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Power Issue - Blinking Amber LED - Dimension E520

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So, I'm working on dusting and re-installing windows on a machine. I did the dusting but now I'm having issues with a blinking amber LED. The system will not power up at all---no fans or beeps.

After looking through some posts for ideas, I'm thinking that it's either a bad power supply or an issue with the heat sink.

I'm thinking power supply because that seems to be a common issue. How can I test the existing one? Is there a way to fire it up without it being connected to the motherboard?

The reason I'm suspicious of the heat sink is that I removed it when I was doing the dusting. I was planning to fire it up tonight and get some new thermal paste in the next few days. I've since read that this could be a recipe for frying the CPU altogether and I'm wondering if the machine isn't firing up as a self preservation check of some kind.

Would it detect if I removed the heat sink? If that's what's going on, will it automatically detect when the new thermal paste is in there? Or is there a reset procedure of some kind?

Any help would be great. Thanks!

As a side note, the design of this box is poor. I can't find any way to effectively dust the heat sink without removing it from the CPU. The openings in the power supply don't match up either, so you can't blow a nice stream of air through the box. 

Verified Answer
  • chelseasounder

    A blinking amber power switch LED means the computer is receiving electrical power, but an internal power problem might exist.

    This can indicate a bad power supply

    Are the Diagnostic Lights on the front panel lite?

    The Diagnostic Codes are HERE.

    Have you checked that all the cables to the motherboard and drives are properly connected, by disconnecting and reconnecting them?

    Bev.

     

    If my answer was helpful, please use the 'Did this answer the question' and click: Yes
    Forum Member since 2001
    I am not employed by Dell

All Replies
  • chelseasounder

    A blinking amber power switch LED means the computer is receiving electrical power, but an internal power problem might exist.

    This can indicate a bad power supply

    Are the Diagnostic Lights on the front panel lite?

    The Diagnostic Codes are HERE.

    Have you checked that all the cables to the motherboard and drives are properly connected, by disconnecting and reconnecting them?

    Bev.

     

    If my answer was helpful, please use the 'Did this answer the question' and click: Yes
    Forum Member since 2001
    I am not employed by Dell

  • Just did, disconnected everything, removed all of the components, and then reconnected the power supply. Essentially down to PSU and Motherboard but there's still the flashing amber light and no other activity.

  • Update, did a paperclip power supply test and it fired up OK. Seems like it's something on the motherboard then?

  • chelseasounder

    The only 100% method of testing a PSU, is to install a known working power supply.

    As the power supply checked out, remove the power cord, hold the power button in for several seconds to discharge the residue power, reconnect, if disconnected,  the 24-pin connector to the motherboard.

    Remove all the PCI cards, the video card [if applicable], memory, all peripherals, disconnect the data and power cables to all the drives, check that the front panel cable is connected to motherboard, with nothing else connected to the system, reconnect the power cable and power the system on.

    If there is no difference in the 'Beep' codes and/or the LED indication of the power button, it would appear that the motherboard has died, and/or maybe the processor.  

    Note, the processor rarely fails.

    Bev.

     

    If my answer was helpful, please use the 'Did this answer the question' and click: Yes
    Forum Member since 2001
    I am not employed by Dell

  • Went and got a new power supply and I'm back up and running. Thanks for the help, Bev.

  • chelseasounder

    Happy to have helped.

    Bev.

     

    If my answer was helpful, please use the 'Did this answer the question' and click: Yes
    Forum Member since 2001
    I am not employed by Dell

  • What is a "paperclip power supply test" in this context, I'm having the exact same issue, after cleaning out (dusting/vacuuming) the box...

  • BobbyPK

    What is a "paperclip power supply test" in this context, I'm having the exact same issue, after cleaning out (dusting/vacuuming) the box...

     
    BobbyPK
     
    First try checking all the power and data cables to the drives and motherboard, by disconnecting and reconnecting them.
          
    Unplug the cord from the power supply, hold the power button in for about 15/20 seconds, open the case, unplug the 24-pin power connector from the motherboard and jump the Green wire to one of the Black wires, reconnect the power cord and power the system, if power supply's fan and the hard drive run, then the PSU should be good.

    Do not remove any wires from the plug, use a small piece of wire or a paper clip as a jumper.
     
    Note: The only 100% method of testing a PSU, is to install a known working power supply.
     
    Bev.
     

     

    If my answer was helpful, please use the 'Did this answer the question' and click: Yes
    Forum Member since 2001
    I am not employed by Dell

  • After a friends house was hit by lightning, they brought me their PC. First the power button was solid orange, so I replaced the motherboard. Then the power light was flashing orange, so I tested with a known good power supply, and it fired right up! Hope this helps someone!