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Vostro 400 Fails to Boot, Solid Amber Power Light

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Vostro 400 Fails to Boot, Solid Amber Power Light

This question has been answered by shesagordie

I've been having trouble with my computer lately. It started maybe a month ago. I transport my computer on the weekends, so one round trip. I brought it back home once, and after hooking everything back up, I pressed the power button and it wouldn't turn on. All that happened was the power button, which is normally blue, was amber this time, and the green light on the back of the computer, presumably on the power supply, would turn off. When I hold the power button to turn this amber power light off, it turns the green light on the back of the computer back on. This green light is always on in normal cicumstances, on or off. It's probably a bad idea to do, but the amber light stays on even when the power cord is unplugged. I never quite figured out how I was getting it to boot up exactly, but after I got it to boot, everything would function normally. In fact, after transporting it and getting it to boot that first time after being hooked up again, every time from then on until I transported it again it would boot just fine with no problem whatsoever. To prevent it from having a problem booting, I would make sure I didn't leave it unplugged for long, and it would boot up fine as long as I left it plugged in for a little while first.

 However, last night when I brought it back and plugged it in, even after being plugged in all night it refuses to boot. So I'm figuring there's something wrong with either the power supply or the motherboard from what I can gather, probably, but I'm not sure which if it is one of those. I heard it was a good idea to turn the power supply off when transporting it, but I found out mine does not have a switch, just thought I would note that.

Today I tried unplugging everything but the monitor and the keyboard and see if that would work. I also tried checking the cords to make sure they were hooked into the computer well, and they seemed to be. I  have not unplugged them however for fear of breaking the motherboard or something. I did note that the motherboard's amber light is on whether or not the amber power light is on or off, whether that changes or not when it's booted normally I don't know. I also confirmed that the cords plugged into the power button weren't loose, I checked them as well as I could.


Hopefully I've accounted for all relevant information (I probably have a lot of irrelevant information too, but just to be thorough):


Power supply:
Model #: HP-P3017F3P
CN-0FY632-42940-7A9-0084 REV A00

Motherboard:
FOXCONN  G33M02
CN-0RN474-73604-7B4-02XE REV A01

*I'm pretty sure the above numbers have 0's and not O's, but I can't be certain.

 

Vostro 400

Specs:


Processor:
 
Processor type
Intel® Core™ 2 Quad processor. FSB up to 1333MHz

Intel® Pentium® Dual-Core processor
 
Level 2 (L2) cache
At least 512 KB pipelined-burst, eight-way set associative, writeback SRAM
 


Memory:
 
Type
667-MHz, 800-MHz DDR2 SDRAM
 
Memory connectors
four
 
Memory capacities
512 MB, 1 GB or 2 GB
*I don't remember which, either 1 or 2
 
Minimum memory
1 GB
 
Maximum memory
4 GB

 


Computer Information:
 
Chipset
ICH9 and Intel G33
 
RAID Support
RAID 1 (Mirroring)
 
DMA channels
seven
 
Interrupt levels
24
 
BIOS chip (NVRAM)
16 Mb
 
NIC
Integrated network interface capable of 10/100 communication
 


Video:
 
Type
Intel integrated video
 


Audio:
 
Type
Realtec ALC888 (7.1 Channel audio)
 


Expansion Bus:
 
Bus type
PCI 2.3
PCI Express 1.0A
SATA 1.0 and 2.0
USB 2.0
 

Bus speed
PCI: 133 MB/s

PCI Express:

x1 slot bidirectional speed - 500 MB/s

x16 slot bidirectional speed - 8GB/s

SATA: 1.5 Gbps and 3.0 Gbps
USB: 480 Mbps high speed, 12 Mbps full speed, 1.2 Mbps low speed


PCI: 
 
connectors
two
 
connector size
124 pins
 
connector data width (maximum)
32 bits


PCI Express
 
connector
one x1
 
connector size
36 pins
 
connector data width (maximum)
1 PCI Express lane
 

 PCI Express
 
connector
one x16
 
connector size
164 pins
 
connector data width (maximum)
16 PCI Express lanes
 


Drives:
 
Externally accessible:
one 3.5-inch drive bay (FlexBay)
two 5.25-inch drive bays
 
Internally accessible
two 3.5-inch drive bays
 
Available devices
two 3.5-inch Serial ATA hard drives and two 5.25-inch Serial ATA CD-ROM, CD-RW, DVD-ROM,
DVD+/-RW, or combo drive (optional)
*I think I have a DVD+/-RW only
 
one 3.5-inch floppy drive (optional) or Media Card Reader (optional)
 


Connectors
 
External connectors:
 
Video
15-hole connector
 
Network adapter
RJ-45 connector
 
USB
four front-panel and four back-panel USB 2.0-compliant connectors
 
Audio
six connectors for 7.1 support
 
System board connectors:
 
Serial ATA
four 7-pin connectors
 
Internal USB device
two 10-pin connector (supports four USB ports)
 
Floppy drive
one 34-pin connector
 
Processor fan
one 4-pin connector
 
Chassis fan
one 3-pin connector
 
PCI 2.3
two 124-pin connectors
 
PCI Express x1
one 36-pin connector
 
PCI Express x16
one 164-pin connector
 
Front panel control
one 10-pin connector
 
Front panel USB
two 10-pin connectors
 
Front panel audio HDA header
one 10-pin connector
 
Processor
one 775-pin connector
 
Memory
four 240-pin connectors
 
Power 12V
one 4-pin connector
 
Power
one 24-pin connector
 


Controls and Lights
 
Front of computer:
 
Power button
push button
 
Power light
blue light — Blinking blue in sleep state; solid blue for power-on state

amber light — The blinking amber indicates a problem with the system board. A solid amber light when the system does not boot indicates that the system board cannot start initialization. This could be a system board or a power supply problem (see Power Problems).
 
Drive activity light
blue light — A blinking blue light indicates the computer is reading data from or writing data to the SATA hard drive or CD/DVD.
 
Rear of computer:
 
 
Link integrity light (on integrated network adapter)
green light — A good connection exists between the network and the computer.

off (no light) — The computer is not detecting a physical connection to the network.
 
Network activity light (on integrated network adapter)
yellow blinking light
 


Power
 
DC power supply:
 
Wattage
300 W or 350 W
 
Maximum heat dissipation (MHD)
For 300 W power supply:162 W MHD

For 350 W power supply: 188W MHD

NOTE: Heat dissipation is calculated by using the power supply wattage rating.
 
Voltage (see the safety instructions located in the Product Information Guide for important voltage setting information)
115/230 VAC, 50/60 Hz, 7A/4A
 
Coin cell battery
3-V CR2032 lithium coin cell
 

Environmental:
 
Temperature:
 
Operating
10° to 35°C (50° to 95°F)
 
Storage
–40° to 65°C (–40° to 149°F)
 
Relative humidity
20% to 80% (noncondensing)
 


Maximum vibration:
 
Operating
5 to 350 Hz at 0.0002 G2/Hz
 
Storage
5 to 500 Hz at 0.001 to 0.01 G2/Hz
 


Maximum shock:
 
Operating
40 G +/- 5% with pulse duration of 2 msec +/- 10% (equivalent to 20 in/sec [51 cm/sec])
 
Storage
 105 G +/- 5% with pulse duration of 2 msec +/- 10% (equivalent to 50 in/sec [127 cm/sec])
 


Altitude:
 
Operating
 –15.2 to 3048 m (–50 to 10,000 ft)
 
Storage
 –15.2 to 10,668 m (–50 to 35,000 ft)
 


Graphics card:
Nvidia geforce 8300 gs

 

I copied the specs from the Dell site, since I can't access my computer to find out. I had to guess at a couple things that I can't remember, but probably aren't relevant anyway. I did copy down what I thought might be important from the power supply and the motherboard.I'm using someone else's computer at the moment, so I'll check this thread when I can. If I could get some help that would be great.

Edit: Also, I posted elsewhere, http://www.techsupportforum.com/forums/f210/vostro-400-fails-to-boot-solid-amber-power-light-684967.html#post4028114, I hope that's okay.

Verified Answer
  • aphtershox

     Try the following, if you are comfortable working around computers:

    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, 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, 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 PCI cards from the system, take out the video card [if applicable], disconnect all peripherals, except the monitor, mouse and keyboard and disconnect the power & data cables from all drives. 

    Reconnect the power cord and power system on, see if you get a different LED indication on the power button, or 'Beeps'.

    No difference, remove the memory from the system and try again.

    Still shows no signs of life then you are looking at a motherboard replacement & maybe a processor. 

    Note: the processor rarely fails and the only method I know of checking a checking a processor, is to install it a compatible working PC, or use a known working processor.

    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

All Replies
  • aphtershox

    A solid /steady Amber power LED, indicates a power problem or an internal device malfunction

    Are there any 'Beeps'?

    First try opening the case and check that all power and data cables are properly connected, by removing and reconnecting them, also remove and reinstall any cards and the memory module and see if this will make a difference.

    The Vostro 400 Troubleshooter and Diagnostic Codes are HERE.<ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed / replaced from this post by Dell>

    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, there have been no beeps at all. No noises at all with the amber light, no fans or anything. I did manage to get my computer [to boot] by unplugging the power cord to the motherboard, though it seems to only work once until I do it again. Also, when I turned it off (I only did so because I had forgotten to plug in my peripherals first and it didn't recognize the monitor), I didn't need to hold the button. I've had this happen before, sometimes I need to hold the button to get it to go off, and sometimes just pressing it works. It seems arbitrary, but maybe I just didn't notice a pattern. After I shut it off, I did unplug and replug the motherboard power again and now it's working again, again everything seems fine except for just getting it to boot [consistently]. I have looked at the troubleshooting guide already and I did check all the power cords.

    *Edited for clarity.

  • aphtershox

     Try the following, if you are comfortable working around computers:

    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, 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, 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 PCI cards from the system, take out the video card [if applicable], disconnect all peripherals, except the monitor, mouse and keyboard and disconnect the power & data cables from all drives. 

    Reconnect the power cord and power system on, see if you get a different LED indication on the power button, or 'Beeps'.

    No difference, remove the memory from the system and try again.

    Still shows no signs of life then you are looking at a motherboard replacement & maybe a processor. 

    Note: the processor rarely fails and the only method I know of checking a checking a processor, is to install it a compatible working PC, or use a known working processor.

    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 haven't gotten the chance to try [anything from this last post] yet, I was going to have some other people help me just to make sure I don't mess anything up all on my own, so I'll probably try soon. I did notice both after I used my computer this morning and after I got home from work today that it seems to be slower to load up things after I haven't used it for a while, having left it on. It seems to speed back up to normal after I do stuff, but just something I noticed that was a little bit abnormal.

    *Edited for clarity.

  • aphtershox

    I haven't gotten the chance to try any of this yet, I was going to have some other people help me just to make sure I don't mess anything up all on my own, so I'll probably try soon. I did notice both after I used my computer this morning and after I got home from work today that it seems to be slower to load up things after I haven't used it for a while, having left it on. It seems to speed back up to normal after I do stuff, but just something I noticed that was a little bit abnormal.

     

    aphtershox,

    A question, in your first post, you said, the Vostro 400 would not boot, now you say, it boots, but is slow, but 'seems to speed back up to normal'?

    You now have me perplexed, as to what you are saying?

    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 did manage to get my computer [to boot] by unplugging the power cord to the motherboard, though it seems to only  work once until I do it again. Also, when I turned it off (I only did so  because I had forgotten to plug in my peripherals first and it didn't  recognize the monitor), I didn't need to hold the button."

    "After I shut it off, I did unplug and replug the motherboard power again and now it's working again, again everything seems fine except for just getting it to boot [consistently]."

    "I haven't gotten the chance to try any of this [last post] yet"

    Sorry about that, I've added some things for clarity. Hope that helps.

  • I'm currently borrowing a power supply to test with. So far it seems to be fine, I've booted it up a few times without problems, and I don't seem to be having slowdown anymore, so I'm thinking I probably just need to buy another power supply, which I'll do for a more permanent test. I'll still need to do more tests, but I'll post back here and let you know after I'm done. Thanks for the help.

  • I got a new power supply, and all problems seem to be solved. Thanks again.

  • aphtershox

    That's great and thank you for the heads up.

    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 don't know if this thread is still active, but I'll try it. I have a similar issue. My Vostro 400 goes as far as the Dell black and white splash screen and locks. F2 and F12 keys do nothing (they're in the upper right corner). Haven't tried your suggestion about the power supply yet. If that doesn't work, any suggestions?

    Keith Hamm

  • KMHamm

    Keith Hamm,

    First try using the troubleshooting procedures, listed in this thread and report back with the results.

    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