Dell Support

Dell Inspiron 1200

In addition to a couple of desktops and a brand new XO laptop, we still have a 2 year-old Dell Inspiron 1200 here at the house that mostly gets used for surfing the web downstars in the “reading room” (the kids designation for our front sitting room).

Although I haven’t been on it much lately, I’ve noticed recently that we were getting really atrocious battery life — like 3 minutes. At the time I assumed the cheap NiCad that came with it was just shot after a couple of years of fairly heavy use.

Then last night, while running it with the battery removed, the thing just went black on me. Further investigation showed that the adapter connector going into the laptop or the wire that attached it to the power adapter had a broken wire inside. A little jiggling of the thing would sometimes bring the power light back on the laptop.

In the process of fooling with this I, of course, corrupted some bits on the hard disk, resulting in a kernel panic when I tried to restart it. But that’s another story.

Fortunately, shortly after I bought this unit I had called up Dell and signed up for their 3 year extended warranty. Back in the dark old days when I was a hardware tech, I’d gone through the nightmare of having to regularly crack open the cases of various model laptops (mostly IBM’s and Toshibas) to do upgrades and perform repairs (I think I was IBM certified at one point). Those were not experiences I wanted to repeat. Although I’ll still go inside desktops when necessary, I’ve sworn a solemn oath never to do so again with a laptop.

Anyway, I decided to check with Dell tech support to see if they could help. To be honest, I figured they’d come to the same conclusion as me — that the AC Adapter connector to the laptop or it’s wire had a short — but that they’d also decline to replace it on the ground that this was due to “normal wear and tear”.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn otherwise. After a few minutes on the live chat (I can’t recommend this method highly enough, not only does it cut through any language difficulties you and a rep might have, but it also gives you a running record of everything that gets said on the call), the rep said they’d send me a replacement AC Adapter via 2 day.

Man, I really like Dell.

Of course, given the fact that I used to to be a professional hardware tech, I probably made it easy for them. On the other hand, the rep seemed to know her stuff, so she probably could have walked me through the diagnosis if I’d been really hardware-clueless.

As for the corrupted O/S. Well, that’s one advantage to being an RHCT.