Studio XPS 435MT wont power on


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Studio XPS 435MT wont power on

This question has been answered by KKratos

My 2 year old Dell Studio XPS 435MT will not power on.  This happened after a brief power outage.  The PC was connected to a surge protector at the time of the outage.  When I try to power it up, the power button flickers amber and the fans twitch.  The fans will twitch twice when the power button is pushed - like it's trying to start up - but it will do nothinhg beyond that.  I have a solid green light on the power supply and a solid amber light on the motherboard.  There were no hardware changes to this PC.

Further investigation revealed that the power supply was good.  I re-seated ALL connections/cards and tried to power the unit up by disconnecting components (fans, drives, vid card, etc) one at a time to attempt to isolate the problem.  I also tried a known working video card.  No matter what I did, it would not power up.  Same fan twitches.  I purchased a new computer, removed the hard drive from this one, and successfully recovered files from it using a docking station.  I don't belive the hard drive was the culprit here.  All indications pointed to the motherboard, so I purchased a new one (same exact part#/specs).

The new motherboard went in and connections were tripple checked.  The PC then powered right up.  The computer acted normally through a series of restarts.  I thought I had this figured out and I was excited because I liked this computer - but not so fast!!  When I shut the PC down completely and tried to power up, I got the same exact problem.  And the same exact problem no matter what electrical outlet I used.

Well, I figured the power supply was possibly malfunctioning and tried a new one.  Nope - still no luck with that.  I've heard that removing and reinstalling the CMOS/BIOS battery worked for others so I tried that.  Sure enough - that worked.  The PC started up, although requiring me to restore BIOS defaults.  After full shut down, it will still not power back up, though, without resetting that battery.  As a last ditch effort, I replaced the battery and, of course, that did nothing.

Please help me because I really don't want to fiddle with that battery everytime there's a power outage or shut down and I need to get the new $150.00 motherboard returned ASAP If this computer is beyond help.  Thanks!!!

All Replies
  • Thanks for that informative answer.

    I wonder if there is any way we can get Dell to know that, so that the techs can point to a simple solution for people that call.

  • Dell probably already knows this is an issue.  Unfortunately, Dell has become very persnickety about charging people for tech support advice after the warranty/support period has expired.  By the time the power supply ages sufficiently to pose a problem, the warranty period is usually over, so the information probably wouldn't get passed on to the customer by Dell w/out a fee.

  • I think I can do one worse than that. My lab has a Studio XPS MT 435 that suffered 5 separate failures over the warranty period, each time the same symptoms. Dell repeatedly replaced the motherboard and once the power supply, never making a lasting fix, during our extended warranty period. For us, every one of these failures is particularly problematic, since we have licensed software tied to the motherboard MAC address, and the machine was effectively useless for 1/2 the time we had it. We finally asked if they would just replace the  <ADMIN NOTE: Profanity removed as per TOU> thing and were told we hadn't had enough problems to warrant a replacement. Seriously? They then offered us a 10% discount to buy another Dell as our warranty period expired. We bought an HP as a replacement.

    Guess what happened when I turned off the machine to swap in the HP? Once I put the XPS in its new spot and tried to power on, I got the amber blink of death. This is an obvious failure on Dell's part, and while I'm glad to hear folks on this forum may have hit on a solution or two, I'm baffled that Dell can't fix it properly and won't own up to the problem. I'll try a new PSU and the CMOS battery fix to see if we can squeeze a little value out of this thing for now. But I know after this experience we won't be buying Dell in the future.

  • TOday i had the same problem, read different forums and tried many options. Finally my Dell Studio got on. Here is HOW:-

    I hold the Fn Key and pressed the power button, it turned on and started Diagnosing the system. There the option to cancell it by pressing Esc, an it restarted.

    May not work on the very first time, but u ve to keep on doing it. I think there is some timing issue with Fn and Power button pressing.

  • I am having thee same problem.  I cannot find the Fn Key.  I can find it on my laptop computers but not on the keyboard for my desktop computer.  What am I missing?

  • Forget the fn key.. if you are having the same issue as stated above (on the 435mt), just get a new power supply rated at least to 500w.

  • I had the same issue. Circuit breakers in the home turned on and off a couple of times, then the amber power button light. When holding it in, it only blinked once every 3 or 4 seconds. Then after reseating the CMOS battery, it blinked rapidly when holding it in. Went to Frys Electronics here in Austin and they had approx. 30 power supply units to select from. Prices ranged from $15 to $400. Dude working there recommended an Antec 430 watt (the OEM one in the computer is a 360 watt). Extremely reliable,  low power usage. $45. Installed it and computer works great now. Only isssue I had was due to reseating the CMOS battery, I had to reset a few minor things such as the system clock. Bottom line... if you have a blinking amber power button, odds are VERY high your power supply is dead. First look at the MB and see if you spot a fried capacitor, a burnt or bloated looking one. If not, my guess is you need a new PS.

  • I've had good luck with the Cooler Master Elite 400W PS, which is somewhat less expensive but holds up well.

  • I agree. I posted some time ago on this. I suspect the problem is insufficient power at start up. This may be due to a PSU failure or degradation. Mine failed after a power outage. Reseating the CMOS battery "fixed" it but that has no bearing on the PSU which clearly can provide enough power for steady state operation.. My theory is that the start up sequence got changed and the standard PSU cannot supply enough current without dropping out. Once reset it then restarts normally and I suspect this function key related start up does the same thing ie changes the initial start sequence hence load. Doesn't matter really. The PSU is on the hairy edge and an uprated one is a far better permanent solution .
  • Thanks for your reply

    How hard will it be to replace the power supply? Would I need to take the computer apart?  Is this something I could do or should I take it somewhere to have it done?

  • Not hard but it would be to your advantage if you've ever been inside a computer and are somewhat familiar with the components. You just need to take off the side panel. You will see the power supply and all the wires/cables coming off it going to the motherboard, DVD drive, etc. Remove the cables from the board and components, take the screws out that hold the power supply in and remove the power supply. Then do the reverse to put in the new one. Just be sure you remember what the cables went to. If you are somewhat handy, this should be easy but if you don't know a hard drive from a memory chip, then bring it somewhere to have it done for you. It will not be expensive to have someone put a power supply in.

  • Thank you Essiar for your comments.They were were very helpful and now I know how to replace the power supply.


    The service manual has full instructions on how to replace just about anything.

  • I would like to thank all of you for pointing me to a quick and simple solution.

    On the evening of 26 July 2012, I shut my 435MT down due to approaching thunderstorms even though it is powered through a UPS. The next morning it wouldn't boot. The LED on the power button would flicker amber once and that was it.

    I suspected the PSU but the LED on the back of it glowed green so it seemed like it was working. I concluded that the next most likely point of failure would be the motherboard. After contemplating a course of action I decided to search online and see if any other 435MT owners had experienced the same problem. Fortunately, I found this forum thread.

    After pulling the stock PSU out of the case, I went to the local Best Buy. They only had two PSU's in stock. The salesman took a look at the PSU I brought in with me and pointed me to a Thermaltake TR2 430W since it had a rear facing fan. He told me a top mounted fan wouldn't work which turned out to be completely wrong.

    Back home, I did a quick search online and found a TR2 430W review on hardwaresecrets that rated it as actually a 350W PSU and suggested not to buy it. After ordering an OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W with modular wiring from Newegg, I returned the TR2 430W to Best Buy.

    Even though the OCZ600MXSP is nearly 1" longer in depth it still fit in the 435MT case with enough room between it and the optical drives for the cabling. After rebate, the OCZ unit is $10 cheaper than the TR2 430W and came with free 3 day UPS shipping. It is also rated at roughly 86% efficiency at 450W load compared to around 62% for the TR2 430W at 350W. The fan faces down in the case and is 140mm in diameter so it should do a much better job at cooling with less noise.

    With the new PSU installed, my 435MT booted right up. The added power also cured a whole host of issues I've had with the 435MT. When it was brand new, the CAB-200 media card reader would fail almost every time I put an SD card into its slot. Dell sent a tech to my home, as part of the XPS support, and he replaced the CAB-200, motherboard, and CPU cooler. It still wouldn't work properly. Ended up buying an external card reader.

    When it came time to upgrade the video card I went with an AMD Radeon HD6670 since it used the least amount of power and didn't add much heat to an already challenged stock cooling system. Also added a second HDD. Since then my 435MT would have periods where it would slowdown or outright freeze during moderate use. I'm happy to say that I no longer have those problems after replacing the PSU. Even the CAB-200 is working fine.

    While Dell may have saved money by using a barely adequate PSU in the 435MT, they certainly lost money when they sent a tech to my home three times to fix an issue that was never resolved. I currently own two Dell laptops and two Dell desktop PC's, but my experience with the XPS 435MT has been such that I most likely won't purchase any more computers from Dell in the future.

    Once again, I thank everyone who responded to this forum. The information you provided saved me a great deal of time and headache troubleshooting the problem with my 435MT.

  • Wow, this thread has been a dream come true!! I have been combing the net trying to find some solutions.

    A severe thunderstorm passed by me a few days ago and my apt flooded..a total mess. My computer was on hibernating and the time and I was at work so I couldn't shut it off and I guess it got zapped by the storm (no water reached it). I have the green light on the back and an orange light internally and absolutely nothing happens when I try to power it on. I suspected it was the MOBO, but I am going to start with the power supply. I have built a couple small Comps before so I think I can handle this. Will a Corsair GS600 be a good option or should I go with a GS500?

    Thank you to everyone for all the great advice ^_^