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Helpmem8
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DELL E521 - diagnostic lights stuck at 2 & 4..?

I have a Dell E521 desktop, which I've had for nine years and one day I suddenly discovered the front power button was flashing an amber light and then over time the power gradually died completely. I then looked online to confirm it was the power supply at fault and so went on ebay and bought a new power supply the exact same as the original.

The problem I have now is that everything powers up fine with a front green power light, but it is now showing green diagnostic lights on the front panel which are clearly 2 & 4. I've looked in the manual and it says, 'a possible graphic-card failure has occurred'. I've tried taking my Radeon HD6450 graphic card out and reinstalled it and I've also tried booting with just the integrated graphics on the motherboard, but the lights remain stuck at 2 & 4 and the computer will not boot up properly. Only the Dell logo screen appears on my monitor and the bar underneath that fills white as it boots is only three quarters of the way white. It's really frustrating to be greeted with yet another problem which I don't think is the graphic card, because how can both go down at the same time?

On the motherboard there is an LED that's showing an amber/orange light, it used to always be green, so what does this orange light mean? Can anyone please help me diagnose what the problem could be and a possible fix. I really like my Dell E521 and really would like to get it up and running again. Hope you can help. Thanks.

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13 Replies
Thorium

RE: DELL E521 - diagnostic lights stuck at 2 & 4..?

Try clearing BIOS to clear that error:

  1. Power off, unplug
  2. Press/hold power button for ~15 sec
  3. Open case and remove motherboard battery
  4. Press/hold power button for ~30 sec
  5. Make sure RAM modules, video card and other PCI cards are correctly seated in their slots
  6. Reinstall the battery - use a fresh one since the old one may be weak/dead. CR2032 3-volt lithium ion battery
  7. Close case and reboot

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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Helpmem8
Bronze

RE: DELL E521 - diagnostic lights stuck at 2 & 4..?

Hi Ron, I tried exactly as you said with brand-new battery, but unfortunately it doesn't change a thing, those green lights are still stuck at 2 & 4. Anymore suggestions? Can anyone please HELP!

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Platinum

RE: DELL E521 - diagnostic lights stuck at 2 & 4..?

HELPMEM8

The motherboard has issues, you need to replace it.

Bev.

 


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Helpmem8
Bronze

RE: DELL E521 - diagnostic lights stuck at 2 & 4..?

..are you sure it's the Motherboard... what about the Daughter-board..? If it is the Motherboard can I use any kind or does it have to be the exact same as the original..?

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Platinum

RE: DELL E521 - diagnostic lights stuck at 2 & 4..?

..are you sure it's the Motherboard... what about the Daughter-board..? If it is the Motherboard can I use any kind or does it have to be the exact same as the original..?

Helpmem8

Because neither the video card, or the integrated controllers are working, unfortunately, while a person can make an informed diagnosis, sometimes computer troubleshooting, due to the complexity of components, is diagnostics by substitution.

No,you need another Dell OEM E521 motherboard, the Dell Dimension E521 has a BTX chassis and motherboard, there are no compatible BTX retail motherboards available.

Due to it's age [9/10 years], replacement E521 motherboards will be 'refurbished' [aka used] and could be the same age as your system, with a very limited warranty.

Personally I would consider replacing an end of life computer that old with a new desktop.

Bev.

 


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Helpmem8
Bronze

RE: DELL E521 - diagnostic lights stuck at 2 & 4..?

Hi Bev,

Thanks for your reply. I have been told before that it's probably best to let my E521 go and replace it with a new desktop, but I just wanted one last look into trying to fix it. There are several original Motherboards for this computer on ebay for around the forty pound mark and I know as you say they will rarely be brand-new only used and refurbished. I'll need to think about what to do...

Before I decide what to do I have another problem and that is my hard drive in my E521. I need the data off it, it's full of music, documents, years of photos and expensive programs, but it can't be accessed via my HP laptop.  I bought a USB adapter to try and transfer the data off my E521 hard drive onto my laptop, but it keeps saying, F:/ is not accessible  The Parameter is Incorrect. My laptop did recognise the hard drive, but now it just won't show up at all. Do you know of an easy solution to get the data off my E521 hard-drive, because I really need everything off it. Thanks.

Simon.

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RE: DELL E521 - diagnostic lights stuck at 2 & 4..?

Hi Helpmem8. First look if you can at the MOBO the number is on it, if not download BELARC this program will tell you the MOBO number.  Go to Google I saw new ones on there but dont know if you use AMD or Intel. For your files get a Duplicator it will go much faster buy a new drive format it use Acronis if you have it coy overe from the duplicator to the new drive. Format the old drive use as a spare. get a larger SSD

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Thorium

RE: DELL E521 - diagnostic lights stuck at 2 & 4..?

Just for clarity, did you try clearing BIOS by pulling the battery, but without the add-in video card installed? And seeing if it boots using onboard video?

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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Platinum

RE: DELL E521 - diagnostic lights stuck at 2 & 4..?

Helpmem8

A thought, when you used the integrated video, did you enter the system setup and check that Onboard setting was set at 'enabled'?

See page 113 Here:

http://ftp.dell.com/Manuals/all-products/esuprt_desktop/esuprt_dimension_desktops/dimension-e521_own...

Bev.

 


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