A reference guide to the Vostro Notebook Diagnostic Indicators

A reference guide to the Vostro Notebook Diagnostic Indicators



Dell Vostro 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 Vostro Notebook Series (Prior to 2010)
  2. Diagnostic LEDs for the Vostro Notebook series (2010 to 2015)
  3. Diagnostic LEDs for the Vostro Notebook series (2015 to Present)
  4. Vostro 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.


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Diagnostic LEDs for the Vostro Notebook series (Prior to 2010)

This series used power button LED states and a diagnostics LED pack on notebook systems.

Vostro Notebook 2007-2010

(Fig.1.1 Vostro 3700)

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 white, flashed white or were Off. I've included a table below with what these indicated.

Keyboard LEDs

(Fig.1.2 Caps Lock 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
Flash Code LED Pattern Description Next Step
CPU Code Flash-On-On The microcontroller is handing control of the system to the processor. This code persists if no processor is detected.
  • Reseat the processor
  • Contact Support
Memory Code On-Flash-On The memory has encountered an error.
  • Reseat the memory module(s)
  • Contact Support
System Board Flash-Flash-Flash A system board component is faulty.
  • Contact Support
Video LED Flash-Flash-On The video card is preventing the system from completing POST.
  • Contact Support
Keyboard LED Flash-Flash-Off The keyboard is preventing the system from completing POST.
  • Reseat the keyboard cable
  • Contact Support
USB LED Flash-Off-Flash The USB controller encountered a problem during initialization.
  • Remove any USB devices
  • Contact Support
No Memory On-Flash-Flash No SODIMMs are installed.
  • Install the memory module(s)
  • Reseat the memory module(s)
  • Contact Support
LCD LED Flash-On-Flash The LCD encountered a problem during initialization.
  • Reseat the LCD cable
  • Contact Support
Modem LED Off-Flash-Flash The modem is preventing the system from completing POST.
  • Reseat the modem
  • Contact Support

Status LEDs

(Fig.1.3 System Status LEDs)

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.


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Diagnostic LEDs for the Vostro Notebook series (2010 to 2015)

With this series of Notebooks, the Diagnostic indicators changed to use two different methods depending on the model of system you have:

  • One method uses only the Power LED as an indicator. The Diagnostic LED is now the state of the Power LED and how many times it blinks at you.
  • The other method uses the beep codes from the beep code section.

Power LED Diagnostics

(Fig.2.1 Vostro 5460)

Power LED State Description
Off
  • Hibernate or Suspend to Disk (S4)
  • Power is off (S5)
Solid White System is in S0 state, the normal power state of a functioning machine. The BIOS will turn the LED to this state to indicate it has started fetching opcodes.
Blinking White System is in a low power state, either S1 or S3. This does not indicate a fault condition.
Warning: The power LED 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: The Power button has a bi-colour LED. In a No Post situation it displays an Amber LED blinking pattern: The Power Button LED shall blink the corresponding LED codes for the corresponding fault condition. The repeated pattern has a 3 second long pause inserted in the middle.

Example: No Memory detected, Power Button LED blinks two times followed by a pause, blinks two times, pause, etc. This pattern continues until the system is powered off.
LED Behaviour Problem Description Next Steps
1 System Board : BIOS, ROM Failure
  • Flash BIOS to latest revision
  • If problem persists contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
2 No Memory / RAM detected
  • Confirm Memory installed
  • Troubleshoot memory further
3 System board, Chipset Error, Clock Failure, Gate A20 Failure, Super I/O Failure, Keyboard controller failure
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
4 Memory / RAM failure
  • Reseat the Memory
  • Troubleshoot the memory further
5 CMOS battery failure
  • Troubleshoot the CMOS battery
  • If problem persists contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
6 Video card/chip failure
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting
7 CPU Failure
  • Run the Intel CPU diagnostics tools
  • Contact Tech Support for further troubleshooting

This indicates the Battery power management LEDs codes

Power Source; Battery Charge Off / Hibernate Standby On
Power LED (All; 0-100% charge) Off Blinking White light (repeated) Solid White
Battery LED (AC Adapter; 98-100% charged) Off Off Off
Battery LED (AC Adapter; Below 98% charging) Solid White Solid White Solid White
Battery LED (Battery; discharging) Off Solid Amber Solid Amber
Battery LED (Battery; Below 10% critically low) Off Off Off
HDD LED Off Off White when active
Camera LED (All sources; 0-100% charge) Off Off Sold White when streaming data


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Diagnostic LEDs for the Vostro Notebook series (2015 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.

XPS 2015-Present

(Fig.3.1 Vostro 7570)

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.

Vostro Battery

(Fig.3.2 Vostro Battery Status LED)

Power Source Status Power State Description
AC Adapter Off S0 - S5 Fully Charged
White S0 - S5 Charging
Battery Off S0 - S5 Battery Discharging
Solid Amber S0 - S5 Low to Critically Low
  • S0 - ON - System is on
  • S4 - Hibernate - System in in hibernation mode
  • S5 - OFF - System is off
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


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Vostro Notebook audible Beep codes

In addition to the various types of diagnostics LEDs, there are a number of audible beep codes across some of 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.
Beep Code Description Failure Coverage Suggested Action
1 System board, covers BIOS corruption or ROM error System board BIOS ROM failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
2 No Memory/RAM Detected No memory detected Troubleshoot the Memory
3
  • Chipset Error (North and South bridge error, DMA/IMR/Timer error
  • Time-of-Day Clock failure
  • Gate A20 failure
  • Super I/O Failure
  • Keyboard controller failure
System board failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
4 Memory/RAM read/write failure Memory failure Troubleshoot the Memory
5 Real Time Clock power fail COMS battery failure Try reseating the CMOS Battery and run the Dell Diagnostics if that does not resolve the issue
6 Video card/chip Failure Video BIOS Run the Dell Diagnostics
7 CPU Cache Test Failure CPU Failure Run the Dell Diagnostics
8 LCD LCD Failure Contact Technical Support


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Diagnostic Indicator Guides


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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


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Article ID: SLN309626

Last Date Modified: 10/17/2018 08:45 AM


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