Link to home
Start Free TrialLog in
Avatar of webentpr
webentprFlag for United States of America

asked on

Dell XPS 400 Will Not Boot with Battery in

I have a Dell XPS 400 that was very infected but would boot.   After clearing all infections and verifying it worke,  I ordered 4 Gigs of memory for it.   After installing the memory the machine would not boot .  I removed 2 Gigs and again it would not reboot.  I then put back the original 512 Mbytes of memory and again, the workstation would not boot.

I removed the battery and cleared the CMOS and the machine came up (after I changed the time and reset the Raid setting.)  Now the pattern is the machine will only reboot if the battery is removed.   If the battery is installed it will boot once.  After resetting the CMOS (or just hitting F2) the workstation does not post at all and displays a black screen.   I have left the battery out for 2 hours thinking it would reset all but it did not.  So the pattern is when the battery is out and the CMOS is cleared the machine boots fine (exept for the date and Raid settings).   If the battery is inserted and the machine will not reboot.

Any help would be appreciated.
Avatar of Tom Scott
Tom Scott
Flag of United States of America image

Have you called Dell yet.  It is usually free and the most efficient method for diagnostics of this type.

Dell Sales and Support:  800-289-3355.

 - Tom
Avatar of webentpr


Thanks Tom -

I tried yesterday but because, at the time, I could not get the machine to boot and the service tag label is gone, I could not produce the required documentation.   I will call - but I found something interesting.   There is an online diagnostic that can be run on Dell computers( .  The results are showing there are a number of BIOS upgrades required for OBIST.   Tomorrow i will attempt to upgrade the Bios and see if that helps.

I will keep you posted.

remove AC power and battery
keep power button pressed for 20 sec
reconnect all and test

also - are the ram models the same? post them
If everything points to the battery pack needing to be removed, it may be a bad battery - they need to be replaced after a while, and it depends on how good it was at the time of purchase.
Thanks - I have changed the battery - in fact twice.  This morning I will upgrade the BIOS and see if that works.   The thought hit my yesterday that everything connected to the motherboard has either been removed (hard drives, CD's, modem) or replaced (memory, battery)  except the video card.  If the bios doesn't help then I am going to find a video card to try.
did you try the reset i posted yet?
HI -

Sorry this morning has been a bit crazy - I am also installing a T310 SBS 2011 for another client.  I have upgraded the Bios (went from 00 to 07), I changed video cards (which resulted in machine hanging on the Dell Logo screeen), I pulled the battery, disconnected the power supply and let it sit for 20 minutes.   The memory chips are all identical (4 1 Gig chips) because I just purchased them all from Crucial (ran their identify my computer from their website) at the same time.

I reset the CMOS (which really wasn't necessary since the batteries were out) plugged in the power supply and started the machine.   I changed the Date/Time and reset the Raid setting to non-Raid and booted the machine.   Everything worked great.   I then shutdown the machine, pullled the power plug and re-inserted the battery (which is not the original) - again reset the BIOS setting for Date/Time and rebooted the machine.   Everything worked well.  Once it started I shut the machine down and then tried to restart the workstation - and nothing happened.   Just the Black screen and it hanging.

Is there something I missed?

A machine which will boot once and then not boot again for a long time without changing anything is a sign of a power problem, typically caused by bad capacitors in the motherboard (also power supply for desktops).  There may or may not be visible signs of this (, so check the motherboard - if it's obvious, you will see signs of it.  Unfortunately, they could also be bad and look perfectly normal.
that is a good set of procedures, but not what i posted...
if you won't try it, just say so - no hard feelings
I appologize - yes I did do as you suggested but did not report on it - I found a post last night and tried it without success.  

Then I tried the following just now (repeated many of the steps from last night but this time with the original memory chips).

Pulled both the battery and the power supply and held the power button for 20 secones.   I then replaced the battery and plugged in the power supply.   Corrected the CMOS and power up the workstation without a problem.  I then turned it off and attempted to restart it.   It failed.   I then pulled the battery again disconnected the power supply and move the CMOS jumper to "Clear CMOS" and pressed the power button again for 20 seconds.   I then reset the CMOS clear jumper, reinserted the battery and re-pluged the power supply.
It came up, I modified the CMOS and XP came up.   I then shutdown the workstation and attempted to restasrt the machine.  The restart failed again.

The machine is 8 years old and as much as I would love to save everything - I think it is time to replace the machine.
only sure way is to test with a known good battery
I will pick up a 3-V CR2032 lithium coin cell from Radio Shack over the weekend and will let you know.  

thanks for following up.

yep - it can be lower than 3V, and causing havoc
Stopped off at Radio Shack and bought the battery.   I have a multimeter here and checked the new battery - it comes out to 3.19 volts.   The one that was in there was 3.0 exactly - didn't matter - neither one worked.

Same condition - with battery out it will boot but I have to reconfigure the BIOS.   Once it is up and running - shutting it down results in the inability to re-boot.

There has to be something with the physical BIOS.

I think I spent enoujgh time on this - I wrote to the client twice and text'd him saying I had a deal on a new Dell Vostro for less than $500 and he hasn't replied.  I think enough time has been spent on this.  If anything comes up it will be posted here.

thanks for all of your help.
One last thing - changed the Power Supply to non-dell one.   Noticed two things - (1) the fan starts for a few seconds and stops (2) the Power Button does not power down the machine.  After pressing down all of the chips - I really believe there is a problem with the MOBO - probably something in the BIOS.
ok - maybe this can help : you posted that it boots once with the battery
can you access the bios, change the settings as you want them, and save the settings?
and does it boot then?
thanks - but everytime the workstation came up I have to accessed the BIOS and changed the Raid setting and time (the default setting is for Raid to be on and it is not running Raid - so everytime the workstation comes up the BIOS has to be saved or it cannot read the hard drive.)

If the battery is in on the reboot it does not work.  

So the pattern is this - clear CMOS - insert the battery - start the machine and reset the BIOS and the machine works.   Shutdown the machine and it will not start.   Do the same thing with the battery out and it comes up but the BIOS is missing and the BIOS has to be reset.

Avatar of nobus
Flag of Belgium image

Link to home
This solution is only available to members.
To access this solution, you must be a member of Experts Exchange.
Start Free Trial
I agree and felt that from the beginning.  As I stated in an earlier post - the machine is 8 years old and is really not worth fixing.   The client hasn't even responded to multiple e-mails from me.   In any case - I think we have spent enough time on this - if I do anything it will be to pull the motherboard out of the case and and try it from the floor.   Maybe the case is the problem - but frankly I am kind of done with this.

Thanks for sticking with me.

no problem - and tx for feedback