Dell 4600C - Amber light after replacing fan

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Dell 4600C - Amber light after replacing fan

  • Hello all,

    My fan died out last week and the replacement came today. Easy install, but now I'm getting the dreaded solid amber light. No codes on the back. I've removed the RAM and reinsert, swapped ram sections, removed and reinstalled PCI cards, all with no luck. Does anyone out there have any other suggestions? I'm hoping it's not the PSU, but it's looking that way. Let me know what you think.

    Thank you,

    Brandon
  • Did you rule out the fan?

    You can also try to run the PSU with minimum loading (remove cards, drives, etc). If it doesn't run with just one HD (short green pin to black pin to start it up), then it needs replacing.

    Peter
  • I've never seen it happen, but that by no means means that it can't--the replacement fan could be shorted.  It's hooked to the same +12V supply that runs the drives.  A short on that line prevents the power supply from coming on, and that's what the amber light signifies.  Unplug the fan and turn the system on.  If it works that way, the fan is unquestionably defective.  Don't run it 'long' that way, it will overheat, but for a few minutes of testing nothing bad will happen (except an error message about fan failure).

    There's a mini-plethora of other possibilities.  But when a symptom occurs after changing something, the first thing to try is un-changing it and see if it goes back to working the way it did.

  • Thanks for the suggestions.

    The fan runs when I start the computer and get the amber. With the fan removed, still amber. So I figure that rules out the fan. The "short green pin to short black pin" of your suggestion confuses me. If you can elaborate on how/where I'd find them, I'd greatly appreciate it.

  • bjthacker wrote:
    The "short green pin to short black pin" of your suggestion confuses me. If you can elaborate on how/where I'd find them, I'd greatly appreciate it.


    If you disconnec the motherboard from the PSU, the power switch is no longer connected to the PSU. Hence, you can turn the PSU on by shorting (connecting electrically) the green pin to the black pin on the motherboard PSU connector. Take a look and you will get it. You need a paper clip or short piece of wire to make the connection. Make sure not to short anything else out. Connect at least one HD (or CD drive) to the PSU so it has some load.

    Peter
  • Ok, that was cool. When I connected green and black, the drive started running. Does that mean the PSU is fine or that it is putting out too little power?
  • The 'C' in 4600C stands for compact.  There is less clearance for anything, particularly cables, to be misplaced.  At this point, it sounds like a cable has become pinched from opening and closing the chassis.  Recheck that nothing is 'in the way' of the chassis closing.

    It's also possible that something else has coincidentally failed.  But any time you 'disturb' an otherwise-working system and come up with a new symptom, procedure calls for thoroughly rechecking what you disturbed.



  • bjthacker wrote:
    Ok, that was cool. When I connected green and black, the drive started running. Does that mean the PSU is fine or that it is putting out too little power?




    It means the PSU is not totally dead. It could be a problem with the motherboard, the cpu, pci cards. It could also be a problem with the supply being "weak" as you suggested or a problem with something other than +12 and +5. I would try reconnecting things back to the PSU to see if you can find the one that breaks it.

    Peter
  • Thanks again for all of the help.

    I checked the case and it seems to be closing fine.

    I also was able to short start just the hard drive.  When I tried just the CD/DVD drive, I didn't hear or see anything to let me know it had power.  I tried ejecting it but no luck.  Also, I tried to boot the computer with out the PSU connected to the CD/DVD but still the "Amber light of higher credit card bills."

  • Well, good news is I found the problem.  Bad news, I'm an idiot.  The processor was stuck to the bottom of the old heat sinc and, due to some bent pins, now needs to be replaced.  It was originally a P4 2.8 ghz.  Would there be a problem if I upgraded to a P4 3.0ghz 800 processor?  I'm having difficulty finding info on the 4600c motherboard and the processors it can handle.

    Thanks again for all of the help.

  • Yeah, that sticking to heatsink thing.  Couple ways to work around:  If it will run, run it until it's hot before removing heatsink (the compound solidifies when cold).  If it won't run, pull heatsink straight up, less likely to bend pins.  Slowly pry CPU loose (coin or wide screwdriver) so it doesn't 'pop' off and bang the pins on the table.  That's all water under the horse at this point though.

    I don't think the 4600C motherboard supports 800FSB; I do think the new CPU will slow down accordingly.  You wouldn't gain much, if anything.  A CPU that matches the 4600C MB would also be cheaper.  Find the FSB spec for your system on Dell support site, match the CPU to that.