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February 22nd, 2017 08:00

XPS 15's everlasting coil whine

Dear Dell and community members,

With this post, I would like to express my displeasure about Dell's handling of the XPS 15's coil whine issue. I would like to start a conversation about this persisting problem and I truly hope that Dell will engage in the discussion as well. My goal is to really urge Dell to find a real solution for its customers.

I have bought the new XPS 15 9560 (512GB SSD, 16GB memory, 4K) and I have been using it for some weeks now. I like the machine as the screen is great, the touchpad is really good for a Windows laptop, it is quiet on idle, and most importantly it handles all tasks well. However, I have noticed the common problem that when the AC adapter is plugged in and the battery is fully charged, there is an annoying high pitched noise (coil whine) coming from the upper left area of the keyboard. I found out on the internet that many other people have the same problem and that it even exists for a few years meaning that the issue hasn't been tackled with the introduction of new models.

It also became clear to me that none of the threads I read contained solutions that worked for a majority of the XPS owners who also had the coil whine issue. Therefore, I decided to contact Dell Netherlands (as I bought my laptop there) in the hope that there would still be a solution to the problem. A really nice and friendly guy tried to help me but also he admitted that it is a common problem and that no true solution exists. Some customers decide to replace the motherboards or power plug, however, many times the problem persists. He explained that it is normal in the case of the XPS 15 to hear the coil whine as an "electric signal" is traveling through the motherboard. I would say that the design of the motherboard is therefore deficient as it allows the coil whine to be, in some cases, loud enough for the users to be heard. Replacing the motherboard wouldn't therefore guarantee that the issue would be solved.

I find it hard to accept this conclusion. Of course I realize that this product is mass produced and that therefore some machines might be faulty and that they can be replaced or fixed through warranty. And I also know that complaints on the internet don't necessarily represent the experiences of most users. However, this issue really seems to be caused by a lack of dedication from Dell's side to listen to its customers and actively search for a solution.

As you perhaps know VP General Manager of the XPS Frank Azor frequently replies to tweets from users who have questions or complaints which I really appreciate. Recently, a guy called Mike asked him on Twitter: "Hi Frank, could you please tell me if your guys are really working on the widespread xps coil whine issue as I have been told?" Frank then answered: "Yes, we recognize some systems suffer from this, we will fix and/or replace and new designs are addressing to prevent” (see here: https://twitter.com/AzorFrank/status/832235472067948546). Apparently, the issue is so serious that new designs address the issue which is of course a good thing. While Frank might be really speaking the truth, to me it sounded very familiar. The same issue people experience today was already reported in 2013 by the Dell Community concerning the XPS 9530 (see here: http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/laptop/f/3518/p/19536279/20581724). In 2014, Patrick Leimbert kept asking Dell on Twitter whether they already fixed the issue as Dell responded every time by saying that the engineering team is looking into it (see here: https://twitter.com/pleimb/status/446253568627326976). Now it is 2017 and it seems that the engineering team hasn’t been very successful as the latest model of the XPS 15 still has the issue.

Therefore, I very much doubt whether there is any truth to the story that there will be new designs that will address the coil whine issue. In fact, it sometimes seems that Dell says things to its customers to try and keep them happy without really searching for a solution. For example, someone said on Reddit: “They're sending an engineer to my house to replace it with "a new design of motherboard that will solve the problem"” (see here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Dell/comments/5styjq/xps_15_9560_high_pitch_noise_coil_whine/), which would be strange as the laptop has only be launched one/ two months ago meaning the engineering team has been working on a new design in the past weeks while it didn’t succeed in finding a solution in 2013, 2014, 2015, or 2016 when the issue was also known.

I merely would like to hear a sincere response from Dell, are you really going to address the issue by making new motherboards or are you still replacing motherboards with the same ones in the hope that it will solve the coil whine issue? What can I expect as a customer? If there are really new motherboards being designed, when can I expect them?

4 Posts

August 22nd, 2017 09:00

I noticed it and can still return the laptop if I want to. It's sad that Dell ignores this problem...

4 Posts

August 24th, 2017 11:00

Hey. In case anyone is following this, the Dell french support today said that they planned to release a BIOS update that aims to remove coil whine. It should be there by the end of September/beginning of October.

4 Posts

August 24th, 2017 14:00

As initiator of this thread, I thought it would be good to give you an update.

So I sent a letter to Dell Netherlands in March with the request to give my money back. Of course Dell didn't agree and they let a guy call me who was very unfriendly (I think they put him in that position on purpose as he is probably good with handling "difficult" customers), however, he did offer me a replacement. I thought this was a good deal seeing the situation. At that time I was still abroad, so I said I would like to make use of the replacement once I would be back in the Netherlands in June (as international warranty doesn't cover replacements).

In May I sent this guy an email saying I would be back in June. First he didn't respond for a long time, but after reminding and pushing him a bit he said some other department was handling my request. I didn't hear anything for a few weeks so I asked how the department was handling my case. From that point onward, this unfriendly guy never answered me back (even after some spamming from my side). So I had to find other Dell employees to handle my case.

I found a new guy to whom I send a PDF document of my email communication with the unfriendly guy. This guy said he forwarded it to the "escalation department" which would take care of my case. As you can guess, I didn't hear from this department at all so I contacted my guy again. Suddenly this guy was on holiday... so I got a new guy again who said he would really fix my case this time (by now he made that promise two weeks ago). So right now, this escalation department has been working on my case for 5 weeks.

To sum it up: the customer care of Dell Netherlands is a joke! Some guy promised me a replacement a few months ago and I still didn't get it... so sad thinking I paid 2000 euros to buy a product from Dell. I have the feeling I'm dealing with some small shady electronics company instead of with a big multinational who makes huge amounts of profits every year but cannot even provide friendly and adequate support.

So, dear Dell employees who don't work for Dell Netherlands, if you read this, please go to your manager and tell him/her that Dell Netherlands is a complete mess. But it would be even better, if someone could just help me getting the replacement I was promised! It would be very much appreciated.

4 Posts

August 25th, 2017 07:00

Sounds like something that would take too much effort to fix, so they prefer to pretend it doesn't exist and ignore complaints about it. As my support was friendlier, I've set a reminder on September 30th, which is the date they promised the BIOS update. I'll post an update here if it helps.

1 Message

October 18th, 2017 00:00

It's been 5 months now, no solution from Dell yet?

11 Posts

November 25th, 2017 13:00

DaanQ, I've experienced the exact same problems with Dell Netherlands. Plus, after I used the phone number on the Dell Netherlands website, a lady told me to stop calling them as they stopped providing phone support 3 years ago. Isn't this outrageous? Did you use the same phone number under the support tab?

What is your status on this endeavor?

Also, to other members here---did that "September/ October" promised BIOS update improve the situation?

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