Hardware, Software

Dell (Inspiron) Mini 9 and 10v Hackintosh – Battery Won’t Charge, Battery Not Identified, LED Lights Blinking [FIX]

As you may already know I use Dell Netbooks with Apple OSX and I previously wrote a post about how you can too.

I recently encountered a problem with the Dell Mini (Inspiron) 9 that I found no real helpful solution to fixing on the intarnets, so I thought I’d just take a moment to share what I did to fix it. Sort of. I’ve later learned that this issue also relates to the Dell (Inspiron) Mini 10 1011, and I have added some bonus material for Dell Inspiron Mini 10 1011 owners who wants to upgrade their hardware at the end of this post.

If want to build a Hackintosh and you can’t find one on eBay you can buy new and refurbished Dell Inspiron Mini 9 on Amazon,  but I’d recommend the better, more usable Dell Inspiron Mini 10 model 1011 (model number 1011 A MUST for 100% OSX compatibility! Check this compatibility chart.) that you can also get new and refurbished on Amazon.

IMPORTANT: Whatever you do, don’t buy a new Dell battery before you’ve tried this. If it doesn’t work, maybe the battery is indeed dead. You could get a new one and try again but remember, you can always use the old Mini 9 Hackintosh connected to the mains in the kitchen, on the night stand, in the bathroom or give it to someone who could need a non-battery operated computer.

If you want to upgrade your Mini (Inspiron) 9, I recommend getting the 2GB RAM upgrade from Crucial and the 32GB or 64GB SSD upgrade from RunCore. If you do decide to get a new battery, you might want to get a more affordable 3rd party battery replacement – or if you want to play it safe – the more expensive original Dell battery. I personally also found the smaller Dell power adaptor more convenient to carry than the bulky brick.

Hackintosh 9 and 10

Problem / Symptoms:

  • Battery not recognized on boot up (“Battery not identified, press F1 to continue”)
  • OSX reports that the battery is 100% charged (although you know it’s not)
  • White power/charging ligt and red low battery warning light blinking, disco style
  • Battery will not charge whatever you (even downgrading BIOS to A00) do and will eventually run out of juice
  • GOTO 10

Possible Causes:

  • BIOS upgraded to A05 or above
  • Something else (I have no idea. You tell me.)

Conditions / Prerequisites:

OSX 10.6.5 on Dell Mini 10v

Recipe / Fix:

  • Boot from said “Dell I910 Mini/Vostro A90 USB Key Drive flashBIOS Utility” on said USB stick
  • Select the Mini/Inspiron A04 BIOS and flash it
  • Wait for the flashing to complete and reboot the Netbook

Et voilà. On boot, there should be no nagging “battery not identified: press F1 to continue”, no more disco blinking of LED lights and the battery will now recharge. I hope. At least it now does for me. For good measures, let the Hackintosh recharge the recommended-from-Dell 12 hours before using it

I’ll mention here that this worked with the original Dell battery that came with the Mini 9 and with my Chinese 8 cell aftermarket battery.

Problems / Still to resolve:

  • If you pull the mains power plug out, the red/white disco style blinking will return
  • If you pull the mains power and re-insert it, OSX reports that the battery is 100% charged (although it’s not)
  • If you pull the mains power and re-insert it, the Hackintosh will not recharge
  • GOTO 10

Kludge to the Fix:

  • Don’t pull the mains when turned on
  • Re-insert mains
  • Reboot
  • Or turn off, turn on, let boot
  • Or keep it turned off, connected to mains, see if the white charging light is on, if the battery is actually charged
  • Or rinse, lathe and repeat the flashing of the BIOS if the battery won’t charge once again

Hey, at least you do not need to buy a new battery or a new Dell Mini 9. I never promised you a rose garden.

Here’s the official Dell response to Mini 9 and 10v battery problems on the Dell support forums, although it did not help me initially. I tried to flash the BIOS back to A00 through each revision up to and including A06 with no positive result. Flashing directly from A06 to A04 with the battery inserted seems to have worked for me.

This has nothing to do with the “Airplane Mode” on Linux issue or the 12 hours charge-up battery issue, mind you. Those are red herrings if you’re using OSX and have the symptoms I described above.

In other personal Hackintosh news, I recently acquired a Dell Mini 10v off of eBay and upgraded it with 2GB RAM, a 60G SSD and OSX 10.6.5. I find the size of the keys more convenient for work use than the Mini 9. My experience so far is that the Mini 10v works flawlessly with OSX 10.6.5 – including sleep. I’d recommend it instead of the Mini 9 if you’d ask for my opinion on the two.

Camera Roll-1000

Bonus Material:

How to change the HD for a SSD in a Dell Mini 10v

How to upgrade the RAM in a Dell Mini 10v (Part 1 of 2)

How to upgrade the RAM in a Dell Mini 10v (Part 2 of 2)

If you’re looking to upgrade your Dell (Inspiron) Mini 10 1011 (the bigger better sibling to the Mini 9) featured in the above videos, I recommend the OCZ 120GB Vertex Plus R2 2.5″ SSD and 2GB Crucial RAM. If you are looking for a replacement battery for the Mini 10, I recommend getting this cheaper 3rd party battery – or if you want to play it safe – get the more expensive original Dell replacement battery. I also find the smaller Dell power adaptor more practical to travel with – and it works with both the Mini 9 and the Mini 10.

If you don’t already own a Dell Mini 10 1011 and you can’t find one on eBay, I’d recommend getting one new or refurbished from Amazon.

Feedback

How did it work out for you? Do you use OSX on other non-Apple hardware? Tell me about your experiences.

Standard
  • http://www.facebook.com/dirk.krause Dirk Krause

    Besides your articles on the Dell Hackintoshs (thanks for that), I found this one by Fabienne (of Dingfabrik fame) http://goo.gl/PA7S0 which might be of any interest.

    I am going to try this myself soon-ish.

    • http://stopmebeforeiblogagain.com/ Vidar ‘blacktar’ Andersen

      Cool. Thanks for the link! The best how-to guide I have found is the one from Mechdrew at http://osx.mechdrew.com/guides/ that I referred to in my first write-up.

  • peko ᵔᴥᵔ

    I warn everybody do this stufs very acurate! I got an brick from my dell inspiron 1011! 

    • http://stopmebeforeiblogagain.com Vidar Andersen

      There’s no way to brick your Dell Inspiron AFAIK. Worst case, flash you bios again and reinstall an OS. Requires a bit of time and patience but should be easy.

    • http://vidarandersen.com Vidar ‘blacktar’ Andersen

      You can’t brick it. Just flash the bios and reinstall.

  • Krishewlett

    This problem is exactly what I came online for, however I’m not able to start by even getting the computer to stay on. I only use my hackintosh for travel so I’m not sure if this is the end wall of a neglected problem or if there’s a trick I’m missing. The comp abruptly shuts off after the initial apple symbol. Pushing ‘any’ key does not help.

    • http://vidarandersen.com Vidar ‘blacktar’ Andersen

      Have you tried to flash the BIOS and reinstall OSX (10.6) with NetBookInstaller?

  • Computervault
    • http://getGauss.com/ Vidar ‘blacktar’ Andersen

      Did you try doing the things described in the article above?

  • Jason

    Hey Man,

    I bought a  “dead battery” mini for $50 from craigslist. My last try before grabbing a new battery is this writeup. Unfortunately, there are some missing/broken links. Any way to get that “Special Edition” NBI ?

    Cheers

    • http://getGauss.com/ Vidar ‘blacktar’ Andersen

      Hi there,

      Unfortunately it seems that the special edition is no longer to be found. I’ve put it here for you: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/7578778/nbi.zip

      You can find the other NBI versions here: http://code.google.com/p/netbook-installer/downloads/list

      What you probably also need is the Dell I910 Mini/Vostro A90 USB Key Drive flashBIOS Utility  with all the Dell Inspiron BIOS versions to flash back and forth until it starts working. 

      Bar that, it could also of course be that the battery is really dead. The price of a new battery will probably be as much as a used working battery with a netbook attached.

      • Jason

        Hey,

        Thanks for the quick reply. Is it possible to get that flashBIOS utility onto a a USB flash within OS X? The file has an .exe extension. Also, any particular reason why I need to have the special edition of NBI?

        • http://getGauss.com/ Vidar ‘blacktar’ Andersen

          You’re welcome! AFAIK it was the only version of the NBI that worked for me at the time. Perhaps the later 8.5pre will do the trick for you. It did not exist at the time I had the problem. You’ll need a virtual machine or a PC with MSFT Windows to install the USB flasher AFAIK. Maybe Wine for Linux will work too, but I wouldn’t know as I haven’t tested it. I used a PC at the time.

          • Jason

            Hey Vidar,

            Thanks again for the quick reply. I managed to load the USB thumb drive with the bios software but there is always an error (phenix16 or something?) upon trying to flash the bios to A06.
            Any hints? I am almost certain if I can get this to work my battery will run again! 

          • http://getGauss.com/ Vidar ‘blacktar’ Andersen

            Hi Jason,

            I’m not sure you need to flash to A06 to make it work. Is it a 9″ or a 10″? I fixed my 9″ with A04 AFAIK.

          • Jason

            10v. There is an error reported after the attempted BIOS flash. “Phoenix Phlash16 Error File has different BIOS part number press any key to reboot” followed by an angry grumble and a loud couple of beeps. Any idea’s? Is this “Dell I910 Mini/Vostro A90 USB Key Drive flashBIOS Utility”  even compatible with the mini 1011?

          • http://getGauss.com/ Vidar ‘blacktar’ Andersen

            My 10″ has A06. The 9″ A04. The description in the article is for the 9″. Your mileage may vary with the 10″ as I have never tested it with that one. There are also different versions of the 10″ AFAIK.

          • Jason

            Ahh well I figured that this bios utility is for the mini 9 only, so I followed these instructions instead:http://www.mydellmini.com/forum/dell-mini-10-guides/12408-downgrade-your-mini-10v-bios-a04-requires-windows.html

            Unfortunately I bricked my mini 10v in the process. Trying this one out :http://www.mydellmini.com/forum/dell-mini-10v/18080-how-unbrick-mini-10v-using-floppy-drive.html
            but I don’t have a FDD handy and haven’t been able to get my hands on one either. Tried using a flash drive formatted to act as a floppy, changing the drivers+path to A: etc etc with no luck. Not sure what I can do from here. If I could go back again I would have probably just bought a 3rd party battery from ebay in hopes of it working. Would have saved me a load of trouble and stress! I wish success to those who go for it though.

            J

          • http://getGauss.com/ Vidar ‘blacktar’ Andersen

            Sorry about that. That sucks. :( Did you try this to recover and reinstall: http://stopmebeforeiblogagain.com/hackintosh/ BTW: Using another battery is not guaranteed to fix the issue. I had two extra 3rd party batteries for the 9″ and it was the same story with all. :/

          • Json

            Well I’ve unbricked my mini several times now since I got my hands on a USB FDD. Piece of cake! But alas, after flashing the bios to A04 successfully (did NOT keep the battery in during the process, that was what was causing the brick), the battery is still not recognized. Not sure if there is any bios lower than A04 for the mini 10v. Can’t find anything on the dell website. Sorry for hijacking your page by the way :) 

          • http://getGauss.com/ Vidar ‘blacktar’ Andersen

            No worries! The space left by the threading is getting ridiculously small, though. ;) Happy if you found my posts helpful in any way,

  • David

    By Dell Mini9 wouldn’t charge (orange battery light kept blinking) and flashing the BIOS helped!  Thank you very much!

    I went from A04 to A05, but that didn’t work.

    I flashed it down to the Vostro A04 BIOS on accident then went back up to the 910 A05.

    Finally, I flashed it from A05 to A00 and the battery started charging on the A00 BIOS.  I let it charge for 8 hours or so and flashed it one last time up to A05 and it’s been working great.

    Thanks again!

    • http://getGauss.com/ Vidar ‘blacktar’ Andersen

      Awesome! Happy that it worked out for you!

  • Pingback: How to make an Apple OSX Hackintosh with a Dell Inspirion Mini 9 Netbook « stopmebeforeiblogagain()

  • Akisp

    When you say flash it what does that mean? Im having the disco light battery problem all of a sudden.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Blacktar Vidar Andersen

      Are your disco light symptoms similar to described above? Then try follow the instructions and see if it solves it. If not, report back, and I’ll see if I can help further.

  • Akisp

    Sorry about the double post. Where do I find the bios software you mention in your fix?

  • Pingback: Hackintosh update | I am Vidar @blacktar Andersen()

  • Mike P

    I’m having this exact problem, but my computer won’t let me into the BIOS screen, I’ve tried F2 and F12 multiple times and it takes me right to the : you’re battery is jacked, press F1 to pretend to proceed” Any suggestions?