Inspiron N5110 built-in speakers suddenly no sound

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Inspiron N5110 built-in speakers suddenly no sound

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Have updated IDT driver but still no joy. Headphones work, all the usual checks ok (not muted, sound not turned down, etcetera) but still NO SOUND from the 5-month-old laptop's speakers. Problem started just a week ago, for no apparent reason - also my power settings were suddenly changed (shutting lid reverted to sleep instead of hibernate, without me making any changes). Seems to be a common problem, but can't find a solution.

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  • Dell laptops with HD audio (all models newer than the Inspiron 9300) utilize switching technology in the headphone jack socket, which is somewhat complicated. In addition to the usual mechanical parts, the jack also uses current & impedance-sensing techniques to trigger software configuration and switching (to send the audio signal to the speakers). Sometimes the laptops with these jacks develop this combination of symptoms:

        * Speakers don't work and are not muted or deselected
        * Headphone jack does work
        * Reinstalling audio driver does not help
        * Audio test in Dell Diagnostics passes
        * On models with 2 headphone jacks, one may be "checked" in the control panel as if in use
        * Sometimes but not always, a very gentle wiggle of a plug in the jack will get it to resume normal functioning, at least temporarily.


    That combination of symptoms means that the sense pin in the jack is not working for some reason. Failure of the sense pin results in the computer behaving like there is always a plug in the jack. The software switch that should route audio to the speakers does not get triggered.


    There are 3 ways to confirm that you have a failed sense pin:

    1. Check for the combination of symptoms that I listed. If you have all of them then it is pretty certain you have the failed sense pin. Note that when you run the audio tests in Dell Diagnostics you should hear audio through the speakers. That is the opposite result from what one would expect. But note that if you do not hear the audio through the speakers during the tests then there is some other hardware problem, not a bad sense pin.

    2. Replace the headphone jack. If that fixes the problem that confirms that you had a failed sense pin. The part is covered by your hardware warranty. The Inspiron N5110  I/O circuit board with audio jacks is also available from http://www.parts-people.com/index.php?action=item&id=10296

    Note that if you have a failed sense pin replacing the motherboard is not a solution because the jack is not on the MB.

    3. Restore the laptop to its original factory configuration. This is called PC Restore in XP and Factory Image Restore in Vista. If the speakers still don't work after PC/Factory Image Restore and you have the combination of symptoms listed above, that is a definite confirmation of a failed sense pin.


    ***********************************************************************************************************


    How to Run the Audio Tests in Dell Diagnostics

    These interactive audio tests are designed to narrow down the problem to either the software or hardware. The tests are independent of Windows and drivers, meaning it doesn't matter if those are working correctly or not. To run Dell Diagnostics

    1. Restart the computer and tap the f12 key as soon as it starts to boot up .
    2. Select 'Diagnostic' from the boot menu. The computer will run its pre-boot assessment tests (PSA) before Dell Diagnostics starts. During the PSA you will hear some tones through the system speaker but this does not adequately test the audio hardware. Dell Diagnostics plays an instrumental piece of music complete with drums, so if you only hear some tones then you have only run the PSA.
    3. Dell Diagnostics should open after the PSA tests, or you should see an option to open it. If you have ever reformatted your entire hard drive then Dell Diagnostics will no longer be there as an option. In that case run it from the Drivers and Utilities (Resource) CD if you have one.
    4. Select 'Custom', then the audio tests.
    5. The tests will run. You don't need to run all of them. Just check whether or not audio comes through the speakers during the tests.

    If you hear audio through the speakers during the tests (the tests 'pass') but not after you boot back into Windows, that result means that you have a software problem. Normally the  software problem would be in the audio driver, but if you have the rest of the combination of symptoms then the software problem is that the software switching is not working. But it is not working due to a hardware problem -- a failed sense pin. Dell Diagnostics cannot directly detect a failed sense pin. That is why Dell Diagnostics produces an opposite result than what one would expect when there is this particular hardware problem.

    ******************************************************************************************************


    Jim Coates -- senior forum member


  • Jimco, thanks for your detailed and very readable response. Alas, though the headphones still work, there's no progress - and possibly because there are no audio tests on the Dell Diagnostics page.(PF12). Does than mean my N5110 thinks it doesn't have a soundcard somehow? I installed the latest IDT driver (again) but no change. I can't even see an audio card on the BIOS setup. I'm hugely puzzled.

  • There is usually no setting for audio in the Dell laptops BIOS -- I don't know the details of your particular BIOS but I would expect to not see it.

    If you got as far as step 4 in the instructions but there was not an option to run the audio tests, I don't know why. The tests might fail to show if the audio chip is fried but we know it isn't because it is producing audio.

    My analysis is this. The problem is either in the hardware, software, or configuration (settings).

    If it is the hardware then most likely it is either the sense pin or the speakers/speaker connections. The PSA tests (step 2) should have played some tones through the speakers, so if you heard those then the speakers are okay.

    If it is the software the usual culprit is the audio driver, but because the audio is working I think the driver is installed and working okay. As an experiment you could let Windows install its own basic audio driver. To do that remove the IDT driver in "Remove a Program" in the Control Panel, and reboot. Windows will be unable to find the IDT files and so will install its own audio driver. If you check and it installed an IDT driver that means that more than one version of the IDT driver  had been unzipped to the the driver folder on your hard drive, so just repeat the process.

    Once the Windows driver is installed you most likely will still not have audio through the speakers. The point of the experiment is to confirm that the problem is not the IDT driver. If you have the exact same symptoms with both drivers then it is not a driver problem at all.

    The problem could be the settings. But when you reinstall the audio driver the settings are returned to their default state which includes audio through the speakers, so it is most likely not the settings.

    At this point if you want to continue to diagnose the problem yourself, your final option is to restore the laptop to its original factory configuration using Dell Factory Image Restore. This process will return the audio software and the entire laptop configuration to the exact state it was in when you took it out of the box. If the audio does not come through the speakers immediately after restoration then that is definite confirmation of a hardware failure. That failure is either of the sense pin or the speakers, and if the PSA tests passed the speakers then that just leaves the sense pin.

    Or you could just let Dell finish diagnosing the problem. Your warranty only covers hardware problems so they might ask you to do the restoration anyway to confirm that it is not a software problem. Also they are a bit shaky in their comprehension of the sense pin issue so you might have to give them a hint in that direction.

    Jim Coates -- senior forum member


  • Jim, I followed your advice and uninstalled IDT, rebooted, and watched Windows install its own HD driver. I still have the headphones working (mic not plugged in) but - you guessed - no sound from the built-in speakers. I find two things hard to swallow - that the internal speakers have blown (highly unlikely) and that the sensor switch can't be cleared by a registry tweak. I harbour a suspicion that the registry contains an invalid value, but it might as well contain the square root of -1 for all I know - my area is (was) IBM mainframes. I find it odd that there's no a single crackle from the speakers at any point, neither when I insert nor remove the headphones. Heavy sigh. Believe me, I'm convinced it's software, but I'm damned if I'm going to do a factory reset just to prove a point - maybe I'd be better off buying a pair of cheap external loudspeakers than letting it go back to Dell under warranty? (As always, your help is genuinely appreciated - so have a delightful Christmas.)

  • CPU42
    I find two things hard to swallow - that the internal speakers have blown (highly unlikely)

    Me too -- or that the connection has come loose -- but these things do happen, if rarely, which is why one tries to rule them out.

    CPU42
    I'm convinced it's software

    The sense pin issue is a software problem caused by a hardware failure, so I guess it is a coin toss.

    CPU42
    and that the sensor switch can't be cleared by a registry tweak.

    I think if there is a Registry setting someone would have found it by now. It is probably buried in a driver file. I have only ever come across 2 software workarounds for a bad sense pin. One was for the Inspiron E1705 model with Sigmatel audio. One can defeat the sense pin by installing an incorrect old Sigmatel driver from a Toshiba model. That driver just happens to work good enough to work with the audio chip, but it does not recognize the sense pin or the switching software and so neither the mic jack nor headphones jack work at all, but audio does come through the speakers. The other is a trick that works in a few models to bypass the switching software. I'll paste it in but I believe it is specific to a certain driver and doubt that this will work in yours, but you never know.

    (originally posted by forum member Niike2)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9m0uISPAGhg

    1. Open the "Sound" control panel.
    2. Select the "Playback" tab.
    3. Select "Independent Headphones" as the playback device.
    4. Select the "Recording" tab.
    5. Select "Microphone Array" as the recording device.
    6. Select "Properties".
    7. Select the "Listen" tab.
    8. Check the box labelled "Listen to this device".
    9. In the dropdown box labelled "Playback thru this device" select "Independent Headphones".
    10, Close open dialog boxes and return to the "Playback" tab.
    11. Select ""Speakers/Headphones" as the playback device.

    If this workaround worked, audio will now come through the speakers. This has only been confirmed to work with a Studio XPS 1640, a Latitude 6400, and a Studio 1555. Some people with other models reported that they do not have a "Listen" tab, so I would say this workaround is dependent upon the audio driver in one's computer. The 2 audio drivers that are known to work with this workaround are IDT R261324 and IDT R267814. My guess is that any model that can use one of those drivers and has it installed, can use the workaround.

    I wish for you to have a good Christmas as well.


    Jim Coates -- senior forum member


  • Hi Jimco

    This diagnosed my problem perfectly. I am due a third call tomorrow from Dell Support to try to fix the prob, I'm now going to be able to tell them exactly what the trouble is. I have an 11 month old Inspiron N7010. No onboard speaker sound since the weekend. Now with a slight rattle around of the headphone jack as I remove it I can get a 50/50 success rate in getting the onboard speakers to work. I assume I will get a new headphone jack installed under warranty, watch this space.  Thanks for the excellent post. Cheers. Kevin

     

     

     

  • Hi Jim,

    I also have dell inspiron 5110 32 bit that bugs me with scratchy audio both from the headphone as well as from the speaker. I installed IDT instead of Realtek Audio driver. Solution please

  • rinchent971
    I also have dell inspiron 5110 32 bit that bugs me with scratchy audio both from the headphone as well as from the speaker.

    I have to get to work and don't have much time right now, so even though your problem is not related to the issue discussed in this thread go ahead and try everything suggested above. Try to run the Dell Diagnostics audio tests -- but I don't know if they did not include it with your model so check. Also try installing the native (generic) Windows audio driver as described above. What you should do with the tests and driver is to listen to whether or not the sound improves with those things, to try to narrow it down to either a hardware or software problem.

    rinchent971
    I installed IDT instead of Realtek Audio driver.

    Not sure what you mean. The Inspiron N5110 has IDT audio hardware and so it should have an IDT driver not Realtek.

    Jim Coates -- senior forum member


  • Hi Jim,

    I have conducted dell diagnostics audio tests and I don't get any sound. The test results are all passed.

    by the way please treat rinchent971 as rinchent. I have changed the account.

  • rinchent
    I have conducted dell diagnostics audio tests and I don't get any sound. The test results are all passed.

    I don't understand what you mean. You did not hear  the scratchy noise during the audio tests? If so that means that it is not a hardware problem. I don't know what the solution is. Another test I would try is to disconnect the laptop from the charger (AC adapter) and run on battery power to see if the adapter is introducing noise. If you still get the noise on battery power then re-attach the adapter .

    I would download and install a new copy of the audio driver. If that does not help then would install the native Windows audio driver. To do that remove the IDT driver in "Remove a Program" in the Control Panel, and reboot. Windows will be unable to find the IDT files and so will install its own audio driver. If you check and it installed an IDT driver that means that more than one version of the IDT driver  had been unzipped to the the driver folder on your hard drive, so just repeat the process. The way to tell which type of audio driver is installed is to open the Sounds properties. When  the native driver is installed you will see the words "High Definition Audio Device". When the IDT driver is installed you will see "IDT High Definition Audio Codec".

    Jim Coates -- senior forum member


  • As per Dell diagnostics audio tests I am supposed to get sound during the process of the diagnostic test as reproduced below.

    "Select 'Diagnostic' from the boot menu. The computer will run its pre-boot assessment tests (PSA) before Dell Diagnostics starts. During the PSA you will hear some tones through the system speaker but this does not adequately test the audio hardware. Dell Diagnostics plays an instrumental piece of music complete with drums, so if you only hear some scale tones then you have only run the PSA."

    I don't get the sound and moreover the audio output from both the speaker and the headphones are scratchy.

    What could be the problem?

  • Sorry but I still don't understand. If you do not hear any audio during the tests then your audio hardware has failed. But you said the tests passed ("The test results are all passed."). Sorry but I don't understand your situation,

    Jim Coates -- senior forum member


  • Hi Jimco,

    Sorry for troubling you time and again.

    Main problem with my dell inspiron 5110 is scratcy audio-both speaker and headphone.

    Following are the actions i performed in an effort to solve:-

    1.My driver was Realtek and I changed to IDT-still the problem was not solved.

    2.Then I did Dell Diagnostics Audio Tests in order to "narrow an audio problem down to either the software or hardware". So I restarted the computer taping f12 key as soon as it started to boot up. Selected diagnostic from the boot menu and finished with PSA. During PSA I was supposed to get some tones from the system speakers which I didnot get.

    Dell Diagnostics is supposed to start after PSA which didnot.

    How can the problem be solved. Its irritating me. Please help

  • Thanks for clarifying.

    rinchent
    1.My driver was Realtek and I changed to IDT-still the problem was not solved.

    It came from the factory with an incorrect (Realtek) driver? 

    rinchent
    Selected diagnostic from the boot menu and finished with PSA. During PSA I was supposed to get some tones from the system speakers which I didnot get.

    Were headphones plugged in? The PSA tests only test system tones which just come through the system speaker, not through headphones. In desktops the system speaker is a separate little speaker on the motherboard, but in laptops it can be the regular speakers. I guess the Dell Diagnostics tests were not included in the N5110 which is a shame because it would test the entire IDT audio hardware, not just the system speaker.

    rinchent
    Main problem with my dell inspiron 5110 is scratcy audio-both speaker and headphone.

    Did it arrive from the factory with this problem? Did you try the power adapter test I suggested? Did you install the native Windows driver as I suggested? Does the audio work all right except for the scratchiness? Do you hear the scratching only while music is playing or also in between songs?

    Sorry that I have questions but no answers.

    Jim Coates -- senior forum member


  • Hi Jim,

    Did it arrive from the factory with this problem?

    I bought it from a retailer and there was no problem.

    Did you try the power adapter test I suggested?

    As suggested by you. I have done power test (I hope by power test you mean what is highlighted below). Still the problem persists.

     Did you install the native Windows driver as I suggested?

    The windows driver was already installed by the retailer. I didnot do it.

    Does the audio work all right except for the scratchiness?

    Audio output is there so is scratchiness.

    Do you hear the scratching only while music is playing or also in between songs?

    The scratchiness heard even while playing music, videos and even when dialog boxes pop-up.