Problems with Dell Dimension 4600 Motherboard

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Problems with Dell Dimension 4600 Motherboard

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I recently got a hold of a Dell Dimension 4600 motherboard from a friend of mine, and I am having some troubles.  I'm just going to start off by listing in order what happens when i start it up:

1.  Press power button to start computer, it powers up.

2.  Fans on computer start spinning, but nothing else happens- there is no video to my monitor, there is no 'POST complete' beep, the HDD and CD drive do not spin up (also the cd tray wont open when i press the button, also no lights on the front of the cd drive) and it sits there with the fans running.

3.  I then proceed to shut down the computer, the only way to do this is to hold down the power button for 5 seconds to do a hard shut down- this is when things get weird.  Sometimes after I shut down the computer this way, it starts itself back up again, and sits there- no input from myself.  I then shut it down and if I have to unplug the power cord so it does not 'ghost start.' (This may be the button on the case, although I doubt it is)

 

This motherboard is in a generic case, I found the pin config for the front panel to hook up all the front lights and buttons and such.  It also has 4 RAM chips (1GB + 1GB + 768MB + 768MB =~2.5GB RAM) [all memory slots filled]  I checked to see if it was the memory by swapping it out as I know that computers will not POST without memory or with bad memory, but no avail.  The funny thing is, If there is NO RAM in the computer, it does the same exact no-POST thing (maybe bad memory slots/bus?)

I also have tried hooking up different PSUs (power supplies), swapping the IDE cables, everything, but still I cannot get this thing to POST.  There is a single LED light near the front panel hookup, but I don't think it is an error light (I may be wrong) because I can only see 2 LEDs in that place.  There are no other lights that light up when the computer is on.

So far the only cards in the PCI/AGP slots are: 128MB video card, an extra PCI 10/100mbps Network card (plus the built in networking makes 2 ethernet ports), and a PCI dial up card. 

I cannot figure out what the problem is, I'm thinking that this motherboard is dead, but my friend claims that it works, so its been leaving me wondering. 

I would appreciate any help on the matter because if it is a bad motherboard, I have to go buy another motherboard as I need another computer for my work. 

Thanks for the help in advance,

Skip

All Replies
  • Skipwich

    Check the Sequence of the Diagnostic Lights on the back panel of the motherboard, you can find the Diagnostic Guide and Service Manual 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

  • I had a problem like this with my 2350. I took out all but one memory DIMM (it only holds two), reset the CMOS, and it powered up.

    It's worth trying.

    BTW have you installed a third party CPU heatsink and fan? Stock, the 4600 has a passive heatsink that is cooled by the case fan (which directs the airflow through a plastic shroud).

  • rdunnill,

    Actually yes I did, because it was given to me without a heatsink fan, so I dug through all my computer parts to find one, I had to splice the wires to the special CPU fan hookup on the motherboard (it isn't a usual CPU fan hookup than what I did, I did have the special clip though to hook it up to the motherboard, it was just a matter of splicing the wires onto that). Right now the fan is set up to blow onto the heatsink, not away from it (I don't know if the direction really matters in which the fan blows).  I do not have the plastic shroud, however, as I did not receive one with the board and it is in a generic case, it just has a fan on the heatsink, a regular case fan in the front of the case, and one of those card-slot fans that take up one of the slots on the back of the case.

    I did try your idea for putting in only one DIMM into the board, resetting the CMOS, and going from there.  It did not seem to work as it still has the same things happening as it did before.

    Thanks,

    Skip

  • shesagordie,

    I checked out to see if the board was displaying any Diagnotic Lights on the back of the motherboard, but none of the lights light up.  According to the link that you gave me, it said that this means that the computer is off, or there was a possible pre-BIOS failure.  I'm thinking that it is the latter as the computer was powered on, but it is not POSTing (which is the job of BIOS), so would you have any idea what this means and how should I proceed in either scrapping or fixing this motherboard?

    Thanks,

    Skip

  • Skipwich

    As there are no Diagnostic Lights, or 'Beeps' and the power supply is working, then there's a good possibility the motherboard is bad.

    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

  • As a last straw, another time I've had this kind of problem is when I neglected to attach the second (four-pin) power supply connector to the mainboard.

     

  • Wouldn't you know, I have the exact same problems with my dimension 4600. All the problems of not powering off after a hard power down. Then now it doesn't post any beeps or even spin the CPU fan. I changed the CPU fan before because the original stopped working but since I changed it the motherboard wouldn't post or even power on now. Did you get your dimension 4600 working? If so could you recommend the steps you took. Your assistance would be greatly appreciated. Best regards, Ekmoorhead