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PC won't start

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by Jill, Jan 17, 2006.

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  1. Jill

    Jill Guest

    likely because it's a Dell, but I thought I would ask for help anyway.

    So, here's the deal. Things been a POS from the get go, and spent the
    last year sitting on a desk bearly used (maybe once a month). A couple
    of months ago my system went down and the Dell became the new home office
    computer. Since, it's been running 24hrs a day, as I never turn my
    desktop off (for a number of reasons).

    Last night I moved it from one room to another and set it back up and
    when I pressed the power button, nothing happened. I held it down fir a
    minute to try and reset it and turned the power bar off (which caused the
    lights on the front of the case to light up breifly <maybe as a means of
    flushing any risidual power out?>) and then turned the power back on
    again. After pressing the power button a couple of more times in
    frustration, IT STARTS!

    Since its now in my bedroom, I turned it off when I was done and it
    hasn't been willing to turn on again since. I spent some time screwing
    with the button, but no go.

    So, I figure its the power supply. Swapped it out for the one from the
    broken system (since it was the mobo that went on that one) and I ended
    up with a very strange result. The new PS is a Super Flower 350W/370W (?
    if that makes sense) and has three fan settings. Each of these settings
    has its own colour light (blue, green and red) to make it easy to see
    what speed you have it on. Now, with this new PS in, when turn the PS
    on, I get a flash of lights on the front of the case, the fan spins for a
    second and then the fan light goes very dim. Its still on, but very
    faint. When I press the power button on the front of the case, still
    nothing happens. When I turn the PS off, I get the same thing; fan light
    gets bright, fan spins for a sec, lights on front of case, then the power
    goes off.

    unplugged everything, but 1 stick of RAM, 1 HD, and that's about it.

    Thoughts, ideas, suggestions? Any help would be much appreciated.

  2. Doug

    Doug Guest

    At work they bought Dells thin line I think, anyway almost every one
    has failed.. Dell has extended the warranty . If yours is less tan 2
    years old I would check.. If I remember correctly the problem is caps
    on the main board were bad.. Look at the the capacitors for bulging or
    leakage on the board.
  3. Arfa Daily

    Arfa Daily Guest

    About the only thing left is the motherboard itself. These power supplies
    are fairly sensitive to overload, and will shut themselves down, which might
    be what you are seeing happening when the lights dim.

    In the last couple of years, there was an issue with ' fake ' electrolytic
    capacitors which had been purchased by a number of far east MB
    manufacturers, and incorporated into their products. These started to fail
    in fairly short order, but some kept going for quite some time. As I recall,
    the ones which gave most trouble, were all located physically around the CPU
    chip, and you could see the tops of them bulging when they went bad.

    Might be way off beam here, and there's probably others on here who might be
    able to better advise you, but that's my two penn'orth anyway, for what it's

  4. Dave D

    Dave D Guest

    You don't say how old it is, but some years ago (around the PII era IIRC)
    Dell were much criticised for switching the pinouts around on their power
    supplies and motherboards, so you had to buy their exact replacements.
    Fitting a standard ATX power supply was seemingly straightforward as there
    was no obvious clue they were different, but as soon as it wss powered on,
    there was catastrophic failure of the motherboard and/or the power supply,
    or if one was lucky the power supply would just shut down before any damage
    was done. I'd check the Dell power supply is indeed a standard type, which
    it will be if it's fairly recent.

  5. Kevin S.

    Kevin S. Guest

    One other thing to try if it's a model that has one, is the riser
    board. I used to have to support a site that had a bunch of Optiplex
    GX1's and about half of them wouldn't power up with their riser boards
    in 'em after a year or so. A documented Dell defect... Pull the riser
    if it's got one and see if it fires up.
  6. Jill

    Jill Guest

    it's a fairly new machine; probably just 2 years. Thinking P4 2.3ghz or

    What a disaster.

    Arfa's comments about the PS overloading and shutting down seem to fit
    what I am seeing with the lights, but I have carefully inspected all the
    capacitors and there doesn't seem to be any visable evidence. Also, it's
    a dimension desktop and erverything I read about the capacitor problems
    are on Optiplex MBs.

    Not quite sure what is next; probably a $30 charge to get it looked at by
    one of the local shops.

    Thx for the info,

  7. Jill

    Jill Guest

    Its a Dimension 4600.

    Sorry, should have added that to my earlier post.


  8. Ken Weitzel

    Ken Weitzel Guest


    If it hasn't already been suggested one thing you might
    want to try is pulling out cards one by one - ie pull the
    video card, see if there's any (lights) difference when you
    try to start it. Do the same with network card, sound card,
    and so on. Perhaps one of them is faulty.

    Maybe even try the same trick with the floppy and cd etc
    power connectors.

    Take care.

  9. Guest

    Gosh..... for just $30..... take it to the shop and stop guessing and
  10. cnctut

    cnctut Guest


    I had a similiar problem with an older 1.4G unit. After some
    experimentation discoverved that if I held a hair blower on high cool
    at the back of the power supply and spun up the fan for a few seconds,
    then attempted to boot the computer the unit would start--but the hair
    blower couldn't be shutoff until the total boot sequence was complete.
    Once the unit was up and running the hair dryer could be removed and
    the unit worked fine until shutdown. Then get out the hair
    dryer--finally bought new computer.

    Good luck

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