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.
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
- BIOS upgraded to A05 or above
- Something else (I have no idea. You tell me.)
Conditions / Prerequisites:
- Dell Mini 9 or Dell Mini 10 with blinking leds, disco style
- NetBookInstaller 0.8.4 RC1 “special edition”
- OSX Snow Leopard updated to 10.6.5 installed on said Dell Mini 9 by way of said version of NetBookInstaller
- USB stick with Dell I910 Mini/Vostro A90 USB Key Drive flashBIOS Utility installed (Don’t ask me how to get it. Search around.)
- Make sure the battery is connected to said Dell Mini 9
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
- 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.
I do have a 3G iPad and I’m really happy with it, using it as an extended monitor, should you be wondering, but I still find myself needing a “real” OS for work use from time to time. Maybe it’s more due to my mouse, keyboard, desktop paradigm conditioning over the years than the iPad iOS and Apps. Sure, I’d really love to get the new MacBook Air, but as a bootstrapping entrepreneur, I find the cost/benefit of a Hackintosh to be the more conscientious choice at the moment.
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.
How did it work out for you? Do you use OSX on other non-Apple hardware? Tell me about your experiences.