A reference guide to the Inspiron Notebook Diagnostic Indicators

A reference guide to the Inspiron Notebook Diagnostic Indicators



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.


Table of Contents:

  1. Diagnostic LEDs for the Inspiron Notebook Series (Prior to 2006)
  2. Diagnostic LEDs for the Inspiron Notebook series (2006 to 2016)
  3. Diagnostic LEDs for the Inspiron Notebook series (2016 to Present)
  4. Inspiron Notebook Audible Beep Codes
  5. Diagnostic Indicator Guides

Note: For all the tables below, please remember that the diagnostic LEDs only serve as an indicator of the progress through the POST process. These LEDs do not indicate the problem that caused the POST routine to stop.
Note: Please be aware that if your system completes POST without stopping on a particular error code and then gives a black screen, the most likely reason is that you are experiencing a No Boot issue and not a No POST issue at all.


Back to Top


Diagnostic LEDs for the Inspiron Notebook series (Prior to 2006)

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.

XPS Notebook 2007-2008

(Fig.1.1 Inspiron 1501)

Note: Please click on the title of the section you want to open below, in order to see the contents.

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.

Keyboard LEDs

(Fig.1.2 Keyboard LEDs)

Icon Description
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).
  • Reseat the memory module(s)
  • Contact Support
Off On Off The system is performing diskette and hard disk initialization.
  • Contact Support
Off On Flash Flash USB controller initialization.
  • Remove any USB devices
  • Contact Support
Off On On No DIMM is installed.
  • Install the memory module(s)
  • Reseat the memory module(s)
  • Contact Support
Flash On On EC turn on Pentium.
  • Reseat the processor
  • Contact Support
Flash Flash On Call option ROM for Video.
  • Contact Support
Flash Flash Flash CMOS initialization, SMI initialization, timer, gate A20, and mouse.
  • Contact Support
On On On POST has completed and the BIOS is about to jump to the PSA module.
  • Look at a boot issue
  • Contact Support

Status LEDs
(Fig.1.3 System Status LEDs)

If the computer is connected to an electrical outlet, the battery light operates as follows:

  • Solid green — The battery is charging.
  • Flashing green — The battery is almost fully charged.

If the computer is running on a battery, the battery light operates as follows:

  • Off — The battery is adequately charged (or the computer is turned off).
  • Flashing amber — The battery charge is low.
  • Solid amber — The battery charge is critically low.


Back to Top


Diagnostic LEDs for the Inspiron Notebook series (2006 to 2016)

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.)

Inspiron Notebook 2006-2016

(Fig.2.1 Inspiron 14 3442 / 3443)

Note: Please click on the title of the section you want to open below, in order to see the contents.

Inspiron System LED

(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
Off Off
  • The computer is plugged in, and the battery is being charged
  • The computer is running on battery, and the battery has more than 10% charge


Back to Top


Diagnostic LEDs for the Inspiron Notebook series (2016 to Present)

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.

Inspiron 2016-Present

(Fig.3.1 Inspiron 7577)

Note: Please click on the title of the section you want to open below, in order to see the contents.
Note: Diagnostic Error Codes will always supersede any other use of the LED. For instance, battery codes for Low Battery or Battery Failure situations will not be displayed when Diagnostic Error Codes are being displayed.

Inspiron Power and Battery

Inspiron Power and Battery

(Fig.3.2 Insprion Power and Battery Status LEDs)

1 Power Button LED 2 Front Battery LED

Power Status

Power State Description
Solid White On
Flashing White Standby
Off Hibernate
Off Soft Off
Off No AC Power or Battery

Battery Management

Power State Description
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
Note: The blinking patterns will consist of 2 sets of numbers. These are represented by First Group (Amber Blinks), Second Group (White Blinks).
  • First Group: The Battery LED blinks in Amber up to 9 times then pauses for 1.5 seconds before running the second group.
  • Second Group: The Battery LED blinks in White up to 9 times then pauses for 3 seconds before running the first group again.

Example: No Memory detected (2, 3), The Battery LED blinks two times amber followed by a pause, then blinks three times white, pause, etc. This pattern continues until the system is powered off.
Power LED Problem Description Suggested Resolution
Amber White
2 1 CPU Failure
  • Run the Intel CPU diagnostics tools
  • If problem persists contact Tech Support for further help
2 2 System Board : BIOS, ROM Failure
  • Flash BIOS to latest revision
  • If problem persists contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
2 3 No Memory / RAM detected
  • Confirm Memory installed
  • Troubleshoot memory further
2 4 Memory / RAM failure
  • Reseat the Memory
  • Troubleshoot the memory further
2 5 Invalid Memory Installed
  • Reseat the Memory
  • Troubleshoot the memory further
2 6 System board, Chipset Error
  • Flash BIOS to latest revision
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
2 7 LCD failure
  • Flash BIOS to latest revision
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
3 1 CMOS battery failure
  • Troubleshoot the CMOS battery
  • If problem persists contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
3 2 PCI or Video card/chip failure
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
3 3 BIOS Recovery 1
  • Recovery Image not found
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
3 4 BIOS Recovery 2
  • Recovery image found but invalid
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
3 5 Power Rail Failure
  • EC ran into power sequencing failure
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
3 6 SBIOS Flash Corruption
  • Flash corruption detected by SBIOS
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
3 7 ME Error
  • Timeout waiting on ME to reply to HECI message
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting


Back to Top


Inspiron Notebook audible Beep codes

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.

Note: Please click on the title of the section you want to open below, in order to see the contents.
Diagnostic Beep Codes
Code Cause Suggested Resolution
1 BIOS ROM Checksum in progress or failure Contact Technical Support
2 No Memory Modules detected Troubleshoot the Memory and Memory Slots
3 Chipset Error
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


Back to Top


Diagnostic Indicator Guides


Back to Top


Note:
If you are seeing a recognisable code, please follow the instructions and if you have to contact your local support - please make sure you have the code information to hand. The technician will need this information to help you further.

If you are seeing an unrecognisable code, one that isn't listed above - then please get in touch with your local support straight away.
If you require further assistance, please contact technical Support.
Contact Us


Back to Top





Article ID: SLN309627

Last Date Modified: 12/03/2018 12:56 PM


Rate this article

Accurate
Useful
Easy to understand
Was this article helpful?
Yes No
Send us feedback
Comments cannot contain these special characters: <>()\
Sorry, our feedback system is currently down. Please try again later.

Thank you for your feedback.