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Common hardware faults

This machine is known for multiple hardware failures. These are the most common problems known with this system:

Common hardware faults

  • Motherboard
  • Discrete GPU (AMD Radeon HD 8790M models only)
  • Keyboard

Parts on this list have known problems, but a reliable resolution has been found:

  • Power supply (Pre-0VJCH5 130W models)
    • If the charger has an issue, unplug it until the LED ring goes out and try again. This will fix the charge issue temporarily until it comes up again. This will eventually stop working. Once you need to do this to charge your notebook, the power supply MUST be replaced.
  • Hard drive
    • Wear and tear failure
  • Battery
    • Wear and tear failure

The suspected cause of GPU failure is related to poor cooling. On dual GPU variants (Intel HD Graphics/AMD 8790M), the cooler uses a single fan and a single fan heatsink that is limited in size by the chassis. In addition, MQ models run hotter then M variants and are more susceptible to thermal throttling or shutdowns. Most systems use the MQ processor, so very few are unaffected by this cooling restriction.

If your GPU fails, it is soldered to the motherboard. In order to repair a failed GPU properly, you will need a replacement motherboard or a new GPU and a rework machine to fix it. This is out of reach for many, so it is generally better to get a refurbished motherboard without a service tag programmed to fix these systems. Once repaired, use quality thermal pads on the VRAM and good thermal paste on the GPU to mitigate the issue as much as possible. This will not mitigate the failure, but it will help your odds of not having a repeat.

If you are buying one of these systems used, it is best to repaste it and put good thermal pads on as soon as possible (if possible, as soon as you verify it’s 100% functional). If the seller has done this, these systems should be considered “ready to use”.

Other issues

BIOS problems

In a Windows environment, this machine has issues with hibernation. This can be fixed by resetting the S2 hibernation mode when it's persistent. There are no other options to fix it that will work, outside of installing more RAM as a mitigation strategy. The best sign for this is a volmgr error in Event Viewer.

Any BIOS fixes need to be released by Dell due to Intel Boot Guard.

Power adapters

Note: You can use a higher wattage adapter then the computer shipped with. However, downgrading is not an option. If you are having power supply problems with 45W or 65W factory adapters (i5/dual core i7), the best replacement for these is a genuine 90W. The Dell Slim adapter is recommended, as it is the easiest to locate.

  • 45W (Core i5 4300/4310M)
  • 65W (Core i7 4600/4610M)
  • 130W (Core i7 4800/4810MQ)

Background and Identification

The Dell Latitude E6540 was introduced in 2013, making Dell one of the first companies to have a Haswell business laptop available for sale. This gave Dell an edge with Haswell.


This machine has shipped with many processor, video card and screen configurations. Look up the service tag and pull up the specifications to find out how the system shipped from the factory if you want to see if it was upgraded.

Locating the serial number

Block Image

The Service tag and Express service code is located on the bottom access panel under the primary air intake vent, and can also be read in the BIOS. To look in the BIOS, the best way to get into the BIOS is to press the F2 key. Once you are in the system BIOS, find System Information under General.

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