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Computer is Completely Dead.  No lights.  No nothing.

Posted on 2006-07-15
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Last Modified: 2010-05-18
I have a Dell Dimension 4600 desktop.  I was unable to install Microsoft Office updates or to repair the install, so last night I uninstalled all Office programs.  I shut the computer off for the night, planning to commence reinstalling everything from scratch this morning.  When I attempt to turn on the computer absolutely nothing happens.  No lights light up.  The fan doesn't start.  Nothing.  I unattached everything, including monitors, external harddrives, ethernet, phone cord, keyboard, mouse, apc, etc. I moved the unit into the kitchen and tried plugging it into a different outlet.  I tried a different power cable.  Still nothing.  Any thoughts on how I might get my computer back to life?
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Question by:IthacaHolden
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by:jamietoner
jamietoner earned 50 total points
ID: 17114106
Sounds like a bad power supply, but i have seen a bad control panel cause the same issue is the system still under warranty?
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by:IthacaHolden
ID: 17114148
No.  Of course not.  I got the system in April 2004.  There is a local geek squad around here.  I don't know anything about hardware -- are PSU's very specific to computers or are they more generic such that I might be able to get it replaced locallY?  Thanks.
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by:IthacaHolden
ID: 17114151
What is a control panel -- the motherboard?  or is it something else?
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by:Mark
ID: 17114236
Open the case, look inside and to the bottom right on the motherboard there should be a green led lit up when the power supply is plugged into a wall socket. If there is no green light then you are looking at replacing at least the power supply.
Remember , do not touch anything inside the computer if this green led is lit. It indicates that the motherboard is recieving power from the power supply.
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by:garycase
ID: 17115135
First, don't overlook the obvious -- be SURE the socket you're plugged in to has power (plug something else in it and be sure it works).   Then, if the power supply isn't even supplying the 5v standby power (the led on the motherboard isn't lit) you need to replace the power supply.  

HOWEVER ...  Look carefully at your power supply to see if it has a standard ATX pinout (you can see that here:  http://pinouts.ru/data/atxpower_pinout.shtml).   Many Dells use a proprietary pinout, and if so you cannot use a standard ATX power supply (it will blow the motherboard) unless you purchase an adapter - such as this:  http://www.endpcnoise.com/cgi-bin/e/std/sku=dellconverter  (They list specific models that do not require an adapter, but yours is not listed;  that may be an oversight; or may mean you have a Dell-proprietary supply).

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by:garycase
ID: 17115149
... Just looked at the Service Manual for your computer (on Dell's site) and looked up the power supply pinouts ==> you're lucky;  the system uses a standard ATX supply ... so you can buy any standard power supply to replace it (just be sure you get at least a 300 watt unit to replace the stock 250w unit).

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by:jamietoner
ID: 17115281
the control panel is the board with the power button on it.
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by:IthacaHolden
ID: 17115425
Thanks.  I took the unit into the local Geek Squad.  The motherboard light was not on.  It might take them a couple of days to get to it.  Can I buy the PSU at some where like radio shack or is it more complicated than that and/or is it something that I could do myself if I am relatively handy but have no experience with this?  Or should I just wait for them?  Thanks.
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garycase earned 225 total points
ID: 17115445
If it's just the power supply, it's very easy to replace;  and since your unit uses a standard ATX unit (not a proprietary Dell unit), you can get one at a CompUSA, BestBuy, etc.  (and probably RadioShack)   ... of course if that doesn't resolve the problem, you'll still have to take it to them.
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by:Mark
Mark earned 225 total points
ID: 17115447
Check this out and decide for yourself if you can handle it.
http://www.fonerbooks.com/r_power.htm
The Dell will be a bit different but they have some excellent teardown guides for this model
http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim4600/en/4600i/sm/parts.htm#1152058
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Author Comment

by:IthacaHolden
ID: 17115809
I went to BestBuy and bought the power supply unit.  I was able to install in less than 15 minutes.  The computer did not start up right away, but I might have frozen it since I took the airduster to it while it was open.  After a few tries my computer is back up and running.  THANK YOU!  
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