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 Post subject: E510 Won't power up, amber LED flashes
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:41 pm 
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O.K., my warranty expired and I didn't trust the Dell Extended warranty would be backed by them (complaints posted about this) and wouldn't be worth it in a year or so. So I am out of warranty and my power company killed my power and since power was restored, my E510 wouldn't power up. The green LED is lit on the mother board and I have an amber LED that flashes on the power button.
I checked the Dell Forums and it looked like it could be either the power supply or the I/O control panel assembly, where the on/off button is located. If I unplugged and plugged in the power enough times, eventually the flashing amber light would go away and the computer would power up and work fine. However, if it was powered down for any reason, the problem returned. So I broke down and called Dell "On Call" Tech Support. They said they were software support and transferred me to hardware support who said he couldn't troubleshoot it with me because my warranty expired, and tried to switch me to sales, but disconnected me.

I will stop here so I can agree with the writer on the home page of this site when he talked of the inadequate off-shore "support" people. Let's face the facts: They may work for pennies on the dollar, but they have no concept of American customer service, to say the least! They MUST be following a script because if you ask them anything unusual, the answer they provide you doesn't make sense- that's if you can even understand them through their accent.

Back to my story. Since I had my computer running and was at my limit of frustration for the day, I left off for a couple days, until we lost power again today. So, I called sales and tried to order the parts. They were unsure of the part numbers, even though I provided the part number right off the units! They have NO cross references! A major computer manufacturer that doesn't maintain a complete part listing with cross references! Incredible! So he transfers me to hardware support to get the correct part numbers. "Krishna" answers the phone and after I specifically told him that I needed part numbers; that sales didn't know what they were and transferred me, he wanted to send be back to sales or the expired warranty support group (pay for support). I told him several times that all I needed was the part numbers and that I didn't see why I needed to pay for them to supply the part numbers. He still refused. I demanded to speak to his supervisor, and after about the third time, he placed me on hold and called his supervisor, who told him to give me the part numbers, which he did. BUT he couldn't be sure of these numbers, since they didn't match the part numbers that I took off the parts that were installed in my machine! After that, he gave me a choice of the out of warranty group or sales. I chose sales. He transferred me, I held for 15 minutes and was disconnected.
I then called customer service to complain, that person ticked me off even more. Scripted. No feelings. I demanded to talk to the V.P. of Customer Service and she refused; my choices: sales or out of warranty support. I tried to send an Email complaint via the web page, but it won't accept it without an order number!!! Urrrr!!!! I found a phone number listing for Dell Corporate in Round Rock, Tx, but it just rings and rings until it times out. I gave up!
Well, almost. I need to get this computer running and get out of "hell". So I called the salesman back that I started with today. Dan is an American who understands English and our ways. He was the only person that I talked to that had any kind of feelings. I felt bad for him as I ripped his employer. He said he hears it all the time. Wow. I wouldn't want to work there! I placed an order using the part numbers the Krishna provided and I will say a prayer that they are correct. I do not want to have to call them again.
I can safely say that Dell has lost me as a customer.

Does anyone know what the phone number is to Dell Corporate?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:09 pm 
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Dell corporate won't speak to you, or connect you to anyone. They wouldn't connect me to my friend who still worked there at the time, even though I gave them his name. They might as well not even have a phone.

If you looked at the Dell hardware forum (where I am also a contributor), you saw that the 510 issue is expansive, and there is no clear resolution. Dell "technicians"--who are really just $3/hr phone answerers as you surmise--don't have an answer.

That you have to unplug it to try another start, leans toward motherboard. If the frontpanel capacitor shorts (there is only 1, but that's enough to kill the whole machine) it won't come back on no matter what you do. So don't bother with that.

The power supply is self resetting, it doesn't need to be unplugged to try again. The chipset however, remembers certain failed startup conditions, and the motherboard regulators latch themselves off, requiring a zero-power reset.

Once you buy a Dell and the warranty runs out, you're on your own. I'm as incredulous as you are, that you can't give the parts people the part number and have them locate it and sell you one. But that's Dell for you. Try the online parts sales, if you can find it. No habibs telling you what they can't do. Supposedly, if you enter your service tag and ask for a motherboard, the system knows which one you have and sends you one.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:50 pm 
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From what I recall of the LED codes, solid means motherboard and flashing amber means power supply.

Solid because it means the motherboard is getting power but doing nothing with it, and flashing because the power supply is not adequate to get the motherboard to do anything.

If you keep jiggering with it and it actually does power up for a while, I'd say power supply. Normally I'd say replace it (power supplies are super cheap) but the Dell power supply is proprietary where it connects to the motherboard, or at least it used to be, so buying a replacement from a local dealer will be pretty useless.

Though someone posted a long time ago that there are connectors that can be found online to make a store bought power supply compatible with a Dell motherboard.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 5:06 pm 
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To blink or not to blink, that is the question. It's no more than 50% reliable. Zackly the same as Dell's dispatches.

One scenario: MB core regulator fails shorted, which overloads and shuts down PS 12V. Light says PS is bad, cuz it's shutdown.

Another: Cap across frontpanel 5V shorts and shuts down PS 5V. Light says PS is bad, blahblahblah.

As I said, MB regulators latch off, PS does not. If unplugging it 'fixes' it, MB is more likely.

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 Post subject: Blinking yellow
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:11 pm 
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I see this everyday, and I can help you narrow the part. First, a solid amber is mainly one of these 3 have failed, MB PRC or the PSU. Now on a blinking amber, it can be a variety of things, tho yes the diag codes led if they are on, can help you.

(insure the unit is unplugged, touch the metal chasis to dischage Electric Static generating from you body. Do this everytime you work inside of it)

Okay, lets get your system to a bare POST state. Disconnect the power from floppy, Hdd, Optical, or anything else the PSU hooks to. LEave in the mem and PSU conection and the IO cable. Remember nothing hooked up externally except the monitor (remember you are looking to get that flashing amber green. Try it. Still blinking yellow? try mem in each slot one at a time. Still blinking yellow? If the panel has an IO panel, with USB ports, these ports can be damaged. Disconnect the IO cable leading from the IO board. remove CMOS battery 10 seconds to clear NVRAM. Leaving the IO cable disconnected, reinsert the CMOS battery and plug in unit. The unit will power up on its own if the IO panel/cable is the issue. There will be no front lights when the panel is disconnected. If the system comes up, then the IO panel is bad. if you do not turn the system off, you can use it until you get IOcable and panel If at anytime you get green, like it post with mem prc PSU only, then a card is causing no post then HDD or opticals. just add back components unitl blinking amber occurs, then you would know what part that way as well.
Of course there is a remote possibility that a PSU is causing blinking yellow, it is very unlikely.

I hope this helps you


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 1:05 am 
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this is policy from Dell forums see this link:

http://www.dellcommunity.com/supportfor ... .id=358135

Because there are a variety of hardware reasons that could lead to No Power/No POST situations where the Power LED is blinking amber on the Dimension 5150/E510, you should contact Dell Support to ascertain what part(s) is defective. Tell the technician to look up DSN Document ID: 341244.

Inside of Warranty
Contact Support 1-800-624-9896, and they will troubleshoot the blinking amber LED symptom and replace the defective part(s) per your warranty coverage. We will first replace the power supply and the Front I/O and Control Panel Assembly. If this fails to fix the blinking amber LED symptom, we will then send out a motherboard.

Parts needed in first service -
X8543 Front I/O and Control Panel Assembly
Power Supply (there are several part numbers. The technician can find this using your service tag number)

If the above parts do fix the Blinking Amber LED, we will then send a motherboard -
NH720 Motherboard Service Kit for Prescott CPUs
TJ946 Motherboard Service Kit for Cedar Mill, Smithfield, and Presler CPUs
==========

Outside of warranty
If you did not previously contact Dell-Jesse and get confirmation from him that you are on the list, you must pay Dell On Call 1-888-236-3355 to troubleshoot the blinking amber power LED. Once they ascertain what part(s) is defective, you may purchase the part(s) from Dell Spare Parts 1-800-357-3355. We are not giving the parts away. If this is happening, the technicians are going against Dell Policy.

X8543 Front I/O and Control Panel Assembly
Power Supply (there are several part numbers. The technician can find this using your service tag number)
NH720 Motherboard Service Kit for Prescott CPUs
TJ946 Motherboard Service Kit for Cedar Mill, Smithfield, and Presler CPUs


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 2:38 am 
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Camarorock wrote:
Parts needed in first service -
X8543 Front I/O and Control Panel Assembly
Power Supply (there are several part numbers. The technician can find this using your service tag number)

If the above parts do fix the Blinking Amber LED, we will then send a motherboard


Well there you go, Dell. You want to know where all your money is going? Going to sending out MORE parts AFTER the problem has been fixed rofl.

PS - shouldn't that say DO NOT?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 10:09 am 
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Their money is NOT going into proofreading their policy releases. :roll: :lol:

Here's a curious datapoint. Accessory cards contain capacitors, just like Dell's MB, PS, FPB do. But they seldom whatsoseldom kill the system (worth checking before buying a MB though). Modems do, if they get hit by lightning. In other words, only the chintzy Dell parts have an extensive record of early failure in normal use.

Here's another. Every electronic device you own contains capacitors. How many, other than Dell, have failed within months of purchase? Capacitors are rated for 50,000 hours (~6 years continuous, 10 years intermittent) operation. Most last that long, many much longer. My $15 clock radio still works after 26 years. My $99 Dyna preamp still works after FORTY years. But ah yes, the Dyna used American capacitors.

Why doesn't Korean and Japanese electronics have the capacitor problem, when all the parts are made in China just like Dell's? Well, they might be paying an extra penny for each one, to get good ones. Also, being Asian, they probably have a sixth sense of which product lines and vendors are good and which are bogus. Whereas Dell tells Foxconn, "just make it cheap" so they buy capacitors from the equivalent of a drug dealer in the alley behind the Greyhound terminal.

There's a reason for everything.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:10 pm 
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Yes, I also have some articles that have lasted 20 years or more, like clock radios, TV's, and other various items. Anything I've purchased within the last 5 years even has been repaired or in need of repair/replacement often.

It's kind of how I imagined it though. I mean, back in the day a computer for example, cost like $4000 for the top of the line, 66MHz CPU/50MB HDD/512KB RAM (or similarly low end numbers) - but the system wouldn't die if you hucked it out a window. Your HDD stopped running? Drop it and put it back in, that always fixed it.

Nowadays, you can get systems 1000x better for a fraction of the cost, but do they ever last? Nope. This is targeting OEM systems mainly, because every white box I've made or kitted out is still running. So why can kits run forever and OEM systems not? They say volume - think volume. Nope.

Cheap parts is always going to be the answer. Number two answer is weak labor. Like some guy or gal that can barely stand on their feet trying to assemble a rig in the factory and they drop this, or forget to add that, and so on. Cheap parts and cheaper labor mean disaster.

Believe it or not, as appalled as I am with the cost fluctuations of everything these days, I'd still rather pay more for a quality product, than less for a quasi-disposable product. Especially when it comes to electronics. Sure it may cost more upfront, but in the long run you'll be saving hundreds or more in time and dollars for repair/replacement.

That old phrase, "They just don't make 'em like they used to" applies so well here.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 9:11 pm 
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 2:29 pm 
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Just my .001 $ (Actualised):

A friend called me because her 5150 had this infamous blinking amber light problem.

I just reset the CMOS (Using the jumper next to the battery) & the machine could power on. Of course, I had to reset BIOS settings as well.

I tested it: After short duration power-offs, it restarted OK. However, after being left off for several hours that junk pile wouldn't restart (Same blinking amber light). The above fix worked again every time.

So I recommended buying a small UPS (A good thing anyway) & leaving the machine permanently on (With auto stand-by).

I called Dell support to check. I just mentioned the blinking light, nothing else. They told me I needed a new PSU *AND* a new MOBO. They were ready to ship them for free until they realised the warranty was out. You can buy the two parts for about $200 by calling 1-866-440-3355. And the thermal paste is not included!

But I learned a little trick. Unplug everything from the machine save mouse, kbd & monitor. Pull the power cord until the mobo light is out. Then press the front button for 10-15 sec.

If it still blinks, don't despair. In my case, it stopped blinking after about 10-15 sec., then went green, then off. Pressing on it in right back did the trick.

The only thing is that the battery seems to have been taking a hit. A low battery voltage warning message was displayed on startup.

Any expert's comments?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 3:16 pm 
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Mobo/BIOS issue most likely. With the existent issue already at hand and observed, the part is clearly failed and will need to be replaced. I can suspect that it will just get worse from here.

If the mobo keeps getting manhandled, by itself or these attempts to make it work properly, it may be why the low voltage error would appear. If the parts are that cheap, I'd suggest replacing the mobo ASAP. A 5150 (laptop unless I'm mistaken) doesn't have a PSU to replace, unless you want to call the brick a PSU. The only common denominator is the mobo, which would also house the VRM (voltage regulator module).

Replace the mobo.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 4:12 pm 
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A gradually-failing clock battery can make all kinds of weird things happen. If you're faced with MB replacement to solve "sometimes starts" problems, chuck $4 on a new battery first and just see what it does.

It won't solve failing capacitor issues, the greatest plague of Dells from at least 2004 onward, which also cause the blinking amber light of death (BALoD).

The Chinese capacitors are so bogus that even the single one on the front panel board across the 5V rail can kill the whole machine.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 8:30 am 
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Thank you for your answers.
Sure, I'll replace the battery next time I'll be there. But I tend to agree with you when blaming malfunctioning mobo capacitors, since all the issues I had are time-related.


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 Post subject: 5150 Blinking Amber Light
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 10:13 am 
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In my case, changing the power supply cleared the problem. However, my son has a PC PS tester so I will see if it's really defective.

But what a hassle, dealing with Dell! What is unbelievable is that they don't have cross references for their parts. They can tell you should need, but they cannot confirm if the part that they are sending you is the correct part. And what really set me off, was when they insisted that I talk to out of warranty repair JUST TO GET THE CORRECT PART NUMBER!

After trying everything else, I took a chance and ordered the PS. I also wrote an Email to customer service demanding to speak to the VP of customer service. A few days later I did get a call back- from someone in India! She said that she had the authority from the executive office to resolve any problem, but she couldn't connect me to the VP. Well, that was a waste of time trying to talk with her! NOTHING came of that, except she confirmed that the part that I had ordered was the correct part for my machine. Big deal! I told her that I bet that Mr. Dell doesn't have to go through this when he has a problem with one of his computers!!! I think if he really cares about his customers, he should try getting service for an old Dell under a fake name. Then he will see what we are all complaining about!


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