Question about Dell Inspiron 5160 Notebook

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I know I'm rated as a Dell expert, but I'm stumped on this. I have an Inspiron 5160, works great for a few minutes or sometimes hours or days,then the video gets pixelated to the point you gotta re-boot. usually works again after re-boot. tried the "tapping" method on various areas of the screen bezel & on the plastic power button cover. Sometimes this will cause the issue to happen, other times not. I've ruled out the screen & inveter by removing it entirely & just using the external video port, same issue. I've had this apart down to the board several times, checked the cpu fan, monitored the internal temps with a infared gun, not overheating. Replaced the cpu with a known good one, no avail. I can't believe it seems like a bad mobo since it's so inconsistent. It's my personal laptop,so I'm not spending $200 for a board either way,lol. Am I missing anything?? Oh,& I've tried re-formatting & different hard drives.I've checked all power & grounds that I can get to with my multi-meter too.

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  • Pete MacSparran
    Pete MacSparran Apr 27, 2010

    Well, I'm about done with this piece of ****. I spent all night slowly removing the entire board for inspection under my magnifying glass. here's what happened to this.I had replaced the video card awhile ago to see if that was the issue & one of the bosses for the little heat sink covering the transistors by the cpu (the one under the vid card)had come out of the mobo.I should've epoxyed it then, don't know why I didn't, but the other boss closest to the cpu came out this time too. So,I thought I had it by epoxying those back in, since they support the vid card on the far end. I did that & re-assembled it enough to test it.Much better but if you press on the area that the vid card plugs into, it fritzs. Sure I'm putting more strain on it then normal, but I wanted to see if my fix was tough enough.No matter how tight you make the card screws, it still fails. It's the socket the card plugs into. The solder connections for the socket to the mobo must be microscopically loose. No way for me to fix that. So in conclusion, I believe this is what happens over time to a bad design. Those bosses break free & vibration/weight of the card hanging off near the cpu simply kill the vid card socket. It needs a board,however it can now be used a little rougher than ever. Maybe under normal use it'll behave. I'm going to attempt to somehow stablize the card some more & just use it for now. I don't even need the thing but my mom likes it. I took pics of the problem & will try to post them in a reccomendation for others. My fix did work but not 100% in my opinion.Just to let you know,I've been playing with this thing for 2 years here & there,between customer work.Otherwise, I'd just have parted it out along time ago.Wait until you see how stupid the board maker was with those bosses! They barely stick in the board with a little stub & some glue.A big DOH for Dell,lol.

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One expert to another. I've checked this with several other associates in the field. This has been an on going problem with several different models of Dell computers. It appears to be a problem with the on board video itself. A few possibilities;
double check your memory including checking for memory conflicts.
try turning your screen saver off, this helps with most of the computers with this problem.
set your virtual memory to a fixed size, about 4 times your RAM + 12MB.
check for a corrupted BIOS.
temporarily turn down or off any video accellerators.
check the moterboard for bad solder joints, note these are multi layer boards so bad solder joints are very hard to repair.
check with Dell they may have resolved the problem at last.

Posted on Apr 27, 2010

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Yes your mobo is broken, I have same issue with Acer notebook. the solution is change mobo or repair it to yhe mobo expert.

dm

Posted on Apr 27, 2010

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