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Dell Inspiron 1520 Laptop Power Problems


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Dell Inspiron 1520 Laptop Power Problems

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I was working on my Dell Inspiron Laptop 1520 one day and it just went POP. It refused to turn back on. After doing some research, I came across this thread here:

I did notice that when I plug in the wall adapter to the wall, the green light was on and steady. However, when I plugged in the other side of the adapter to the laptop, the green light went off. No matter what I did, none of the power indicator lights would turn on for the laptop.

I convinced myself that the motherboard needed replacing. Being out of warranty (GRRRRR), I ordered a replacement motherboard and I carefully installed the new motherboard using the instructions I found here:

So I got the laptop back together. I carefully checked that I put everything back to together. The only thing I did not put back in was the bluetooth cable that was attached, because I don't have anything bluetooth on the computer. The cable didn't appear to be connected to anything on the old motherboard, so I'm not sure why it was included.

The computer still won't turn on. The power adapter is reacting the same way, with the green light on and steady, until I plug it into the laptop. However, now when I plug in the wall-adapter, or just try the batter, I notice the blue power light comes on for about 3 seconds and then shuts off. I cannot hear any startup noise. At least now I'm getting some power to the newly installed motherboard.

I've tried using just the battery and get the same problem.
I've tried using just the power adapter and get the same problem.
I've tried using the power adapter with the battery installed and get the same problem.

I checked to ensure that the memory is installed and seated properly.
I also checked to ensure the hard drive is installed and seated properly.

Why won't my Dell Inspiron 1520 Laptop turn on?!
What does it mean when you get a blue indicator light for 3 seconds and then it turns off?

My frustration is growing!



All Replies
  • Have you tested the AC power adapter with a similar but operational laptop?



    Extreme Laptop travel in the Middle-East and Asia

  • No I have not yet been able to, because I don't have another similar laptop and I don't know anyone with one.

    At this point, I'm just going to order a new wall adapter, because I'm convinced that is the problem, after replacing the motherboard on the system.

    Is it ok to go aftermarket on these, or do you think I should stick with Dell brand? The Dell seem much more expensive.

    Thanks again for your response.

  • Ok, I ordered a DELL Replacement Wall Adapter and this new battery does the same thing.

    I plug the wall adapter into the wall, and the green light on the adapter turns on.

    But then I plug the other end of the adapter into the Inspiron 1520 and the green light on the adapter goes off and it doesn't work. WHY??? This is driving me crazy. How come nobody at Dell will respond to this issue without trying to charge me a bunch of repair money. Why is it doing this?

    Keep in mind, this is happening with a brand new replacement motherboard which I just installed and it boots up just fine and operates fine, except that the battery won't charge and wall adapter won't work as soon as I plug it into the computer. I have approximately 75% of my battery left, so I need to figure this out soon!

    I also tried 4 different outlets in the house and the adapter does the same thing with every outlet.






  • Anyone have an answer to my problem? I am still having trouble with this issue and have not been able to resolve it on my own.

  • Anything severe enough to have caused the symptoms you describe could have destroyed the memory modules, CPU and if present, the video card as well.


  • Thank you for your reply.

    I tried taking the cover off and then I plugged in the AC wall adapter and it works now! It is charging the battery.

    But why?

    I currently have the cover taken off and I have also popped out the WLAN card. Perhaps the WLAN card was the problem? Is this possible? Or...did I a wrong screw in somewhere that possibly caused it to short out the PSU?



  • Could be -- a longer than designed screw in the wrong place could short the board preventing bootup.


  • Ok. Thanks again for getting back to me. I found the problem!

    I plugged everything in except the long-wide thing that comes from the LCD screen. There are two long-wide plugs from the LCD, but the one I am talking about has a GROUND screw attached.

    When I plugged that last wire into the motherboard, it shorted out the PSU. So apparently that part is faulty. If I leave that part unplugged, then the computer charges up just fine and the wall adapter is working as normal.

    The part that appears to be faulty is the: DISPLAY CABLE

    See here for description:

    Where the grounding wire/screw comes out of the cable, I can see the copper foil unwrapping (coming apart). I pinched this area back together and it works. I'm going to try to use some electrical tape to hold it together and hope it continues to work. I'm so frustrated with the build quality of these laptops though, I doubt I will be purchasing another Laptop from them.

    Thanks again for your feedback. I hope this helps someone else, that might be in the same situation.






  • This system was built by Compal, which is the largest manufacturer of notebooks in the world.  They manufacture for Dell - and HP/Compaq, Sony, Apple, Toshiba, Lenovo, Acer/Gateway/eMachines -- and just about everyone else.  If you're not happy with its build, you won't be happy with any of the other "name" brands, either.

    They may look different on the outside, but over 75% of all notebooks are made by either Compal or Quanta -- the other 25% by Wistron, Pegatron, ECS, Clevo, Invetec -- and one or two others.  They're ALL the same on the inside.


  • Well, let me clarify what EJN63 is explaining here... It is true that all brands (Dell, Sony Vaio, HP, Apple...) use comon third party manufactureres (ODMs) like Foxconn, Compal, Quanta, Wistron,... But, let me remark that one thing is the manufacturing process, and another very different is the design process!!

    As far as I understand, 's Inspiron 1520 model has a big design issue. If you google a little bit you will realize that there are hundreds of people with the same problem... so it points out a design problem. I don't know if DELL designs itself its hardware, or a third party company does this job. But I can assure you that Sony Vaio and Apple computers are designed by Sony and Apple high qualified enginneers, and this is the reason why these computers have better performance and reliability.

    I have a Dell Inspiron 1520 with the same power issue. Yesterday I took a look to the motherboard and apparently I did not see anything "burned", everything seemed to be OK. DELL support has told me that they can fix the problem if I previously pay 600€!! I'm not sure to buy a spare motherboard, maybe other extra components are failing too and need to be replaced.

  • Hi, glad to see you got your problem fixed.  I am wondering if I have the same thing.  My computer was fine when I went to sleep.  The next morning I hit the power button and it started to turn on but turned off after about 3 seconds.  I tried different adapter and different battery but no luck.  When I plug in the adapter the battery light goes on but quickly turns off.  Is this what was happening to you?

  • "But, let me remark that one thing is the manufacturing process, and another very different is the design process!!"

    That used to be true - but notebooks are now designed by the manufacturer (i.e., Compal, Quanta, etc.) - which is why they're called ODMs (original designer-manufacturer) and not OEMs (original equipment manufacturers).  And a few hundred complaints of problems out of many hundreds of thousands of systems sold isn't unexpected - so, no -- there isn't necessarily a design flaw.  It's not much comfort when your system fails, of course - but to proclaim a design flaw based on even a few thousand complaints is ludicrous.  Fact is, about 30% of notebooks will fail in a major way within three years - no matter whose name is on the outside.

    For the last post here, if the LED goes out on connection to the system board, the system board is faulty and must be replaced.


  • I seem to have a very similar probem to you with my Inspiron 1520 - except I didn't notice a pop (it just didn't power up) and I haven't tried changing the motherboard. Did you solve your problem eventually ?

  • I he the same issue. I went to bed one night and the next morning tried to power up and got nothing. For the 2 days preceeding this the battery indicator would come on and show that it wasnt plugged in (which it was), then it would knock out my wireless connection. It was happening once every few hours. I'm really feeling like I bought a dud here because I have had problems with this laptop since I took it out of the box (I got a blue screen the first time I powered it on and Dell never successfully resolved the issue). was working  fine from the battery (when it still had a charge in it), and I bought a new power supply and its still not working, so it must be a motherboard issue.

  • I have exactly the same problem with the power on 1520.  I ruled out the adaptor by trying with a newly bought universal adaptor on the notebook and the same problem occured in that the Led on the adaptor would go out as soon as it connects to the jack at the back of the notebook. I dont seem to be able to read the replies to your notes. Can any one kindly post the answer to my post. Thanks