Looks like my problem was not a result of a faulty MOBO but it was with the Power Supply...
Initially I called Dell to replace the MOBO but once replaced the problem was more apparent and the machine would not startup anymore without removing the CMOS battery...Even once started up, I would still get the occasional flashing amber light unless I've unplugged all the USB cables and ethernet cable. However once the power supply was replaced with a new one everything has now worked fine.
I have read that the problem can also be a problem with the front I/O panel because of the pins in the USB ports might be damaged.
Try This, On the main power plug from the Power Supply to the Motherboard, Use a straightened paper clip and short the Green Wire to a Black Ground Wire on either side of it and after doing so, press the regular power button on the front of the machine. As the PC starts up, remove the paper clip. If this works for you, make it permanant by installing a push button, momentary contact, normally open SPST switch connect to the two points. Mount the switch in one of the empty drive bay knock out panels. To start the machine all you do is hold the pushbutton switch and press the regular power button. As the machine powers up, release both buttons.
This apears to be a design problem but this makes a good work-around.
Edited 07/08/2009 by LC
This appears to be a common problem. In my case, my E510 began to refuse to boot after about 14 months of minimal use (typically only a few hours per week), protected the entire time by a UPS with power conditioning. Unlike most of the other posts on this issue that I've read, my E510 with blinking amber light can periodically be coaxed to boot. (Note: There are NO diagnostic lights visible. And once it IS running, the button is steady green -- as though everything is just fine.) Whether it boots or I get the blinking amber light is starting to feel like a voodoo thing. I plug and unplug, plug and unplug, drain the remaining current by holding in the power button, walk away for 15-30 minutes, spin around, hug the dog, and OCCASIONALLY I'll get the steady green power light. Most recently, after running through one of the Dell troubleshooting Web pages, I discovered that if I disconnect every external cable, drain the remaining current, and then wait 5-10 minutes, it will usually allow me to boot. While booting, I can reconnect the cables and everything works fine. (Well, not everything. The DVD drive seems to have a miserable time spinning up to speed. Eventually, it works, though.) Other things I've tried: (1) Replaced the internal battery. (That worked for one boot.) (2) Plugged the system into different outlets. (Initially, it was plugged into a power strip that was connected to the UPS. After reading that somehow that might affect the power getting to the system, I plugged it directly into the UPS. That worked for one or two boots, too. All that remains plugged into the power strip is the monitor and speakers. (Side note: Since when did using a power strip or UPS become a no-no?) Since the system CAN be tricked into booting, is there any reason to think that my power supply has problems? I really hate the idea of tossing money at this without knowing for sure that the problem will be corrected. Frankly, for a $1,000 computer (I added a bunch of upgrades when it was ordered), I'm really dismayed that it's having hardware problems this early on. Either my luck is bad or this is a badly cobbled together system. Given the number of people that have the same problem, is their any chance that Dell will step up and take responsibility for the repairs? Steve
Message Edited by zapt on 01-23-2008 09:08 AM
Try this. On the main power connection from the Power Supply to the Motherboard, use a straightened Paper Clip and short the Green Wire to one of the Black Ground Wires beside it and then press the main power switch. As the PC starts to power on, remove the paper clip.
If this works, install a Push-Button, Normally Open SPSP momentary contact switch connected to the Green wire and the Black wire at the motherboard. Mount the switch in a Knock Out Panel in one of the spare drive bays. To start the macine, Hold the new switch and press the regular power switch. As the machine powers up release both switches.
Thought I would pass along many hours of trying to troubleshoot my DELL E-510. There are many posts that talk about removing the BIOS battery, replacing the powersupply , replacing the front panel assembly and then the most expensive , finding a replacement Motherboard. Here is a summary of my troubleshooting, hope this might help others that are clearly having problem with the E-510
Editorial note : I have been a loyal customer for many years and approved thousands of corporate computers purchases from Dell, and I never expected to have such problems with my DELL E-510 (used at home ) Im sure Dell monitors this forum and I'm really surprised that they have not done much. You guys are really getting negitive press on this one !
THERE ARE A FEW DIFFERENT FAILURE MODES THAT WILL CAUSE THE DREADED DELL E-510 YELl OW BLINKING LIGHT OF DEATH. WILL TRY TO SUMMARIZE THOSE AS FOLLOWS.
1) POWER SUPPLY IS BAD. Posts have already discussed some of the internal capacitors that go bad in the DELL power supply and how to repair. Those are only some that might fail, however the ones discussed tend to have a higher failure rate. You can bench check your Power Supply by removing it and testing it on the bench using a simple volt meter.. The ATX power supply needs the PS_ON (pin 16 Green Wire) jumped to Ground ( Pin 17 is a good Choice). You then can apply AC and check the voltages. Another good test point is Pin 8 which is PWR_OK. Internal circuits are responsible for checking all of the voltages and proper operation BEFORE PWR_ON is turned on (Logic 1 , HIGH,5V). If everything is ok this pin should go from almost 0V to 4-5V indicating the Power Supply is probably OK
2) Power ON , POST, Disk Active ETC circuit board on the front of the E-510. There are NO active parts that control power on expect for the push button on this circuit board !. The normally open switch provides a grounds connection to the MotherBorad when depressed. Thats ALL , no active components. So I would only replace that circuit board if you have absolutely no control using that switch ... Cant turn it on , cant turn it off , cant discharge the green MotherBoard led.. Its just a mechanical switch.
3) BIOS backup battery Bad. In my experience , if this battery goes bad, you will get a notification and/or when you boot the computer time/date is incorrect. You could always replace it easily , maybe a completely dead/shorted battery could cause problems, however most likely a loss of settings or time/date.will be the problem ! Posts do indicate that a bad battery did cause problems, its cheap and easy to replace. When its replaced , most times the BIOS settings are cleared and the processor uses a special boot sequence to force reading of computer components, that's why many report that it turns on once after the battery is removed and replaced. It normally does not fix the problem !
4) Defective MottherBoard. The processor uses support chips (Intel 945G Express support chips) and one is responsible for I/O and to the point Power management ! The on-off switch, power status, BIOS setup , and other factors are handled by this large and complex IC. .If your power supply tests good and you have checked the front panel switch , then you most likely have a bad component on the motherboard ! Used motherboards can be purchased different places, a web search shows companys selling used ( checked and guaranteed ) for about $100. I looked everywhere for motherboard technical data and Intel does not release infromation about support circuits for their 82810GR I/O chip.
My specific problem is when power is turned on I immediately get the E-510 blinking light of death. If I wait long enough ( sometimes 10 minutes, sometimes 10 hours) eventually the light will stop blinking and I can turn the beast on . I checked the powersupply and also replaced it thinking maybe it was faiiling under load ! NOT THE POWER SUPPLY !. Removed the from panel circuit board ( I didnt know what components were on the front panel) as noted nothing but the switch.... Since I know the switch eventually works and can turn off the E-510 its not the switch, you can also test the switch with a ohm meter ! So I'm one of the luckey ones, a BAD MOTHERBOARD !!!
IF YOU HAVE A BAD MOTHERBOARD , i suggest that you try the push button switch tied between the 24 pin ATX power connector pins 16 (PS_ON) and 17 ) use a good momentary Normally open push button switch and put a 1K OHM resistor in series . The PS-ON is a logic signal other components are connected to this signal ... just wish we could find out more about that motherboard. Dont think its really the Intel I/O chip, most likely some "glue" components that connect to that chip. Might just be a bad resistor or capacitor on the motherboard .
If you have a problem same as mine, pushing the switch the same time you push the E-510 power on switch works for me. It simulates the Power ON signal created by the defective circuit on the MotherBoard and works almost all of the time. Once it didnt work, so I removed the power to the E-510 , pushed the poweron switch untill the blinking yellow light stops ( even if you remove power from the E-510 you must discharge the remaining power). Plug it in again, and press both buttons again and it should work . I can live with this solution for awhile, there is considerable cost to replace the motherboard especially iif you must pay a tech. to do it... Might not be worth the investment. The E-510 doesnt seem to have a very good reliability record !!!!
I HAVE ALWAYS HAD GOOD PERFORMANCE FROM MY DELL PRODUCTS, HOWEVER I AGREE WITH MOST, TWO YEARS FROM A $1200 DELL COMPUTER IS REALLY A BAD DEAL !!! GOOD LUCK EVERYONE
It must be thousands of these 510's that have this problem. Dell could replace these boards and I will bet the company stock would go up. I will never recommend a Dell to anyone again. I work on computers everyday and I have seen about 5 of these 510's and all have the same exact problem. If Dell would only admit that these were bad computers. I see them selling everyday on ebay and I would never bid on this model in a million years. I bought one myself in late 05 that is sitting in my basement collection dust. Maybe Dell will read all these posts and wise up. Until they do no more Dells ever for me. trig
i have an E520 FLASHING AMBER LIGHT WONT BOOT OR POST
like the power swith panel is bad i replaced power supply still same prob control panel next ?
its my aunts computer im a computer tech\gamer\mechanic
im prtty sure its the front control panel so i need parts help
im out of warranty tech support hot line i was told they couldent help me or her .
that this isnt a prob and they didnt know any thing about this concern
and that a mother board alone was 375.00
thats crazy so i have it sitting here waste of parts has 2 gig mem not sure what the cpu is on acount it wont boot lol thx dell
she looking to just buy a new computer and it prob wont be a dell
so should wee give up or is dell helping fix this prob this computer is like brand new but not under warranty time
My dimension 510e started having the "blinking amber light of death" about two months ago. I read the forums here and elsewhere and popped out the CMOS battery. The pc started up and I just left it in standby mode instead of turning it off every night. I went out and bought a Verbatim hard drive and started backing up all my data every day, waiting for the end. Btw, that stupid Verbatim came with Nero Back It Up Essentials 2, which turned out to be really old and unreliable software - beware!
We lost power a few times recently and the pc powered back up without too many problems. Then we had a thunderstorm that knocked out our power for a few hours on Sun and when I came down Mon morning, the pc was dead. I tried the usual tricks - unplug all the peripherals, drain the power, get a cup of tea, come back and see if it starts and still nothing but that annoying blinking light. I fussed with it for a few hours and still nothing. I installed a new CMOS battery, hoping that would help, but it didn't. I finally decided that it was really dead and I was going to take it to a pc place (I'm not very technical) to see if I needed a new power supply or motherboard or maybe they can take the hard drive and put it in a new pc.
I checked the forum one last time and saw that digital11 had posted his paperclip fix about a dozen times. I figure I have nothing to lose, plus the post that follows it is too technical for me to understand, so I tried it. It worked! I have no idea if it'll work again because I've only tried it once (the pc is up and I don't plan on shutting it down...). The good part is that I can get a proper backup or boot disk using something besides Nero while the pc is up. I don't know what an "SPSP momentary contact switch" is but you can bet I'm going to find out and put one in! Thanks for the fix, digital11,! Even if it does turn out to be temporary, it's a big help.
fIf anyone can tell me how to turn off my email subscription for this thread, I will be eternally grateful!!
I have clicked on the link at the bottom of the emails I receive, which is supposed to take me somplace where I will be able to disable the email subscription.
However, it just takes me to the thread, and I cannot figure our how to disable my email subscription. There has go to be a way, but Dell is hiding it!
Well you can add me to this ongoing list of E510 blinking amber lights! And after 2 hours on the phone with Dell, I'm no better off. Can you believe they even tried selling me another computer......how about fixing the one I have now which is just over 3 years old. Apparently age has nothing to do with it, but a tech support manager did mention, for those who are still under warranty, they start by replacing the power supply, then the motherboard, then the (??something) panel. Not sure how this is supposed to help me since I'm no longer under warranty.
Oh, and I even asked him about their tracking for this sort of problem since it seems to be many and maybe it's some sort of defective part, and he said this is common in any and all computers even at the "competition". I thought it was kinda wierd that the only blinking light threads I ran across were all on the E510, but what do I know about technical support?!
I guess I shouldn't be suprised that I got transferred to 3 different people just trying to get a customer service contact. It was almost 4, bless the last girl's heart for not passing me off, but rather putting me on hold and coming back with this link: firstname.lastname@example.org. I haven't tried it yet, but I do know I couldn't get anywhere with the customer_advocate one.
Recently I’m having the same blinking amber light problem of my Dimension 5150. The power supply is CX305N-00, with Rev-A00. I’m in Northern Virginia. The weather is not as cold as MN. But I took a Dell user’s (who is in MN) recommendation using a hair dryer to blow the hot air to the power supply and it worked fine. I believe the root of the problem is the power supply (305W) doesn’t provide enough juice to operate all components in the PC. Since the PC is no longer under warranty, without replacing the motherboard, I plan to replace the power supply at my own cost with a high wattage power supply.
Can you give me the technical specification of the ATX power supply (450W) you purchased via TigerDirect.
Your assistance is greatly appreciated.