Flashing amber light on DELL XPS 420 (dead PSU maybe?)

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Flashing amber light on DELL XPS 420 (dead PSU maybe?)

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My PC seems to be dead.  There is a flashing amber light on the power button when I turn it on.  PC turns on however, no boot screen.  Looking around the net the issue may be:

- power supply

- dead motherboard

- CMOS battery

- bad RAM

- loose/bent pins in USB slots

- failed drives

- video card

I checked everything other than the PSU and motherboard.  I uninstalled everything and put them back in one by one but the flashing light was still there.  I'm guessing it's the PSU but I'm not entirely sure.  Don't want to spend on a new one without getting some advice so let me explain.

2 days ago my PC had downloaded updates and needed a reboot.  My PC crashed and it restarted.  During boot process, some lines of text appeared over a black screen.  I immediately thought to myself some updates weren't properly configured.   Shortly after it restarted again and began booting up normally minus the weird text.  Windows began configuring updates.  After logging in I checked to see if any updates had failed installing but I couldn't find any although I'm not sure if i missed anything.  My computer shut off again yesterday only this time, a flashing amber light appeared on the power button where it would normally be blue.  No boot screen, nothing.

I have a GeForce GTX 460 that I bought in August of last year and it's been running in the system ever since without a hitch.  It gets hot under heavy load(over 80 but always under 90).  Everything else in the system is stock including the PSU(425 watts).  I'm assuming the PSU is the cause but I'm not sure.  Could be a dead motherboard or it could be a problem with updates possibly not configuring properly(doubtful since system crash occurred prior to this).  It's not the video card since I tested it on another system and it worked fine.  I noticed when I power on the system the fans all work and spin quietly and the flashing light appears.  There's a little button on the back of the PSU.  When I press it everything turns on except there is no light at all on the power button, and the fans spin much faster and louder. 

I'm looking for some help here.   Any feedback from someone knowledgeable in this area would be much appreciated.

Specs if needed:

Quad Core Q6600

Stock 4gigs RAM, motherboard, drives

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 460

Windows Vista 32-bit

All Replies
  •  needhelp_90

    Check the reading of the 4 diagnostic lights on the front panel.

    Are there any error messages, or 'Beeps'?

    THIS is the XPS 420 troubleshooter and diagnostic guide.

    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

  • Thank you for the quick response.

    On my system there are 4 diagnostic lights lined up vertically and another 2 right beside it also lined up vertically.  None of the 4 light up at all when I power on the system. However, the first light on the 2nd row blinks once when I turn on the PC.  After that nothing else.  No blinking, no noise.

  •  needhelp_90

    As none of the four diagnostic lights are not lite, it could be a bad power supply.

    Does the power supply fan work?

     If you are comfortable working around computers, you could try the following:

    Note: The only 100% method of testing a PSU, is to install a known working 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 on, if power supply's fan and the 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 the 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/or there is no change in the diagnostic lights, it would appear that the motherboard and/or the processor has died.

    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

  • Thank you for taking the time to write a long, informative response.  Unfortunately, I'll probably end up electrocuting myself if I try what you suggested. 

    Would you happen to know what could cause a pre-bios failure?  Also, let's say the cpu/mobo are dead - is it possible for me to retrieve data from the 2 SATA drives that I have configured in raid 0?  I'm thinking if the cpu/mobo no longer works well then I might as well upgrade, but I still want the files from the hard drives.  If it's possible what would be the correct process?

  • needhelp_90

    As the two hard drives are a RAID 0, that has no redundancy, I doubt that you can retrieve the files and folders, unless you use the services of a data recovery company and that will be expensive.

    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