Highlighted

Area 51 alx command center issues

Jump to solution

Hello all, I know this is a problem from about 4 years ago but I'd love to fix it once and for all.

A little background.  I've had the master IO board replaced 3 or 4 times.  After the last one I kinda gave up on ever getting command center working.  Here's where I'm at: I've run the dell diagnostics and everything relating to the MIO board has passed (save for the optical drive door which is currently broken).  Vents cycle, lights work, fans spin up.  Next I uninstalled command center, powered down, unplugged for ~30s, held power button for ~30s, rebooted, reinstalled, and still the same issue.  It can't find the tower.  I don't have any unknown devices listed under USB.  I have windows 7, BIOS version A11, downloaded command center Version: 2.8.9.0 ,A02-00 from the dell drivers and downloads page.  It looks like I have microsoft .NET framework version 4.6.1.  I guess the last thing I have not tried is doing a clean install of windows?  It seems like the board is being detected outside of windows, and it seems like it has control over the case, but it just won't work with command center.  I'm willing to try anything.  I've always loved the look of the fins up on the case and I'd love to have that back. 

Here are some pictures of the diagnostic tests and results: http://imgur.com/a/EwujG

PROBLEM SOLVED EDIT:  Removed the bad part that was causing overcurrent conditions on MIO board (in this case it was the bluetooth).  If anyone is reading this trying to problem solve their own board, LISTEN TO CASS OLE!! If I had followed their instructions sooner I could have saved them a lot of time and a lot of forum posts.  Cass Ole is wise.

Thank you cass and tesla for all of your help.  I cannot thank you enough for what you've helped me do.

33 Replies
Cass-Ole
4 Ruthenium

RE: Area 51 alx command center issues

Jump to solution

6523.Capture1.JPG

please answer this: do you have a stock mthrbrd? Also, can u load a screenshot of the error message in CmndCntr? Is it similar to: 'no instance of an object'?

Is it your assertion that at some point, 'the tower could not be found' & so one-by-one you began replacing mio boards looking for a fix? Or did all the prior mios work, & just this last one acts bunk?

Desktop Command Center Issues with fans, lights, or vents

  • do a checklist of all recommended steps, try them all, note jumper reset guide
  • 'all powerful reset' is to also 'dissipate power' on every power down / jumper pin pole switch

3187.Capture 2.JPG

find / run alienfxtester.exe > CSmiley TonguerogramFiles/Alienware/CmndCntr

  • lights must be on b4 running test
  • 'Board Information: Board Not Detected' is a certain error
  • when I 'go dark' & launch AlienFxTester, it reports board not detected; when I 'go light' & relaunch AlienFxTester, I get the proper result shown above in screen snip: my board & its 's firmware version is detected, here version 2.02

if your lights are on & you run AlienFxTester, 'board not detected', that is a problem, & as one person advised us, AlienFxTester 'reported that a firmware update had not gone to completion when a previous tech had uninstalled the old Command Center and installed the latest one'. Odd but true.


You're willing to try anything? Here are basic options, since you've done most of the suggested fixes:

  • create restore point, uninstall .net4 or 4.6, reinstall framework, test CmndCntr
  • better yet, get a spare hard drive & clone it > uninstall .net4 (or 4.6), reinstall .net 4 / 4.6; if it fixes the issue, apply the fix to your daily-use drive
  • if it doesn't fix it on the clone, or if you can not clone > but have a spare hdd < unplug mio usb cable (usb_3), install windows clean; at 1st desktop, power down, plug usb_3 back in, power up, install .net4, install CmndCntr, see what happens 
  • 2.8.9 should have zero issues, CC 2.8.11 is another version, reqwires .net3.5, but do not expect that simply changing versions will 'cure' the issue
  • change usb headers > try usb_3 in a different header is another possibility
  • report back

2671.604gc Int RGB Led.jpg

inspect jumper is on correct default pole (shown) during operation; reseat mio usb MB_1 USB

0 Kudos

RE: Area 51 alx command center issues

Jump to solution

Wow! Awesome! That certainly gives me a few more things to try.  Let me answer some of your questions:

I have  a stock mother board.  The first time the MIO board was replaced was an accident, a miscommunication between me and the tech as to what was wrong.   After the first replacement was when the troubles started.  Maybe after each replacement, I followed the wrong steps and subsequently bricked each MIO board.  But the fact that this one passes all of the diagnostic tests makes me think there's still hope?

Here are pictures of the error message (this is what popped up when I clicked on the tower) I'm no longer using the tactx mouse.3240.CommandCentererror.PNG

This is what I get through the AlienwareAlienFXTester (I"m not sure how to "go dark" and "go light" though.

FXTester.PNG

I'll first try doing a few clean installs as per the guide you linked and see if I get anywhere.  If that doesn't work, I'll try the jumper reset, and from there uninstalling the .Net framework.  

0 Kudos
Tesla1856
6 Thallium

RE: Area 51 alx command center issues

Jump to solution

Cass-Ole speaks the truth. I suggest you follow his posts closely. Here are my thoughts...

If MIO-Board tests good in Dell Diags (outside of Windows) there is a 99% or even 100% chance that the MIO-Board is good.

AWCC v2.8.9.0 on Windows-7(64bit) is correct. Never upgrade it (turn that ability off). Always uninstall, reboot, clean-install new version, reboot.

http://en.community.dell.com/owners-club/alienware/f/3746/t/19454040

AWCC v2.8.9.0 will not install unless proper version of Dot-Net is installed. IIRC, it's v3.0.x or 3.5.x.

Yes, over the years there have been reports that only a clean install of Windows and then drivers (in proper order) will yield a 100% working system. What appeared to be a hardware problem was actually just a software problem. I suspect this is due to the way drivers get installed on this strange Micro-Controller that is the MIO-Board (alien tech tends to be weird). [Smiley Happy]

It only takes an hour or so to install a spare drive and clean install Windows.

http://en.community.dell.com/owners-club/alienware/f/3746/t/19376654

At any time, you can reconnect your real drive and everything is back as it was. However, capturing a perfect Acronis or Macrium Reflect Backup Image is always a good idea before you go messing around with things.

It's been my experience that the following fixes "99% working" boards:
- Power Dissipation ... so it fully resets next power-up
- Just running Dell Diags on them will often reset them.
- Installing proper AW-CC for your version of Windows. Not only does this check the MIO-Board's firmware version (and upgrade as needed), it has also been known to re-write some normally off-limits boot-load params.


Registered Microsoft Partner and Apple Developer
- Gaming when I'm not programming.
- I answer questions here, but I'm not a Dell employee.
- Consider giving posts you like a "thumbs-up"
- Posting models-numbers and software versions speeds trouble-shooting.
- Click "Accept as Solution" button on any post that answers your question best.
0 Kudos
Cass-Ole
4 Ruthenium

RE: Area 51 alx command center issues

Jump to solution

old parable of the young bull that wants to run down & 'wrestle' with one, while older bull says: nah, let's walk down & wrestle with 'em all > esteemed colleague was polite enough to point out a mistake on my part: 7 > drivers > .net4 > CmndCntr etc.

after the point your USB3 drivers are installed, were it me, that is when I would power down & finally plug mio usb_3 back in, power up > watch for 7 to install mio driver:

6648.Capture1.JPG

 mio driver listed under HID devices > the driver has to install or you will get nowhere

Later on, at the end, after CC install, go light/dark > check your tray area notification icons for alienhead (right clik > go light = green alien / go dark = red alien) & thermals icon (rt clik > settings)

5165.Capture.JPG
turn updates off

working AlienFx Tower shown above


if no joy after clean 7 + drivers install (board not detected in AlienFx Tester, tower not detected in CmndCntr), you have my mio landmarks pic > I might unplug everything except the bear necessities:

  • mio 10pin power
  • 24p black power + vga sense
  • MB_1 USB
  • these 4 items must be plugged in at all times, minimum

if no joy after launching CmndCntr, run 32bit DIAG (allow for errors due to multiple unplugged connexions, we're inly interested in serial data exchange over the usb cable), if no joy try 'all powerful reset' > if no joy, INSPECT INTEGRITY OF MIO USB CABLE > if bad, replace cable, if ok then replace MIO & boot into your new clean 7 install with just the bear necessities; if joy, reconnect all connexions.

This is my rationale, what I would do, with the caveat there were other suggestions in my 1st post, (switch usb headers often, noting if driver reinstalls etc), so pick & choose from all of the diagnostic tools posted for you in toto. Board, dirt cheap, lowest price, buy it as last resort before it's gone:


Desktop Command Center Issues with fans, lights, or vents + Command Center 2.7.25.0 Will not display Temp Readings + the posts with tips/advice from Tesla & I? If none of it works? I'm out of ideas other than to pay $23 & troubleshoot (or get right up & running) on a new different board. I agree the 32BIT DIAG is a good sign, but, you have all the information available on testing a board out; if none works, yank it out & start with another one ... ... ...


For anyone interested, official / published by Dell for A51/Aurora:
Drivers Installation Path
1. Bios Update (Optional)
2. Chipset Driver
3. Intel Management Engine Driver (Note: no longer reqwired / will not install)
4. USB 3.0 driver
5. Video Card Driver
a. AMD b. NVIDIA
6. Network Drivers
a. Broadcom 57XX Gigabit Onboard LAN Driver
b. Killer NIC Cards Drivers
i. Killer 128MB (Optional) ii. Killer 2100 ( Optional)
c. Wireless Card Driver
i. Atheros WLAN 1525 ii. Dell Wireless 1505 iii. Broadcomm 4323 (Optional)
d. Dell Bluetooth 365 (Optional)
7. Audio Driver
a. Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi (Optional) b. Realtek ALC888 HD Audio
8. JMicron JMB36X RAID Controller Driver
9. Silicon Integrated Systems SIL3132 Driver (your sata controller)
10. TV-Tuner Drivers
a. Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1200 (Optional)
11. Command Center for Desktops
12. AlienFx Media Plug-In


Tip: How to install 'entire' chipset

The Intel Chipset Software Installation Utility installs the Windows INF files. The INF files inform the operating system how to properly configure the chipset for specific functionality, such as USB and core PCI. An INF is a text file that provides the operating system with information about a piece of hardware on the system. In the case of the current Intel Chipset Device Software, that information is primarily the product name for the piece of hardware. This allows the operating system to show the correct name for that piece of hardware in Device Manager.

  • unpack the setup.exe from the folder to a new folder on desktop
  • create desktop shortcut to the .exe {right click > send to desktop (create shortcut)}
  • right click new desktop shortcut > properties > Target
  • target before: "C:\Users\**YOURPCNAME**\Desktop\New folder\SetupChipset.exe"

Add -overall to end of target line, & it should now look something like this:

  • "C:\Users\**YOURPCNAME**\Desktop\New folder\SetupChipset.exe" -overall
  • right click shortcut and select "Run As Administrator"
  • follow install instructions and reboot PC when installation finishes
0 Kudos

RE: Area 51 alx command center issues

Jump to solution

Whew.  This will take me a while to get through.  You've provided me with an incredible amount of information so hopefully my fix is in there.  If I come across anything else I feel is diagnostically relevant I won't hesitate to post.  It'll probably take me a few days to tackle 90% of what you've laid out here.  Thank you so much for your time and effort in getting this awesome machine working again.  

I also ran a few more diagnostic tests that I hadn't seen before and came up with two new errors.  USB 2.0 Controller two passed everything except the "over current test" with an error code of 6500 051C.  USB 1.1 controller 3 also failed the over current indicator test with error code 4E00 032f.  Could this be relevant?

0 Kudos
Tesla1856
6 Thallium

RE: Area 51 alx command center issues

Jump to solution

I also ran a few more diagnostic tests that I hadn't seen before and came up with two new errors.  USB 2.0 Controller two passed everything except the "over current test" with an error code of 6500 051C.  USB 1.1 controller 3 also failed the over current indicator test with error code 4E00 032f.  Could this be relevant?

You should not be getting any errors. Sounds like something on USB is pulling too much power.

Try disconnecting all USB devices and re-run test. Use a simple mouse and keyboard (non-lighted).


Registered Microsoft Partner and Apple Developer
- Gaming when I'm not programming.
- I answer questions here, but I'm not a Dell employee.
- Consider giving posts you like a "thumbs-up"
- Posting models-numbers and software versions speeds trouble-shooting.
- Click "Accept as Solution" button on any post that answers your question best.
0 Kudos
Cass-Ole
4 Ruthenium

RE: Area 51 alx command center issues

Jump to solution

the only time I ever heard of usb overcharge was when a guy had MB_1 USB installed into the wrong socket (flexbay / media card reader), but Windows (or the bios, I forget which) gave a warning; see my landmarks pic, make sure mio usb is in the correct connector, huh? the bottom one, not the top one. Granted, 32bit gave a clean bill of health in the mio test, so it wouldn't surprise me if in 10minutes you write back that yours is connected right. If so? It certainly might be very relevant. I'd be hard pressed to know what a fix would be, other than we pretend you buy that 604GC I linked you to: if it failed to work, goodness, mthrbrd replacement would be in the discussion, the last thing we want to discuss.

confirm yours is connected right, lol, that we should discuss

[Smiley Wink]

4670.604gc.jpg

2514_PTDC0002_JPG-550x0.jpg 

0 Kudos

RE: Area 51 alx command center issues

Jump to solution

I opened it up and found mother board usb1 connected to the green star, and the media card reader connected to the red lightning bolt.  I unplugged both of them and then put them back and restarted.  On launch it told me it was installing USB drivers and eventually that was successful.  The green jumper looked like it was on the outermost two pins, and I have not tried the jumper reset yet.  Could you clarify what you meant in the top of a previous post when you said “7 > drivers > .net4 > CmndCntr “ was that a recommended order to uninstall/reinstall drivers? And am I correct that you'd like to pull the mio usb_3 from the mother board itself after uninstalling drivers, power down, plug back into the motherboard itself, and restart?

I think I was told years ago when I was trying to solve this that the mother board might be an issue.  After one particular MIO swap it felt like the system was being weighed down and its continued to operate that way ever since.  I reran the dell diagnostics and got the same result.  Here are pictures.  

20160317_223617_resized.jpg

20160317_223629_resized.jpg

Since I have the Area 51 ALX edition, will I need a different board from the one you linked? I was given part number "m5vf8" by tech support recently.    

One last question.  In my  haste to get at the MIO board, I did not take notice of the orientation of the power chords connecting to my graphics cards.  I have dual amd radeon 6900's soon to be replaced by dual geforce gtx 970s.  Which pins belong in which cards?  A cursory google search led me back to the forums, but the pin order seemed to be card specific.  As it stands they're plugged in and working with the chords I believe were in there but I'm not certain.

Oh, and the motorized black front bezel (part number X504Ris also broken on my machine (I know this poor thing is in bad shape) and I need to replace it.  CPUMEDICS.com has one but the problem is it is in gray.  Again, a google search turned up a few things but they all seem to have sold years ago.  Any advice?

0 Kudos
Cass-Ole
4 Ruthenium

RE: Area 51 alx command center issues

Jump to solution

M5VF8 is a standard A51 mio, ALX part#'s are:

  • 3 part #'s for ALX: FWKNT v1.01 / CR1KN V1.01 / 604GC v2.0
  • any photos of stndrd A51 mios will always show the loss of ALX ODD motor connect
  • use my landmark pic to find odd motor connect, see if yours has that
  • if it does, your mio has a part# tag on it - or - buy/try the 604GC

X504R from Dell > chat with them - or - bing/google, see who has one & play the waiting game on eBay

photo your grfx cables, I can't visualize your problem


"7 > drivers > .net4 > CmndCntr"

The best advice is to yank USB_3 (aka MB_1 USB), clean install W7, install all drivers, install .net4 then CmndCntr 2.8.9. Tesla & Dell have published driver install order. Go down the list.

You yank USB_3 cable so the mio doesn't 'soft-brick' during W7 install - then - after about the time you've installed usb3.0 drivers, power down, plug usb_3 mio cable in, start up, make sure W7 detects mio & installs the drivers; from there, finish your driver install routine > .net4 last then CC 2.8.9 


"pull the mio usb_3 from the mother board itself after uninstalling drivers, power down, plug back into the motherboard itself, and restart?" > I do not recollect saying to uninstall drivers, the sentence has no context here; perhaps what I said up there a minute ago jives now?


edit: no clue here why 32bit says your usb's are jacked; the mthrbrd has three usb headers, & since the top three usb2 external ports occupy two of them, I might slap a Wi-Fi or keyboard or thumbdrive up in those three ports to see if the 'usb hub' works, then I might yank the mio usb cable, insert one of the top usb cables into that header (what we know as usb header 3 where mio plugs into; we plug mio into usb header #3 so that when we speak of it we know we're referring to the mio & its usb cable); what I just said is test usb header #3 by plugging one of the top external usb2 port cables in there & run a device up there to check the mthrbrd usb headers are ok; if you did it right, you checked all three mthrbrd usb headers for operation. If they check out ok, & if your new W7 install fails to correct this issue, I might be tempted to try a new mio board as the next logical step.

I never said uninstall anything, except .netframework 4/4.6 on your initial W7 hard drive, in the event .net framework is corrupt. A reinstall may have helped, but a clean 7 install will also help.

The only time we unplug mio usb_3 is during a clean 7 install - or - in times like this, when the status of the mio is iffy & we'll want to see / verify W7 installs the mio driver because when it does we can trust the mio is behaving like a typical usb device (to not see W7 install a driver for mio is a sign that the mthrbrd can not detect it as a usb device, a typical nightmare scenario): that  'detect mio' routine is:

  • power down > unplug usb_3
  • power up > reach 7 desktop > power down
  • reinstall usb_3 > power up
  • watch for W7 mio driver install
  • we'd like to see that happen in order to know things are otherwise 'ok' with mio
  • it's the lack of seeing it happen we're also very interested in

let's be clear here: I posted a snip of device manager HID devices for a reason: you said you had no 'unknown devices' in device manager, but you didn't specify your MIO filter driver in HID's. The scenario exists where you want to unplug usb_3 in order for W7 to 'detect mio & install driver', especially if HID device is 'blank' (or an unknown' develops elsewhere).

The trouble-tree would read: I saw 7 install mio driver & it's listed in HID devices; then we move on. If you can't verify those two things, then yes, do a 'detect my mio' routine ... huh?

I don't know what form of miscommunication happened, I hope this cleared it up

 

0 Kudos