First off, I want to start this post with an 'Arrrggggggg!!!!!!'. Much better. I have an Inspiron 8600 from Dell. The machine is awesome, I have never had a laptop that ran so fast. It is the perfect machine for a consultant who has to travel to the client site, but still come home and dock that machine to work. So what is the issue? Well you remember I said I get to come home and dock the machine. Well in October, right before a trip to Redmond, my machine decided that it didn't ever want to be away from it's dock and did not boot unless it was docked. I would receive the friendly error:
The computer is docked and only battery power is detected.
This can happen if the power adapter is unplugged,
or the computer is not properly connected to the
Joy oh joy, that experience was fun. The solution after making one tech cry and another hangup on me, I got a tech to send me a box to send the machine back to them and they replaced the system board. TEN DAYS Later, they shipped the machine with new board and everything was good again.
Fastforward to today. I have plans to be onsite with a client tomorrow. I have pulled my VPC on the machine and decided to watch a movie with my wife while I finish up some extra work. I disconnect the machine from the docking station and proceed to go downstairs. Once I arrive, I boot up the machine to get my lovely error message again. You got to be kidding me, one month after spending 13 days without a laptop (3 days to arrive last time) I have to do this process all over again. S#IT!!!!!! So I get Dell back on the phone, and one hour after disconnecting the machine from the docking station and plugging it in with every possible scenario, they want me to send my machine back to them for another "10 or so days", so they can replace the system board again. This time is different though they kept telling me, because they are going to look at the docking station too. Ohhhhhhhh, the docking station is what I said. I told them to send me a limp along machine so I can WORK, but Dell doesn't do that for customers. So I will ship them my machine once more. They will replace the system board and I will blog to you again on January 9th about my machine crashing. I am calling them tonight again to see if it's possible to have them extend the warranty for a little longer to ensure this doesn't happen again. Probably have no luck, but it is worth a try.
The moral of the story is, stay away from the Inspiron 8600 and Latitude m60 (same board) if you plan to dock, because you will probably get a crappy machine and will only have it for 20 days of each month, but Dell won't care. You think after they replace the $700 system board twice, it might be cheaper to just send a new machine for the long haul.