RE: DELL: XPS 1710 technical support

Richard (and Lind Electronics),

First, I had to tell you that it is sheer pleasure to deal with
someone who’s at least mildly technical. With Dell, customer service
usually reminds me of a deer caught in the headlights. Not very helpful. In
addition to being a software engineer for 25 years, I am an amateur radio
operator so I’m fairly comfortable with software and electronic hardware.

 

You’re right in saying it is difficult to definitively
predict whether a power supply (that’s the correct term, “power adapter”
is simply consumerese) designed for the  Gen2/M1710 can properly power
something like the M1420. The answer is a function of the supply’s
design. We’re talking about what are called “switching
supplies,” and they generate their output electricity in a manner quite
similar to how a Gatling gun works. Imagine a group of capacitors, which are
components that work like tiny batteries. You  charge up one and go to the
next, and the next, and so on. Meanwhile, the device you are powering is discharging
those capacitors in sequence. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to
recognize what happens if you charge up all your capacitors faster than they
are being discharged. You get an automatic throttle effect just from how a
switching power supply works. Of course there are exceptions. Some of the
ubiquitous “wall warts” that surround us are so poorly designed and
made that they use 40% of their max load just keeping the capacitors topped off
even when powering nothing.

 

It’s also worth knowing a few basics about electricity. At
the voltages we’re talking about (the M1710 actually likes about 20V),
electricity is like string or wet spaghetti. You literally cannot push it into
a device, the device has to draw it. This is why the term “load” is
used. This is also why those 15-watt Compact Florescent bulbs have become all
the rage. The average house circuit can put up to 3000 watts to a light fixture
before opening the circuit breaker. Yet, those bulbs only draw 15 watts so
that’s the total load. Again, electricity isn’t like a liquid. You
can create it, but you can’t pump or push it. Electricity has to be
pulled. One final bit of evidence of this fact is the effect my M1710 has on my
wheelchair. Running at 100%, the M1710 can drain two Type 24 deep cycle batteries
in six hours. That number goes up to eight to ten hours under less intense use.
(And  now, you can better understand why the M1420 is under
consideration.)

 

So, unless the Lind engineers did something really weird in the
design of their DE2060-1429, it should be able to power something like the
M1420 without hardly doing more than idling. Am I right, Lind? The DE2060 is an
amazingly smart little brick that has served me without quibble for years. It
has been dropped, kicked, rolled over, dragged down the street, and so on.
Anything that well engineered isn’t likely to waste power.

 

Your comment about the M1330 is very helpful and on point. Yes,
the different power connector is a real factor that counts against the laptop.
Yet, this may become another question for the people at Lind. They don’t
seem to currently have a 12-VDC supply for the M1330, but only they know what
they are working on. Maybe the DE2060 could do it through a different cable. We
don’t know yet.

 

I was inaccurate in saying that I’m replacing the
M1710.  After all, it still has two years of warranty left. No, I’m
going to do what I used to do when I was with Shell. The 1710 will become my
“Ready Five” machine. Top Gun freaks will recognize the
phrase. In the Navy, it’s simply a second flight that’s always up
on deck with engines running ready to launch in five minutes if the first
flight needs it. That’s the future role for this laptop, to sit in a
corner, keeping itself synchronized with critical data on the new primary,
ready to replace it on the wheelchair very quickly in case of failure. Now you
can see why maintaining compatibility in the infrastructure required by the
laptops is important. The Lind brick is about the only thing on this chair that
is reliable enough to not need a backup.  And, when a laptop has to be swapped,
you really, really don’t want to have to swap infrastructure boxes too. You
want to be able to yank out a few connections—don’t whine, we’re
discussing emergency procedures, be able to pull off the dead or dying machine (they’re
simply velcro’d in place), and plunk down the backup. It’s reasonable
to call this the digital  equivalent of “Eject! Eject! Eject!”,
because it saves a lot of people a lot of grief when I go down.

 

So, until we hear better, let’s just assume that the 1330
is still in the running. Can you think of any other Dells that should be considered?
Why don’t you send me a comparison of the 1420  and 1330. In addition
to the usual stuff, I need to know weird things like number and location of
ports, etc.

 

Scott

                                                                                                                                                                    

From:
Richard_Bernier@Dell.com [mailto:Richard_Bernier@Dell.com]
Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 2:31 PM
To: royall@conchbbs.com
Subject: RE: DELL: XPS 1710 technical support

 

Mr. Royal,

 

I thank you replying back to me so soon.  Also, thanks for
removing my phone number from your blog.

 

Okay, I have created a dispatch for the motherboard to be
replaced.  If everything goes right with logistics, we should have someone
out to your home to replace the motherboard.  The dispatch number for your
order is 091966215.

 

Wow, you got a customer-built power supply that runs off your wheel
chair!  I haven’t heard about anything like that before, but it
sounds like a really great idea that a lot of people could use. 

 

I must admit it is really hard to say if this custom power supply
will properly power the 1430 or the 1330.  Follow with me for just a
moment to understand why I hesitate on providing you defiant answer.  The
following is little background about system types and power needs.

 

As you probably already know the Inspiron 9400/E1705 and the M1710
are very much the same, but the M1710 is much more powerful. The XPS 1710 come
with a 130 Watt D-series power supply.  The 9400/E1705 works on a 90 Watt
D-series power supply.  The reason for the M1710 needing more power is the
video card options.  The reason why I bring this up is that I know for
sure that the E1705 can use a 130 Watt power adapter if you where using a XPS
high end video card in it.

 

Okay, so where am I going with this you ask.  Let’s talk
about the Inspiron 1420.  It is shipped with either a 65 or 90 Watt power
supply, which uses a standard D-series adapter.  It depends on the video
option on which wattage to select.  The thing about this unit is that it
has good video options but they are onboard.  This system will not use
power unlike the M1710 or the 9400/E1705 which use separate video card
options.  So, could you use a 130 Watt power supply, probably?  But,
I personal would not do it.

 

Finally, let’s talk about the XPS M1330.  A beautiful
system which is already getting great reviews.  However, I do not think
this one is going to work for you, because that the power supply is completely unique
for the system.  Fist it is not a D-series power supply.  It kind of
looks like power supply to an Inspiron 2200, but the tip is Octagon shaped, not
smooth and round.  The second important item is this system only has the
65 Watt power supply option.  A little side note to this, the
M1330’s power supply will not work in other Dells; however other 65 watt
D-series adapters will work in this system.

 

Yes, I know I probably gave you more information than you needed or
wanted.  But, this seemed like an important subject to you so I wanted to
make sure you had enough information to help.

 

My opinion:

 

I went to talk with a co-worker that knows a lot about this
subject.  Basically, when using a 130 Watt power supplies that the amount
of power used regardless the rating of the system.  So, you could attach
the 130 W to the M1330 (at your own risk says my co-worker), however the system
is going to be warmer than using a 65 W, as the extra energy will dissipate
around the system in the form of heat.  Personal I always try to match my
power supply with my systems rating.  I would rather place a lower power
adapter then a higher one.  It uses less energy, and your system stays
nice and cool.

 

I really hope that what I wrote you helps.

 

Best regards,

Richard Bernier
Online Community Outreach Liaison
Dell Inc.
800-822-8965 Ext. 726-8859 | Richard_Bernier@dell.com

Dell
always strives to improve!  Please send feedback to my manager
Joanne_Hamann@dell.com

This
e-mail message may contain information that is confidential and/or privileged.
If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender by reply
e-mail and delete the message and any attachment(s). Thank you.


From: Scott Royall
[mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Monday, July 16, 2007 7:36 PM
To: Bernier, Richard
Subject: RE: DELL: XPS 1710 technical support

 

Regarding the number, done. Sorry.


The service tag for this puppy is FWDGKB1. My address is:

 

15906 Manfeld

Houston, TX 77082

 

It seems a crime to exchange
a very stable mainboard for a lousy USB port, but the point is valid.

 

Something you  can
really help with is selecting the next laptop. I need something just as
powerful as the M1710, but more compact  and energy-efficient (that means
the Core 2 Duo). Right now, the front runners seem to be the 1420 and 1330, but
there are questions that the Dell website won’t answer. First, will the
1710’s power adapter run either of these laptops? That question is a bit
tricky to get answered correctly. A salesperson will say no, simply because
smaller laptops come with smaller adapters to save cost and weight. However, as
of last year, at least the 1420 could run quite happy on a Gen2/1710 adaptor.
Will the 1330? Of course I don’t really use the AC adapters. Instead, I
have a very rugged automotive adapter custom-built by Lind Electronics for the
Gen2/1710. It runs off my wheelchair, and makes the laptop think it’s
always on AC.

 

From:
Richard_Bernier@Dell.com [mailto:Richard_Bernier@Dell.com]
Sent: Monday, July 16, 2007 9:31 AM
To: royall@conchbbs.com
Subject: RE: DELL: XPS 1710 technical support

 

Mr. Royall,

 

Thank you for your response.  So, from what I gather from your
email, you currently do not have an issue that needs to be address. 
However, you said that there is a bad USB port.  I can setup a motherboard
replacement that will correct that.

 

Please reply back to me with your computers service tag, your
current address, and phone number.  When I can verify all your updated
information I will setup an order to get your computer repaired.

 

Also, one other item, I would request that you please xxx-xxx-xxxx
out my phone number, on your blog.  That number comes directly to my cube
and there is no way I could answer like a call center does.  Thanks in
advance.

 

I will be looking for your reply.

 

Best regards,

Richard Bernier
Online Community Outreach Liaison
Dell Inc.
800-822-8965 Ext. 726-8859 | Richard_Bernier@dell.com

Dell
always strives to improve!  Please send feedback to my manager
Joanne_Hamann@dell.com

This
e-mail message may contain information that is confidential and/or privileged.
If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender by reply
e-mail and delete the message and any attachment(s). Thank you.


From: Scott Royall
[mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Saturday, July 14, 2007 3:26 PM
To: Bernier, Richard
Cc: Hamann, Joanne
Subject: RE: DELL: XPS 1710 technical support

 

Ok Richard, I’m a little disappointed that Dell took this
long to respond, but not really surprised. The email address, marie@dell.com, was a bit too cute to
 not be a public front. I was with a large company long enough to know how
often people get transferred. That’s why I’m sending a copy to
Joanne, to hopefully gain some degree of continuity across multiple agents.

 

I am somewhat a high-visibility Dell user. It is difficult to
sum myself up in a tidy little package that an agent will  relate to. I am
physically disabled, and am at least partially active in society. That means
that hardware going around with me is a bit hi-vis in itself. You can get a
photo of me at my website. The easiest place to see me is at www.conchbbs.com/blog.  I
recommend looking at it despite the fact that it’s a few laptop
generations back, because it shows just how visible the laptop I use is. By
extension, the photo gives you some clues just how dependent I am on my
laptops. They speak for me, they bank for me, they communicate for me, they
even game for me. If anything, that tells you I am probably more dependent on
my laptops than most Dell customers. It also means that the standard Dell
technical support experience, with calls going to Panama or Mumbai or wherever,
does not work for me. That’s why the online outreach program became
necessary in my case.

 

Now, after that lengthy intro, I have to tell you that I
don’t currently have a technical issue for you—yet. I appeared to
have one last week, but the source turned out to not be the 1710. The 1710 has
lost one USB port on the back, but there’s enough redundancy in a 1710 to
cover losing one USB port.

 

HOWEVER, my 1710 is supposed to be replaced as my primary laptop
later this summer. That says I’m going to have some highly-technical
questions needing good answers as I select the new laptop. Answers that
won’t be on the Dell website. That’s when you and Joanne will
really be in a position to help by  finding the answers

 

From:
Richard_Bernier@Dell.com [mailto:Richard_Bernier@Dell.com]
Sent: Friday, July 13, 2007 12:15 PM
To: royall@conchbbs.com
Subject: DELL: XPS 1710 technical support
Importance: High

 

Mr.
Royal,

 

My
name is Richard; I am part of Dell’s Online Community Outreach group here
in Round Rock, Texas.  You contacted us about your XPS 1710 needing
support.  Since I work a lot on these units, I will be the one to assist
you.

 

I
am going to provided you my direct contact phone, 1-800-822-8965 ex.
726-8859.  Please call as soon as it is convenient for.  I look
forward to working with you.

 

Regards,

Richard Bernier
Online
Community Outreach Liaison

Dell
Inc.

800-822-8965
Ext. 726-8859 |
Richard_Bernier@dell.com

Dell
always strives to improve!  Please send feedback to my manager
Joanne_Hamann@dell.com

This
e-mail message may contain information that is confidential and/or privileged.
If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender by reply
e-mail and delete the message and any attachment(s). Thank you.

 

 

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