Dell Studio 1537 Randomly Shutting Off During Use

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Dell Studio 1537 Randomly Shutting Off During Use

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So I have searched through forums looking for a solution to this problem, and I have seen that other users have experienced similar problems with other studio laptops.  I'm not sure why this is happening but when I'm using my computer it makes a clicking noise (like the noise when you normally shut it down) and shuts off randomly.  I haven't had it on for an extended period of time and it isn't that hot.  Thought it might be overheating or some other battery connection issue, but it's not.  I bought it previously ordered new from the Dell Outlet so it should be brand new. I was wondering if anyone has found a solution to the problem or if Dell is providing any help with this extremely aggravating issue.  I'm a college student and it's been happening to me in the middle of doing assignments.  I bought this computer specifically for school and all while it performs nicely for the most part, the random shutting down is simply unacceptable.  I bought it in January so I don't know what the warranty is like.  Any help would be appreciated.  I sure haven't gotten any yet.  

 OS Name Microsoft® Windows Vista™ Home Premium

Version 6.0.6001 Service Pack 1 Build 6001

Other OS Description Not Available

OS Manufacturer Microsoft Corporation

System Name JED-NOTEBOK

System Manufacturer Dell Inc.

System Model Studio 1537

System Type X86-based PC

Processor Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU     T5800  @ 2.00GHz, 2000 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 2 Logical Processor(s)

BIOS Version/Date Dell Inc. A06, 11/17/2008

SMBIOS Version 2.5

Windows Directory C:\Windows

System Directory C:\Windows\system32

Boot Device \Device\HarddiskVolume3

Locale United States

Hardware Abstraction Layer Version = "6.0.6001.18000"

User Name Jed-Notebok\Jed

Time Zone Mountain Daylight Time

Installed Physical Memory (RAM) 3.00 GB

Total Physical Memory 2.96 GB

Available Physical Memory 1.55 GB

Total Virtual Memory 6.12 GB

Available Virtual Memory 4.35 GB

Page File Space 3.25 GB

Page File C:\pagefile.sys

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  • After 3 days of troubleshooting I now consider myself an expert in this matter.  Below is a veritable thesis on everything you could ever need (or want :)) to know about this problem.  I know it is long, but it is worth reading through to completely understand what this problem is due to and how to fix it.

    A intermittent/random/unexpected immediate/instantaneous shut down (without the normal shut down/power down sequence) is a safety feature (I am guessing as a component of the bios, but who knows) that functions to prevent heat damage to the CPU or GPU.  When these chips reach a certain critical threshold temperature a heat sensor is tripped to protect the hardware.

    Three separate problems can activate this feature:

    1.  an error in the bios.

    Solution:  update the bios

    2.  a dysfunctional heat sensor

    Solution:  run Dell Diagnostics to confirm (see below).

    3.  its actually too hot

    Solution:  depends

    As diagnosing (2.) is involved with (3.) I will just go through (3.).

    There are 5 hardware components to defray heat from the C/GPU.  In order of heat transfer:

    A. thermal adhesive/pad/glue/compound

    B. heat sink tubing

    C. fan

    D. heat sink

    E. vents built into the base of the laptop

    The thermal material conducts heat from the C/GPU to the copper tubing which is routed towards the fan and the heat sink.  Heat thus travels from the C/GPU to the external environment with the fan blowing hot air out through the heat sink and ultimately through the vents visible on the base of your laptop.  Any one of these components can malfunction:

    A.  thermal material can dry and/or crack disturbing its perfect interface that uniformly transforms heat from the C/GPU to the copper tubing thus creating localized hot spots on the C/GPU.  This can in turn fry a portion of your processor.

    Solution:  you'll need a new processor

    B.  heat sink tubing can break or dislodge.  

    Solution:  I don't know enough about this type of damage to usefully discuss it but if the tubing is damaged replacing the whole heat sink assembly will only cost about $50 if you search around online.  Incidentally the model for Studio 1735 is NU380.

    C.  the fan either works or it doesn't - if you hear the fan its working, if you never hear it, it likely is not working.

    Solution:  follow the steps in the system manual for your particular dell laptop to replace the fan.  I just worked on this on my own machine and its obnoxiously designed.  You literally have to disassemble the entire Studio 1735 to access the fan.  I don't know what the engineers were thinking.

    D.  The likelihood of the heat sink itself being damaged is slim to none unless you have physically damaged your laptop and if damage has been significant enough to damage the grate you ought to be thinking about more than just the heat sink grid as the force involved in that kind of trauma has probably disturbed the system board and the variety of chips attached to it.

    Solution:  There are actually 2 grids - one is integrated into the heat sink assembly, the other is integrated into the fan assembly.  If you have to replace either component, the grid will come along with it.

    IMPORTANT:  THE MOST LIKELY CAUSE OF YOUR COMPUTER OVERHEATING IS NOT ACTUAL DAMAGE TO ANY OF THE ABOVE COMPONENTS BUT DISRUPTION TO THE HEAT TRANSFER.  THE THERMAL ADHESIVE DELL USES IS CHEAP AND SHOULD BE REPLACED ANNUALLY.  HOWEVER, WHAT TAKES THE CAKE IS DUST.  ONE THINKS (AND I INCLUDE MYSELF HERE) THAT BY USING AN AIR CAN THAT YOU ARE KEEPING YOUR LAPTOP CLEAN.  THIS IS ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE!!!  USING A CAN OF AIR TO BLOW OUT DUST ACCESSIBLE VIA VENTS ONLY WORKS FOR AIR FLOW ACCESSIBLE VIA THOSE VENTS.  THAT INNER HEAT SINK GRID I SPOKE OF ABOVE (THAT IS ATTACHED TO THE FAN) WILL NOT BE CLEANED BY FORCEFUL AIR FLOW.  IN ORDER TO CLEAN THIS HEAT SINK YOU WILL HAVE TO DISASSEMBLE THE ENTIRE LAPTOP (AS I DESCRIBED ABOVE FOR FAN REPLACEMENT) AND WHEN YOU TAKE OUT THE FAN YOU WILL THEN SEE THE DUST THAT HAS COLLECTED THERE.

    Ok, so you now know how the system works, what can go wrong, and how to fix what can go wrong.  Here is how you can diagnose what the actual problem is.  If I am not mistaken, all dell (at least) laptops come with their hard drive partitioned.  On the partition is a diagnostic utility accessible during the boot sequence with F12.  The absolute most sure fire way to assess what damage your system has (if any) is to run the extended diagnostics.  This may occur after a pre-system diagnostic test or may be directly accessible.  In this diagnostic utility you will be able to assess the integrity of your heat sensors, your processors, your memory, your harddrive and a variety of other components that can be damaged by overheating.  The utility is fairly self explanatory to operate and guides you through its use.  If you are a more comfortable user, you can use other features of the diagnostic utility that more directly assess particular system features.  Thus, this diagnostic will solve problems with both (2.) and (3.).

    My suggestion is to run through the diagnostics before you start attempting to replace hardware.  The reasoning for this suggestion should be obvious:  you don't want to start fixing something that isn't the problem.  I spent hours and hours figuring out that the problem initially identified by the poster was due to overheating.  I called Dell and they told me that without warranty I'd have to buy a new laptop (comparable is about $1000) or have a service technician come on site (to my home) (cost = $400).  In fact, just to speak to the service technician was going to cost $60 but the guy was nice and said since I had basically self diagnosed the problem he'd directly route me to the technician and not charge me the fee.  I called up geek squad and they were going to charge a $70 diagnostic fee to figure out what I had already identified and have defined for you above and would then charge me for parts and labor to replace the heat sink.  Note, this was all before I actually opened up my machine and realized that the internal heat sink grid was clogged.  Thus, I went from potentially having to spend $1000 to spending $8 (because I disassembled my heat sink, I now to replace the thermal adhesive to restore the uniform interface it shared with the C/GPU).

    It pays to be knowledgable about these things - it pays big time!  In the past I would have probably wrote the problem off to being a broken machine and bought a new one.

    It also is helpful to understand what the mechanism underlying the problem of overheating is (as I have outlined above) because a few other things should be intuitively obvious:  

    i. if your system is overheating, use it extremely sparingly so you permanently damage any of the hardware (and don't run high processing features like video and games)

    ii. if the problem is heat you can use an external cooling system.  the external cooling pads at best decrease the C/GPU temperates by 10 degrees C, thus if your system is at 100 degree C that's not going to do too much.  However, if you set up the computer in a cold environment with active convection (I put my laptop on a wire cookie sheet to elevate it and then had a powerful area fan blow over and under it to make sure I could run the diagnostics without the system shutting itself down).  Let me tell you, that fan was doing alot more than the power that could be transferred via a USB connection.

    Recommendations:

    R1  When using a laptop always use an external cooling pad.  Despite what I wrote above, when your system is running normally without excessive temperatures, this marginal decrease in temperature will increase the overall lifetime of your laptop.

    R2. Install the software that allows you to monitor your C/GPU temperatures continuously (many different programs available - just do google search).

    R3.  Disassemble your heat sink and fan at least annually (I have heard every 8 months) and clean the dust from the fan and heat sinks and replace the thermal adhesive.  The time frame will obviously depend on how often and how intensely you use your computer and also the cleanliness of the environment it is in.

    R4. Do NOT rely on Dell customer service.  They are designed to make money and recommend "well you might need a new computer, it is probably the better option anyway"  }:(

    R5. Be wary of Dell!  This may come as a shock and it came to a shock to me as well.  After surveying the forums in detail dell has recently gone to using nVidia boards and Windows 7, both of which allegedly are notorioius for (have notoriously) caused overheating problems and as you have all experienced, as I have read, and as I have experienced, Dell support staff is not what it used to be and don't actually solve the problem.  Not in one location after surveying these forums did I find anything about the problem possibly being due to a clogged system inaccessible via the external vents.  I happened to find a video tutorial that explained how to replace the thermal adhesive and it was mentioned there (sorry, forget link).  Thus, my conclusion is that the support staff does not actually understand what it is telling you, and concludes you need a service member or need to send your laptop in to get it fixed when in fact, you can fix most problems for free.  And it makes me angry that they would charge you $60+ to do diagnostics, something that is already built into your system and they could explain with about 1 minute of assistance.  To emphasize this point, I will not buy another a Dell.

    R6. When working inside your laptop, note that you don't actually need any sort of certification to do this work.  However, note that if you don't have an intuitive understanding of electronics that you might want to actually pay for this.  Disassembling your computer can be a daunting process and the first time you go there is an inherent trial and error aspect to it.  There are certain features of the Studio 1735 that are highly susceptible to damage if not handled properly.  If you follow the directions precisely you have nothing to worry about.  However, if you skim them and miss something, you could be looking at an expensive bill and dysfunctional laptop after you put everything back together.  The key to successfully working inside your laptop is having the right tools for the job.  A set of small philips head and flat head screw drivers and a set of needle nose plyers (preferably grounded with rubber covering) are ideal.  If you are super sensitive about the aesthetics case you can get a plastic stylus (forget the precise name) that is designed to pop out certain click-n-lock hardware components, but a gingerly used small flat head screwdriver does this trick just fine.

    Finally, please forward this.  I have spent an hour writing this up for your benefit!  Please pass this forward.  As it will undoubtedly prove invaluable to you, please help out another user with this information by finding one additional post and forwarding this information there.  Also, if a dell representative ever finds this, please at teh very least cut and paste whatever pertinent sections you feel are appropriate into your troubleshooting guide as the current help guidelines are, well, unhelpful.

  • Gaiden,

    I just came across your excellent diagnosis and solution to your problem.  Amazing.  I have a Dell Studio 1555 bought exactly 12 mo. ago and just yesterday it failed.  It will not power on with the ac adapter or without.  When AC plugs in the blue LED light on the adapter goes off and nothing.  I've trouble-shot the heck out of this thing.  As you say, Dell is worthless since I'm about 3 days past warranty; and the Geek Squad looked at it and said it is probably a fried motherboard and it's best to get a new laptop.  Huh?  Having spent close to $900 for this I refuse to lay down and give in.  Your excellent analysis seems to point in the direction of the heat sink and thermal adhesive issues.  Not knowing too much of these laptop internals, do you have any advice on how to proceed with my major problem?  Any help would be wonderful before I have to go out and have to purchase something new.  Thanks.

  • You'll have to find a new Studio buyer.  I still have this problem on my 1537 - Dell never fixed it.  I am looking at buying a new Asus or Acer - a cheap laptop at a low price instead of a Cheap Dell laptop with poor support at a high price.

  • I create a user just so that I can post here. I found the cause of the sudden seemingly random shutdown: it was intel turbo boost. It seems buggy/defective heatsink/fan  not removing heat fast enough to handle super hot 1 core. Using Orthos stress test using first setting (stress test cpu only) and intel turbo boost v2 utility, I can simulatewithin 10 second :) The solution was from another thread on Dell latitude laptop: go to your windows power profile, set the maximum process state to 99%. This effectively disable turbo boost.
    sudden shutdown

    TLDR; set your power profile's maximum process state to 99%

    Note:

    This applies to my Dell Studio 14 using i7 740QM processor on Windows 7 64bit. Which should be the same across Dell Studio laptop.

  • The A04 bios update is available for download now.   If you go to http://support.Dell.com and click on the Drivers & Downloads section you can use your service tag to select the drivers for your system.  Then select the BIOS category and download the latest BIOS.   Hopefully that should resolve your issue.

     

    Hello just bought a Dell Studio 15z and I LOVE it it's beautifu!, BUT it's randomly shutting off also, I called tech support concerning an unrelated issue and they updated the Bios this did not solve the random shutting off in my case.

     This is my first Dell and I find it a little disturbing that I read here on this forum that you tried to charge a customer although the computer was under warranty because you felt the problem was software related. This is my first Dell and I tell you I'm not happy I've had nothing but problems. I have a i5 and this thing is insanely fast and gorgeous, but that doesn't makeup for the poor design. I will say customer support in India by the way as me how I know this :) up to this point has been very good. Hoping you can suggest a solution this machine is only 3 days old! Thanks

     

    Tom j.

  • I create a user just so that I can post here. I found the cause of the sudden seemingly random shutdown: it was intel turbo boost. It seems buggy/defective heatsink/fan  not removing heat fast enough to handle super hot 1 core. Using Orthos stress test using first setting (stress test cpu only) and intel turbo boost v2 utility, I can simulatewithin 10 second :) The solution was from another thread on Dell latitude laptop: go to your windows power profile, set the maximum process state to 99%. This effectively disable turbo boost.
    sudden shutdown

    TLDR; set your power profile's maximum process state to 99%

    Note:

    This applies to my Dell Studio 14 using i7 740QM processor on Windows 7 64bit. Which should be the same across Dell Studio laptop.

     

    Hi thanks well if thats the case I'll jus take mine back I want the turbo boost thats why I bought the machine in the first place. I have an i5 so I'm hoping it doesn't apply to mine.

     

    Tom j.

  • gaiden,  my son would like to communicate with you via e-mail about this problem.    We have the  problem with a Dell Laptop,  2 years old,  Studio 1537,  Vista o/s.    Please e-mail me at  <ADMIN NOTE: Email id removed per privacy policy>.   thanks.    

  • I just bought this Dell Studio 15Z a little over a month ago and am having the same problem of the computer randomly shutting off.  I tried to update the BIOS; however, I got the message that my version is the same and therefore would not update.  This is annoying!!  i thought I would try a Dell after having been a Toshiba consumer for years--.  After reading the other posts about this same problem with no effective results, I'm beginning to be sorry I bought this computer.  DID ANYONE EVER GET A SOLUTION TO THIS ISSUE?

  • Hi I bought mine almost a year ago and they have replaced the motherboard and heat sink and I still having the smae problems this is a known issue to Dell and I really believe they are just trying to sweep it under the rug, I'm now writing  Micheal Dell and going to bring this to his direct attention. The only fix I'm aware of is the guy that got them to replace his. This is the worst investment I think I've ever made! Thank God it has a TWO YEAR WARRENTY. Good Luck.

    Tom

     

  • I bought a dell 1458 with i7 processor, i bought the extended warrently which ran out last november (extra 2 years warrently is actually only a 1 year extension since it negates the original manufacture warrently of 1 year) i began hitting 100 degrees on the processor a few month ago and since i bought this machine specifically for the load i could put on the i7 processor i dont want to disable the turbo boost option, since dell support knew less about the issue than i did i tried repasting the heatsink myself however even that has not fixed the random shutdowns. so i am thinking of replacing the fan with something more powerful, does anyone know of a suitable heat sink and fan upgrade for this the studio 1458 ?