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Vostro 400 Fails to Boot, Solid Amber Power Light

This is a discussion on Vostro 400 Fails to Boot, Solid Amber Power Light within the RAM and Power Supply Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. I've been having trouble with my computer lately. It started maybe a month ago. I transport my computer on the

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Old 01-28-2013, 06:17 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 71

I've been having trouble with my computer lately. It started maybe a month ago. I transport my computer on the weekends, so one round trip. I brought it back home once, and after hooking everything back up, I pressed the power button and it wouldn't turn on. All that happened was the power button, which is normally blue, was amber this time, and the green light on the back of the computer, presumably on the power supply, would turn off. When I hold the power button to turn this amber power light off, it turns the green light on the back of the computer back on. This green light is always on in normal cicumstances, on or off. It's probably a bad idea to do, but the amber light stays on even when the power cord is unplugged.

I never quite figured out how I was getting it to boot up exactly, but after I got it to boot, everything would function normally. In fact, after transporting it and getting it to boot that first time after being hooked up again, every time from then on until I transported it again it would boot just fine with no problem whatsoever. To prevent it from having a problem booting, I would make sure I didn't leave it unplugged for long, and it would boot up fine as long as I left it plugged in for a little while first.

However, last night when I brought it back and plugged it in, even after being plugged in all night it refuses to boot. So I'm figuring there's something wrong with either the power supply or the motherboard from what I can gather, probably, but I'm not sure which, if it is one of those. I heard it was a good idea to turn the power supply off when transporting it, but I found out mine does not have a switch, just thought I would note that.

Today I tried unplugging everything but the monitor and the keyboard and see if that would work. I also tried checking the cords to make sure they were hooked into the computer well, and they seemed to be. I have not unplugged them however for fear of breaking the motherboard or something. I did note that the motherboard's amber light is on whether or not the amber power light is on or off, whether that changes or not when it's booted normally I don't know. I also confirmed that the cords plugged into the power button weren't loose, I checked them as well as I could.

Hopefully I've accounted for all relevant information (I probably have a lot of irrelevant information too, but just to be thorough):

Power supply:
Model #: HP-P3017F3P
CN-0FY632-42940-7A9-0084 REV A00
CN-0RN474-73604-7B4-02XE REV A01
*I'm pretty sure the above numbers have 0's and not O's, but I can't be certain.
Vostro 400
Processor type
Intel® Core™ 2 Quad processor. FSB up to 1333MHz
Intel® Pentium® Dual-Core processor
Level 2 (L2) cache
At least 512 KB pipelined-burst, eight-way set associative, writeback SRAM
667-MHz, 800-MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Memory connectors
Memory capacities
512 MB, 1 GB or 2 GB 
*I don't remember which, either 1 or 2
Minimum memory
1 GB
Maximum memory
4 GB
Computer Information: 
ICH9 and Intel G33
RAID Support
RAID 1 (Mirroring)
DMA channels
Interrupt levels
16 Mb
Integrated network interface capable of 10/100 communication
Intel integrated video
Realtec ALC888 (7.1 Channel audio)
Expansion Bus:
Bus type
PCI 2.3
PCI Express 1.0A
SATA 1.0 and 2.0
USB 2.0
Bus speed
PCI: 133 MB/s
PCI Express:
x1 slot bidirectional speed - 500 MB/s
x16 slot bidirectional speed - 8GB/s
SATA: 1.5 Gbps and 3.0 Gbps
USB: 480 Mbps high speed, 12 Mbps full speed, 1.2 Mbps low speed
connector size
124 pins
connector data width (maximum)
32 bits
PCI Express
one x1
connector size
36 pins
connector data width (maximum)
1 PCI Express lane
PCI Express 
one x16
connector size
164 pins
connector data width (maximum)
16 PCI Express lanes
Externally accessible:
one 3.5-inch drive bay (FlexBay)
two 5.25-inch drive bays
Internally accessible
two 3.5-inch drive bays
Available devices
two 3.5-inch Serial ATA hard drives and two 5.25-inch Serial ATA CD-ROM, CD-RW, DVD-ROM, 
DVD+/-RW, or combo drive (optional)
*I think I have a DVD+/-RW only
one 3.5-inch floppy drive (optional) or Media Card Reader (optional)
External connectors:
15-hole connector
Network adapter
RJ-45 connector
four front-panel and four back-panel USB 2.0-compliant connectors
six connectors for 7.1 support
System board connectors:
Serial ATA
four 7-pin connectors
Internal USB device
two 10-pin connector (supports four USB ports)
Floppy drive
one 34-pin connector
Processor fan
one 4-pin connector
Chassis fan
one 3-pin connector
PCI 2.3
two 124-pin connectors
PCI Express x1
one 36-pin connector
PCI Express x16
one 164-pin connector
Front panel control
one 10-pin connector
Front panel USB
two 10-pin connectors
Front panel audio HDA header
one 10-pin connector
one 775-pin connector
four 240-pin connectors
Power 12V
one 4-pin connector
one 24-pin connector
Controls and Lights 
Front of computer:
Power button
push button
Power light
blue light — Blinking blue in sleep state; solid blue for power-on state
amber light — The blinking amber indicates a problem with the system board. A solid amber light when the system does not boot indicates that the system board cannot start initialization. This could be a system board or a power supply problem (see Power Problems).
Drive activity light
blue light — A blinking blue light indicates the computer is reading data from or writing data to the SATA hard drive or CD/DVD.
Rear of computer: 
Link integrity light (on integrated network adapter)
green light — A good connection exists between the network and the computer.
off (no light) — The computer is not detecting a physical connection to the network.
Network activity light (on integrated network adapter)
yellow blinking light
DC power supply:
300 W or 350 W
Maximum heat dissipation (MHD)
For 300 W power supply:162 W MHD
For 350 W power supply: 188W MHD
NOTE: Heat dissipation is calculated by using the power supply wattage rating. 
Voltage (see the safety instructions located in the Product Information Guide for important voltage setting information)
115/230 VAC, 50/60 Hz, 7A/4A 
Coin cell battery
3-V CR2032 lithium coin cell
10° to 35°C (50° to 95°F)
–40° to 65°C (–40° to 149°F)
Relative humidity
20% to 80% (noncondensing)
Maximum vibration:
5 to 350 Hz at 0.0002 G2/Hz
5 to 500 Hz at 0.001 to 0.01 G2/Hz
Maximum shock:
40 G +/- 5% with pulse duration of 2 msec +/- 10% (equivalent to 20 in/sec [51 cm/sec])
105 G +/- 5% with pulse duration of 2 msec +/- 10% (equivalent to 50 in/sec [127 cm/sec])
–15.2 to 3048 m (–50 to 10,000 ft)
–15.2 to 10,668 m (–50 to 35,000 ft)
Graphics card:
Nvidia geforce 8300 gs
I copied the specs from the Dell site, since I can't access my computer to find out. I had to guess at a couple things that I can't remember, but probably aren't relevant anyway. I did copy down what I thought might be important from the power supply and the motherboard. I'm using someone else's computer at the moment, so I'll check this thread when I can. If I could get some help that would be great.

Edit: I also posted elsewhere, Vostro 400 Fails to Boot, Solid Amber Power Light - Desktop General Hardware Forum - Desktop - Dell Community, I hope that's okay.
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