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No video on Dell Dimension 2400


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#1 moviegeek71

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 04:44 PM

We have an old Dell 2400 "extra" computer with no video. The root cause was leaving it plugged up during a lightening storm. At first it was completely dead but now it will power up and I can hear everything working but there is no video.

 

I put in a used mother board and it does the same thing, no video, the orange light stays lit on the monitor. When I unplug the VGA video cable from the computer the monitor light turns green.

 

I have a feeling this is the RAM but no way to test it and don't want to spend more money. It has to be the PSU, RAM, or perhaps the on/off button.

 

EDIT: oh yeah, I forgot to add, and I did try a PCI video card and it did the same thing

 

Any suggestions are welcomed and thank you.


Edited by moviegeek71, 27 March 2013 - 05:13 PM.


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#2 Orange Blossom

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 09:06 PM

When I read "no video" I thought you meant that you couldn't view videos or movies, but otherwise the computer worked okay.  Reading the post, however, indicates to me that you mean that the monitor doesn't show anything but a black screen.  Is this the case?

 

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#3 moviegeek71

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 12:18 AM

Yes, that is correct, with the video cable plugged up I get a black screen and orange light on the monitor but if I unplug the video cable the monitor lights up.



#4 Orange Blossom

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 07:22 AM

Please explain what you mean by "monitor lights up" when you unplug the video cable.  Do you mean the screen turns blue or green or do you mean something else?  Please be as specific as you can.

 

Because this isn't a problem with video audio but rather a monitor issue, I'm moving this topic to the external hardware forum.

 

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#5 moviegeek71

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 12:13 PM

This is definately not a bad monitor, when I plug my E310 into the same monitor with the same video cable the monitor works fine. I've tested it several times and the monitor works with the E310 and not the 2400.

 

What I mean is with the 2400 plugged to the monitor it is black but the moment I unplug the video cable from the 2400 the monitor will light up in its test mode screen.

 

EDIT: I just tested it with another known good monitor and it does the same thing, the power button on the monitor is green without the video cable plugged in but the moment I plug the video cable to the computer the power button on the monitor turns yellow and the screen goes black

 

Please do not think it is this monitor being bad, I am 100% sure this monitor is good.


Edited by moviegeek71, 28 March 2013 - 12:36 PM.


#6 Orange Blossom

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 05:07 PM

Thank you for the explanation.  I'll alert those who know more about computer innards than I to this topic.

 

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#7 moviegeek71

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 05:55 PM

Thank you, since my last post I have tried some different RAM sticks that are known to be good and it still does that same thing. I also tried it with all drives unplugged and PCI cards removed and still no video.

 

If it's not the mother board and not the RAM, could it be a bad PSU that would stop the video output? Again, this happened after it got zapped in a lightening storm.



#8 rotor123

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 08:15 PM

Hi, ON the back of Your Dimension 2400 are four diagnostic lights.

The page here ftp://ftp.dell.com/Manuals/all-products/esuprt_desktop/esuprt_dimension_desktops/dimension-2400_service%20manual_en-us.pdf

Use the link for Advanced troubleshooting.

will help you interpret them. They will help pin down the problem.

 

However I will say it does sound like a bad power supply. It is possible for one of the several voltages to be bad.

 

Good Luck

Roger


Edited by rotor123, 28 March 2013 - 08:17 PM.

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#9 Sneakycyber

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 08:25 PM

Just to add the the monitors status light turns amber when plugged it beacuse its not receiving a signal so it goes into power save mode when unpluggjng the monitor detects a change in voltage and wakes up. Likely if you leave the monitor sit with the signal cord unpluged it will turn off again. It sounds like a power supply issues to me as well.
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#10 moviegeek71

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 08:41 PM

Hi Roger, thank you for the link to the Dell manual. Well, the light pattern I see is not listed. It is off-off-off-yellow, so that only "D" is yellow and the others are not lit at all. This is with everything plugged up and the original RAM on the board.

 

My best guess is that it's the PSU because via trial-and-error there is nothing left; but, is there a way to test the PSU? Like with a multi-meter?



#11 rotor123

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 08:53 PM

 HI Yes You can, The tutorial by DC3 shows how.

 

Reading PSU Rail Voltages

Caution: Please read this before continuing.


• Since it will be necessary for your computer to be on during this procedure, you need to be aware that you will be working with live 12Volt DC potentials, which if handled improperly may lead to electrical shock.

• There are electronics inside the case that are very susceptible to electrostatic discharges. To protect your computer, touch the metal of the case to discharge yourself of any electrostatic charges before touching any of the components inside.

• If you are not comfortable doing this procedure, then I would suggest that you not use this tutorial. The risks involved are minimal, but are there nevertheless. Anyone who uses this tutorial will be doing so at their own risk.


There are two devices commonly used to read the rail voltages: a PSU tester, and a multimeter.

The PSU tester is the easiest to use since all that is necessary is to plug the different connectors into the tester and read the results on the LCD display. The problem with most of these is that they only perform a pass/fail test. They will not provide you with actual voltage readings.

There are a variety of multiple meters, but this tutorial will address Analog and Digital multimeters. The advantage of these meters is that you will be able to obtain accurate real time voltage readings.

For those of you who wish to know more about multimeters there is an excellent article in Wikipedia.


Analog Multimeter

th_analogedited.jpg


An Analog multimeter is a little more complicated to use. Both Analog and Digital multimeters need to be set to the appropriate voltage, but with an Analog multimeter, you will need to choose the voltage range and must read the proper scale.

The Analog multimeter uses a needle display which moves from 0 across the scale until it reaches the voltage being tested. This multimeter has five major linear divisions with multiple scales to read a variety of ranges. An example would be three different ranges. The first is graduated in increments of 0 through 5, the second, 0 through 10, and the third, 0 through 25. Each of these ranges are subdivided into divisions that are graduated into tenths. In order to read 12 volts the 0 through 25 range would be the appropriate one.

Because DC voltage has positive and negative potentials this device is polar sensitive, this means that if you reverse the two probes when reading a positive DC voltage it will read as a negative voltage. This is actually necessary to read negative DC voltages. The two probes are differentiated by their color, Black (negative), and Red (positive). To read a positive DC voltage, the correct probes must be used with their corresponding potentials (positive to positive and negative to negative).

With the probes being used normally to read a negative DC voltage, the needle moves from the 0 to the left, "pegging" the needle. By reversing the probes you can properly read the negative voltages.

Digital Multimeter

th_digitalmeteredited.jpg


The Digital multimeter (DMM) is much simpler to use. As was mentioned previously, you will need to set the appropriate voltage. One of the advantages is that the DMM has an LCD display with a numeric readout, so there are not any multiple scales to read. Another advantage is that most DMMs are autoranging when reading voltages, which means that you will not need to set the range with these DMMs. A DMM will read both positive and negative DC voltages and display them correctly. When reading a negative voltage, a minus sign will appear on the display before the numeric value. This still is a polar sensitive device, so you will still need to use the positive and negative probes with their corresponding potentials.

There are five different DC rail voltages which are color coded. The Black wires are always negative.

Yellow +12VDC

Blue -12VDC

Red +5VDC

White -5VDC

Orange +3.3VDC


There are only three voltages that can be measured easily without disconnecting the 20/24 pin connector from the motherboard: +12V, +5V, and +3.3V.

The +12V and +5V voltages can be read from a four pin Molex power connector.

Four pin Molex power connector

th_250px-Molex_female_connector.jpg


The same voltages can be taken from a four pin SATA power connector, but in order to read the +3.3V you will need to read this from a five pin SATA power connector as seen below.

Five pin SATA power connector.

th_sata-power-cable.jpg

To read these voltages you will need to insert the Black (-) probe into any of the black sockets, and insert the Red (+) probe in the different colored voltage sockets. To read the voltages from a SATA power connector it is easiest to insert the probes into the back of the connector where the wires enter. Unfortunately the sockets of the modular SATA power connectors are not accessible from the back, so the readings will need to be made from the socket side. Some probes are going to be too large to fit in these sockets, so you may need to insert a piece of wire into the socket of which you want to read the voltage of and place the probe on this for your reading. To reduce the potential of creating a short I would suggest taking the ground potential from another connector so that the two wires will remain physically separated.

Caution: It is very important to make sure that you don't allow the two probes to touch each other when taking the voltage readings. This will cause a short which could damage the PSU or other components.

To get accurate readings of the rail voltages it is important that there be a load on the PSU. In order to do this I would suggest downloading Prime95 for this purpose. This program was designed to be used by overclockers to put a full load on the RAM and CPU to determine the stability of their overclocking. Because of this it will put stress on the CPU and RAM which will create higher than normal temperatures. For this reason I would suggest not running this program any longer than is necessary. I would also suggest that an inspection be made of the interior of the case to make sure that there isn’t an accumulation of dust which would impede adequate cooling. Pay special attention to the heat sink and fan assembly on the CPU. If there is a dedicated graphics card with a fan installed on it, look at this fan as well.


Readings should not have variances larger than +/- five percent.

Maximum.........Minimum
12.6V.................11.4V
5.25V.................4.75V
3.47V.................3.14V

 

Good Luck

Roger


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#12 moviegeek71

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 02:46 AM

Thank you DC3 for the tutorial, here is what I have:

 

yellow = +11.3
blue = -11.5
red = +4.9
white = +4.0
orange = +3.3
black = 0

 

The only one off is white which is a +4 instead of -5 but to me this wire looked grey, it was the closest thing to white in the bundle.



#13 dc3

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 08:49 AM

Hi moviegeek71, rotor123 requested that I take a look at this topic. 

 

The 12V rail is below what most recognize as the minimum tolerance level.  Todays PSUs use the 12V rail to produce the other rail voltages.  If the 12V rail has a problem it can effect the other rail voltages as well.  If this were my PSU I would replace it.  

 

Hope this helps.

 

Dan


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#14 moviegeek71

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 11:54 AM

Thanks, will do.

 

Please suggest a good PSU tester? This could of saved me the $30 that I spent on the mother board.



#15 dc3

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 12:10 PM

Because of the voltages you posted I'm assuming that you have a multimeter, that is the best tester you can have.  In the tutorial it is mentioned that PSU testers are a pass fail device.  This type of tester will not show what the voltages are and this test is done without putting a load on the PSU which is the only way to get an accurate reading.


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