Dell Dimension – Flashing orange power light

If you have a Dell Dimension and experience the dreaded orange flashing light, there are normally ways to verify what is causing it to occur. I spoke to a Dell technician and he informed me on the Dell Dimension 5100 there are status lights right next to the front USB ports. The numbers are fairly faint so you have to look really good.

However, when I gave the tech the numbers on this computer I was working on, he seemed to be reading from a script and when I asked him what does code 2 and 4 mean he said the SATA cable is not connected – he was wrong.

Let me give you a little background into this computer. I’m working on it for a client. The main symptoms is that as soon as the unit receives power, the indicator light on the power button immediately starts to flash orange. I was unable to turn the computer on. I replaced the power supply and the orange light flashed constantly, again. I then disconnected everything except for the power supply, and CPU. I was hoping to at least get the unit to turn in then I could go from there by plugging each component back in one by one. I eventually came to the conclusion that the motherboard was bad.

I spoke to the client and she still had warranty with Dell. She called Dell and then the Dell tech called me. We spoke like I mentioned earlier, and eventually I was able to convince him that it was a motherboard problem.

Dell shipped the motherboard out next day air and I received it just before lunch.

As I was tearing down the Dimension what do I find?

You see that nasty corrosion? I don’t know what the hell that is but it isn’t dust. I tried blowing it off with a compressed can of air but was unsuccessful.

For reasons beyond me that was the only area of the motherboard that had that build up. Everywhere else was spotless.

So in conclusion, if you experience the dreaded blinking orange power light, make sure to check your motherboard for blown capacitors as well as something like the above pictures show.

Edit/Update: 05/27/2017

I’m still encountering this in 2017 but it’s always the power supply.  This happens a lot on Dell OptiPlex desktops including the ones that use Dell’s own proprietary power supply.  If you run into this in 2017 try checking your power supply.  I’ve heard people recommend reseating the ATX connector but I’ve tried that and haven’t had much luck with it fixing the problem.  Replacing the power supply always fixes it for me though.

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