Dell Inspiron P66F 2017 - Poor Design Induces Premature Catastrophic Hardware Failure

3 months ago
65

A Dell Inspiron P66F001 15-inch laptop computer manufactured in 2017 was presented dead on arrival (DOA). Not only would the computer not boot, it would not even power on.

The computer was then disassembled and the main logic board was removed from the chassis for further inspection.

When powered on with 19.5V at the charger input and viewed with a thermal infrared camera, the Platform Controller Hub (PCH) embedded on the CPU die would heat up.

Upon viewing the schematics pertaining to the powering of the PCH, the power for the PCH was discovered to originate with a Silergy Corp. SY2826BRAC High Efficiency Fast Response 6A 23V Input Synchronous Step Down Regulator, labeled on the logic board as PU100.

Next, a multimeter was used to measure the output voltage of PU100. According to the schematics, the output should be around 3.3V. When measured, however, it was found to be approximately 17.87V, more than 500% the expected value.

With no fuse or other electrical component in between the output of PU100 and the multiple PCH power inputs, when PU100 electrically shorted, it also electrically shorted the PCH.

Since the laptop computer model is more than 6 years old (as of 2024), a used working model is readily available for much less than $100 USD, making the repair not economically viable.

If Dell engineers, however, had added to the circuit a single 6A fuse, the permanent damage done to the PCH may have been avoided and the laptop computer may still be usable today.

Even though the SY8286B features a wide input voltage range of 4V - 23V, output over voltage latch-off protection, short circuit latch-off protection, and output current limit protection, designing a circuit so only one electrical component lay between the PCH and the +19VB DC input is horribly negligent at best.

It’s almost like Dell purposely designed the laptop to catastrophically fail as quickly and as easily as possible.

If you need help with an electronics repair or data recovery, please feel free to contact us 7 days a week by telephone and text at 1.858.692.0541, by e-mail at info@it-sd.com, or visit our website at https://www.it-sd.com.

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