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A reference guide to the Precision Mobile Diagnostic Indicators



Dell Precision Mobile systems have a long history of built in diagnostic indicators. These can be audible beeps, power buttons that display different states and colours, Lock and Status LEDs that change states and colours or a combination of them all, in order to indicate at which point during the Power On Self Test (POST) a system is having issues.

The following article is a reference guide to the codes available on each model and what those codes actually mean. These change through the various models and years. These indicators are merely a starting point to narrow down any troubleshooting you will carry out to identify the cause of your current issue. You can use this as a starting point to narrow down the proper troubleshooting guide you will need or you can contact technical support for further help and they will be looking for these indicators as well.


Table of Contents:

  1. Diagnostic LEDs for the Precision series (Prior to 2007)
  2. Diagnostic LEDs for the Precision Series (2008 to 2010)
  3. Diagnostic LEDs for the Precision series (2011 to 2015)
  4. Diagnostic LEDs for the Precision series (2016 to Present)

Note: For all the tables below, please remember that the diagnostic LEDs only serve as an indicator of the progress through the POST process. These LEDs do not indicate the problem that caused the POST routine to stop.


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1. Diagnostic LEDs for the Precision series (Prior to 2007)

Dell Precision systems have a long history of built in diagnostic indicators. These can be audible beeps and specific diagnostics LEDs to indicate when during the Power On Self Test (POST) a system is having issues.

M20/M65/M70/M4300/M6300

(Fig.1.1 Precision M4300)

These models had a block of keyboard status LEDs on the front of the chassis that either lit up solid Green, flashed Green or were Off. I've included a table below with what these indicated.

Keyboard LEDs

(Fig.1.2 Caps Lock LEDs)

Icon Description
Caps Lock light - Turns on when the Caps Lock is engaged
Scroll Lock light - Turns on when the Scroll Lock is engaged
Number Lock light - Turns on when the Number Lock is enabled
Flash Code LED Pattern Description Next Step
CPU Code Flash-On-On The microcontroller is handing control of the system to the processor. This code persists if no processor is detected.
  • Reseat the processor
  • Contact Support
Memory Code On-Flash-On The memory has encountered an error.
  • Reseat the memory module(s)
  • Contact Support
System Board Flash-Flash-Flash A system board component is faulty.
  • Contact Support
Video LED Flash-Flash-On The video card is preventing the system from completing POST.
  • Contact Support
Keyboard LED Flash-Flash-Off The keyboard is preventing the system from completing POST.
  • Reseat the keyboard cable
  • Contact Support
USB LED Flash-Off-Flash The USB controller encountered a problem during initialization.
  • Remove any USB devices
  • Contact Support
No Memory On-Flash-Flash No SODIMMs are installed.
  • Install the memory module(s)
  • Reseat the memory module(s)
  • Contact Support
LCD LED Flash-On-Flash The LCD encountered a problem during initialization.
  • Reseat the LCD cable
  • Contact Support
Modem LED Off-Flash-Flash The modem is preventing the system from completing POST.
  • Reseat the modem
  • Contact Support

Status LEDs
(Fig.1.3 Hinge-Up Status LEDs)

If the computer is connected to an electrical outlet, the battery light operates as follows:

  • Solid green — The battery is charging.
  • Flashing green — The battery is almost fully charged.

If the computer is running on a battery, the battery light operates as follows:

  • Off — The battery is adequately charged (or the computer is turned off).
  • Flashing orange — The battery charge is low.
  • Solid orange — The battery charge is critically low.


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2. Diagnostic LEDs for the Precision series (2008 to 2010)

This series had a combination of Keyboard status LEDs with the System status LEDs on the chassis.

M6400/M6500 Chassis

(Fig.2.1 Precision M6400)

These models had a block of keyboard status LEDs on the front of the chassis that either lit up solid Green, flashed Green or were Off. I've included a table below with what these indicated.

Keyboard LEDs

(Fig.2.2 Caps Lock LEDs)

Icon Description
Caps Lock light - Turns on when the Caps Lock is engaged
Scroll Lock light - Turns on when the Scroll Lock is engaged
Number Lock light - Turns on when the Number Lock is enabled
LED Pattern
(1 2 3)
LED
Pattern
Description Next Step
ON-FLASH-FLASH No SODIMMs are installed
  • Install supported memory modules
  • If memory is already present, reseat the module(s) one at time in each slot
  • Try known good memory from another computer or replace the memory
  • Contact Support
FLASH-ON-ON System board error
  • Reseat the processor
  • Contact Support
FLASH-ON-FLASH LCD Panel Error
  • Reseat the LCD cable
  • Contact Support
OFF-FLASH-OFF Memory compatibility error
  • Install compatible memory modules
  • If two modules are installed, remove one and test. Try the other module in the same slot and test. Then repeat the test in the unused slot with both modules
  • Contact Support
ON-FLASH-ON Memory is detected but has errors
  • Reseat the memory
  • If two modules are installed, remove one and test. Try the other module in the same slot and test. Then repeat the test in the unused slot with both modules
  • Contact Support
OFF-FLASH-FLASH Modem Error
  • Reseat the modem
  • Contact Support
FLASH-FLASH-FLASH System board error
  • Contact Support
FLASH-FLASH-OFF Option ROM Error
  • Reseat the device
  • Contact Support
OFF-ON-OFF Storage device error
  • Reseat the hard drive and optical drive
  • Test the computer with just the hard drive and just the optical drive
  • Contact Support
FLASH-FLASH-ON Video card error
  • Contact Support

If the computer is connected to an electrical outlet, the battery light operates as follows:

  • Alternately blinking amber light and blue light — An unauthenticated or unsupported, non-Dell AC adapter is attached to your laptop.
  • Alternately blinking amber light with steady blue light — Temporary battery failure with AC adapter present.
  • Constantly blinking amber light — Fatal battery failure with AC adapter present.
  • Light off — Battery in full charge mode with AC adapter present.
  • Blue light on — Battery in charge mode with AC adapter present.

To check the battery charge, press and release the status button on the battery charge gauge to illuminate the charge-level lights. Each light represents approximately 20 percent of the total battery charge. For example, if four lights are on, the battery has 80 percent of its charge remaining. If no lights appear, the battery has no charge.

To check the battery health using the charge gauge, press and hold the status button on the battery charge gauge for at least 3 seconds. If no lights appear, the battery is in good condition and more than 80 percent of its original charge capacity remains. Each light represents incremental degradation. If five lights appear, less than 60 percent of the charge capacity remains, and you should consider replacing the battery.


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3. Diagnostic LEDs for the Precision series (2011 to 2015)

With this series, the Diagnostic LEDs changed to use only the System status LED indicators. The Diagnostic LEDs are now the HDD activity light, the Battery indicator light and the Wi-Fi light.

M4600/M4700/M4800/M6600/M6700/M6800/M2800 Chassis

(Fig.3.1 Precision M4300)

System Status LEDs

(Fig.3.2 Status LEDs)

Icon Description
HDD activity light - Turns white when the laptop reads or writes data
Battery indicator light - Turns on steadily or blinks to indicate battery charge status
Wi-Fi light - Turns on when wireless networking is enabled

If the laptop is connected to an electrical outlet, the power/battery light operates as follows:

LED Behaviour Description
Solid white colour Battery charging with AC adapter
Pulsing white colour (slow increase/decrease in illumination) System in Standby, Battery charging with AC adapter
Off System Off, Battery charging with AC adapter (power >90%)
Diagnostic LED Description Next Step
HDD/Storage LED
Battery LED
Wireless LED
Blinking Solid Solid The microcontroller is handing control of the system to the processor. This code persists if no processor is detected
  • Reseat the processor
  • Contact your Support
Solid Blinking Solid The memory has encountered an error
  • Reseat the memory module(s)
  • Try memory in different slot(s)
  • Contact your Support
Blinking Blinking Blinking A system board component is faulty
  • Contact your Support
Blinking Blinking Solid The video card is preventing the system from completing POST
  • Contact your Support
Blinking Blinking Off The keyboard is preventing the system from completing POST
  • Reseat the Keyboard cable
  • Contact your Support
Blinking Off Blinking The USB controller encountered a problem during initialization
  • Remove any USB devices
  • Contact your Support
Solid Blinking Blinking No SODIMM memory modules are installed
  • Reseat the Memory Module(s)
  • Try memory in different slot(s)
  • Contact your Support
Blinking Solid Blinking The LCD encountered a problem during initialization
  • Reseat the LCD cable
  • Contact your Support
Off Blinking Blinking The modem is preventing the system from completing POST
  • Reseat the Modem
  • Contact your Support
LED Behaviour Description
Alternately blinking amber light and blue light An unauthenticated or unsupported, non-Dell AC adapter is attached to your laptop
Alternately blinking amber light with steady blue light Temporary battery failure with AC adapter present
Constantly blinking amber light Fatal battery failure with AC adapter present
Light off Battery in full charge mode with AC adapter present
Blue light on Battery in charge mode with AC adapter present


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4. Diagnostic LEDs for the Precision series (2016 to Present.)

With this series of Notebooks, the Diagnostic LEDs changed to use two different methods depending on the model of system you have:

  • One method uses only the Power LED as an indicator. The Diagnostic LED is now the state of the Power LED and how many times it blinks at you.
  • The other method uses only the Battery LED as an indicator. The diagnostic LED is now the state and colour of the Battery LED as it blinks at you.

Power LED Diagnostics

(Fig.4.1 Precision M5510)

Power LED State Description
Off
  • Hibernate or Suspend to Disk (S4)
  • Power is off (S5)
Solid Amber Boot Failure - This is a system fault error condition, including the power supply. Only the +5VSB rail on the power supply is working correctly.
Blinking Amber Boot Failure - The computer is receiving electrical power, and power supplied by the power supply is normal. A device might be malfunctioning or incorrectly installed. Refer to the table below for Amber Blinking Pattern diagnostics suggestion and possible failures.
Solid White System is in S0 state, the normal power state of a functioning machine. The BIOS will turn the LED to this state to indicate it has started fetching opcodes.
Blinking White System is in a low power state, either S1 or S3. This does not indicate a fault condition.
Warning: The power LED only serve as an indicator of the progress through the POST process. These LEDs do not indicate the problem that caused the POST routine to stop.
Note: Amber LED blinking pattern: The Power Button LED shall blink the corresponding LED codes for the corresponding fault condition. The repeated pattern has a long pause inserted in the middle.

Example: No Memory detected, Power Button LED blinks two times followed by a pause, blinks two times, pause, etc. This pattern continues until the system is powered off.
LED Behaviour Problem Description Next Steps
1 System Board : BIOS, ROM Failure
  • Flash BIOS to latest revision
  • If problem persists contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
2 No Memory / RAM detected
  • Confirm Memory installed
  • Troubleshoot memory further
3 System board, Chipset Error, Clock Failure, Gate A20 Failure, Super I/O Failure, Keyboard controller failure
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
4 Memory / RAM failure
  • Reseat the Memory
  • Troubleshoot the memory further
5 CMOS battery failure
  • Troubleshoot the CMOS battery
  • If problem persists contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
6 Video card/chip failure
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
7 CPU Failure
  • Run the Intel CPU diagnostics tools
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting

Battery LED Diagnostics

(Fig.4.2 Precision M7710)

Power LED State Description
Off
  • Hibernate or Suspend to Disk (S4)
  • Power is off (S5)
Solid White System is in S0 state, the normal power state of a functioning machine. The BIOS will turn the LED to this state to indicate it has started fetching opcodes.
Blinking White System is in a low power state, either S1 or S3. This does not indicate a fault condition.
Warning: The power LED only serve as an indicator of the progress through the POST process. These LEDs do not indicate the problem that caused the POST routine to stop.
Note: The blinking patterns will consist of 2 sets of numbers. These are represented by First Group(Amber Blinks), Second Group(White Blinks).
  • First Group: The Battery LED blinks in Amber up to 9 times then pauses for 1.5 seconds before running the second group.
  • Second Group: The Battery LED blinks in White up to 9 times then pauses for 3 seconds before running the first group again.

Example: No Memory detected (2,3), The Battery LED blinks two times amber followed by a pause, then blinks three times white, pause, etc. This pattern continues until the system is powered off.
LED Behaviour Problem Description Next Steps
2, 1 CPU Failure
  • Run the Intel CPU diagnostics tools
  • If problem persists contact Tech Support for further help
2, 2 System Board : BIOS, ROM Failure
  • Flash BIOS to latest revision
  • If problem persists contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
2, 3 No Memory / RAM detected
  • Confirm Memory installed
  • Troubleshoot memory further
2, 4 Memory / RAM failure
  • Reseat the Memory
  • Troubleshoot the memory further
2, 5 Invalid Memory Installed
  • Reseat the Memory
  • Troubleshoot the memory further
2, 6 System board, Chipset Error
  • Flash BIOS to latest revision
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
2, 7 System board, LCD
  • Flash BIOS to latest revision
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
3, 1 CMOS battery failure
  • Troubleshoot the CMOS battery
  • If problem persists contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
3, 2 PCI or Video card/chip failure
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
3, 3 BIOS Recovery 1
  • Recovery Image not found
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
3, 4 BIOS Recovery 2
  • Recovery image found but invalid
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting

This indicates the Battery power management LEDs codes

LED Behaviour Battery State
Blinking Amber and White light (repeated) An unauthernticated or unsupported non-Dell AC adapter is plugged to your notebook
Blinking Amber and Steady White light (repeated) Temporary battery failure with AC adapter present
Constantly blinking Amber Fatal battery failure with AC adapter present
Solid White Battery in charge mode with AC Adapter
Light off Battery in full charge mode with AC adapter present
Light off Battery in full charge mode without AC adapter present
Solid Amber Battery charge is critically slow (approx. 30 minutes or less of battery life remaining), without AC adapter present


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If you require further assistance, please contact technical Support.
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Код статьи: SLN295101

Дата последнего изменения: 10/30/2017 05:11 AM


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