Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Missing pins and Dell Support

Wow, I feel like I've got a few "missing pins" tonight after trying to install my Dell card reader. :)

Dell sent me my new 19-in-1 Media Card reader and it's pretty sweet, I just can't install the darn thing.

At first I was being stupid and not reading the instructions. I thought it would be obvious where to plug in the card reader on the motherboard. Apparently this motherboard is insanely complicated even though all the cables are perfectly labeled. I still had no idea what was going on.

Then it took me about 1 1/2 hours to find the Dell XPS 630i Documentation on the Dell Support site. Note to Dell: make it more obvious where the system guides and service manual are... and preferably send a PDF copy with the computer if you don't want to send a printed copy!!

Anyway, then I spent an hour reading this doc which is well laid-out but doesn't show you where the cables need to be connected. Eventually I found the schematics for the motherboard and realized I was looking in the wrong place. Apparently the cable goes into the front "Flex Bay" rather than on the main system board. Man.

So got that all sorted out, and figured out the magic needed to install a new drive. Also learned that SATA cables look really weird!

After all that I realized that the "missing pin" on my internal USB cable for the media reader is in a DIFFERENT SPOT than the "missing pin" on the back of the card reader.

The card reader looks like so: (where "x" represents the missing pin)
. x . . .
. . . . .

But the cable's connector end looks like so:
x . . . .
. . . . .

Note that the cable's "missing pin" is the top-left pin, but the back of the card reader has it's "missing pin" 1 spot to the right.

I didn't want to force the cable on, and I am pretty sure this is wrong anyway. So they either sent me the wrong cable or the wrong card reader. Finally figured that out, and once I have the right cable I think installing will go a lot smoother next time. :)

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