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Dell Desktop E521 Amber Light


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#1 dinkey7997

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 10:07 AM

I've got a Dell Desktop e521, It only has a solid amber light when turned on. Everything powers on like it working, fans etc.. But the power light stays amber. Tried different memory, 3 power supplies, and 2 other motherboards, unhooked everything from the board, ie hard drive add in cards etc.. Got this other motherboard and still having same issue power light stays solid amber. I've tried the hard reset with the power unplugged and power button pushed in, same results. What am I missing? The research I've done so far says that if the power light stays solid amber it's a motherboard issue. There are no other diagnostic lights when this happens. any suggestions would be helpful. thank you.


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#2 ranchhand_

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 05:46 PM

Two other motherboards?!  Wow, where did you find extra mobos for a unit that old? Are these new or used, and are you sure that they are good?

> I assume that you cannot even get the POST screen, please correct me if I am wrong, it's important.
 

Trace the front panel header wire from the power-on button back to where it plugs into the mobo. Traditionally, that contact is marked PWR_ON or similar, but these retail units do not follow common usage so no guarantee on that; disconnect it by pulling the tiny plug straight up. Now take a flat bladed screwdriver and short the two tiny contact prongs that are exposed (make sure power cord is connected) and hopefully the computer will boot. On rare occasion I have seen a broken power button short out and cause weird problems like this.


Help Requests: If there is no reply after 3 days I remove the thread from my answer list. For further help PM me.


#3 dinkey7997

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 09:14 AM

Two other motherboards?!  Wow, where did you find extra mobos for a unit that old? Are these new or used, and are you sure that they are good?

> I assume that you cannot even get the POST screen, please correct me if I am wrong, it's important.
 

Trace the front panel header wire from the power-on button back to where it plugs into the mobo. Traditionally, that contact is marked PWR_ON or similar, but these retail units do not follow common usage so no guarantee on that; disconnect it by pulling the tiny plug straight up. Now take a flat bladed screwdriver and short the two tiny contact prongs that are exposed (make sure power cord is connected) and hopefully the computer will boot. On rare occasion I have seen a broken power button short out and cause weird problems like this.

 

Thank you for answering. 

 

The first board was used pulled out of a working machine.  The second from a company I've bought from before, the board was refurbished and in working order.  But as I described in the other post. they have the same results as the original.  No POST, nothing on screen.  I've tried taking the ribbon cable from the switch off and using a screwdriver to try to start it but no luck.  Ieven took a switch and cable from another unit and tried it still amber light. no post.



#4 ranchhand_

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 10:18 AM

When a unit cannot POST it means that the current from the power supply is not even reaching the BIOS chip on the board, and that is a low-level hardware failure (you probably know this already, but I have to start somewhere :) ). This can only be caused by one of four things: bad power supply, bad motherboard, blown CPU, damaged BIOS.

The clue is here:

 

It only has a solid amber light when turned on. Everything powers on like it working, fans etc..

I am going to assume that you properly tested the power supplies, exchanged mobos, exchanged memory, etc. A bad HDD will not prevent POST. At this point, the only thing left is the CPU. It is the only component you have not tested. To swap a CPU is difficult, you would need one with the same socket. Maybe a friend with the same socket will let you mount your CPU on his motherboard? But that is what I think your problem is. In all the years of repairing/building, I have had only one CPU blow out on me, and the computer did exactly what you are experiencing: the fans spin up, the power lamp on the mobo is lit, everything else checks out but no POST screen, and the computer will not access the BIOS.

Sorry, but I think that is your problem. I hope I am wrong. :(

You can check if the CPU is properly mounted on the motherboard, but usually if the thermal paste is not applied or the mounting is off-center the entire unit just shuts down immediatly on power-up. This is not happening in your case.

We can go through an extensive checkout procedure, but if you replaced all the components properly I will assume we can rule those out.


Edited by ranchhand_, 07 November 2014 - 10:22 AM.

Help Requests: If there is no reply after 3 days I remove the thread from my answer list. For further help PM me.


#5 dinkey7997

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 02:19 PM

Thank you for the reply.  Will give this a try over the weekend.  I will let you know what happens Monday.  Thanks.






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