Forum Thread

Dell Studio 540 DOA...motherboard issue? SOLVED

Thos19 234 57 March 27, 2011 at 05:40 AM
My 2 year old 540 seems to be DOA.. One morning I tried to wake it from Sleep mode by pressing the space bar and nothing happened. The power button was lit white like usual, though pressing it did nothing, either.

I unplugged from the back of the unit it for a while, and plugged it back in. The green LED of the power supply on the back of the unit lights. But if I press the power button, nothing further happens and the LED goes dark. I repeated this with the case open, and noted that when pressing the power button, the two cooling fans spin briefly, but when the green LED light goes dark, the fans stop as well.

The issue I'm having has been pointed out a couple of times on the Dell forums, and it seems the conclusion is a fried motherboard (though no one has posted to say they swapped boards and now all is well. I recently bought a refurb 540 motherboard and hope to install it this weekend. I am a bit leery, though, as although I am far from a novice, I have never attempted such a swap. If anyone on this help board has, I would be interested to know what they did in swapping the processor and whether they needed thermal paste...

Tom

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#2
It also could be a short or a bad power supply. Do you have another computer you can hook its power supply in to the old motherboard?
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#3
try pulling memory and see if you get any beep codes what warranty did you get with it?
Also as metioned check for capaictors with crusty junk on top if it is Dell should cover it!
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Last edited by komondor March 27, 2011 at 12:25 PM
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#4
It's the power supply most likely a bad capacitor
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#5
Unfortunately, it is out of warranty by over a year.

No bulging caps.

In checking the power supply, will any Dell home PC work to test it? I have a Dell 4400 not currently in use.

Thanks for the replies,

Thos.
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#6
Not sure if the 4400 has the same type power supply, but you could open up both machine and do a visual inspection to see if they look the same and have the power connectors you need to plug in the CPU fan and the 20/24pin to the board, as well as the other connector that goes to the board for the CPU -- usually a 4 pin, but could be 6 or 8, depending on model.

Even if the PSU from the 4400 won't physically fit into the case, you could still hook things up and try it without actually mounting it in the case.

Many times, the PSU is faulty and not the board. But, in either case, once you power it on and it fails, the led or light on the power switch "usually" goes to amber. What do you see?
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#7
I tested the power supply by jumping the green and black leads on the power supply cord. The power supply fan and green LED on back spun up as well as my hard drives.

I believe I have the identical issue as this guy:

http://en.community.dell.com/supp...ageIndex=1

But his solution was having Dell fix it (under warranty, apparently).

So swapping my motherboards is next for me...(yikes)

Thos.
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#8
Swapping the motherboard is not difficult, just have to be careful and make sure everything is connected correctly. Taking photos of where USB/power/LED etc connectors go can help.

If you want to follow Dell's instructions:

http://support.dell.com/support/e...#wp1185801

Yes you need new thermal grease/paste, make sure you clean off the old first.
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#9
Good advice on taking pictures. Thanks.

Do I need something special to remove the old thermal paste?

Thos.
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#10
Well, I swapped out the motherboard, used the new thermal paste, connected everything and....the same damn thing! The back green LED lit and the fans spun briefly and then nothing. What is left? A new CPU? Very frustrating. Confused

Thos.
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#11
Is the light on your power button green or amber?

I saw above your normal light on the power button is white -- I haven't seen that, but guess it could be normal.

My thoughts are:

You could have a failed power button on the machine.

I don't see where anyone has told you to check for bad caps on the board(s) you are using. Bad capacitors will have rounded up tops -- they will not be flat across the tops like they should be. Check both boards for bad caps. If you have rounded up on the top caps, or rusty/yellowish 'stuff' on the tops of the caps, or leaking out around the bottoms, you have bad capacitors. Check badcaps.net for pics of what bad caps look like.

Third thing is -- just because you can jumper the PSU and make fans spin, and just because the green light on the back of it is on, DOES NOT mean the PSU is good. Try a different one for testing purposes.
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Last edited by callpocket March 30, 2011 at 06:29 PM
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#12
The button on the front does not light anymore whatsoever.

I did see the post about bad caps, and checked both boards. As far as I can tell by my admittedly untrained eye, they look fine.

What annoys me is from the Dell community boards, others have had the same issue (with no apparent resolution). I think Dell should be willing to address, but, you know...

Power supply? I guess that is next, but I am dubious as my jumper method made the two hard drives spin up as well as the cooling fans.

Thos.
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#13
Since you have no light at all in the power button, I'd check into replacing that power button component. This doesn't fail all that often, but it does fail. That button sends tells the machine to send power to everything, so if it has failed due to a bad wire or connection, it can cause issues. There should be some light showing through that button when you power on the machine. Check again and see if when you first power it on it is there and then fades out after a second or two.

If you have an led showing 'some' color for a second or so and then it goes dark == I would definately suspect that the power supply is bad.
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#14
Any update here?
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#15
I have ordered a refurb power supply. Hopefully will have it by mid week.

Fingers crossed...

Thos.
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