Inspiron 560 won't start; power button flashes amber; four RAPID beeps--FIXED!
MODS--PLEASE MOVE THIS POST TO "DESKTOPS". It was posted to Laptops by mistake. Thanks!
Mrs. Orca's Inspiron 560 had a meltdown yesterday. While she was using it, her display froze and began blinking, then froze entirely. She shut down by pressing and holding the power button. Attempts to restart were unsuccessful; the system fans worked, but the computer emitted four very rapid beeps over and over and the power light was blinking. After banging my head on this for about six hours, I stumbled upon the solution without knowing how I did it. I consulted with my IT friends and here's our consensus fix:
What probably happened was this: She got hit with a transient voltage spike. The computer's power supply has a built-in system protection circuit to keep the motherboard and hard drives from getting fried. When the spike hit, the system protection cut in and shut off all of the power supply's outputs to the motherboard. Obviously, the motherboard freaked out and stuff stopped working.
The rapid beeping I heard on startup was a probably warning alarm from the power supply telling me that the system protection circuit had been tripped. I verified this by looking at the front panel power switch, which was blinking amber (normal is steady green); the rear panel power light (which was steady green) indicated that the power from the wall was OK.
I reset the power supply like this:
Unplug the computer from the wall.
Press and hold the front panel power switch for 15 seconds. This drains any residual power in the power supply and motherboard. Check that the rear panel power light (located on the power supply just below the AC connector) goes out.
Open the access panel on the side of the computer.
VERY IMPORTANT! Touch the bare metal frame with a bare finger to get rid of any built-up static charge, then disconnect the power supply connectors from the motherboard, hard drives, etc. (I think the CMOS battery on the motherboard provides a small voltage to the power supply so it remembers that something's wrong; disconnecting the power supply drains that, too. I could be wrong about this.)
Wait a couple hours, then reconnect the power supply to the motherboard, hard drives, etc..
Once everything is reconnected securely, place the access cover back on the computer.
Plug in the computer. Check that the rear panel power light is on and green.
Connect only the keyboard, mouse, and monitor. Do not connect any other peripherals at this time.
Press the power button on the front of the computer. Check that the power button lights up steady green and no beeps are heard. Check that the computer boots normally.
This worked for me. If the computer does not boot and you still hear the rapid beeping, your power supply or motherboard may need to be replaced.