Dell Dimension 3000 Undocumented Diagnostic Lights Pattern?

I am working on a Dimension 3000 that has been experiencing unexpected shutdowns, lockups, and non boots. Sometimes i get a BSOD, sometimes it just locks up. This happens whether in Windows or running from UBCD4Win. Most of the time it seems to happen after the monitor shuts down due to the power settings, but this is most likely just a timing issue.

I was able to test the RAM, no errors were reported. I was also able to test the HDD, again no errors. I just tested the PSU and all looked OK. 

My gut says that this is the motherboard.

Here is the odd thing.  Right now when I boot, i will either get NO diagnostic lights, or i will get a yellow B and everything else green. I cannot find this pattern in the documentation.

Does anyone know if this is a real pattern and what it indicates? 

pk

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17 Replies
7- Gold

Re: Dell Dimension 3000 Undocumented Diagnostic Lights Pattern?

Hi Allochthonous,

My suggestion would be to run the complete, extended Dell diagnostics, which also tests the motherboard. To do this, hit F12 on boot, then choose the option to boot from the utility partition. Select Extended test from the diagnostics options.

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Re: Dell Dimension 3000 Undocumented Diagnostic Lights Pattern?

That is a great idea, except i cannot even get that far.  I guess i should have been more clear when i said "won't boot".  I mean that it won't even POST. The fans will spin, the hard drive spins, the power light comes on, that is it.

If i can ever get that far again, I will do it.

 

PK

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7- Gold

Re: Dell Dimension 3000 Undocumented Diagnostic Lights Pattern?

It's probably time to bring it in to a shop.

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rdunnill
5 Rhenium

Re: Dell Dimension 3000 Undocumented Diagnostic Lights Pattern?

That is a great idea, except i cannot even get that far.  I guess i should have been more clear when i said "won't boot".  I mean that it won't even POST. The fans will spin, the hard drive spins, the power light comes on, that is it.

I had a problem like that with my 2350; I cleared the CMOS and it worked. However, the problem could be more serious, like bad capacitors. In that case, it's time to change the mainboard.

Used mainboards can be had on eBay for $50 or so including shipping. It's not that hard to swap one in if you're careful. Or, as the 3000 is mostly standard micro-ATX, you could buy an ASRock Socket 478 board plus a Socket 478 cooler and 2gb of DDR2 memory (all for under $100), install it, and get lucky when XP reboots and you can reactivate it over the 1-800 line. (Your OEM license remains valid with a mainboard swap provided the new mainboard is similar to the original.) All the case connectors apart from the front audio port (which is a Soundblaster-compatible design) will work. I should also mention that there is a ninth, non-standard wire on the USB header that should be removed. (It shorted out the power supply when used with a Foxconn G41 board.)  

 

 

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Re: Dell Dimension 3000 Undocumented Diagnostic Lights Pattern?

And what would a shop do that I cannot?

I would assume the next step would be to swap out known good working components (motherboard, cpu) ?

 

PK

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7- Gold

Re: Dell Dimension 3000 Undocumented Diagnostic Lights Pattern?

They can swap parts but only charge you what you actually need. At least, that's what our local guy does.

My other thought is I wouldn't spend $50 on a motherboard for a 6 year old system worth maybe $75 if I wasn't sure that was the problem.

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Re: Dell Dimension 3000 Undocumented Diagnostic Lights Pattern?

This PC actually belongs to a friend at work. That is what i told her today. If it is the motherboard, this machine is certainly not worth the expense of replacing it (and the risk of MS being jerks and not letting me reauthenticate the OEM license on a different motherboard).

Any other ideas?  Is there any documentation of that diagnostic light pattern?

I may try the CMOS reset thing, just out of pure desperation.

 

PK

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Re: Dell Dimension 3000 Undocumented Diagnostic Lights Pattern?

I was finally able to get the system to boot again last night.  

An error popped up on the screen that said something like "The system has failed to boot several times at the point (64K)..."

Also, one other thing to note is that when i run WhoCrashed within Windows to analyze the dump files, the culprit is always HAL.dll.

Does this shed any more light on the issue?

 

pk

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RoHe
6 Thallium

Re: Dell Dimension 3000 Undocumented Diagnostic Lights Pattern?

That could be a RAM issue (first 64K of RAM).

Reseat all the RAM modules in their slots.

If the problem isn't corrected, remove all RAM modules except the one in slot 1. If that fails, swap the other modules into slot 1. If all the others work in slot 1, you probably need to replace the module that was originally in slot 1. (Keep track of which module was in which slot before you start swapping. emoticon.Wink.title )

Always power off, unplug and press/hold power button for ~15 sec before removing/adding any hardware.

Ron

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I am not a Dell employee

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