How to Troubleshoot a No Power Issue on your Dell Notebook

How to Troubleshoot a No Power Issue on your Dell Notebook


If your Dell Notebook PC is having issues starting up, then the following articles will take you through the most common reasons why and how to run through the most common checks to identify where your PC has gone wrong.


Table of Contents:

  1. Is this a No Power issue?
  2. Power Sources
  3. Checking System Status
  4. Testing the Power Sources
  5. Testing the System
  6. Useful Links

Is this a No Power issue?

Does your system have Start-up issues?

If so there are several basic questions to ask so you can troubleshoot the issue further.

  • Is there any damage or has any liquid spillage occurred? If so contact your Technical support to ascertain the warranty status of your system. You can also check your warranty status on our support site, if you have your Service tag. Unless your system is covered for accidental damage you will probably need to pay for a chargeable call to resolve this.
  • Is the startup issue power related? i.e. there are no signs of life on the machine, no visible LEDs and no noises heard. If so please proceed with this guide for a No Power fault.
Note: If you believe your system may be experiencing a different issue than the one described above, please refer to the Dell Knowledgebase article Resolve No Power, No POST, No Boot or No Video issues with your Dell Computer


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Power Sources

If you have ruled out the other issues then we are left with troubleshooting a No Power issue. The first thing to do is to check the power coming in to the system. There are three main methods of powering a notebook system. They are:

  1. The battery:
    1. This fits either to the bottom of the chassis or is secured internally and charge's whenever the system is connected to mains power. It discharges when no other power source is available but is finite in that once discharged its of no further use unless charged again. Most batteries have a status LED that will advise if it's charged.
    2. There is a subset of batteries we need to cover. On certain systems you can purchase a secondary battery. These are batteries that are usually fitted in cages in the media bay of the notebook system and are there to extend the time possible off of mains power.
      Figure 1: Dell Latitude E6420 batteryFigure 1: Dell Latitude E6420 battery
  2. The Power Adapter:
    1. This is the external power supply that has one end that plugs to your power socket and another that plugs to the DC connector on your system. These come in one piece for smaller systems such as tablets and come in two pieces for larger notebooks. One side is the power cord that plugs to the electrical outlet and the other is the adapter and plugs to your system. There is usually a power status LED either on the main part of the adapter or as a light ring around the DC connector that plugs to your system.
    2. If the issues appears to be related to either of these please see our article AC Adapter Not Powering on the Computer or Charging the Battery for further guidance.
      Figure 2: A Dell power adapterFigure 2: A Dell power adapter
  3. The Docking Station:
    1. This is a port replicator device that plugs to mains power with a power cord and the notebook system plugs to it by means of a docking connector on the bottom of the chassis. The power light on the dock indicates it's receiving power and the Power button on the dock should light up when the system is docked.
    2. There are a sub set of docks that connect through USB or wirelessly, but for the purposes of this guide we're only talking about the ones with the propriety docking port that connect directly to the notebook.
    3. Does the Notebook require a spacer for the dock (E7x40, E5x40, E7x50, E5x50 series)? If a spacer is not being used for these models it is possible to damage the docking connector on the system or the dock.
      Figure 3: Dell Latitude E6400 Docking StationFigure 3: Dell Latitude E6400 Docking Station


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Checking System Status

Check for any status LEDs on the Battery, A.C. Adapter and dock.

  1. If they all have a status LED seen then go back to section 1 and ensure this isn't some other start-up issue.

  2. If any part doesn't have a status LED then test them while they are disconnected from the notebook system. If they still don't have any LEDs seen at that point then it looks like that particular part is faulty. I would proceed with the rest of the guide to ensure no other issues and contact your Technical Support to take this further.

  3. If the parts have a status LED when disconnected from the system, but the LED goes off only if it's connected to the machine then go to section 5.


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Testing the Power Sources

Disconnect all three parts and try starting the system up with each part connected individually.

Note: You can find guides online at the support site for removing parts like the battery, specific to your particular model. Please ensure you test the mains sockets are working and that the power cords aren't faulty.
  1. If the system is shown to work with a particular part removed, try connecting a working substitute part from the same model and try the suspect part in your known good working substitute system. Does the fault follow the part or stay with the machine?

    You should be able to keep working in the meantime using the other 2 parts for power.

    1. If the issue follows the part then contact your Technical Support about this.

    2. If It says with the machine then contact your Technical Support to take this further.

    3. If it happens with both, then again contact your Technical Support to take this further.

  2. If the system is shown to have failed in the same way with each part in turn then we will need to further troubleshoot the system in the next step.


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Testing the System

If we've ruled out the Power peripherals then we're only left with troubleshooting the system itself. The most common reasons for a No Power is that either a miss-fitted or faulty part is shorting the system and preventing it from starting or the power circuit on the motherboard isn't distributing the power correctly to supply enough to start-up the system.

  1. I would advise removing as many parts from the system as possible and power the machine on with those parts removed.

    i.e. Hard Drive, CD/DVD Drive, Memory, WiFi card, 3G card, Bluetooth card and any additional parts added to the unit such as removable media and flash memory.

    1. If it starts powering on then it is a case of putting the parts back one at a time with a power on attempt after each part is fitted. to see at which point the fault returns. Whichever part you've just fitted at that point is most likely causing the fault. If it doesn't return and you've fitted all the parts, the it was a miss-fitted part.

    2. If it doesn't give any signs of life with the internal parts removed then contact technical support for further aid with this.

  2. If you are unable to troubleshoot further please contact your Technical Support for further help.


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Useful Links

The articles below are a guide to various notebook diagnostics LEDs and what they mean:

If your computer is getting power but still doesn't start up, then please check out the articles below for further help:

If you are looking to troubleshoot a Desktop or All in One system, then please check out the following link for further troubleshooting steps to identify your issue:

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Informational Videos

Video Subititles Available - My Dell in 99 seconds: Can't turn on your laptop? - (Duration 1:46)




battery and power support Visit our Battery and Power site for additional resources and information.

Article ID: SLN155074

Last Date Modified: 02/28/2019 06:57 AM


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