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Broken power button (dell dimension 4550)

38985 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Tom_Isaman
I'm fixing a pc for a friend, the problem being that it won't turn on (95% of the time) when pressing the power button. Earlier today I was able to turn it on with the power button just fine, then later it exhibited the problem my friend had described; no response from the power button. :sigh:

The psu is fine, a light on the motherboard consistently comes on when I connect the power cord. If the pc had a reset switch (which it doesn't) I could just switch the front-panel wires around (which I can't anyway, since they are arranged into a mini-ide cable-esque connector). I'm having a hell of a time actually getting to the switch, so I can't physically fiddle with the switch itself. I'm at a loss...and it seems like such a terrible waste of time and money to buy a new case. She says the pc is 5 years old, and I don't know the warranty status right now. What are my options?
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You could get a new switch (should be able to pick one up at most hardware stores, just make sure you get the kind that only make contact when pushed in). Then plug this in along with the old switch (to keep all the rest of the functionality of that ribon cable like front audio). You could either do some case modding to fit the new switch in or just have it sit outside the case.

That may be the easiest option. Of course, I found out where I worked this summer how to easily take Dell cases apart... Let the shelf they are sitting on collapse as 30 systems (which I'd like to go on record as saying I thought it was stacked a little too much!) fall to the ground. All kidding aside, the Dell cases are actually really tough and believe it or not, most of those systems survived the approx. 6 foot fall (except for 2, which I rebuilt into 1 from the good parts from eacy). I found though, that if you keep working with a Dell case, and slowly try to take it apart, making note of where they have all their clips and such so you know which way to pull, you can eventually get them apart, in which case you could replace or try to fix the current switch.
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I just had to do this for a 4550.

The front panel will not come off without first removing the top and bottom panels of the plastic shell. Start with the back-bottom of the tower (inside) and remove the bottom panel by finding the double clasps and bending them back off their mounts (the first is removed by a squeeze). Do this as you peel off the bottom from back to front. When you peel it all the way to the front panel, there's a bit of trickiness where it's connected to the front panel. Be gentle.

The top panel comes off in the same fashion. You'll need to remove the top cd-rom if there is one to get all the clips unfastened.

Don't bother removing the face plates for the drives.

The front panel is easy to remove after taking off the top and bottom. If facing the tower, the panel opens door-like, from your right. You may need to unclip two plastic mounts on the inside (underneath the drive cables).

When done, snap the pieces back on in the opposite order.

I have a new switch. Or, at least I have another switch, stolen out of my boyfriend's HP Pavillion Desktop. But the connector is totally different from the one on the broken switch!

How do I plug the new switch in "along with the old switch"? I understand why; I just don't understand where!

The new switch has a female connector with 9 pin holes, arranged like two rows of five each, but with the hole that is furthest to the left on the bottom row missing.

In the HP, it plugged into a male part right on the motherboard. Where do I plug it in on the Dell?


Thanks for the tips on how to get the case open! I've had this computer for 6 years and have never figured this stuff out before. Did your project also involve a power switch?


Did you ever solve your problem? How?

Thanks So Much,
Candice Seppa Arroyo
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My Dell Dimension 4550 on-button is faulty, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes I have to push it a hundred times to get it to turn on.

Go into the BIOS and change the "AC Power restored state" to ON. This will automatically turn on the computer after a power failure. This way you can turn on the power strip and the computer turns on automatically. This way you can bypass the faulty switch that you can't replace and you don't have to buy a new computer.
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