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Dell Precision 620 Build

Posted on 2006-11-05
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Last Modified: 2011-08-18
Sirs:
     I bought a Dell Precision 620 from a guy mainly because it had 1 1/2 GB rdram Samsung and I bought mainly to retain 1 GB for future systems. Another individual offered to buy this from me with 512 mb installed. I pulled the ram from the machine and replaced slot A1 with a crimm and placed the single stick of 256 mb in slot A2, and left slots B1 and B2 empty in both the top and bottom of each ram expansion card in my Dell 620. This seems to be Dells recommended settings. I also pulled a pci video card out and installed an ATI fire GL2 video card and added an 80 GB Maxtor ide HDD (new). The system has an 18GB Quantum SCSI drive installed and an Adaptec pci card w/64mb memory installed (Micron) and I think this is a raid card of some type? I put a 56K v92 modem into a pci slot. I had fdisked the scsi drive and removed all partitions on the SCSI drive before making all of these changes. Now I turn on the computer and get a yellow flashing light on the front panel but the system will not start. Oh, I also put a new battery on the MB. Can you tell me where to start troubleshooting this problem? I am sure the rdram and expansion cards are properly seated in the slots.
                                                                                                       Thanks
                                                                                                       L. Daily
                                                                                                       greywolf01 at EE
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Question by:greywolf01
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by:garycase
ID: 17877357
"... placed the single stick of 256 mb in slot A2 ..." ==>  This isn't consistent with your comment about preparing the system "... with 512mb installed."   It's also a good reason the system won't work:  RDRAM must be installed in pairs.   If you only have one module installed, that's why the system won't boot.
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by:greywolf01
ID: 17877623
garycase:
     I put a single stick in both expansion cards (there are two expansion cards) which is a pair of rdram modules. This is the way I took it to be from information from Dells web sight-crimm in A1, module in A2, B1 and B2 left empty and done to both top and bottom expansion cards. Is this incorrect? I don't have enough 128 mb modules to use 4. Please reply-thanks.
                                                                                                greywolf01 at EE
                                                                                               
                                                                                                     
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by:garycase
ID: 17877788
I'm a bit confused about your comment that you "... left slots B1 and B2 empty in both the top and bottom of each ram expansion card ..."

According to the manual (Figure 5 here:  http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/ws620/en/ug/boards.htm#adding_memory ) the RDRAM module should be in slot RIMM2_A (2nd from the top) and the CRIMM should be in slot RIMM1_A (the top slot) ... and both of the bottom slots should be empty.

Is that how you have installed them?   If not, that's probably the problem.


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by:greywolf01
ID: 17878063
garycase:
     Yes, I labeled the slots incorrectly above, the RIMM3_B and RIMM4_B are empty and RIMM1A has the CRIMM and RIMM2_A has the rdram module in each expansion card (MEC) according to Dell instructions. I thought I was correct in this and now am afraid I need to update BIOS to make this work, but can I do that without an operating system installed, and if so, why do I have a yellow blinking light at the on/off switch and how do I update BIOS if I can not even get the machine to start? Do you or does anybody else have any idea what might be holding this up? The system was working properly before I fdisked, just somebody else's work on the machine so I thought I should re-install Windows before I pass this on to somebody else-any ideas?
                     
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by:greywolf01
ID: 17878071
Also to clearup your confusion, what I meant by top and bottom in an above comment is the top and bottom MEC expansion card.
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by:greywolf01
ID: 17878143
Also, there are 2 LEDs on the motherboard itself and the front one closest to the front bezel is green and one right beside it closer to the rear of the machine is yellow-if this helps any. Thanks.
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by:greywolf01
ID: 17878204
Is there any chance that I must clear the cmos on this board with the new parts to get it to work? I only see one jumper and it is not labeled cmos, but is labled PSWD near the battery.
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by:jamietoner
ID: 17878286
On the back of the system there a 4 diag leds what color are they and heres the guide to detrime what the code means http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/ws620/en/ug/messages.htm#diagnostic_leds
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by:greywolf01
ID: 17878319
They are not lit at all. When I plug in the computer, the orange lights blink around the network plugin for a second and then go out,, but no lights at all among the group of 4-
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by:jamietoner
ID: 17878601
what color is the power led? if it was just a memory error you would be getting a diag led code indicating a memory failure.
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by:greywolf01
ID: 17878719
Power LED blinks orange to my eyes but I think Dell terms that yellow. In the memory instructions from Dell though it states that you will need to upgrade BIOS before a memory upgrade is performed, but I was really trying to do a downgrade so I thought I would be OK without it. Reading the diag LEDs link information, it states that a blinking yellow with no hard drive light on, which is the case, means the system power supply failed. Further down the same page the information on the diag. LEDs states that if no lights are on, that it could be a possible pre-BIOS failure. It states to reflash BIOS, so what does this all mean? I don't know how I can flash the bios without the system running. Should I try a new power supply on this system, or is the BIOS in such a state as to not let it work no matter what power supply is used? How do I further test this and back up successfully to find and repair the problem-or better put, I have pleanty of parts-should I change the MB, the power supply, or work with what I have/ What will product the quickest and rightest results?
                                                                                                      Thanks
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jamietoner earned 250 total points
ID: 17878742
An amber blinking power led usually indicates a bad power supply (seen bad motherboards cause it also) not a memory issue. So yes I would try another psu. Be careful im not sure if the 620 uses a standard atx power supply many of the older dell workstations and desktops use proprietary power supplies. Heres one thats for the ws420 http://www.impactcomputers.com/41ufc.html
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by:greywolf01
ID: 17878943
jamietoner:
     I changed the power supply out and same problem. Still the single amber blinking light on the front panel. This system worked fine before I changed out the components-is there a way to clear the cmos on this system? I am wondering if the motherboard is fine but needs a change of bios or the bios flashed as Dell recommends-is there any way to get this done or do you now think the MB is toast? I see 1 jumper labled PSWD near the battery-do you know what this jumper is for? It is the only jumper I see on the entire board as I have another 620 board sitting here out of the case-is there anything else anyone knows that I can try before I tear this whole system apart? Also, if I do replace this MB-this system had a Windows 2000 license sticker on the case, but now, if I do this, I have a different MB, HDD, and memory configuration, as well as a new video card-will Microsoft's systems sense this and reject my license number on this computer, forcing me to buy additional software?
                                                                                           Thanks!
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by:garycase
ID: 17879020
To clear the CMOS on this (or any system) you can simply unplug the power cord; then remove the motherboard battery for a few minutes (I'd wait at least 10 minutes) ... then replace the battery; plug in the power; & boot.

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by:greywolf01
ID: 17879029
garycase:
     OK, I'll try that-the battery is out.
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by:garycase
ID: 17879035
You could also simply restore the memory to its original state (plug all of the other memory back in temporarily) ... and then boot the system to do a BIOS upgrade.
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by:greywolf01
ID: 17879144
OK guys, here is the story: I removed the battery and left it out for 15 min. I then replaced it and tried to boot the system. No luck, still power light blinking yellow. I placed the original configuration back into the machine at 1 1/2 GB rdram, still same problem. The only other thing I can think of to try is to replace the PS one more time due to outside chance that I have 2 bad power supplies here. Otherwise all I can see to do with my limited knowledge is replace the MB. Do you all agree? My only other outside pressing question is what this might do to my Microsoft License attached to the outside of the case-can you enlighten me on that?-will I need to contact MS to let them know I had a defective MB, or should I contact Dell? Would like to keep from losing the license if I can-can anyone tell me anything else on all of this? Thanks.
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by:jamietoner
ID: 17880333
Changing the motherboard wont affect the microsoft license.
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by:garycase
garycase earned 250 total points
ID: 17881685
"... Changing the motherboard wont affect the microsoft license. " ==> True, as long as the new motherboard is a Dell.   Otherwise, the XP license will require re-activation, and it then depends on the type of license you have (which is probably a Dell-OEM license that will not activate on a non-Dell board).
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by:greywolf01
ID: 17884008
Sirs, I have tried everything on this system to try to get it to start and seem to be having no luck. This is some little something somewhere that I am missing and possible duplicate bad parts or 2 motherboards that need bios updates or something. I changed motherboards, have changed power supplies 3 times (all different power supplies), Changed the switch and wires, changed processors, including the Amp insert which occupies the 2nd slot on the MB for the 2nd processor, have taken out the raid card, the modem, disconnected all of the drives, and my mind is just about blown on this one. No mater what I try, I still get a yellow flashing light on the front panel (power button) and no diag. lights on the back when I plug it in and push the power button. I basically have a totally different computer here in the same case with the same problem. This new motherboard has two lights on-same as the first-one green closest to the front of the case, and one orangish-yellow closer to the back. The diag. lights on the rear panel are still off. Now I have a question. There is a sensor in the case which attaches to the hard drive slide, and a copper piece that attached to the hard drive insert and screws to the insert, that looks like it may have to make contact with the sensor when the hard drive insert is fully engaged, could this cause a problem if it is disfunctional in some way to keep the system from starting? Does anybody there have a sure fire way to get to the root of this problem as I hve almost run out of options. I do have additional MBs and power supplies etc.
                                                                                       Thanks
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by:greywolf01
ID: 17884033
These are all original Dell Precision 620 parts.
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by:greywolf01
ID: 17890862
Thanks for the help guys, all very good answers-they routed me in the right direction. I placed a 3rd motherboard in the case, and all worked great! I just had to be sure I wasn't missing some small technicality as I have many times in the past! I will have to mark these two boards defective so I don't waste time with them again. Thanks again-
                                                                                                    greywolf01
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by:jamietoner
ID: 17893463
Glad i could help
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