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Nocturnal adventures with my Inspiron 1520 after a glass of Cuba Libre

posted Apr 15, 2012, 8:58 AM by Samuel Gomes   [ updated Sep 2, 2012, 1:34 PM ]
After my 2 year old son dropped my Inspiron 1520 from the bed, the system had to go though an extensive makeover. The bottom plastics, palmrest, speakers, hinge cover and hinges were all replaced. Thanks to the Dell Complete Care warranty. The onsite technician was at my house the very next day I contacted Dell about the issue. Excellent service by Dell! The service also happened to be the last one for the 3 year warranty that I had on the system. One week from then the warranty expired. The system worked well after the service. About 3 months from the incident, my laptop developed a strange problem. The system would work well if it was sitting in one place. If I touched or moved the system, it would either restart or freeze. As the notebook was already out of warranty, there was nothing much that Dell could do. This also happened to be a hardware issue and troubleshooting software made no sense. The problem became worse when the system started to shutdown and freeze more frequently. This continued till the point where the system was completely unusable. The system would give random blue screens and PSA diagnoctics would either pass or give ramdom error messages.

PSA Error

After trying all possible troubleshooting, I came to a conclusion that something was wrong with the motherboard. Then the inevitable happened. The system completely died. Pressing the power button would just make all the lights flash with nothing on the screen. Then, one stormy weekend night after making myself a glass of Cuba Libre, I decided to check the system for one final time before "putting it down".

Inspiron 1520 ripped

I disassembled the system. It was a cakewalk. In the picture above you can see the various components.


After removing the video card I found this (see the picture above). Observe how the soldering came loose. I am sure this has to be a result of the drop and the close proximity of the component to the video card. The heat from the video card might have made the soldering to become brittle and eventually snap.

So I pulled out my soldering iron and got ready for an old-school "smoking lead experience".

I finally managed to solder the damn thing into place. Please note that this is not the best of equipment for the job and I am not the marksman. However, I did the best I could. And bingo...

I have a fully working system now. In fact, I posted this blog from the same system. :)