Well, I researched as much as I could. It looks like the component that smoked was a smt cap, non polarized ceramic type. So I went to the local radiocr@p and bought a package of ceramic caps with leads, I just gussed at the value. Soldered one onto the board where the original was and then powered on... No luck. I started thinking after that, the machine was trying to load windows still so I pulled the hard drive out and tried it in another laptop. Same symptom. Reinstalled into the ecs and used a xp installation cd to repair the installation. After a few hours playing with it, viola! I'm actually typing from the ECS laptop and I even installed an atheros A/G mini pci card and its working great. I guess that the cap smoking was just concidence or the mini pci card might have stressed it... duuno but i'm not going to try that dell card again. Machine seems to be close to as stable as before, the os is less setup so a little off. I'll post pics of the damage and if I pull the ecs apart the repair.
Btw I like the atheros card way!!!! better than the broadcom in my C640.