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Lilla's notes on Inspiron 7000 - Power - Last updated 13Dec98

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The Power section covers topics including, but not limited to:

AC Power

Replacement Parts

AC adapter spare parts on the Dell web site. Rik

Problems related to Dell's ungrounded AC Power Adapter

A: There is lots of hum or background noise when you record using either the internal or an external mic. The noise may also affect the speed of the modem connection. The problem can be solved by operating the notebook on battery. Otherwise, you have to ground the Ik7. It's enough to connect a printer or another device which has a 3-pole plug (grounded). I think Dell should provide a grounded power transformer instead of the 2-pole (ungrounded) one. The noise coming from the CD still remains though. When playing DVD, you can mute the CD, but when you want to listen to music CD you are out of luck.... Stefano Catarsi, webtalk

User comments about running on AC power

Q: Is it Ok to leave notebook ON fulltime?

A: From the standpoint of thermal-induced expansion/contraction, it's best to leave electronic equipment powered on ...... or _never_ powered on (which is not really an option). Large surface-mount (as opposed to through-hole) packages can suffer from expanding and contracting .... as happens when boards heat up and cool down. I used to test microelectronic packages for reliability, so I'm speaking from experience here. Unless the mfgr. of your laptop says otherwise, go ahead and leave the machine powered up. If your screen is TFT (active matrix), leave the backlight turned off when it's not needed. Michael, newsgroup

A: You can leave it plugged in if you want. I do all day. The batteries will not overcharge, so no need to worry there. Brian McCullough

A: Someone suggested powering down if not needed for 2 or so hours. Lilla

Q: Can one unplug the AC adapter while the power is ON? the reason I'm asking is because in our area we get lots of thunderstorms/lightening. Omar Alzamel , webtalk

A: Yes you can unplug AC while on. it will switch to battery power and you won't lose any data. Use a surge protector! Dietmar Wendelin , webtalk

A: You should be able to remove or insert the power cord while the system is running. Just be careful. The modular bays are not hot-swappable however. You would need to do a shutdown/restart whenever making a change to the bays. Dell/Brian McCullough, webtalk

Battery Power

Q: Warranty on Battery?

A: Batteries are considered a consumable item. They are made of chemicals that will go inert after a period of time, reducing their ability to hold a charge. For this reason, they are only covered under the first year of your service contract. Dell/Brian, Webtalk

A: Some places on Dell's site uses wording that implies the battery for the options bay on the i7000 is "special", a different one than used in the primary battery bay. Is this true? Lilla

A: No There is only one battery available for 7000. The batteries have the bezel built in to them. You can buy a second main battery and put it in the option bay if you want (or in place of the main battery already in the system.) If you have access to a 7000, you will notice that the plastic 'face' of the battery will slide to the right so it will go in the option bay. Rik, newsgroup

A: Sorry, got two different answers [to question can primary battery be used in options bay]. After sending you the previous message [saying you could not use primary battery in options bay] I was contacted by a supervisor. He said that yes you can slide the bezel over and it will fit into the secondary bay. Sorry for the mix up. Dell/Jim Sotelo

A: In the Dell catalog it says this "Use an additional battery with your Dell Inspiron as a back-up for the primary battery or as a second battery in the options bay for double the operating time." Bottom line: one battery which can be used as primary or secondary. This is the most versatile. Good. Lilla

Battery Use & Care

Q: Cool swap vs. Warm swap vs. Hot swap. What does it mean?

A: Warm swapping means you can swap while the notebook is in suspend mode. Hot swapping would mean that you can swap while the laptop is running normally, and cold swap means you have to turn off the computer before swapping.

A: Does the 7000 allow you to swap the batteries and/or the drives when it is plugged in to an ac outlet and on? Or does the computer have to be shut down prior to swapping? Scott Silberman, webtalk

A: You should go to a power off state when swapping the battery [if not on AC] or the DVD or CD per the On-Line User's Guide. In an emergency, you could add the second battery in place of the floppy drive/CD/DVD to finish and close down the system, but the system could hang if an application tried to access the missing drives. Dell/David Whiteley, webtalk

A: On comparison chart of i7000 vs i3500 they say i3500 battery is hot swapable, but they do not say that for the i7000. Lilla

Q: How to charge/store battery?

A: The Lithium Ion battery is a smart battery. That means it does not develop a false charge like earlier batteries do, so you don't have to worry about doing deep discharges to avoid the false battery charge levels. Deplete the battery before storing it for long periods (to do this, run the computer until the battery is completely discharged). Set the display brightness to its highest setting to accelerate battery discharge. The lithium ion battery has a life span of up to 500 full charges if it is charged at normal room temperature. For maximum battery performance, charge the battery only at normal room temperature. Dell/Brian, Webtalk [Note: This answer was given for I3200, but I think it would apply to I7000 too. Lilla]

Q: My 7000 was pretty fully charged on Friday afternoon, and wasn't used again until Monday morning. By monday morning, the battery was dead. Is this normal? The machine was in standby during this time. Bill Herder, webtalk

A: Doesn't sound normal to me. I had charged my 7K to full last Friday and used it very little Sunday without plugging it in. Come Monday it stayed up almost 3 hours before it needed to be charged. And I have a 15; LCD display. James P. Raboin, webtalk

A: I have an I3K, but I think our systems' standby modes are the same. When your system is in standby or "save to ram" mode, it's still using battery power. RAM is [eventually] erased without some kind of power, and my system lasts about a day and a half in save-to-ram mode. You can use save-to-disk mode instead, which won't use battery power but takes longer to come back, than from standby mode. Or turn it off. Hope this helps. Dean Cauley, webtalk

Extending Battery Life

Intel's Tips on Extending Battery Life is at

A: Intel makes a power saving utility that fix applications like Word which insists on polling the keyboard ALL THE TIME, thereby keeping your laptop from going into power saving mode. I installed this thing and my batt life immediately improved by 30%. However, you may find that the laptop-cooler utilities (Rain, Waterfall) will do the trick without a specialized MS office. It's called ;Intel Power Monitor;. You probably can find it at Intel's web site under Mobile Computing. Bobb, newsgroup

A: You can read about the "Intel Power Monitor" and go to the download area from this Intel site: Recommend you also read the info at the download site before installing the program. Intel says it's very intrusive. John, newsgroup

A: I find that my Thinkpad lasts 2 hours in Word 97, just sitting there, but will last 9+ hours in MS Word (DOS) just sitting there. So, I boot into the DOS version oftentimes, then use 'dose once I get to some power. Allan [This post should apply to other notebooks too. An innovative solution that might some might find useful. Lilla]

A: Using a screensaver or an animated pointer will require additional CPU activity. Try not using a screensaver [or use a "blank" screen saver]. Rather set the LCD (monitor) to go into low power at 15 minutes and to turn off at 30/60. This will save on the life of the LCD's backlight also. John, newsgroup

Q: Will adding memory use more power resulting in shorter time from battery?

A: It is doubtful that the extra ram will draining your battery faster unless you leave the machine in the suspended mode alot. This is the mode that wakes up nearly instantly by leaving power to the ram on and turning off everything else, so more memory would use slightly more power in this mode. The normal hibernation mode, where the contents of ram are copied to the hd, doesn't use any power. Usually you will notice a little better battery life with more memory since there is less swapping to disk while you are using the machine. Peter W. Borders, newsgroup

A: More Ram will cause Hard drive access to decrease! The more activity the HD has the more power it consumes. The more RAM the faster the processes as ram removes some burden put on the CPU by using HD as virtual ram. On the other hand a "Virtual" HD (aka. RAM DRIVE) uses a lot less power. In fact the only tax on power out of RAM is the heat (if any) generated from the MEM module. Reboot, newsgroup

A: Even though the street-smart opinion is that lithium-ion batteries don't develop a memory effect, other equally smart opinions are that it's good to use the battery to depletion, ie operate on battery power until Windows tells to switch...I have been following this procedure with my I32K since the beginning and I continue to get almost 3 hours of battery time even with the modem blasting! So, my advice is to use the battery once a week to depletion, then fully charge it. Rick Dreibelbis, webtalk

Old Batteries Can be Reconditioned

Q: Can old li-ion batteries be reconditioned? Maybe - read posts below.

A: Don't throw away your old batteries! A company here in Oregon called Full Power will totally re-condition them for quite cheap. They just did a camcorder battery for me for about $15 and it works. 1-888-736-3948. Anthony de la Rosa

A: According to their literature, they do any kind of rechargeable, and can rescue batteries that have ;dead cells; and everything. This is military technology that was just released, and the guy who owns the company is the only one currently doing it in the country. I saw a local news blip on it. His machine is quite impressive. I know I'll never throw a rechargeable away again until I send it in... The guy also has quite a stock of rescued batteries that he sells. All kinds of 'em. Russell Cederberg, newsgroup

A: If he's doing it properly, he would be changing all the cells in a battery pack not just the dead ones. What will happen is the older cells will fail before the one or two ;replaced; new cells. I would only accept a battery pack that has all the cells replaced. I re-pack my own battery packs for a fraction of the cost of a new pack, but, there is labor involved, and this will drive the price up. It's a great idea if you do it yourself or have someone that you trust. Remember the cells inside the pack are of a standard size, it's just the case that costs the most since it's proprietary. The Hound

A: This is not a physical process, it's an electronic process. Most of the time a dead cell is nothing more than a chemical imbalance that can be fixed, but the technology to fix it is really expensive. The machine the guy uses is HUGE. Your approach is great, but this one is much easier and perhaps cheaper as well. Russell Cederberg, newsgroup

Problems related to Battery

Q: I've had my 7000 for almost a week. A very nice computer but I have one problem. When the computer sits overnight (not plugged into the ac adapter, but battery is fully charged from the day before), it will not start up off the battery the next day. I push the 'power on' button, the hard disk starts to crack up then the system shuts off. Sometimes after I do this several times it will finally start up. I never have this problem when the system is plugged into the ac adapter. After the system is running for a while and I turn it off, it usually starts up on the battery fine. I pulled the battery out once at the start of the day and checked the status LED's and they all lit green (so I know the battery was fully charged before starting) but it just doesn't want to start up. So what's happening??? Rich Moser, Webtalk

A: If you remove and reseat the battery when this happens, does it then start the system? Does it always work when the system is ;warm;? What is the Service Tag number of your system? Let us know. Dell/ Brian McCullough, Webtalk

Q: With the batteries (both batteries installed) fully charged, computer off, I unplugged the charger for the night. The next morning I tried to start. As usual, it would begin to start up then shut off. It would usually shut off as the hard disk would come up to speed. I've also seen it get to the windows title screen then shut off. I reseated the batteries but it still did the same thing. If I plug the charger in it starts fine. Also if the computer is on for a while and I shut it off then start it on battery power a short time later it starts fine. It seems like it will not start on battery power when the system is cold. What do you suggest?? One additional thing I noticed today. I had both batteries in. The secondary was almost drained but the primary was fully charged. The system would startup then shutoff. Sometimes it would make it to the windows title screen and sometimes not before it shut down. I removed the secondary battery and installed the CD/disk unit. After 3 times trying to restart the system it started fine and stayed running on battery power. Apparently the system will not start unless it sees a certain battery voltage. Is this adjustable? Why won't it start when the computer is cold but starts fine when it has run for awhile? Also why won't it start with both batteries in as long as one has a full charge? Rich Moser, Webtalk

A: Let's try sending you a replacement battery. Dell/Brian, Webtalk

Note: This next Q&A is for I3200, I've included it as there is probably a similar procedure for I7000 and knowing it exists will help you know what to ask for.

Q: [i7000 reference point, see note above. This post is for i3200.] Does anyone else experience a quickening in time when running their I3200 on battery? I find that for every one minute that my notebook says it has battery power remaining, it actually only has about 30 seconds. This means that if my notebook tells me that it will shut off in 20 minutes, 5 minutes later it will inform me that I only have 5 minutes. To make sure I wasn't overusing the battery, I have let my I3200 just sit, idle, and run out of juice. It still seems to think a minute is only 30 seconds long. This means that when my battery is fully charged, telling me I have about 3 hours, I really only have an hour and a half... is this right? Also, the unit seems to operate quite well on 0 battery power. It has been sitting on my desk beeping at 0% for the last 4 minutes and counting. Is it possible that my batteries have become hopelessly uncalibrated? Can they be helped? Jonathan Beltzner, webtalk

A: [i7000 reference point, see note above. This post is for i3200] You can download a utility that should correct this. The filename is BATRECAL.EXE. Go to: Type the name of the file in the box that says ;Search for files by exact filename;. Click on the filename, and then on the graphic of the disk on the next page. Once you download the file and save it to the hard drive, go to Start - Run and type the path and filename where the file is located on the hard drive, and hit OK. This will start a Setup program to create a disk image that you can run the utility from. Follow the prompts to make the disk. After the disk is created, go to Start - Run, and type: A:BATRECAL and press Enter. This will perform the recalibration. Dell/Brian McCullough, Webtalk [Reminder: this post is for 3200, so check with Dell before using this file or procedure - Lilla]

APM - Advanced Power Management

Inspiron 7000 supports three APM modes, per this link

These APM functions are documented at Online Technical Information - Inspiron 7000 - Power Conservation

Power Management Terminology

by Dell/Brian McCullough - Webtalk

Save to Disk: The system after a period of inactivity will save all your current information to the hard drive, and go to a shut-down state. This is designed to conserve battery power, but can be used on battery or AC power. When the system is rebooted, it will come back to the exact location you were at before Save to Disk engaged.

Save to RAM: Basically the same as Save to Disk, except the system saves everything to memory. This is faster both in saving and restoring, but requires more battery power as the RAM must remain "on" to save data. If power to RAM is lost, then so is whatever information that was stored in RAM.

Suspend: After a period of inactivity, the system will blank the screen, slow down spinning of the hard drive and CDROM or DVD drive, stop power to PC-Cards, and shorten CPU cycles. The system is still "on", but dormant. It can be recovered from much faster than the other two features, but requires more battery power.

Hibernate: Can only be used on a system that is fully ACPI compliant, which this system currently is not. These features are not available under NT4, as NT does not have power management support built-in to it. Many people use other software to accomplish this, such as Softex.

APM Standby Mode (aka. Hibernate) - a BIOS Setting

This Microsoft article BIOS and Hibernate Issues for FAT32 File System is recommended reading for anyone wanting to understand Hibernate and related issues. Lilla

A: This Microsoft Knowledgebase article #Q188134 Standby Missing From Windows Shutdown Dialog Box explains what causes Standby to disappear from Start and tells how to restore the missing function. I confirmed that the "standby" shutdown option can easily be re-enabled by simply following the last step at the bottom of Microsoft's KB article. I understand why they don't want inexperienced users running REGEDIT, which is why their first suggestion involves removing and re-adding the "APM" entry in Device Manager (and which is why Dell says to re-install Windows 98), and I'm sure re-installing Windows 98 solves 99% of everyone's problems, but honestly, who can afford the time required to reinstall stuff all the time? :-) Jeff Parsons, email

A: First thing we suggest is to disable the power management in the BIOS, and use only Windows 98's settings. If problems arise, then try using just the BIOS settings and disable the settings in Windows 98. See if this makes a difference for you. Dell/Brian McCullough, webtalk

A: I found out that hibernate is not supported when the FAT32 is in use. This apparently means that we only have Suspend-to-RAM and Suspend-to-Disk left which are both painfully slow on my 128MB system. Any suggestions for improvement? Will the promised OnNow technology come to our rescue? Marcel Brugmans, webtalk

A: We only recommend using the Save-to-RAM or Save-to-Disk features. At this time, no other hardware changes are planned for the Inspiron 7000. As for Windows 98, that would be a question best asked of Microsoft. Brian McCullough

APM Save-to-RAM Mode (aka. Suspend) - Fn+Esc

How to restore Save-to-RAM functionality

Q: I am unable to use the suspend mode by simultaneously pressing FN/Esc. Suspend is not available as an option in start/shutdown nor is it listed in Power Mgmt in Control Panel. However, Suspend works from Windows Safe Mode. Help!! Randy Richardson, Webtalk

A: At one point, did Windows tell you there was a problem with Standby, and ask you if you would like to disable this? If so, then this is why you do not have this option. The only certain way we have seen to get it back is to reinstall Windows 98. Dell/Brian McCullough, Webtalk

Q:I have lost my suspend option on my 7000. It is now gone from the shut down menu and from the power settings control panel. Does anyone know how this might have happened? Josh, newsgroup

A: I'm assuming you're running Windows 98. After 3 bad tries to resume, 98 will disable the ability to suspend--it will ask you, but you may have clicked yes without knowing it. Gerry High, newsgroup

A: Answer [above] from Brian McCullough is radical, to say the least. But I did get help from Telephone Support, and fast and good it was! Bottom line: remove Power Management; reboot; let machine find new hardware; then reinstall. It works. [Next post provides for more detailed instr.] Randy Richardson, Webtalk

A: Checking/reinstalling APM support in Windows 98 (see below). Jaewoong Koh, Webtalk

  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and click Control Panel.
  2. Double-click System.
  3. Click the Device Manager tab, and then double-click the System Devices branch to expand it.
  4. Verify that there is an Advanced Power Management Support entry under the System Devices branch. If this entry is present, Remove it. If this entry is not present, continue with step 5 below.
  5. Click Start, point to Settings, and click Control Panel.
  6. Double-click Add New Hardware.
  7. Click Next to begin wizard.
  8. Click Next to start PnP device detection.
  9. Allow Windows to search for new legacy hardware.
  10. Click Next to start the search.
  11. Click Details to see what devices have been detected. Advanced Power Management Support should be an entry.
  12. Click Finish. New hardware will be installed (may take a few minutes).
  13. Restart your computer and test to determine if the issue is resolved.

A: I was able to get suspend back by simply removing Advanced Power Management support from the 'System Devices' in the Device manager control panel. I then used 'Add New Hardware" and had it autodetect my new hardware. Everything is back to normal and I did NOT have to reinstall windows98. Joshua.Bell, email

User comments on Suspend/Save-to-RAM

A: If you perform a shutdown, you will get more life out of the battery. It really depends upon your needs. The system recovers faster from Suspend, but is it worth the extra battery consumption, especially if you know you won't be needing it for a while, like half hour or more. Dell/Brian McCullough, Webtalk

Q: The only way that I can take my computer off standby mode is by using my power button but the manual says that I can return to normal activities by either moving the cursor or pressing any key on my keyboard. What's wrong? Steven Liu, Webtalk

A: This is working as designed. According to the PC97 standard set by Microsoft, you will use the power button to bring the system out of Standby mode. This is controlled by Windows. Dell/Brian McCullough, Webtalk

Q: Whenever my 7000 goes into sleep mode, I have a bear of a time getting it to wake up and most of the time I end up having to shut it down and restart it. Is there a trick or a key that I'm missing? Michael Jones, Webtalk

A: When the system goes into Suspend mode, you need to press the power button to recover. It may take some time to do this, so be patient. If you are getting error messages, let me know what those are. Also try this in Safe Mode using the FN-ESC keystroke, and see if it fails there as well. Dell/Brian, Webtalk

Q: I can understand why the screen might be suspended when closed but I don't understand why the system should suspend too. If the screen is suspended from closing will it wake up automatically when it is opened again assuming the Win98 screen suspend time was not exceeded? Susan Daggett, webtalk

A: The system will enter suspend mode when closed if undocked. This is working as designed. When docked, this feature is not enabled. The screen may or may not come back automatically from Suspend, depending on the length of time the unit was suspended. It may be necessary to press the power button to bring it back. Dell/Brian McCullough, webtalk

Q: After I put my I7K to suspend overnight, upon waking up, I could hear the hard drive and all lights indicators are on, but the screen is still off. I have to restart the machine and the screen will displays ugly lines and terrible colors before it reboots normally. Help. Hoang Nguyen, webtalk

A: You might try it without anything else running in the background. It could be an application which does not like suspend. You could also try it for a shorter amount of time or after booting to the Dell Diagnostics disk. If those work, I would advise checking for an application that is causing it to fail. Dell/David Whiteley, webtalk

A: The Fn-Esc Suspend sometimes works, sometimes doesn't and sometimes causes the suspend dialog box to briefly flick on and off, but the machine keeps running. This has happened since the machine was initially received. Bill Herder, webtalk

A: The "Suspend" function is quirky at best when my 3Com ethernet PC card is installed and working. Sometimes Suspend works; sometimes the OS appears to hang, forcing me to reboot. Scott Sillett, webtalk

See MODEM section, search for "Suspend problems related to using Dell/3Com 10/100 ethernet card" for more information about this.

APM Save-to-Disk Mode (aka. Sleep? ) - Fn+A

A: I find that Save-to-Disk mode is faster than shutting down and starting back up. It doesn't use any power, either. Nick M., Webtalk

A: There is a difference between Suspend or Standby mode and Save-to-Disk mode. You enable one with the FN-ESC keystroke, and the other with the FN-A keystroke. Dell/Brian McCullough

A: Save-To-Disk. I just pressed Fn-A and it worked. I was pressing Fn-Esc (the suspend key on my 7000). I believe the documentation needs to be updated to reflect the correct key strokes. Yesterday I read some other messages here and tried turning off the Power management in BIOS, but this did not work with Fn-Esc, either. So, your input [to try Fn-A] was valuable. I'll be curious if the system suspends to disk with the Win 98 APM when it times out. I've been plugged in for a couple days so I have not given it a chance to time out. BTW, on Win 98 I believe the F8 key does not bring up the boot menu anymore. Now its the CTRL key [I think he is saying there is another error in the documentation here]. Don L., Webtalk

Q: I added memory to my I7000. I now get that error message at boot "suspend to disk error". I tried following the directions from Brian using the PHDISK.EXE file. I'm running Win98 and F8 does not work. I cannot boot to DOS. Can I restart in DOS, then delete the suspend file, restart, then exit to DOS and create the new suspend file? Ted, webtalk

A: Yes, that will work. it is what i did. Chris Mueller, webtalk

Air/Auto Power Adapter

A: The Dell Auto adapter part number is 65176 at about $70. You can find the part list and prices at: [broken link?] You can call our Parts Department at 800-372-3355 for Direct Accounts or 800-357-3355 for Major Accounts to place an order and check on availability. Dellware also sells the Auto/Air adapter. Their number is 1-800-449-3355. David Whiteley [DELL], webtalk

Q: I ordered a DC power adapter from DELL for my new I7000 and was very surprised to see this 5 pound brick arrive on my doorstep - yes it is 5 pounds and is a 12DV to 120 Vac converter. This is a problem for the real road warrior. I need an adapter that allows me to connect on aircraft and in vehicles and something that is very lightweight and has the appropriate connectors and voltage capabilities (most Aircraft power I have seen is 24Vdc (Actually 27.5) whereas most vehicles are 12 Vdc (Some land Vehicles are indeed 24Vdc as are some boats) Any Idea where I can get such an adapter? Bruce Green, webtalk

A: Lind Electronics shows their Airplane/Auto DC Power Adapter for the Inspiron 7000 on their web ( I also checked with Xtend Micro Products and they told me they should have the Xtend Airplane/Auto DC Power Adapter by mid-December ( Walt, webtalk

A: Try Lind Electronics. I just received an auto/air adapter from them for the I7K. They had an ad in the last PC Mag. Mitch Wrubel, webtalk - 5Dec98

A: Provantage at lists air/auto adaper for Dell Inspiron (no model number, but obviously it is for an earlier model than i7000). But, they may eventually have the i7000 model too. This is the Extend Brand. Lilla

A: I notice that Lind has the technical specs for their I7000 adapter on line, which could be useful information. Port as a universal air/auto adapter, but don't know if it would work with I7000 or not. Lilla

A: I got a Power Inverter from a MEI catalog. It is 140W and works great (just don't leave it on when the car isn't going). It was $40. Jason Litka

A: Thanks. I did some additional research on this...if anyone is interested: the only airlines that support this adapter are the ones equiped with "EmPower" seats. Delta, American, and United have some... Perry Marshall, webtalk

Connecting to Power outside of US

Q: While travelling a lot, i'll like to know from the actual I7k users if the adaptor is 110/220 Volts switchable and if this is the same for the Replicator port. Luciano, newsgroup

A: I looked at my adapter, and there is no switch but the specs say (Input:100-240V~1.5A 70W CONT.) Don't have the replicator. GL Dave, newsgroup

A: I have the replicator for the 7000...the same exact power supply is used for both....110 or 220. sound net, newsgroup

A: To use your AC Adapter overseas, all you need is an adapter that will change your forked prongs to the equivalent plug of the country you are in. These are sold almost anywhere that has travel supplies, or sells electrical supplies (Radio Shack for instance). The adapter itself will handle the voltage conversion. All you need is a way to plug it into the wall outlet. Dell/Brian McCullough, webtalk