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Bismark Bismark is offline
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Unhappy First post - a a battery issue - 05-16-2010, 09:32 AM

Got a Dell Mini 9 back in Feb 2009 (nice and cheap from the Outlet); Ubuntu 8.04, 8Gb SSD.

Replaced RAM with 2Gb Transcend stick - going well.

Changed the OS to Ubuntu 9.04 - OK

Installed a SuperTalent 32Gb SSD last November - again, fine (it was the slower one, but even so, it was fine).

Made the mistake of updating the OS to 9.10 - OOPS! The "libatasmart bug" bricked my SSD . Had to wait 4 weeks for an RMA - it arrived a couple of days ago.

Fitted the new drive - works fine (and yes, I removed the battery while doing this).

Installed Ubuntu 10.04 - no sign of the SSD-killer bug, all is well...
until I notice that the 'battery low' LED flash is continuing even though the machine has been on AC power for 3 hours and Ubuntu reckons that the battery is full.

Shut down machine, disconnect AC adaptor, press Power button so test battery power - nothing.

Remove battery, clean contacts, try again - nothing.

Machine works on AC power with the battery disconnected - though there is a fair delay between the adaptor being connected and it responding to the Power button.

In short, the machine works on AC fine, but something is very wrong regarding the battery - it is registering as full (and it should be full or nearly so anyway even before I had the machine on AC power earlier - I had scarcely used it in the last 2 months).

A non-portable netbook - not really that useful

BTW, I am currently still on BIOS A00 (this machine was not exactly giving me trouble apart from obvious OS-related issues earlier, so I just used the 'if it ain't broke…' approach.

Any help would be much appreciated - my poor sick Mini is now 3 months out of guarantee (grr!).

Addendum: I have tried the 'remove battery and re-insert while powered on at the mains' trick (a few times); I got the two flashing lights and 'battery not recognised' message once - the rest of the time it just reverted to the behaviour I mentioned earlier. Looks like the machine no longer likes my battery. ARGH!

Addendum no. 2: I have downloaded the A06 BIOS - unless anyone knows a good reason for me not to try it I will flash the machine either late tonight or tomorrow sometime (probably using -a floppy! I still have a USB floppy drive and 6 unused floppy disks lying around the place)
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reflex reflex is offline
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Default 05-16-2010, 03:37 PM

Good luck. I hope the BIOS update helps.


Mini 9 | Intel 5100 Wifi | Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook
Mini 1012 | SSD | Intel 6200 Wifi | Ubuntu 11.10 64bit
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gaster gaster is offline
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Default 05-16-2010, 04:44 PM

Some have said that their Mini got stuck in Airplane Mode somehow. One even said Airplane mode was off, but when he turned it on, then back off again his battery would charge. More info here: http://en.community.dell.com/support.../19429285.aspx

Dell techs in that thread also said to update to bios A04, so the update you plan to do might just do the trick.

And of course some say their batteries just died out of the blue, but hope that's not your case.
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Bismark Bismark is offline
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Default 05-17-2010, 10:26 PM

Feeling a bit dopey at the moment - where is this Airplane Mode thingie exactly (as mentioned above, running Ubuntu 10.04)?

Still having the same issues after successfully updating to BIOS A06; tried swapping the battery in and out again - no change in behaviour.

Summary:
1. AC on, battery out - white LED comes on (after about 10-15 seconds); computer works fine;
2. Battery in, AC off - nothing, zip - no activity at all;
3. AC on, battery in - white LED comes on as in option (1), followed very shortly by amber LED flashing on/off (which it keeps on doing all the time);
4. Ubuntu claims battery is fully charged - I have no battery icon if I set the Preferences to show an icon 'only when battery charging/discharging'.

Looking like a dud battery, I think - only the Airplane Mode thingie to try now (as soon as I find out how to - could not find a reference to it anywhere on my machine).

Did a check for battery prices - they are not too bad, actually (apart from Dell's own ludicrously steep price) - but the Mini 9 is, I have begun to realise, rather finicky about batteries…
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gaster gaster is offline
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Default 05-19-2010, 04:34 AM

Oops, Airplane mode was a Dell piece of software that came with Dell's Ubuntu 8.04.
You probably don't have that in 10.04. More details are here:
Ubuntu on the Dell Mini: Aircraft Manager for Ubuntu 9.04
they also have a package for 9.04 but no mention of anything for 10.04

Do you still have the 8.04 OS disc from Dell? I wonder what would happen if you tried that OS again.
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Bismark Bismark is offline
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Default 05-19-2010, 08:22 AM

Thanks for the link.

I have a new battery on the way anyway - I splashed out on a bigger chunky 4400MWh version (since it was only 13GBP more than the normal battery); let's see if it works. I have a 30-day money-back compatibilty guarantee on this new battery, so it is time to wait, then fit the battery and (hopefully) get it to charge (possibly while doing a Frankenstein-type chant of LIVE! LIVE!).

I can easily knock up a bootable version of 8.04 to test - I still have absolutely everything that came with my Mini (I only throw things out when I am absolutely sure I will not need them again). If that brings the battery back, well that just means I will have 2 working batteries - which is just fine by me.
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Bismark Bismark is offline
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Default 06-02-2010, 03:40 PM

The new battery for my netbook arrived (from the delightfully named Ding Wen Chen corporation aka www.365peak.com) about an hour ago.

This new battery, as well as having twice the capacity of the one Dell provided with the machine, was 30GBP cheaper than a new battery from Dell, so I live in hope that it was a good buy.

I have fitted it and plugged in the machine and:

(1) a good start -no flashing amber LEDs, just the white LED that is supposed to light up showing that charging has started;

(2) powered up the machine just now and both the BIOS and Ubuntu 10.04 actually see the battery - apparently only 15 minutes more charge required, but as it is a brand new battery I am following the manufacturer's FAQ (which is really detailed and all manufacturers should include this with notebooks as well as replacement batteries - all my notebook batteries would have lasted much better if I had followed these guidelines) and giving it 14 hours before attempting to use the machine on battery power alone.

Here's hoping…
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Bismark Bismark is offline
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Default 06-03-2010, 02:25 AM

IT LIVES!

Posting this message from the Mini 9 running on battery power right now - the battery meter claims 7h 45min of power left.

Looks like it was a rubbish Dell battery after all.

Well, if you are going to cut corners making a netbook, it is,I suppose, the 'least bad' idea to cut corners on the user-replaceable stuff (SSD, battery, etc.) rather than the mobo, screen, etc.

Thanks for all the advice guys!
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DavidDavy DavidDavy is offline
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Default 06-21-2010, 03:09 AM

Yes, I have battery problem too! If I plug the battery on, my computer doesn't work , but, interestingly, if I plug it out, and plug the electric wire into it, it works ). I don't know how, but I still want to find out what is the prob? because now I use it like a desktop ), it's not portable without battery
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dell_in_de dell_in_de is offline
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Default battery prob - 11-07-2011, 10:08 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidDavy View Post
Yes, I have battery problem too! If I plug the battery on, my computer doesn't work , but, interestingly, if I plug it out, and plug the electric wire into it, it works ). I don't know how, but I still want to find out what is the prob? because now I use it like a desktop ), it's not portable without battery
Have you been able to try a different batter all together? It seems like not only is your old battery not taking a charge but it seems like there might be a short or something preventing the plug-in power to work.
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