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Old 12-26-2007, 11:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dell desktop won't power up - blinking orange light - power supply?

I have a Dell Dimension E510 that as of yesterday, won't power up anymore. The power light blinks orange and the computer does nothing when the power button is pushed or held in. It's about 16 months old and is out of warranty, so I'm trying to diagnose the problem myself.

I did some searching on the internet and found that this seems to be a common issue on these Dells, sort of a long term infant mortality issue. The most common causes seem to be a bad PSU, MOBO or a shorted USB input.

I've done some diagnostic checks/testing so far and am now stuck. Here's what I know.

- The USB ports don't appear to be shorted. I also disconnected the connector for the USB (which includes the power switch :banghead and it doesn't change any of the results that follow.
- I removed the power supply and jumped Power On (terminal 14, green wire) of the main ATX connector to ground. The fan comes on and all voltages (3.3, 5 and 12v)check out, including around 5.35v at Power Good (terminal 8, gray wire).
- With the power supply back in and everything connected, there is only 3.3mv at Power Good. As I understand it, this would normaly point to a bad power supply; however, all of the voltages check out when the unit is disconnected from everything.

Is is still possible that the power supply is bad, or is it more likely (or definitely) that the MOBO is the culprit.

Any help, including suggestions for additional testing is greatly appreciated.

Gary
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Old 12-26-2007, 11:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dell desktop won't power up - blinking orange light - power supply?

Dells have four lights in the back. What color are they?
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Old 12-26-2007, 11:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dell desktop won't power up - blinking orange light - power supply?

The 4 lights on the E510 are on the front. All are off.
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Old 12-27-2007, 12:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Dell desktop won't power up - blinking orange light - power supply?

Do any of the Diagnostic lights come on when you turn it on? Blinking amber system light indicates PSU or MB failure. When I had that problem on one of my Dell's, I had a memory stick loose contact, but I also had 2 green lights at post.
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Old 12-27-2007, 12:33 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dell desktop won't power up - blinking orange light - power supply?

That's part of the problem. When I try and power up, absolutely nothing happens. The blinking power light comes on when I plug the unit it, but pushing the power button does nothing. That seems to be consistent with there being too low of a voltage at Power Good. I need to figure what's causing that.
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Old 12-27-2007, 01:33 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dell desktop won't power up - blinking orange light - power supply?

hey, check your capacitors. I had a similar problem with an old HP computer I bought 3 years ago. at first it would boot up, but at random times it would die with just an orange light on. after awhile I would hit the power button and only the orange light would go on and nothing else. I tried everything, replacing the powersupply, memory, etc. didnt think to check the capacitors. when I did finally check them, i noticed that they were leaking, hence the problem. so check the capacitors on your motherboard to see if theirs any leaking, and then pull the mobo out and look for burn marks anywhere as that can cause it to.
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Old 12-27-2007, 01:48 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Dell desktop won't power up - blinking orange light - power supply?

Seems from doing some reading, no one knows for sure what causes this problem. Sometimes it is the psu, sometimes its the front I/O board, and sometimes its the MB or a combination of 2 or all 3. I would check the front USB ports first, make sure no ports are broken and that no metal pins are making contact with other metal parts. Also see if you have a green LED on the MB. If so it could be the I/O board then. X8682 = Dimension 5150 & OptiPlex GX620 Front I/O & Control Panel Assembly, Medium/Small Mid Tower or X8543 = Dimension 5100 Front I/O & Control Panel Assembly, Mid Tower. It costs about $10.99 from Dell. Next thing would be the PSU. People recommend Antec's ATX 2.0 PSUs. Last resort is the MB. Looks like you can get a MB for about $90. Seems there is no clear fix for your problem. Tons of people have had this problem and have gone through what you are going through. Good luck, sounds like you are going to need it.
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Old 12-27-2007, 08:33 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dell desktop won't power up - blinking orange light - power supply?

Thanks for the additional responses and info.

I've visually checked the four pins in each of the two USB ports on the front I/O panel and there are no obvious shorts. I haven't removed the port to check for other possible damage/degradation yet, but will do that tonight when I get home. I wish I could just disconnect the I/O panel and then try and boot the system, but the power switch is in that panel and disconnecting the panel eliminates that option (unless there's a trick to getting it to boot without that switch). I do find it strange that Power Good still doesn't have the adequate voltage when the I/O panel is disconnected. Maybe that means that the I/O panel is not the culprit and its somewhere else (MB maybe?).

There is a green light on the MB when the power supply is plugged in. I wasn't sure if that was significant other than the MB getting standby power.

I did see some pictures of leaky capacitor damage on the MB in an area which seems to be common for this model and my MB was clean there. I haven't taken the MB out yet to inspect if fully, but will do that tonight too.

I'm also going to try and disconnect everything except the PSU, I/O panel and MB and see if anything changes. Unfortunately, the many other people who've had this problem withtheir Dells have already reduced the problem to one of those three items, so doing this test probably won't help.
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Old 12-27-2007, 12:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Dell desktop won't power up - blinking orange light - power supply?

There might be a way to disconnect the I/O card from the mb and use a pen to short between 2 contacts to power up the pc. Look around on dell for a schematic. I could tell you which pins on a ASUS mb, but not a Dell.
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Old 12-27-2007, 12:46 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Dell desktop won't power up - blinking orange light - power supply?

this happened to two of the dells at my work. the fist one was too old and cheap to bother fixing but the newer one was still under warranty. they sent me a new PS but i still had the blinking orange light after replacing it. finally they sent a new mobo and that fixed the problem.
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