Having problems with your Dell Inspiron 1100 Notebook ?

Dell Inspiron 1100 won't read 512 Meg ram.

\015 I tried 2 different chip manufacturers - 1 that absolutely guarantees that their chips work. I know the machine worked fine with the 256 meg chip that was in it. I put that in a coworkers machine and no longer have it. The 512's beep 3 times then a pause and 1 more beep. Then the lights flash at the top of the machine. The chip folks say to clear the cmos but I don't have any memory that works and don't know how to do this otherwise. Any advice would be great. I can't get a 256 chip anywhere locally that will work.\015

Answers :

Explanation of Dell Inspiron 1100 Memory Upgrade Problem

My Dell Inspiron 1100 had one 512 MB card, and I wanted to buy a second such card to upgrade it to the maximum memory capacity of 1 GB. I installed a 512 MB card from crucial.com that matched all the specs for this machine. When I put it in the DIMM B slot with the old 512 MB card in DIMM A, the system would boot but the display was screwed up. Thinking there might be something wrong with the new card, I decided to try only one card at a time. So I removed the old (working) card and moved the new card to DIMM A. In this configuration, it wouldn't boot. Instead it flashed two of the three lights next to the power button for 5 seconds and then powered itself down.

Thinking the card was defective, I returned it for a replacement, but the next card behaved the same. I went through 4 more cards. All of them failed the same way. One of them was even manufactured by Dell! Yet my old card worked fine, so I knew the problem was related to the memory card and not a problem elsewhere in the laptop.

I Googled for others who had encountered the problem but nobody had an explanation for why the problem occurs. I have now figured out why some memory cards fail in the Dell Inspiron 1100 and others work.

To see if a memory card will or won't work in Dell's Inspiron 1100 count how many chips are on the card. Divide the card's memory capacity by the number of chips. If the result is more than 32 MB, you're screwed! The problem is the boneheads in Bangalore that Dell outsourced the hardware design of the Inspiron 1100 to. They assumed that the maximum memory in any one chip on the card would be 32 MB.

By releasing a piece of hardware with this limitation, they created a situation where a memory card can match all the specs (DDR PC2100, 200 pin SODIMM, CL=2.5, Unbuffered, Non-ECC) and still be incompatible because with this idiot hardware design, maximum memory per chip on the card is an unpublicized spec. that will prevent the machine from working if you exceed the 32 MB limit!

If you have a 512 MB card with 8 chips on it, it will never work. The only ones that do work are the ones with 16 chips.

The hardware design is a mess in other respects as well. See http://www.lieffcabraser.com/dell-inspiron-3.htm for more info.
I had the same problem. I tried several brands of memory unsuccessfully, though they all guaranteed that their products would work with my machine. Finally, my brother (who works in IT) recommended that I go through The Upgrade Place (http://www.theupgradeplace.com/). Great price - less than half of what Dell charges - and the memory worked immediately upon installation.

When I told them that I had a Dell Inspiron 1100 laptop, they said that my PC required proprietary memory (which is true). I paid with a credit card and received the part two days later.

Good luck,
Jay DeKing
Repair Help & Product Troubleshooting for Dell Inspiron 1100 Notebook

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