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by Graham Williams
Duck Duck Go


Ganesha Shutdown

20201011 Ganesha is a Dell Inspiron 6400. See Section 36.19 for details.

Ganesha has been failing to operate for some years now, shutting down after a few minutes. The screen goes blank and the machine is no longer responsive, even to remote connections—a regular ping terminates at the same time.

The battery as an issue was ruled out as even when plugged in to power after removing the battery the same behaviour was observed.

A memtest86 gets started and then the screen goes blank and is not responsive whilst the fan is running high, though it does actually continue to run. Running two memtests in a row, the first is running the fan for 2 minutes then blanks. After a reboot, try again and the fan comes on within a few seconds then blanks.

After resting for some time and then booting into Ubuntu, if allowed to sit there with an ssh connection and no activity then after 6 minutes it shuts down. The time varies, but only shorter.

Suspecting an overheating issue, monitor via ssh the temperature (cat /sys/class/hwmon/hwmon0/temp1_input) which starts around 36.5, 37.5 and 38.5 but under a load (wajig update) it gradually goes up to 42.5 and 47.5 and finally 44.5 before the shutdown. It has been seen up to 48.5 before shutting down though these are generally not high temperatures. Before it shuts down the WiFi light is flashing continuously, supposedly indicating network activity (because of the ping/cat).

Noted that when Ubuntu is running no fan is heard (unlike with memtest86). Whilst the temperatures are not high try a reset of the heat sink by disassembling the machine, cleaning all dust from the vents (a lot), using ispropy alchohol and a screw driver blade to clean the old thermal paste from the heat sink, and the alchohol to clean the top of the CPU. Use a pea-sized drop of thermal paste on the CPU. The GPU has a thermal foam which I did not replace at this time.

Whilst disassembled, also replaced the CMOS battery (CR2032). It is a 3v battery currently measuring 2.2v after 15 years.

When turning on, the orange battery light flashes for a while then stays on. The flashing indicates the battery is low and the solid indicates it is critically low. After the BIOS screen it goes blank and turns off. Plugging in the power supply the battery light goes green, presumably indicating charging. Instead though, remove the battery and power the laptop from the adaptor.

Is it the screen issue or is it memory issue or the motherboard or overheating? Is it that when it hits a specific memory it goes caput. I removed and reset the memory cards. No change.

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