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Tips For Dell Vostro 400 Power ON OFF LED Remaining Steady Amber Problem

Hi!

Few days back, I had shared my personal experience of taking technical telephonic support from DELL Bangalore for intermittent problem of my DELL Vostro 400 PC power ON/OFF LED remaining steady amber” (written as power ON/OFF LED steady amber problem here in this post). The same was shared at:

http://www.pctipstricks.com/review-of-dell-vostro-400-computer-support-in-new-delhi-india/

As covered in the above post, Dell diagnostics that ran for few hours didn’t find anything wrong with
any of the Vostro 400 hardware components.

I had promised to write about this topic in detail technically. So, today I am going to post on this topic with some technical details that can help you for getting clues of the reasons behind power ON/OFF LED steady amber problem or just for knowing more about troubleshooting and upgrading your computer knowledge. If you have Vostro 400 under warranty or maintenance contract, then the best would be to call the support engineer. My friends who want to do self troubleshooting can definitely get good ideas for troubleshooting this problem themselves.


In detail about the problem – When I used to Power ON my DELL Vostro 400 PC in the morning after few hours of non usage (from 12 to 8 AM usually), the Power LED on the ON/OFF switch at the front of the PC used to remain Amber and not blue. This problem started happening only in the starting days of the November, 2008 and was not there earlier. The system didn’t used to boot and there was no display when the Power ON/OFF LED was amber.

Note: All the pictures shown in this post are of my own DELL Vostro 400 computer and were taken later after the Dell Engineer visit.

Dell Vostro 400 Power ON OFF LED Blue In Normal Power On Working Fine Tips For Dell Vostro 400 Power ON OFF LED Remaining Steady Amber Problem

Also, whenever this problem happened, I could hear the sound of computer fans and I was unable to switch off the PC from the PC power ON/OFF switch. I had to switch OFF my UPS that was supplying power to the DELL Vostro 400 PC. On repeated trials of switching ON and switching OFF (from the UPS) and switching ON the Vostro 400 PC, it used to power ON in usually 5-10 attempts. After the successful display of blue color on the Power ON/OFF switch, there was display on the monitor, POST execution and booting etc. and the PC worked fine in Windows Vista Business without any issues. It used to perfectly work for the whole day even if it was switched OFF for 1-2 hours in between. The power ON/OFF LED steady amber problem used to mostly come in the morning after the PC was switched off for few hours.

Here are the steps that the Engineer from Wipro Infotech, Delhi – DELL representative, took to solve this issue (I was there and observing him being a Hardware Engineer myself, also when he came the problem of Power ON/OFF switch remaining amber was right there luckily happening in front of him):

1. Made sure that the earthing to the DELL Vostro 400 PC is fine.

The details of checking the earthing has been covered in the post at my blog, available at:

http://www.pctipstricks.com/tips-for-maintaining-your-ups-uninterruptible-power-supply-the-backup-power-source/ (point three in bold)

Dell Vostro 400 connections view from back powered off Tips For Dell Vostro 400 Power ON OFF LED Remaining Steady Amber Problem

2. Powered the Dell Vostro 400 with the new SMPS

The Engineer removed the two screws of the left side CPU cover and took it out by sliding the cover backward. He placed the PC in the horizontal position on a big sheet of paper after making sure that none of the cables are not getting pulled.

Dell Vostro 400 left side PC cover removed back side view Tips For Dell Vostro 400 Power ON OFF LED Remaining Steady Amber Problem

He powered ON the Vostro 400 PC with the new SMPS that had come from the DELL Bangalore by removing the connections of the old SPMS from the motherboard and connecting the same from the new ones. He didn’t unscrewed the old SMPS from the PC as he told me that he is sure that SMPS is not the issue behind the Vostro 400 intermittent Power LED steady amber problem switch remaining amber (according to his experience). The diagnosis of SMPS being faulty for this Power ON/OFF LED remaining steady amber intermittently was done by DELL Bangalore on phone.

He connected the power cable to the power connector of the new SMPS and powered ON the PC, the power ON/OFF LED at the front remained amber.

He then pulled out the power cable from the back of the new SMPS and made the power connections back from the old SMPS.

2. Checked the Power ON/OFF front panel cable, its connector and power connector at the motherboard

Dell Vostro 400 front metallic PC body with power switch back assembly and front cover with power switch Tips For Dell Vostro 400 Power ON OFF LED Remaining Steady Amber Problem

The Engineer took the front plastic cover out (there are latches that fixes in the metal chassis from the left and round grooves on the right sides).

He checked the front panel Power ON/OFF switch, its cable going to the motherboard and the connector on the motherboard for any breaks and loose connections with the multimeter. He didn’t find any issues and connected the power front panel cable from the ON/OFF switch to the motherboard back. He also checked the main power connector at the motherboard by plugging it out and then fixing it again after visual inspection.

Dell Vostro 400 SMPS its power connector and the front panel power ON OFF connector Tips For Dell Vostro 400 Power ON OFF LED Remaining Steady Amber Problem

He then again connected the power to the back of the SMPS and powered ON the PC. The Dell Vostro 400 PC power ON/OFF switch LED continued to remain steady amber.

3. Checked if the video card is not the culprit

The Engineer took the power cable out from the SMPS, unscrewed the card retention plate pressing
the cards on their slots and pulled it out. He then unscrewed the monitor cable and then the DVI connector screws and finally took the video graphics card out.

Dell Vostro 400 with cards retention plate removed and the cards retention plate Tips For Dell Vostro 400 Power ON OFF LED Remaining Steady Amber Problem

Dell Vostro 400 empty video graphics card slot Tips For Dell Vostro 400 Power ON OFF LED Remaining Steady Amber Problem

Dell Vostro 400 external graphics card and the DVI connector Tips For Dell Vostro 400 Power ON OFF LED Remaining Steady Amber ProblemHe then again connected the power cable to the SMPS (Switching Mode Power Supply) and power on the PC from the power ON/OFF switch. There were no beeps which according to him should have been there on a proper working DELL Vostro 400.

4. Checked if the RAM (1 GB X2) is not causing the issue

The Dell Engineer pulled out the power cable from the back of the SMPS and using the thumbs of his left and right hands, applied slight force in the outward direction on the the second memory bank latches to pull out the 1 GB RAM. The other 1 GB RAM was there in the first memory slot.

He connected the power cable back to the SMPS and then powered ON the PC. The power ON/OFF still remained continuously amber.

He pulled the power cable out from the SMPS and then removed the second 1 GB memory from the slot similarly leaving no RAM on the Dell Vostro 400 motherboard.

He then again powered ON the PC by putting the power cable and pressing the power ON/OFF switch at the front, He didn’t get any beep codes at all.

Dell Vostro 400 one of the empty RAM slot Tips For Dell Vostro 400 Power ON OFF LED Remaining Steady Amber Problem

Dell Vostro 400 1GB RAM modulesx2 Tips For Dell Vostro 400 Power ON OFF LED Remaining Steady Amber Problem

The Engineer now declared that my DELL Vostro 400 motherboard is faulty as it didn’t give any beep codes after removal of the video card and the RAM. I 100% agreed with him as the working motherboard must have given beep codes on removing the video card and memory.

As I had to work, he took the power cable out from the back of the SMPS, plugged in both the RAM’s, video card, screwed the card retention plate to keep the cards pressed, connected the DVI connector, monitor to it, closed the front plastic cover and then the left side computer cover to assemble the computer back to its original state.


He now connected the power cable to the back of the SMPS and I did the following till the Dell Vostro 400 got powered ON with display.

a). Powered ON the Vostro 400 from the front power ON/OFF switch

b). If the power ON/OFF LED remained amber, switched OFF the UPS and then ON (PC didn’t get OFF from the front power ON/OFF switch when its LED remained amber).

After doing the above for 7-8 times, the Dell Vostro 400 PC power ON/OFF LED finally turned blue and the PC showed display and booted to Microsoft Vista Business.

Well, it was very surprising that a PC which was not giving any beep codes after removal of video card and RAM was alive again and working fine.

I signed the call sheet and the Engineer came next day and changed the Vostro 400 motherboard. When he came, my PC was working fine,i.e., it was showing display on a single power ON/OFF attempt.

I told him to keep the intermittent problem of Vostro 400 power ON/OFF LED remaining steady amber under observation for two days and he agreed to do so. BTW – He was sure that after changing the motherboard the problem won’t happen and I would be able to boot every time when I powered on my Dell Vostro 400. He gave me his mobile number and left.

Well, it has been now more than one and a half month and my DELL Vostro 400 is working fine and there have been no issues with it power ON/OFF LED remaining steady amber sometimes.

How was this post – Boring or Interesting? Let me know!

Well, this was the 50th post of my blog and I look forward to posting more of such useful stuff (I know I am praising myself but I know that I deserve it icon smile Tips For Dell Vostro 400 Power ON OFF LED Remaining Steady Amber Problem ) to reach century and then the thousand mark someday!

Thanks for being a reader over here!

All the best and cheers!

Rajesh Mago

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Tags: Dell Vostro 400, Dell Vostro 400 no display problem, Dell Vostro 400 pictures, DELL Vostro 400 troubleshooting, Power ON OFF LED intermittent steady amber, Vostro 400 graphics card, Vostro 400 motherboard picture

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 14th, 2009 at 9:49 am and is filed under Advice, Hardware, Motherboard, Power, Troubleshooting. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “Tips For Dell Vostro 400 Power ON OFF LED Remaining Steady Amber Problem”

Tom May 26th, 2009 at 9:11 pm

Hi, I know you made this post a while back but just came on to say I was having the exact same problem for months with my Vostro 400 up until today when I finally decided to try and get it fixed. In the end I didn’t have to replace the motherboard, I updated the BIOS to the latest version and voila! No more intermittent booting to amber.

rajeshmago May 27th, 2009 at 10:33 am

@ Tom: Thanks for your comments. Good to know that the simple upgrade of your’s Dell Vostro 400 BIOS solved the intermittent problem of its power LED remaining Amber. My Dell Vostro 400 is under 3 years warranty, so the privilege of giving technical support for next 2 years is to Dell. However, it was not a problem of BIOS at my end as the BIOS version was lower than the previous one after the motherboard was changed. Yet, after the motherboard was changed with old BIOS version on it, the problem of power LED remaining amber and PC not booting didn’t come for 3-4 days. Afterward, I myself upgraded the BIOS to the new version as I noticed increased sound of fans with the older BIOS version. The fan sounds lessened after the BIOS upgrade to 1.0.11, it was earlier 1.0.10. Just thought of giving complete details. All the best!

Jun July 24th, 2010 at 3:45 am

I was looking for Vostro 400 real panel photo to work on audio jacks… but it proved my on-board Realtek HD has a mess-up inside (extremely low volume or no volume with noise, etc.).

Thank you for your photo, though. It saved me a lot of time dealing with wires.

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