XPS 420 Won't Start, Solid Amber Light

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XPS 420 Won't Start, Solid Amber Light

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I don't know why the first desktop I've ever owned that broke down is a Dell, but it definitely upsets me seeing as how I spent over $2000 on my XPS 420, and less than $600 on any other computer I've ever owned (which I used for 4+ years on average).  I've had this computer for exactly 1.5 years.  It's had a couple of glitches, such as the HDMI cable not working if the computer gets shut off, computer turning itself on sporadically when it is in sleep mode, etc... but this morning it stopped functioning completely. What's worse about all of this, is the $2000 computer I paid for lacks customer support, I have to pay for it.  Of all the "cheapo" computers I've used in the past, I was ALWAYS able to call the manufacturer for free if there was any issue, regardless of how long I'd owned it.

I was awoken by the whirring of the main fan on my computer (another one of those times when the computer decides it's time to wake itself up without anyone's input), except this time the computer never finished it's turn on phase (you know, when the fan quiets down and the thing powers up), I just kept hearing the fan that sounded like a skipping record (sound of it went up and down very fast, over and over and over again, and never stopped).  I looked at it, and the power button was solid amber.  I tried shutting it down and restarting, and again, the same thing.  I went through Dell's lengthy online help program to diagnose my problem, and after tearing every component out of my computer, they told me to contact customer support (of course, I have to pay for it!).  One thing is for sure, I'll never in my life purchase another Dell (as my brother in-law recently had similar problems with his), but I'm hoping someone will be able to help me fix my problem so I can continue using this extremely expensive piece of un-reliable machinery.

All Replies
  • Wow, this can not be a strange coincidence.  I also have an XPS 420.  I awoke this morning,7/4/09, to it in what appeared to be sleep mode.  Amber power button.  But it would not wake.  I have gone through every part as well and can not get it to post.

    Just as above It will make a sound as if one of the fans is running, or trying to run.  A soft repedable skiping sound is heard.

    And of corse I am now out of warenty.

    :(

  • Cammiegrl 

    What is the reading of the four diagnostic lights on the Top Bezel?

    The XPS 420 Troubleshooting guide is HERE

    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

  • Bev,

    I wish I could tell you what the reading was, but my diagnostic lights are not functioning.  Even through all of the testing they made me go through, and ripping out 1-3 things at a time, plugging it back in and testing it, my diagnostic lights never came on.  During the "test" procedures, Dell made me do, the amber light switched from solid to blinking amber at one point.  It also made a really high pitch alarm noise whenever the video card was unplugged. 

    The up and down oscillations are coming from the fan on the video card (Nvidia 8800GT?).  Originally I thought they were coming from the power fan, as it oscillates a bit when it first starts up, and is generally pretty loud when it first starts up, but after taking off the cover, I realized the video card is what's making the noise.  Unplugging it solves nothing, it just makes the alarm noise go off (unless of course you remove the whole card completely from the motherboard).  I wish there was a way for me to post a video on here so I could show you what I'm talking about and you could hear what it's doing. 

     

    Cammie

  • I can not answer for cammiegrl but as for me I have none.

    The 4 lights do not light up, but the lan light flashes very dimly as does the green light on the back of the psu.

    I belive the issue is the underpowered psu that dell puts in the systems.  Currently it is a 420w psu for a quad core unit with 2 stat drives in raid and a NV 9800 GTX video card.  Nvidia recomends at least 450w for the card alone.  In the past few weeks I would occasionly get a shut down with the audible alarm on the video card going off.  At the time I was not sure what the alarm was coming from until this morning when testing what was wrong.  I disconected one power plug from the video card and the alarm came on.  My assumption is in the past few weeks the powersuply has been starting to fail, with an overdraw of power on it for all these months, and this was a warning.

    I have been disatisfied since day 1 of my $2000+ purchase of this system.  1) it was shiped with Vista Home for a system with 4 gigs ram.  2) Tech support is lacking and not helpful, especialy when you need to point one of the dell techs to a Microsoft whitepage to prove to them that a 4 gig system should not be shiped with anything but 64bit windows. *head desk*  The x-fi card has had issue after issue with sound hickups, drop offs and then sound rushing out like a closet dumping on you from being cramed to full.

    So, is it a bad psu?  I hope so, that is less expensive for me to fix. But at this point I will NEVER purchase another Dell nor recomend it to my friends, family and blog readers.

  • Cammiegrl 

    If you are comfortable around computers, you could try the following to test the power supply.

    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 hard drive run, then the PSU should be good.

    Note: Do not remove any wires from the plug, use a small piece of wire or a paper clip as a jumper.

    Power supply checks out and the system still does not work, again remove the power cord, hold power button in for several seconds to discharge the residue power, reconnect 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 you do not get any beep codes and there is no change in the diagnostic lights on the front top bezel, then it would appear that the motherboard has died.

    HOW TO REMOVE & INSTALL PARTS

    http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/xps420/en/OM/HTML/parts.htm#wp1472790

    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

  • I don't know how or why, but I just went to go turn it on again, and this time I got a flashing amber light.  When I turn the computer on, it starts to fire, then shuts off.  It will wait 2-3 seconds, then try to fire again, which is the reason for the flashing amber light.  I noticed that when the light was flashing, the diagnostic lights came on for the first time!  The computer was going on and off too quickly to see which ones they were, so I hit the little button on the back of the power supply to power up the components, and it showed me lights 2 & 4, which is the video card.  I went ahead and reseated it, plugged it back in, and solid amber light again with no codes.  A few more tries of turning it on and off, and again I am being given the flashing amber (comp turning on and off).  Again, it is displaying the 2 and 4 numbers, so I am going to assume that this is actually a video card failure (makes sense seeing as how the video card is oscillating).  Anyhow, I'm going to buy a new card and see if it works.

     

    Cammie

  • Brand new to this whole computer scene so please bear with me.  I too have an XPS 200 with a solid amber light. We had the computer for about a month and my child downloaded music to her IPOD, using the computer. It hasn't worked since.  I just brought it to Best Buy Geeks who told me it's either the video card or the motherboard.  computer was used for about a month and has been sitting idle for over a year (my own fault).  anyway, they told me it wasn't worth fixing!

  • Cammiegrl

    I don't know how or why, but I just went to go turn it on again, and this time I got a flashing amber light.  When I turn the computer on, it starts to fire, then shuts off.  It will wait 2-3 seconds, then try to fire again, which is the reason for the flashing amber light.  I noticed that when the light was flashing, the diagnostic lights came on for the first time!  The computer was going on and off too quickly to see which ones they were, so I hit the little button on the back of the power supply to power up the components, and it showed me lights 2 & 4, which is the video card.  I went ahead and reseated it, plugged it back in, and solid amber light again with no codes.  A few more tries of turning it on and off, and again I am being given the flashing amber (comp turning on and off).  Again, it is displaying the 2 and 4 numbers, so I am going to assume that this is actually a video card failure (makes sense seeing as how the video card is oscillating).  Anyhow, I'm going to buy a new card and see if it works.

     Cammie

    Cammie

    Nice troubleshooting, please give a feedback on the results of replacing the video card.

    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

  • sbnurse

    Brand new to this whole computer scene so please bear with me.  I too have an XPS 200 with a solid amber light. We had the computer for about a month and my child downloaded music to her IPOD, using the computer. It hasn't worked since.  I just brought it to Best Buy Geeks who told me it's either the video card or the motherboard.  computer was used for about a month and has been sitting idle for over a year (my own fault).  anyway, they told me it wasn't worth fixing!

    sbnurse

    If it was just a failed video card, the XPS 200 is worth fixing, a motherboard, that's a maybe.

    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

  • @shesagordie

     

    So, do I have to start my own thread or is it just I get ignored?

  • manorton2000

    @shesagordie

     So, do I have to start my own thread or is it just I get ignored?

     

    manorton200 

    No, you are not being ignored, but Cammiegrl is the OP and to avoid confusion, her posts are answered first.

    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

  • manorton2000

    I can not answer for cammiegrl but as for me I have none.

    The 4 lights do not light up, but the lan light flashes very dimly as does the green light on the back of the psu.

    I belive the issue is the underpowered psu that dell puts in the systems.  Currently it is a 420w psu for a quad core unit with 2 stat drives in raid and a NV 9800 GTX video card.  Nvidia recomends at least 450w for the card alone.  In the past few weeks I would occasionly get a shut down with the audible alarm on the video card going off.  At the time I was not sure what the alarm was coming from until this morning when testing what was wrong.  I disconected one power plug from the video card and the alarm came on.  My assumption is in the past few weeks the powersuply has been starting to fail, with an overdraw of power on it for all these months, and this was a warning.

    I have been disatisfied since day 1 of my $2000+ purchase of this system.  1) it was shiped with Vista Home for a system with 4 gigs ram.  2) Tech support is lacking and not helpful, especialy when you need to point one of the dell techs to a Microsoft whitepage to prove to them that a 4 gig system should not be shiped with anything but 64bit windows. *head desk*  The x-fi card has had issue after issue with sound hickups, drop offs and then sound rushing out like a closet dumping on you from being cramed to full.

    So, is it a bad psu?  I hope so, that is less expensive for me to fix. But at this point I will NEVER purchase another Dell nor recomend it to my friends, family and blog readers.

     

    manorton200

    Is the power button LED, solid blue, blinking blue, solid amber, blinking amber, or not lite, are there any 'Beeps'?

    Use the same procedures I posted for 'Cammiegrl', to check the power supply and motherboard.

    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

  • Solid Amber

    Yes, I did exactly what you described to Cammiegrl.  No beeps, just a flashing green light on the back of the powersuply.

    If you hold the button on the powersuply, not the front, it will turn all the fans in the system on to full speed.  But when you press the power button on the front it goes to solid amber with no top display signals.

    Thanks

    Mike

  • manorton2000

    Solid Amber

    Yes, I did exactly what you described to Cammiegrl.  No beeps, just a flashing green light on the back of the powersuply.

    If you hold the button on the powersuply, not the front, it will turn all the fans in the system on to full speed.  But when you press the power button on the front it goes to solid amber with no top display signals.

    Thanks

    Mike

     

    manorton200

    After you checked the motherboard, did the diagnostic lights change, or were there any 'Beeps'?

    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

  • No change at all, it is the same.