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Dell Inspiron 537 won't start up


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#1 Jugghayd

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 03:40 PM

Working on my in-laws' Dell Inspiron 537.  When the computer is plugged in, a green light is lit on the back of the tower, but when you press the on/off button, it doesn't turn on and the light goes out.  If you unplug the cord and wait a minute, then plug it in again, the light comes back on, but with the same result.

I'm seeing this may be a somewhat common problem with the Dell Inspiron, usually either the power source or the motherboard.  What is the next step?  (And thank you in advance!)



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#2 Nanobyte

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 04:15 PM

That sounds like a power supply.   That and CPU over-temperature can lock out the PC so that it's not continually try to start/stop.  You have to reset by disconnecting the mains supply.

 

You need to test the supply or borrow one to substitute.  If you don't have a digital meter nor the desire to test, your options are very limited.  The two website guides I usually refer to are altech and about.com .  There are many others.



#3 hamluis

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 12:39 PM

One reference:

 

When a computer begins the boot process the motherboard initiates the start up of the PSU. Because of this it is difficult to determine whether the problem is with the motherboard or the PSU when a computer shows no signs of starting up. The purpose of the procedure is to determine if the problem is with the motherboard or the PSU.  For safety purposes please follow the instructions step by step.

This test is for ATX PSUs. Some manufacturers use non-ATX PSUs with 20/24 pin connectors that do not have the same pinout as a ATX PSU.

Caution:
This procedure will involve working with live 12VDC electrical potentials which if handled improperly may lead to electrical shock.  Proper precautions should also be taken to prevent electrostatic discharges (ESDs) within the case of the computer.  For safety purposes please follow the instructions step by step.

First, shutdown your computer. Then unplug the power cable going into your computer.

Once you have opened the case, touch the metal of the case to discharge any static electricity. 

The connector of the PSU which connects to the motherboard is readily recognizable by the number of wires in the bundle.  To disconnect it you will need to press on the plastic clip to disengage it and then pull the connector up and away from the motherboard.  Please take notice of the location of the locking tab and the notch on the socket of the motherboard, this will only connect one way as it is keyed.  This wire bundle will have a memory of the way it has been installed and will want to bend back that direction, you may have to play around with it to find a position that the connector will stay in the same position while you run the test.


www.playtool.com

From the top left to right the pins are 13-24, the bottom from left to right are 1-12.

 
Please notice that there are PSUs with 24 pin and 20 pin connectors, the location of the green wire in the 24 pin connector is #16, and the green wire in the 20 pin connector is #14.  If you look at the connector with socket side facing you and the clip on the top the number one pin will be on the bottom left corner.  This makes the pin out for the 24 pin connector from left to right 13-24 on top, and 1-12 on the bottom.  The pin out for the 20 pin connector from left to right is 11-20 on top , and 1-10 on the bottom. If you look at the connectors you notice that these are sockets that fit over the pins on the motherboard where the PSU cable attaches, this is where you will place the jumper.  For a jumper you will need a piece of solid wire about the size of a paper clip (20-22 awg), preferably a wire with insulation.  It will need to be large enough to fit firmly into the socket so that it will not need to be held in place while testing.  You are at risk of electrical shock if you are holding the jumper when you power up the PSU.  Insert one end of the jumper into the socket of the Green wire, and insert the other end into the socket of any Black wire.

Once the jumper is in place plug the cord back in. If the PSU is working properly the case fans, optical drives, hdds, and LEDs should power up and remain on.  I would suggest that you not  leave this connected any longer than is necessary for safety purposes.

To reconnect the 20/4 pin connector unplug the power cord, remove the jumper, and reconnect the connector. Take a moment at this time to make sure that nothing has been dislodged inside the case.

 

Louis

 

 



#4 Jugghayd

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:55 PM

Tested out the power supply.  It seems to be working ok.  I'm not sure what the next step is.  My mother-in-law is most immediately concerned with just getting her files off her hard drive, which is easy enough to do with a hard driver reader.  For my own edification, I'd like to know what's going on with this.



#5 Nanobyte

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 03:26 PM

Comment deleted!  You can retrieve the files any time, either by putting the drive in another PC (as a slave) or get a IDE/SATA to USB adapter kit ($15) and connect the drive to another PC via USB.

 

The fact that the PS powered up and stayed running doesn't mean it's OK.  It has to provide a "Power Good" signal to the motherboard before boot will commence.  I don't think you can go further without having a digital multimeter to check voltages.  I'm sure Hamlius has a pre-prepared guide with pics!


Edited by Nanobyte, 14 February 2013 - 06:13 PM.


#6 hamluis

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 09:38 PM

I keep a few links that I believe are useful.

 

You might take a look at PSU Test - How to Manually Test a Power Supply With a Multimeter - Test PSU - http://pcsupport.about.com/od/toolsofthetrade/ht/power-supply-test-multimeter.htm .

 

Louis


Edited by hamluis, 14 February 2013 - 09:38 PM.


#7 rotor123

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 01:23 PM

Hi, In addition to Louis's very helpful post, It is possible for a power supply to function with no load and die under a load. The definitive test is substitution. If You have or can borrow a spare power supply to test with. To start, just unplug the two sets of wires from the power supply to the motherboard and plug in the test power supply. Turn on. If there is now video, turn off the power supply and do the drives power leads too, test again.

 

This is the service manual for the Inspiron 537S (Slimline) only http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/insp535st/en/sm/index.htm

 

And this is the service Manual for the Inspiron 537 (Non Slimline) ftp://ftp.dell.com/Manuals/all-products/esuprt_desktop/esuprt_inspiron_desktop/inspiron-537_Service%20Manual_en-us.pdf

 

The power supply section needs to be read for the appropriate model.

 

Good Luck

Roger


Edited by rotor123, 15 February 2013 - 01:25 PM.
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#8 Jugghayd

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 02:33 PM

We tested it using a probe that puts out .3 amps load. We also pulled the power to the drives and the power to the CPU and it still didn't stay on, so that's very little load on the power supply



#9 Jugghayd

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:51 AM

So... what exactly is the next step?  Am I supposed to replace the power supply?  The motherboard?  The whole computer?



#10 rotor123

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 12:02 PM

If it were mine I'd be replacing the Power Supply for testing.

Do You know anyone you could borrow a Power supply from for testing. Also for testing it doesn't have to fit into the case. I just start by plugging in the 20/24 pin power connector and the 4 pin CPU power connector and test.

 

However I always keep a spare power supply on hand for that purpose and when it gets used I get another for a spare.

 

Failing under a load is one of the ways a power supply can go bad.

 

Good Luck

Roger


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#11 Jugghayd

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 03:04 PM

Finally bought a replacement power supply.  The tower booted up fine, although I hadn't hooked it up to a monitor.  I'm bringing it over to the in-laws' house this afternoon, planning that it should be working fine again.



#12 rotor123

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 08:22 PM

I'm Glad to hear that.

 

Thank You for reporting back

Roger


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#13 Jugghayd

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 02:25 PM

And it works again.  Thankls everybody for your help, glad it was only the power source and not something more serious.






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