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Trouble Turning On a Dell Dimension 4550

Posted on 2010-01-05
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-11
Hello all,

I have a 6 year old Dell Dimension 4550 that works fine once it starts.  Lately, it takes 2 to 6 tries at pushing the on/off button to start it.  Once it starts it runs just fine.

When I push the button, nothing happens.  No lights blink or turn on.  There is no fan noise.  Nothing.  Finally, after pushing it in and let it out any where from 2 to 5+ times, it will finally take and the computer boots up.

Is this an indication of a faulty switch?  A bad component on the mother board?  Power supply problem?  

Note, if I shut it off at night, it happens the next morning.  If I put it in hibernate or sleep mode and have to push the button to wake it up, it does the same thing.  If the computer is off, it doesnt matter if the computer is hot (from running) or cold (from sitting all night), I still have the same problems.

Any help or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Question by:stargazerm31

Expert Comment

ID: 26179743

Sounds like a switch problem.

Why do you turn your computer off at night?

Night Time Computer Operation is a GREAT time to schedule UPDATES,   Virus & Spyware Scans, and such.

If your computer is still under warantty, you can call DELL or just leave it on.    Bettery yet, get a UPS, plug it in and Leave the computer on do to NIGHT-TIME Maintenance.   The Computer will go in to PowerSave Mode when not in use if you set the settings in POWER MANAGEMENT
LVL 69

Accepted Solution

Callandor earned 450 total points
ID: 26179907
This is not a switch problem, it sounds very much like a power problem, where cold boots fail until enough charge has built up to start the cpu.  Bad capacitors on the motherboard or power supply are the common cause of this type of problem, and you can try isolating it by trying a different power supply to see if it makes a difference.

Author Comment

ID: 26180013
Thanks for the replies.  This is one of our offsite computers for a sales person that has his office in his house away from the office.  Senior IT have set up the policy that any offsite offices must shutdown the PC's at night.  I understand what you are saying.  Unfortunately, I don't make the rules.

I am going out there Friday morning.  I appreciate your feedback.  I do not have a spare switch.  Is there anything I can do to take the switch out of the equation and show that it is working right?  That way I can move to the power supply or the capacitors on the MoBo.

Thank you again.

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Assisted Solution

kvnlab earned 450 total points
ID: 26180131
In order to check if it's switch problem or not. Open the desktop lid, follow the line that is connected to motherboard for switch take that line out and try to connect manually with screw driver or any other tool to make that jumper working. All you have to do is make that two metal touch each other, that how switch works. Mean while if you think your power supply is faulty, I suggested try to tested with power supply tester. It's very cheap to have one.


Author Comment

ID: 26180578
Thanks kvnlab.  I give the jumper test of the switch.  

LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 26181252
You won't be able to jumper the switch pins on a Dimension 4550. It has a proprietary connector for the front panel.

I agree with callandor that it probably isn't a switch problem and is more likely a faulty capacitor.
LVL 32

Assisted Solution

willcomp earned 450 total points
ID: 26181283
One other thing to try. Unplug the power cord for about 30 seconds, reconnect and see if PC powers on immediately. Unplugging power will ensure that caps are fully discharged and not holding residual charge.

Author Comment

ID: 26181465
Thanks on the information.  I understand that you can sometimes look at the capacitors and see bad ones because they are bulging or leaking.  I know that isn't always the case and ones that look fine may be going bad or are bad.

Thanks again to all.  I'll have more info on how it goes on Friday morning.


Assisted Solution

matiasl earned 75 total points
ID: 26185551
On the dells that I have been having this issue it has always been the power supply, try with an other power supply and see if it's still having issues.
LVL 26

Assisted Solution

PCBONEZ earned 75 total points
ID: 26195339
Take a power supply with you.
At a minimum the caps in the +5vsb circuit are bad.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31672869
Thanks to all.  I divided up the points to many of you.  All the input provided insight into the issue and what to look foor.

Was not the switch as all of you pretty much said.  Power supply tested fine.  Upon inspection there are 3 and possibly a 4th capacitor that are bulging and had corrosion on the tops of them.  I'm pretty sure that it is one or all of them.  Right now we are talking to Dell about a replacement MOBO but based on the age we will probably swap out the PC with a new or slightly used one.  Thanks to everyone for your input.

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