Dell Dimension E510 Won't Power Up

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Dell Dimension E510 Won't Power Up
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richard37066
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October 6, 2009 - 3:13 pm
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Wouldn't ya just know it? I disappear from here - having nothing to contribute - and then I'm back with not only a nagging problem that Shirley had but now one of my own!

In brief: I loaned the PC mentioned in the title to some dear friends some many months ago. They used it without problem. A few weeks ago, they had a rash of serious health problems in the family and the PC sat idle (off) for that extended period. I don't suspect that they did anything untoward in shutting it down. Health problems resolved, they purchased their own PC. Retrieved mine with visions of being able to dedicate it solely to music and use my newer one for everything else. How's THAT for luxury - TWO PC's!

Screwed everything together. Pushed the button on the front panel - NOTHING! There's no doubt an LED behind the button which gives a visual indication that power is applied to the machine. It BLINKS yellow. Nothing else happens. On my newer machine - also a Dell - the LED indicator is GREEN and remains on continuously. Is this of significance?

Facetiously I ask - is this terminal "sleep mode" or is there a simple fix that I've not run into before?

Now - I ask you folks in the white hats to not embarass me too greatly.

Respectfully,

Richard

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Jim Hillier
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October 6, 2009 - 9:04 pm
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Hey Richard - It doesn't rain but it pours!!!

Okay mate...so tell me, how old is this here computer...3 - 4 years??

Coupla quick questions;
1) Do you hear any beeps when you turn the computer on...they will be emanating from the tower?
2) Can you hear a fan turning at all when the power is on?
3) Will the CD/DVD ROM drive tray open and shut OK?
4) Are there any other lights showing.....does the monitor kick into life??
In other words are you convinced that power is generally getting through??

I know, I know.....that was a lot more than two questions.....LOL

No power at all or limited power will likely be down to a faulty PSU (Power Supply Unit). If you are convinced that power is getting through OK, the monitor is powering up but the screen is remaining blank then most likely suspect would be RAM (physical memory) or dedicated graphics card (if one is fitted).

Anyway, we'll have a better idea when you post back with those answers.

Cheers Richard.....JIM

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richard37066
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October 7, 2009 - 11:05 am
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G'Mornin', Jim -

Gotta render an apology and then add some fuel to the fire. Went to the Dell site AFTER I posted this. My bad. Found a section for my computer in which they walk one through a long series of steps in an effort to isolate the problem. Dutifully followed the instructions UNTIL they wanted me to tear open the case and start removing plugs and cards, etc.. I balked at that since it was getting sorta late. Like most, I have all manner of cords stashed in a drawer. On a whim, I pulled out the newest looking power cord and connected it up. Punched the button and lo and behold it started up! The status lamps went through their programmed sequence, the fan purred - all was well. At this point I had everything disconnected from the tower - part of the Dell procedure. Always careful - perhaps too much so - I never connect or disconnect anything but the audio out plug when the power is on. I shut it down, flushed with that mild euphoria which comes with success and reconnected everything back up. Punched the button. NOTHING. Tore everything up once again, tried other power cords and even moved the tower to two other outlets. Nothing. Attempted a startup twice this morning without success. This experience tells me that all electrical systems are "go" but the problem has to be associated with the power cord/AC voltage getting to the power supply. And that's where I am now.

I've done extensive soldering/wiring for 50 years but I'm reluctant to remove the side panels and give it a good visual look, let alone make an attempt at a repair. Yes, I know, as long as I don't do anything stupid then I can't harm the machine.

Do these machines have an "interlock" switch associated with the side panels? I lightly loosened the panels and firmly pressed them in place thinking that there was that eventuality. No effect.

I'm stumped and on the verge of taking it to a repair shop with whom I've done business before. Any suggestions before I bite that distasteful bullet?

Respectully,

Richard

P.S. One other - perhaps telling item - the LED behind the power switch no longer blinks. Nothing.

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Chad Johnson
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October 7, 2009 - 2:33 pm
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Hiya Richard. It's odd that it would magically work with a new cord once then quit altogether. FWIW - you can plug anything into the back of the computer while it's running with no ill effects. Windows may not recognize it until a reboot, however.

I tend to agree that it's a power supply issue. However -- you mentioned multiple outlets, did you take the surge protector with you from outlet to outlet? A surge protector will not allow electricity through if it can't protect anymore (at least the newer ones).

And one last 'oh yeah' questions -- some cases have on the power supply an on/off switch. Have you checked to make sure it's firmly in the On position (I assume you did, but I have to check).

Can you try the old cord again and see if you can at least get to the blinky yellow light?

Those are the thoughts off the top of my head.

--zig

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Jim Hillier
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October 7, 2009 - 6:20 pm
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Hey Richard - I'm still not 100% convinced it is power supply although that does sound most likely. Whichever it is though, power supply, RAM, PCI card...[i:2qgr6yvb]all[/i:2qgr6yvb] are going to require some poking about inside the tower.

As it happens I am familiar with your particular Dell machine, turns out one of my regular clients has the same model. I must admit when I first attempted to remove the tower's side cover I couldn't get it to budge, it had me stumped for a while. Turns out there is a release mechanism built into the top of tower, never come across that before. You will see a recess in the top of the tower and the lever is inside that. Just pull back on that lever and the side panel pops open.

There is not an on and off switch fitted to the back of your model (as suggested by Ziggie) but there is a switch which changes between voltage supplies, I am assuming 110v/240v. The voltage selection switch is near the power input socket. Make sure that hasn't been accidentally bumped and that it is still in the correct position.

Other than that mate, I really don't know what else to suggest. When it comes to the power supply unit I generally leave that to the experts. The bloke I use here is a mate of mine who owns his own computer repair shop. He always has plenty of new PSU's in stock and it takes him about 3 minutes to take the old one out and connect a new one to see if that is the culprit....same thing would take me ages.....practice makes prefect!!

There are also a lot of capacitors in these older machines and [i:2qgr6yvb]they[/i:2qgr6yvb] can cause intermittent power problems when on the way out and then you end up with zero power when one finally dies. They have a relatively high break down rate too. The top of a healthy capacitor will be silver in colour and nice and flat. A faulty or blown capacitor will be blackish on top and tending to bulge.

I am thinking mate, distasteful as it may be, if it is not something simple like the voltage selection switch in the wrong position or a faulty cable your best bet is probably going to be the local repair shop.

Sorry can't be more help mate, hardware issues are extremely difficult to diagnose without hands on access.

cheers Richard......JIM

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richard37066
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October 7, 2009 - 9:17 pm
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Jim and Ziggie -

Wrote a lengthy post to you then ran into a major glitch when I tried to "review" it prior to posting. It disappeared. Will make another attempt.

It's FIXED!!!!!!! Unbeknownst to me, my beloved Shirley - always wanting to help her loving husband - did some serious browsing on the 'net and came upon the solution to my precise problem on another forum-type site at the very same time that I was badgering you folks for much needed assistance. A couple of authors wrote detailed sequences for - of all things - (drum roll, please) changing the BATTERY on the mother board!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now, I must confess ignorance as to what this battery does - it's a CR 2032, 3V - or why it would shut down the entire machine. I quickly charged down to Wally-World, bought a new one, followed the instructions to the letter and - miracle of miracles - it worked! I'll keep her printouts in my files for future reference should I - or anyone on this forum - have need of them in the future.

Two of the authors did not think very highly of this machine, citing unnamed and copius problems. One of the respondents described another problem which I experienced - that of the machine refusing to turn on when the side cover was replaced although it worked perfectly prior to that last task. Wanting to get on with the task of verifying that all was well within the machine, I drank a cup of procrastination and simply leaned the side cover up against the tower and vowing (sorta) that I'd tackle that problem when the spirit moved me. As Scarlett O'Hara once said - "I'll worry about that tomorrow".

In the meantime, all is well and I must apologize to both you and Ziggie for the effort which you made in trying to make this old goat happy. You guys are first rate and I'm fortunate in having you handy when computer things go awry.

My many heartfelt thanks to you both.

Respectfully,

Richard

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Jim Hillier
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October 8, 2009 - 7:36 am
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Hey Richard - Glad you got it sorted mate...and at very little cost too...brilliant!!

The CMOS battery (the one to which you were referring) is used to maintain all the correct BIOS settings, even when the machine is not connected to mains power. Things like time & date, boot order and other BIOS settings. It would be very unusual for a flat CMOS battery to cause the symptoms you described, something which may perhaps be unique to your particular machine.

Boy, your Shirley is not just a pretty face!!!!

cheers mate.....JIM

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Chad Johnson
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October 8, 2009 - 9:37 am
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Woo!!!

Congratulations on getting it up and running.

While I tend to agree that the CMOS battery being the reason for no power up to be unusual at best, I'm thinking more along the lines of a short / arcing problem. When the case is fully on, if you have a spare/unused power cable touching the side of your metal case, the power supply will short and/or arc and shutdown to prevent damage. With the side of the case off, this problem disappears. (this is why most unused power connectors have the rubber sleeves).

Regardless of the reason, I'm happy to see you up and running!

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richard37066
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October 8, 2009 - 1:09 pm
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Jim and Zig -

My many thanks, once again, for your efforts.

Even though I am not a "nerd" as far as the operation of these confounded machines, I do have an extensive background in the design and maintenance of digital circuitry. Given this, I would be a little suspicious of a 3V battery shutting down an entire system. There's obviously something about the circuitry that I'm missing. No matter. I'm inclined to agree with you guys concerning the side panel possibly being the main culprit. Perhaps, even, the unlikely combination of the two?

In an effort to determine whether the side panel - as Zig suggested - is shorting something out, I think that when I am about to replace the side panel I'll get a small flashlight and magnifying glass and attempt to find something which looks suspicious. It should be a simple matter to redress a wire or cable and, possibly, eliminate the potential of this happening again. We shall see.

Whatever I find - if anything - will be reported to you on this Forum should anyone need the information. An underlying fear is that I find nothing physically askance regarding the side panel but the machine refuses to start up after it's replaced. Should this prove to be the case, then I'll have the coolest running machine of all of us! Ventilation to the nth degree! It'll be ugly - but C-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-l.

My best to you and yours -

Respectfully,

Richard

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Chad Johnson
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October 8, 2009 - 3:45 pm
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LoL -- just don't stick your fingers in the fan while it's spinning.

--zig

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richard37066
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October 8, 2009 - 5:45 pm
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What! - and injure my git-tar playin' digits?

Now - my nose might be something else to be considered.

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OldElmerFudd
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November 21, 2009 - 11:01 am
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A little late to the party, but here's some additional thoughts. I used to (and guess I still do on older machines) back up the CMOS settings with this oldy but goody:
http://mindprod.com/products.html

If your PC has a floppy, copy the .com files to a DOS boot diskette. Save CMOS to that boot diskette, and if necessary later on, restore CMOS from the boot diskette.

I was reminded of this the other day when one of our machines here "went flaky" due to a weak CMOS battery.

If that's not completely clear, let me confuse you a little more. CMOS is not a file, it's very low power memory that runs off a small
battery located on motherboards:
http://www.computerhope.com/is.....000239.htm

The DOS program CMOSSAVE.COM copies the contents of this memory to a file you specify. It's a very small saved file ... only 128 bytes. the DOS program CMOSREST.COM copies the contents of this saved file to CMOS memory. To use the programs:

CMOSSAVE.COM A:MYCMOS.SAV
CMOSREST.COM A:MYCMOS.SAV

Where MYCMOS can be any file name you choose having no more than eight characters.

hth

Ron

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David Hartsock
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November 22, 2009 - 6:54 am
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As always, good info Ron!

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