Inspiron 5150 Wireless card?

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Inspiron 5150 Wireless card?

  • Just received a "used" Inspiron 5150 notebook computer, previous owner "thought" there was a wireless card in it, but I cannot find it.  (He didn't have a wireless router so he's not sure) Does anyone know if there should be one in this computer, and if so, how do I find it and get the drivers or software for it? 
     
    Thanks for any help. 
  • Wireless was not standard, so unless the original owner bought it or upgraded at the time of purchase, it does not have wireless.

    Hopefully this system is still under warranty, given its history - if it is, extend the warranty - you will be sorry if you do not.
  • Thanks, no it's no longer under warranty, so don't think I can extend it.  I take it from your comment, taht Inspiron aren't very dependable?  I've never owned a "Dell" so that's not a good thing to learn!

    Thanks!

  • BTW I did transfer ownership at Dell to myself.  When I went to the live chat Help, I could not log on to get help.  Is this something that you can do only under warranty?  That's why I ended up here in the forums.
     
     
  • That particuar model isn't the most reliable one Dell has released, to say the least. You should be able to create a support login even if the warranty has expired.
  • Do you have any idea if it's the software or the hardware?  I wonder if I'd be better off installing the OS without using the "Dell" version?  I usually "hate" all the extra stuff that they have running in the background with "bundled software" computers.   I am planning on giving this to my daughter for  college and think the student versions of Microsoft XP can be used on another computer besides her desktop.  (Will have to check.)   If it's hardware, then we're "sunk"

     

     

     

  • If you mean the wireless, it's hardware.

    The 5100/5150/5160 is known for being a highly stressed system - prone to overheating, which stresses the internal components appreciably.
  • I'm assuming there is no wireless in this, since the previous owner didn't "do" wireless, I doubt he would have upgraded it.  I was wondering about the computer hardware in general, is it substandard?  If so, I don't want to put a lot of $'s in it, such as buying a new Operating system if the hardware isn't worth messing with.   I have a wireless "card" I can add to it to use it here at home so I can just install that.
  • Iflyata, some thoughts:

    1) as for an internal wireless card, open the C panel on the bottom and look -- it's easy enough.  if it's not there, a miniPCI internal card will work -- or any semi-internal PC-Card will work.

    2) the 5150 has 3 problems which people report with some frequency.  the problems don't happen to that many 5150s overall, but it happens enough that it's noticable here...

    a) they overheat.  all 51xx and 11xx models suffer this problem (as do other computers but Pentium M's run cooler than pentium 4's like you have).  your cooling system works by bringing air into a bottom intake vent, passing it over a heatsink attached to your CPU and ejecting the heated air out the back right of the sytem.  this is a very efficient cooling system (and is has to be!), but overtime, the moving air deposits dust on the heatsink.  the dust builds up and insulates the metal heatsink from the air.  as a result, the heatsink can no longer give off heat to the air -- the CPU resultantly overheats.  at first, the system will kick up the fan to high more often to compensate.  when this is not enough, the CPU and video card will throttle themselves to cool off.  if this too is not enough, the computer will initiate a protective shutdown (basically it will immediately turn itself off).

    there are several solutions to this model.  dell may replace the heatsink, even out of warranty, for a clean one.  if they won't, these are relatively cheap.  a new heatsink ensures that you don't have years of dust build up.  if there's not much dust, the time tested solution is to buy a can of compressed air.  turn the computer off, and shoot it into the rear exhaust vent (pushes the dust out via the way it came in instead of pushing it farther into the system).  whether you get a new heatsink or keep the current one (which depends on things are going now), you should dust every couple of weeks.  get a program called fanGUI to monitor your temps:  http://www.diefer.de/i8kfan/index.html

    lastly, dell has released a bios update to address this issue.  any bios over A35 will run the fans less often to reduce dust intake.  this leads to higher temps overall but should reduce thermal shutdowns for people that don't dust.  if you clean the heatsink out yourself, do not upgrade to any revision OVER A35 -- as your idle temperatures will be much hotter.

    b) the AC adapter is no longer detected.  there is little you can do about this problem.  keeping the AC adapter on a hard, flat surface (not having it hanging midair supported by the machine-side attachment) may help.  a good noise-filtering surge protector may help.  if this problem occurs you can either replace the motherboard (very expensive) or have it repaired by a shop (usually runs around 150 to 200).  heat maybe a factor that contributes to this problem...

    c) the machine will randomly turn off when you apply pressure (in various spots) or when you move it.  there is a 55page thread somewhere around here dedicated to this problem.  heat maybe a contributing factor, so keep that heatsink clean.  others have reported that a prong on the underside of the C panel gets pressed into the bottom of the motherboard and damages a small IC chip on it.  as a general rule, people recommend filing down this small "prong" as soon as possible -- it's completely useless and you will likely see a wear pattern already forming on the black covering over the board if you remove the panel.  the fix to this problem once it occurs is a new motherboard or a 3rd party repair usually running about the same price as the above.

    most 5150s will run fine, especially if you keep the heatsink clean.  avoid dusty environments and always run the unit on a hard, flat surface.  covering that bottom intake vent with your lap or a soft surface will bring in a lot of lent and completely block the airflow -- don't do it!

    Latitude D430
    Dimension 9150
    Dell 1815dn Printer



  • NemesisDB wrote:

    Iflyata, some thoughts:

    1) as for an internal wireless card, open the C panel on the bottom and look -- it's easy enough.  if it's not there, a miniPCI internal card will work -- or any semi-internal PC-Card will work.

    2) the 5150 has 3 problems which people report with some frequency.  the problems don't happen to that many 5150s overall, but it happens enough that it's noticable here...

    a) they overheat.  all 51xx and 11xx models suffer this problem (as do other computers but Pentium M's run cooler than pentium 4's like you have).  your cooling system works by bringing air into a bottom intake vent, passing it over a heatsink attached to your CPU and ejecting the heated air out the back right of the sytem.  this is a very efficient cooling system (and is has to be!), but overtime, the moving air deposits dust on the heatsink.  the dust builds up and insulates the metal heatsink from the air.  as a result, the heatsink can no longer give off heat to the air -- the CPU resultantly overheats.  at first, the system will kick up the fan to high more often to compensate.  when this is not enough, the CPU and video card will throttle themselves to cool off.  if this too is not enough, the computer will initiate a protective shutdown (basically it will immediately turn itself off).

    there are several solutions to this model.  dell may replace the heatsink, even out of warranty, for a clean one.  if they won't, these are relatively cheap.  a new heatsink ensures that you don't have years of dust build up.  if there's not much dust, the time tested solution is to buy a can of compressed air.  turn the computer off, and shoot it into the rear exhaust vent (pushes the dust out via the way it came in instead of pushing it farther into the system).  whether you get a new heatsink or keep the current one (which depends on things are going now), you should dust every couple of weeks.  get a program called fanGUI to monitor your temps:  http://www.diefer.de/i8kfan/index.html

    lastly, dell has released a bios update to address this issue.  any bios over A35 will run the fans less often to reduce dust intake.  this leads to higher temps overall but should reduce thermal shutdowns for people that don't dust.  if you clean the heatsink out yourself, do not upgrade to any revision OVER A35 -- as your idle temperatures will be much hotter.

    b) the AC adapter is no longer detected.  there is little you can do about this problem.  keeping the AC adapter on a hard, flat surface (not having it hanging midair supported by the machine-side attachment) may help.  a good noise-filtering surge protector may help.  if this problem occurs you can either replace the motherboard (very expensive) or have it repaired by a shop (usually runs around 150 to 200).  heat maybe a factor that contributes to this problem...

    c) the machine will randomly turn off when you apply pressure (in various spots) or when you move it.  there is a 55page thread somewhere around here dedicated to this problem.  heat maybe a contributing factor, so keep that heatsink clean.  others have reported that a prong on the underside of the C panel gets pressed into the bottom of the motherboard and damages a small IC chip on it.  as a general rule, people recommend filing down this small "prong" as soon as possible -- it's completely useless and you will likely see a wear pattern already forming on the black covering over the board if you remove the panel.  the fix to this problem once it occurs is a new motherboard or a 3rd party repair usually running about the same price as the above.

    most 5150s will run fine, especially if you keep the heatsink clean.  avoid dusty environments and always run the unit on a hard, flat surface.  covering that bottom intake vent with your lap or a soft surface will bring in a lot of lent and completely block the airflow -- don't do it!

    Excellent summary of the 1000/5100 issues!

    With over 30,000 posts (through early 2007), Rickmktg hasn't bought a Dell computer since July 2005, but has bought two Lenovo laptops...   

    http://www.rickmktg.com/delltalk.htm

  • Well said, Nemesis.
  • wow, compliments   :smileyvery-happy:

    Latitude D430
    Dimension 9150
    Dell 1815dn Printer

  • Thank you for all the help.  I've printed out your note and put it in a folder for future reference!  I installed a wireless card (one that you simply put in the slot) last night, and it works great so far.  I'm SO glad to have found this forum, and really appreciate your help.  Especially by making it understandable to a non-computer whiz like me!  LOL.  
     
    I was beginning to think that getting this computer may have been a mistake, but so far so good.     
     
    This computer is very clean, I did use compressed air but didn't get a lick of dust, don't know HOW they managed that as MY computers always have dust.    I am going to look into an internal wireless adapter, but for now this will work just fine.
     
    Thanks!
     
     
  • glad it's working, just post back if you have problems

    Latitude D430
    Dimension 9150
    Dell 1815dn Printer

  • 10-02-05

    Reading Forum People Have Phenominal Computer Problems--My 5150 LT Is 1 1/2 Years Old,i.e.I Keep Rear Raised Up 1 Inch Mainly Easier On Hands Arms Less Neck Pain!

    I Spend 10 - 18 Hours Day On Internet Write @ Authorsden, Sell Search Car Stuff,etc.

    About Heat Problems Just Raise Rear Up On Small Block Of Wood--Air Flows Under & Around It,Keep It On Solid Hard Surface(I Vacuum Use Sweeper Hose Out Keyboard),i.e. "All Computers Heat Up"!

    My Old Septre Sound X 5200(5 Years Old) Raised Up Rear Also! I Had To Reload Windows 5 Times,Other Software--Went Nuts Bad Crashes--Clock Accurate To Date-Use Once Week--1 Year Later Got It Going Like New!

    My 5150 L T--Has Fuzzy Graphics, Clock Inaccurate & Software Problems(You Must Download All Current Updates) --NOW: I Have Progams That Won't Open...

    Mean Mother