Linux Developer Systems

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My Sputnik is now a desktop

I was loving my Dell XPS 13 DE until some months ago I started getting intermittent "Unknown power adapter" warnings (which disables battery charging and limits CPU speed). Not a big deal since unplugging the adapter and plugging it in again a couple of times solved the problem, but I decided to order a new replacement power adapter from Dell anyway.

Turns out the new power adapter didn't fix the issue, which was occurring more frequently, until a couple of weeks ago the "unplug/plug" trick worked for the last time and a few days later I was left with 0% battery and no way of charging it. A call to support indicated that perhaps simply replacing the power connector in the computer would solve the issue, so I ordered the replacement and made the switch. No luck.

The next "solution" offered by support was to replace the motherboard for 1,090 €, more or less exactly what I paid for the entire computer less than 2 years ago (by the way, generally 2 years is the minimum warrantee period in Spain but since the Developer Edition is only sold through "Dell Business" it is exempt from minimum consumer warrantee).

I found a way to make Linux ignore the CPU speed limit, but the battery charging limit is hardcoded at a BIOS/firmware level, so now I am left with a perfectly functioning laptop that I cannot unplug because Dell decided to force a broken authenticity check for the adapter... Thank you Dell.

You can be sure that when I'm fed up with not being able to move my laptop I will end up spending the >1k€, but not on a motherboard replacement and definitely not on a Dell product.

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