstuff :autospeed.com | bit-tech.net | Nitemax Ultra Pinouts

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                          • #14
                            I too am now looking at using an insperon 8600 since my friends one had its screen die. Hopefully he will hand it over in the next week or so. I am still unsure if I want to hack it apart or use a docking adapter. I guess I'll just have to see when I get it.
                            Never let the truth get in the way of a good story

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by meddler View Post
                              I too am now looking at using an insperon 8600 since my friends one had its screen die. Hopefully he will hand it over in the next week or so. I am still unsure if I want to hack it apart or use a docking adapter. I guess I'll just have to see when I get it.
                              I think I paid around $20 or $30 each for the docking stations (PR01X), the monitor stands (which is where I hacked the power button), $8 each and it protects the laptop from most of the crap in my trunk

                              The nice thing now I can just leave the other station on the KVM, so I only need to grab my laptop to work on it in the house.
                              GE Cache Builder | me@cardomain |Coolstuff :autospeed.com | bit-tech.net | Nitemax Ultra Pinouts

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