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Dell Dimension 4700 blinking amber randomly

Posted on 2009-05-16
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I have a Dell Dimension 4700 that will sometimes boot and sometimes not.  When it doesn't, it blinks amber.  I checked all over and I keep reading that it could be the power supply, but then why does it only happen on boot?  At first, it only happened after hibernate, so I installed the hotfix for standby/hibernate for Windows.  Now, it's more random.  Seems to happen more likely after it's been off for awhile, but not necessarily.  It happens anywhere in the boot process, even as late as the beginning of logging onto my profile.  However, once booted, it always stays on and runs fine.  It would seem to me that a power supply issue wouldn't only happen on boot, and same with a motherboard issue.  Heat doesn't make sense b/c it always stays on.  Any ideas?
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Question by:MusicPos
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9 Comments
 
LVL 39

Expert Comment

by:PUNKY
ID: 24403733
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Author Comment

by:MusicPos
ID: 24403762
The LEDs are all green, so that's not it.  I even disabled fastboot, and rechecked to be sure that it was really testing everything.
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LVL 39

Expert Comment

by:PUNKY
ID: 24403861
Try disable all power saving management in both windows and bios see if problem resolve or still.
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Author Comment

by:MusicPos
ID: 24403924
There isn't any place in the bios to disable power savings (I can only switch between S1 and S3, and I'm not in suspend and already in S3).  In Windows, it's set to turn off HD after 15 min and monitor after 5 (always recovers from that).  I disabled hibernation, and my UPS didn't like that, but for now oh well.  Not really sure what difference that would make, but I'm desperate here.  Is there any way of testing the power supply?  Btw, thanks for your help so far.
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LVL 39

Assisted Solution

by:PUNKY
PUNKY earned 900 total points
ID: 24403937
Guess in weekend time, people is not here :o) .
Disconnect UPS and use power directly, and disable hibernation see problem goes away.
An easier way to check if PSU is faulty is use other PSU (if any available laying around).
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Author Comment

by:MusicPos
ID: 24403946
I tried plugging into the wall one time when it wasn't working, and that didn't help.  I could plug it into a regular surge protector, but the only nearby outlet has the light for the room (it's the only one connected to the light switch), so I can't plug in the monitor anywhere.  I can go out and buy a new PSU, but since it's not a constant problem, I'm not sure if I'd be able to tell if that worked before I need to return (I used to work on computers in HS, but now I'm just a standard user that enjoys them, so I don't really have any spare parts).  I know I'm making this really difficult.
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LVL 34

Assisted Solution

by:jamietoner
jamietoner earned 1100 total points
ID: 24404040
Good chance you have failing capacitors in the power supply, which would cause the erratic behavior. Blinking amber light is most often caused by a bad power supply but it can also be a failing motherboard. Check the motherboard for bulging or leaking capacitors. Here's how to look for bad caps  http://badcaps.net/
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Author Comment

by:MusicPos
ID: 24406872
Caps on motherboard look good.  I'm going to head to micro center today to try a new power supply.  Hopefully, that will work.
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Accepted Solution

by:
MusicPos earned 0 total points
ID: 24408597
Tried a new power supply.  Seems to be better, I'll accept the solution in a couple days when I've had it in long enough to know for sure.
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