I just acquired a Dell Dimension 9200 in a trade and upon receiving it, it booted up just fine and once integrated into my work area (2 PCs sharing mouse, monitor, and keyboard via a KVM switch) and on my home network I noticed a few buggie items. My mouse pointer would occasionally stop moving, for as little as a second here or there to up to approximately 10-15 seconds. I just assumed it had something to do with the Microsoft wireless mouse I'm using and didn't give it much further thought. Then a few days later I left both machines running when I went to bed one night. The next morning the 9200 wouldn't wake up. I'm not sure if it was actually in sleep mode, but when I moved the mouse nothing happened, the screen didn't light up and display my desktop on the 9200. My old homemade AMD-based machine woke up just fine, but the 9200 did not.
So, with very little experience with a Dell machine, I decided to hold the power button to turn it off, but didn't even notice if any diagnostic lights were on at the time. After powering the 9200 off, I restarted the machine and noticed that it didn't come up. The power was on, but I never got a POST beep and the OS was never loaded. It was then that I noticed diagnostic lights 3 & 4 were lit. I then consulted the manual and learned that the two lights that were lit indicated a memory problem. So, instead of following the recommended procedure for checking memory, I just open the case and pushed down on all 4 memory modules to make sure they were fully seated. I then closed the case and tried powering up. The PC booted up just fine, so I figured everything was fine.
That night when I went to bed, I again left my PCs running. The next day the Dell Dimension 9200 had failed again with the same two diagnostic lights lit. Faced with the same problem as before, I decided to read the forums here for some ideas and finally decided I needed to try to test the memory. This is where I am now, I have removed all 4 memory modules. I figured out which slots were which and placed one pair of memory in the proper slots and started the PC, it failed to boot. I replaced that pair with the other pair and the PC failed to boot with that pair of memory modules as well.
So, at this point I'm stumped. I'm not sure it's truly a memory problem, since I've been able to use the PC since I first encountered the diagnostic lights being lit for a memory problem. Can a memory problem be sporadic like that, I just assumed memory either works or it doesn't... no in between. Also, is there anyway short of buying new memory to determine if this is indeed the problem? I mean, how likely is it that all four memory modules have problems? I guess it could be as little as 2 of the 4 modules being messed up, one from each pair. Can I try a single memory card, or do I need to always use at least a pair? Is there any danger in using one from each pair to form another pair for testing? Heck, I'm not even sure if the cards were matched up in proper pairs to begin with. I pulled the lower two cards out first (which turned out to be slots 1 & 3), then the upper two out (which turned out to be slots 2 & 4) thinking I was keeping them in pairs. I then read the serial number on each memory stick and found that I had two consecutively numbered pairs (14885-14886 and 14987-14988). I can't say for sure if they came out in the proper pairs, but I can say that I've paired them up properly for testing. Each time the C has failed to boot.
So what would you suggest I do now?
If my answer was helpful, please use the 'Did this answer the question' and click: YesForum Member since 2001I am not employed by Dell
shesagordie wrote:JD9399Try using one module, not pairs.
Okay, I tried each of the 4 memory modules individually in slot 1 and was unable to boot the system with any of them. Now, did you mean for me to try a single memory module in slots other than slot 1?
shesagordie wrote:JD9399Yes, try all the slots, like I posted.Bev.
I tried each memory module in each slot one at a time and never once got the PC to boot. I'm having a hard time believing that all four memory sticks are bad.
So, what's the next step? I can't afford to spend too much on new memory for test purposes, especially since I won't be able to return it once I use it, whether my PC boots or not. What's the cheapest form of memory I could buy to complete this memory test?
It looks like I'm going to place a call to Dell and pay $50 to have a tech diagnose the problem. It's cheaper than buying the memory I'd need to continue testing.
I'll let y'all know what the problem ends up being... I have a hunch it's going to be the motherboard, not the memory.
JD9399 wrote:It looks like I'm going to place a call to Dell and pay $50 to have a tech diagnose the problem. It's cheaper than buying the memory I'd need to continue testing.
I am having second thoughts about using Dell service. I dialed the number this morning, but the recording said something that made me think that all I'd get for my $49 is an opportunity to talk to a Dell technician and to tell him or her my story. I think I'll perform a few more tests before going that route. I just don't see how a service tech could have me do anything that would tell them what's wrong with my machine without them looking at it themselves.
I'm going to bring my memory into work and test it in a known working machine (a Dell) that uses DDR2 memory.
Also, I'm wondering about the validity of the test I was instructed to perform when both the Dell website and the Crucial Memory site say that the machine requires a pair of memory modules.
Dell.comInstallation in matched pairs of modules is required, please order quantity two. Dell Branded memory offered in the Memory Selector is fully compatible and supported by Dell. Memory offered now may differ in speed from the original system memory but has been qualified to work in the system. When mixed, the memory will perform at the lowest speed populated or the highest speed allowed by the system.
Installation in matched pairs of modules is required, please order quantity two. Dell Branded memory offered in the Memory Selector is fully compatible and supported by Dell. Memory offered now may differ in speed from the original system memory but has been qualified to work in the system. When mixed, the memory will perform at the lowest speed populated or the highest speed allowed by the system.
Crucial.comQ: Do I have to install matching pairs?A: Yes.Your system requires that you install memory in pairs.
Q: Do I have to install matching pairs?A: Yes.Your system requires that you install memory in pairs.
Unbelieveable! The machine is working, it was NOT the memory at all, despite what the diagnostic indicators said.
So what did I do to bring my PC back to life? I unplugged the USB cable that ran to my Dell 2407WFP monitor. The monitor has a 4-port USB hub and two card readers built into it. Once I unpluged it the PC was able to boot up.
I wonder what I'll have to do to be able to use those USB ports? I guess I could always go back to XP Pro and see how stable the PC is running that instead of Vista Home Basic.
Oh well, at least the PC isn't a total loss.
Even more unbelievable... the machine shutdown in the middle of the night and wouldn't boot for me this morning and is showing the same diagnostic lights (3&4).The only thing left to unplug is the keyboard and mouse from the KVM switch.Sigh... nothing like getting 5 hours of sleep and waking to find the PC you'd just fixed ain't fixed.
A friend of mine suggested it might either be overheating or have a faulty power supply. I doubt the unit is overheating since it won't boot even after being off all day. As for the power supply, I guess I could swap it for an Antec I have, assuming the Antec PS meets the requirements of the system. All I know offhand about the Antec is it's label says it's a 450W power supply.
More later, after I put in my day at work.
Bev or anyone else reading,
Can you tell me if this Antec power supply meets the requirements of the Dimension 9200?
Antec Model SP-450, 450W SmartPower 2.0 featuresspecifications
Antec Model SP-450, 450W SmartPower 2.0
JD9399 wrote:Bev or anyone else reading, Can you tell me if this Antec power supply meets the requirements of the Dimension 9200? Antec Model SP-450, 450W SmartPower 2.0featuresspecifications
Antec Model SP-450, 450W SmartPower 2.0featuresspecifications
shesagordie wrote:JD9399The Antec power supply shown here, should be fine.Bev.
I'm going to try to swap it out tonight and see if it is the answer to my problems.
This whole mess is pretty discouraging.