1 Copper

Headphone and onboard mic problem Vostro 1700 WinXPsp3

I'm hoping someone hear can help me troubleshoot a problem I'm having with the headphone and onboard mic on my Vostro 1700 running Windows XP sp3.

The headphones suddenly stopped working, along with the onboard mic. If I plug my headphones in, (tried three sets known to work on other electronics) it does cut off the onboard speaker, but I only get a crackly sound when I'm plugging them in, and a hiss. The onboard mic records a terrible noise, but when I plug a mic into the port, it works fine. So far, I've uninstalled and reinstalled the Sigmatel drivers, removed the battery and unplugged the laptop, tried different headphones... I'm pretty much at the end of what I know to do. The Sigmatel test hardware seems to think everything's ok.

I have in the past had the headphones go out with a bit of static, but unplugging and replugging in the headphones always fixed it.

Any ideas or suggestions?

Thanks so much!


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8 Krypton

Re: Headphone and onboard mic problem Vostro 1700 WinXPsp3



I don't have much to offer. My only thought is to run the audio tests in Dell Dianostics to try to determine if it is hardware or software related. But even this can be inconclusive because there are sense pins in the jacks can fail but still pass the tests.


1. Restart the computer and tap the f12 key as soon as it starts to boot up .
2. Select 'Diagnostic' from the boot menu. The computer will run its pre-boot assessment tests (PSA) before Dell Diagnostics starts. During the PSA you will hear some tones through the system speaker but this does not adequately test the audio hardware. Dell Diagnostics plays an instrumental piece of music complete with drums, so if you only hear some tones then you have only run the PSA.
3. Dell Diagnostics should open after the PSA tests, or you should see an option to open it. If you have ever reformatted your entire hard drive then Dell Diagnostics will no longer be there as an option. In that case run it from the Drivers and Utilities (Resource) CD if you have one.
4. Select 'Custom', then the audio tests. (At this point - after you have opened Dell Diagnostic custom - if you can't find the option to select the audio tests that is a symptom of a failed audio chip.)
5. The tests will run. Listen using headphones. The tests will play some audio and ask you whether you heard it.
6. If you don't hear the music during the test it definitely means there is a hardware failure somewhere in the system. In this case Dell will repair the computer if it is still under warranty.
7.If you do hear the audio during the test but not when you boot back into Windows, that almost always means the hardware is okay but there is a problem with the audio driver or with Windows (the main exception being the sense pins).
8. Error codes: If you answer 'no' to any question that the test asks you, the test generates an error code that can tell a Dell technician that you answered 'no' to that question. The test does not know the exact component that has gone bad. Before answering 'no' to a question, make note of the circumstances at that point so you will know in general what the error code means.

Note: in steps 6 to 8 listening for the same symptoms as when you are in Windows.

The only way I know to diagnose that is really conclusive is to restore back to the factory configuration by using PC Restore for XP Anything that does not work immediately afterwards is the result of hardware failure. However the Vostro 1700 manual only mentions Factory Image Restore which is for Vista. If Dell preinstalled XP on your Vostro it may have PC Restore. You can restore from OS installation disks but that method is not as conclusive a test because it does not restore to factory configuration. To find out if you have PC Restore restart and tap Ctrl + F11 and it will take you to the "PC Restore" menu if you have it.


Jim Coates -- 15 years on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04 

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