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Dell GX280, Mostly dead but still twitching...


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#1
Shadow Bright

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It crashed suddenly and powered down. I gave it a few minutes before turning it back on. When I did, the power button blinks orange, the fan runs and all the drives spin, the network card blinks on and off. It will do this endlessly but intermitently. I turn it off, unplug it and try again, and again. Once in a while the power button flashes green, and i hear the HD reading but then it falls back into this loop. I did have it come back to me successfully only once, with no ryhme or reason. I powered it up and left the room, seeing that it was in one of it's green blinking moments... which seems more hopeful than when it will only blink orange... (I probably should have mentioned before that at no point is there any response from the monitor, not even a flicker) When I came back I had the setup menu. I checked to make sure everything was fine in set up and it was. I restarted it and it ran just fine for a day or so before suddenly crashing again. There is no issue of saving the files, everything was backed up and it is no longer under warranty so I am open to any suggestions (and I have already been all up in there to check everything I can anyway so if I had warranty it would have been void). I would just like to get her running again if possible. This is not the first forum I have hit with this issue... I am really hoping for some suggestions :)
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#2
Shadow Bright

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I just wanted to add that I have reset the BIOS. (since I am noticing that is often the first suggestion to many similar problems in this forum)
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#3
Samm

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Welcome to G2G

According to Dell, a blinking amber power LED on a Optiplex GX280 means a problem with an installed device. Thanks Dell, that really narrows it down. Not.

I suggest you try the following steps. First make sure you unplug the mains power lead, then unplug the internal ATX power cable from the motherboard.
Not sure which type of GX280 you have (i.e desktop, mini tower, mini desktop etc) so some of these things may not be relevant...

1. I believe that all GX280's have integrated video, plus PCI Express video slot, so if you are using an add-on PCI-E card, then remove it & use the integrated instead.

2. If you have any other PCI cards, remove them also. Some GX280's have a PCI riser - if yours has one, then try removing that too or at least make sure it is securely seated.

3. Remove any external devices, especially USB ones, except of course for the keyboard & monitor.

4. Disconnect all hard drive cabling from the motherboard. I'm assuming you have a sata hard drive, right?, so unplug the sata cable from the motherboard, and disconnect the power from the hard drive.

5. Disconnect the CD/DVD drive cable (usually a flat ribbon cable) from the motherboard (you can leave the other end connected to the drive). Leave the power connected to the optical drive(s).


Reconnect the power & try to boot up again.

Bear in mind that this may also be a power issue so it may be worth seeing if you can borrow a known good ATX power supply from somewhere...
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#4
Shadow Bright

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Hello Samm and Thank you :)

I followed your directions. All my peripherals and cards were already disconnected so I proceeded to do the rest, and powered up again. Instead of a blinking orange light I got a solid orange light. I powered down and reconnected the main drives and HD and now I still have a solid orange light, and all the drives spin. Still nothing on the monitor. I don't have access to another power supply... do you still think that may be the problem? It is a desktop tower, by the way... sata HD and integrated video.
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#5
Samm

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Ok. Yes, I still think power may be an issue but I can't be sure.

Can you try removing all the memory modules, then powering the system on please? Obviously it won't boot up but I'm interested to know if you hear any beeps when you do this...
Next, try reinstalling just one of the memory modules (assuming you have more than one to start with) & try to boot. Next try that module in a different slot. If it makes no difference, remove module and try one of the other modules (if you have more than one).

I do think it may be worth testing the system with a different PSU if possible but it may also be worth testing it with a PCI-E video card if you get hold of one. NB I wouldn't advise purchasing any of these parts at the moment, as it may turn out to be unnecessary, but if you can borrow them then do it.

BTW, you mentioned before that you have already tried clearing the bios - I just want to check that you disconnected the 20 pin ATX power connector from the motherboard before clearing the bios. If you didn't, then disconnect the main ATX cable & try clearing the bios again.
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#6
Shadow Bright

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OK. Thanks again, I really appreciate all your help.
All main drives are connected again and i reset the BIOS as you described.
Now I have removed the two memory modules and powered up, no beep or anything different.
When I replace just one, nothing different. Then I moved to a different slot that was previously unused, nothing different. The same with the second module.
I do have a couple of PCI video cards and I tried them, with no changes, as well.
I am working on borrowing a power supply.
What confuses me is that I have intermittent results.
Sometimes when I power up there is nothing but an orange light and the drives spin in a rythym over and over.
Other times I have solid orange light and silence, after the initial spins.
Sometimes the light goes back and forth between green and orange and the HD makes different sounds... like it is almost thinking about starting.
And then there are times when I get a combination of these.
If I leave it on for awhile it seems more likely to have green flashes. The one time it came back to life was when I had left the room for awhile.
I hope some of this info is helpful.
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#7
Shadow Bright

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A friend has brought me another Dell, which I think has the right kind of power supply... it looks to be compatible. It is a Dell Dimension 4400.
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#8
Samm

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It would appear to be compatible from what I can tell, so yes, try that.
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