Inspiron 1100 not booting, keyboard status lights on and/or flashing instead...

Posted on 2004-08-20
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
When I try to power up my Inspiron 1100, no video comes up, and hard drive status light never lights up, and one or two of the keyboard status lights (the ones that indicate scroll, caps, and number lock) are on and/or flashing.

The sytem was starting up, going into windows, then rebotting or powering off on its own....but now it seems to be totally broke.  I've tried changing out the memory, and formatting the hard drive.  i tried to install windows but I can't get it to finish without a reboot or an error message. any ideas?

thanks for any help!
Question by:synapse88
LVL 69

Expert Comment

ID: 11854011
This could be a power supply problem.  Try swapping it out for another one just as powerful.

Accepted Solution

Jeff Rodgers earned 1000 total points
ID: 11854757
I would suspect either a power issue as Callandor suggested, or that your CPU has retired  (fried it)as evidenced by the fact the PC was spontaneously shutting down, and that it now will not start up. Most newer motherboard monitor the heat on the CPU... if the CPU overheats it shuts down to protect the CPU from further damage.  The problem is that even with this feature the CPU still suffers some abuse.  Over a relatively short period of time if the problem isn't dealt with you can burn out the CPU.  If you end up replacing the CPU, don't forget to replace the heat sink and fan, and add some Arctic Silver.  Most CPU failures are linked to overheating.

Given that there is obviously power to the board ( you wouldn't receive lights flashing on the keyboard otherwise).  And that you are not getting to the POST screen when you start ... I suspect you have fried your CPU.

By all means start with cheap solutions like the power supply... if that doesn't fix it test your CPU in a similar known good motherboard.  If it works look at the Motherboard.

Good Luck

LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 11855168
I think  I saw a thread somewhere here, where it was said that the flashing LED's on a Dell can actually be a sort of error code. You may get some info on that on the Dell site, or search the threads here.
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 11857363
I would send the laptop back to DELL unless you are familiar with taking apart laptops you will ruin it very easy. Lots of small stuff in there easy to break unless you have knowledge of taking them apart.

Author Comment

ID: 11860256
New problem :)

 I formatted and reinstalled XP (took about 10 tried due to random power offs and error messages) and the laptop now boots fine, every time.  Now, after being in windows for 10-30 minutes, the laptop just turns off, somehow it just loses power.  I hear a crackle from the speakers, the it just turns off...no shutdown, just a complete loss of power.  DOes this still sound like a CPU problem or something with the power?  I am quite familiar with taking apart laptops, especially this particular model, and have been doing so for a few years.  If anyone has any ideas on what exactly I should look for inside please let me know.
As far as I understand the power supply for a laptop is simply the AC adapter, so I'm not sure what you guys are talking about replacing the power supply...this problem seems to be internal.

Thanks again for any ideas and I will split points as neccessary to award help.
LVL 69

Expert Comment

ID: 11860688
Sorry, that was initially my recommendation, but I realize now that you have a laptop.  Still, it sounds like a power problem, but fixing it is not as easy as a desktop.  You would need a schematic of the charging circuit and test equipment, to check manufacturer's values.  You can eyeball it for odd things like blown capacitors.

Assisted Solution

blumbra earned 1000 total points
ID: 11864596
It may be the CPU.  I've got an 1100 and they get nice and hot.  I run a utility to keep the fans on high all the time.  Get a multimeter and test your AC adapter.  Thats not going to really tell you much because if its the power then it would usually be happening right away.  If the power from the AC Adapter fluctuates the battery will just pick up the slack.  Unless the adapter is shorting out!  Try it without the adapter.  

Try running 18kfanGUI.  DL it from http://www.diefer.de/i8kfan/ 

You'll have to play with the settings a bit to get it working right but it will keep your Fan running on superhigh and it gives you a readout of your CPU temp.  This might give you a little more information.  

If that doesn't work, rip into it and see if there are any bad capacitors on the board.  


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