Dell Inspiron Notebook systems have a long history of built in diagnostic indicators. These can be audible beeps, power buttons that display different states and colours, specific diagnostics LEDs 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.
These systems used keyboard button LEDs, but apart from the Inspiron 1501 all the other Inspiron models during this time used the audible beep codes as a diagnostic indicator on their notebook.
(Fig.1.1 Inspiron 1501)
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.
(Fig.1.2 Keyboard LEDs)
|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|
|Num Lock||Caps Lock||Scroll Lock||Description||Next Step|
|Off||Flash||Off||The memory is believed to be good but it is about to be exercised (such as when shadowing the BIOS and when testing / zeroing all memory).||
|Off||On||Off||The system is performing diskette and hard disk initialization.||
|Off||On||Flash||Flash USB controller initialization.||
|Off||On||On||No DIMM is installed.||
|Flash||On||On||EC turn on Pentium.||
|Flash||Flash||On||Call option ROM for Video.||
|Flash||Flash||Flash||CMOS initialization, SMI initialization, timer, gate A20, and mouse.||
|On||On||On||POST has completed and the BIOS is about to jump to the PSA module.||
(Fig.1.3 System Status LEDs)
If the computer is connected to an electrical outlet, the battery light operates as follows:
If the computer is running on a battery, the battery light operates as follows:
Systems during this time period only used LED states to show the Battery and HDD status. (Check the beep codes section for the audible beep code table.)
(Fig.2.1 Inspiron 14 3442 / 3443)
(Fig.2.2 Inspiron System LED)
|LED Status||System State|
|White||The power adapter is connected and the battery is being charged|
|Amber||The battery charge is low or critical|
With the latest series, the diagnostics indicator Beeps have mostly been removed from these systems. Instead the Power Button state now gives a blink and colour shift pattern to indicate where its had a problem.
(Fig.3.1 Inspiron 7577)
(Fig.3.2 Insprion Power and Battery Status LEDs)
|1||Power Button LED||2||Front Battery LED|
|Off||No AC Power or Battery|
|Alternatively Flashing Amber and then White||An unsupported Non-Dell AC Adapter or Battery is attached to your PC|
|Constantly Flashing Amber||Below Low Battery Level|
|LEDs Off||Battery in full charge mode with AC Adapter present|
|Constant White||Battery in charge mode with AC Adapter present|
|Power LED||Problem Description||Suggested Resolution|
|2||2||System Board : BIOS, ROM Failure||
|2||3||No Memory / RAM detected||
|2||4||Memory / RAM failure||
|2||5||Invalid Memory Installed||
|2||6||System board, Chipset Error||
|3||1||CMOS battery failure||
|3||2||PCI or Video card/chip failure||
|3||3||BIOS Recovery 1||
|3||4||BIOS Recovery 2||
|3||5||Power Rail Failure||
|3||6||SBIOS Flash Corruption||
In addition to the various types of diagnostics LEDs, there are a number of audible beep codes across the models of these systems.
These codes are recognised across manufacturers and have remained the same for some time.
The key to these codes are displayed in the table below.
|Diagnostic Beep Codes|
|1||BIOS ROM Checksum in progress or failure||Contact Technical Support|
|2||No Memory Modules detected||Troubleshoot the Memory and Memory Slots|
Time-of-day clock test failure
Gate A20 Failure
Super I/O chip Failure
Keyboard controller test failure
|Contact Technical Support|
|4||RAM read/write error||Troubleshoot the Memory and Memory Slots|
|5||Real Time Clock Failure||Replace the CMOS Battery, Contact Technical Support if problem persists|
|6||Video BIOS test Failure||Run the Dell Diagnostics|
|7||CPU Cache Test Failure||Contact Technical Support|
|8||LCD Failure||Contact Technical Support|
|If you require further assistance, please contact technical Support.|
Article ID: SLN309627
Last Date Modified: 12/03/2018 12:56 PM
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