Dell XPS 420 - Help / Advice required...

  mattr1979 16:08 27 Jul 2009

I'd appreciate any help with the following.

I have a Dell XPS 420 which is just out of warranty by a couple of months. Great machine which i've had no problems with up until 2 days ago. Now when I go to turn it on I am met with a solid amber light on the power button. The diagnostic lights are blank. The machine just wont power up. Pressing the button on the back of the PSU fires up the fans which all seem to work ok. There is a green light on the motherboard which lights up. Seems to be a clicking sound coming from the optical drive, but that goes when i unplug the power to the drive.

I called Dell support who told me to unplug and reseat various things like the RAM, HDD, Optical drive etc but that did no good. Their advice was it must be the CPU or motherboard that needs replacing. I'm not so sure.

I left it for 24 hours with the power cable unplugged and then tried turning the machine back on. It worked! I then shut down and restarted it 2 or 3 times with no problems. Machine worked perfect. Went to bed and this morning I wake up to the same solid amber light.

I'm far from an expect on these things however I'm thinkning this could be a power supply problem? Anyone fancy helping me solve this little problem of mine?

My Spec is as follows.

XPS 420
Quad core 6600
750GB Hard drive
768MB nVidia Geforce 8800 GTX
425w PSU



  howard64 16:42 27 Jul 2009

I would suspect a power supply problem and normally they are quite cheap. Only problem some Dell units have a non standard psu so double check before buying a different one.

  mattr1979 16:55 27 Jul 2009

Thanks for the reply.

I will probably go and buy a new PSU tonight but how do I know which type to get that will be compatable with my dell machine? How powerful should it be and is there any danger of a differant brand causing damage to the motherboard or anything else?

  mattr1979 17:28 27 Jul 2009

I've read that if a replacement PSU is required for the XPS 420 then it would have to be replaced by a similar Dell PSU.

Can anyone confirm if this is correct?

  T0SH 19:02 27 Jul 2009

Count the number of pins on the motherboard connector if it is 24 then it is said that a standard atx power supply with the same dimensions as the current one will be fine, but if it is a 20 pin connector then it will have a non-standard pin layout and can only be sourced from Dell you can verify this for yourself by Googling "Dell PC power supply compatibility"

Cheers HC

  mattr1979 19:19 27 Jul 2009

After a bit of research this appears to be quite a common problem with the XPS machines but no one seems to have a working solution. I'm guessing this is a PSU problem but I could be completely wrong?!

I'm happy to take a punt on buying a new PSU but just need a bit of advice on what type to buy?

Also, how easy is it to replace the power supply? I am very much of a novice when it comes to these things however I would not be too scared to have a go myself, especially if I can save a few quid.

  mattr1979 19:20 27 Jul 2009

Thanks Tosh, appreciate it.

How easy would it be to replace the PSU? Is this fairly simple?

  citadel 20:33 27 Jul 2009

easy to change psu you just take out the power connectors from from hard drive, dvd drive motherboard etc. loosen the 4 screws that hold the psu while keeping hold of it so you dont drop it onto the motherboard. reverse process to fit new psu.

  mattr1979 21:33 27 Jul 2009

Well, as a final attempt before heading off to buy a new PSU (which by the way is a 24 pin connector), I had another play around with the unit. I unpluged the power to all drives and took all 4 memory chips out and booted up. The solid amber light changed to an intermitent flash and then turned blue with 1 diagnostic light flashing up with the LCD screen stating I had no memory detected. I then proceeded to replace the memory and power to the drives and now it is all back working again. Infact I'm writing this message from the PC now.

I don't for one minute believe that it will stay working perfectly. I am not that lucky. But knowing all that has happened thus far would the general feeling still be that I need a new PSU or would this now point to a differant solution? Or should I just be happy that it is now working and bury my head in the sand, pretend it never happened and just get on with it?

  mattr1979 10:28 28 Jul 2009

Well this is highly frustrating! The same problem occured again this morning. I just get the solid Amber light. I repeated the same thing i did last night to get it working but no luck this time. I've removed all memory and power to all drives and then hooked it all back again - nothing.

Does anyone anywhere care to have a stag at what is wrong with this machine???

I dont particulary want to go out and spend money on a PSU if I dont need one.

  howard64 10:53 28 Jul 2009

with an intermittent fault it is always difficult to sort out but your cheapest route is the psu. I take it this time with all memory out you did not get anything? The psu is the easiest thing to change after the memory modules. All cables have plugs on their ends which are not interchangeable and you cannot therefore get it wrong.

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