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Thread: Troubleshooting

  1. #1


    Working on a friend's computer and am running into an unknown issue. Hoping someone on here might have an idea. The cause? He attempted to insert a flash drive into a broken USB port which shorted out the system (assumed) and threw sparks out of the front USB port it had been plugged into.
    Upon attempting to turn on the system it won't do anything at all. It's a Dell Dimension E510.
    Replaced the factory power supply but upon pushing the On/Off front panel button, a yellow LED on the switch assembly only lazily blinks once every 4-5 seconds as long as the button is pushed in. No fans running, but the light on the MB (green) does light up as well as the light on the new power supply.
    My next step is to remove all the components , disk drives, hard drives, graphics card, to see if there is any reaction from the PSU. Then replace the power lines back to the components and try memory sticks one at a time, after that reset CMS battery.
    Lastly, replace the switch itself with a (hopefully) Dell replacement part.

    Any other suggestions or troubleshooting questions?

    I'm open for ideas here. The system is well out of warranty so I'm trying to save him as much as I can.

  2. #2
    Master Modder Tazz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006


    The first thing I would do is cycle the switch on the PSU OFF and then pull the power cord from it. Plug it back in and cycle the switch back on. Hit the power button on the case to see if it powers up.

    If it fails to power, I would try a different PSU in this rig, or try this PSU in a different rig.

  3. #3


    This is a brand new PSU installed. Antec model.
    Computer reacting the same way even with the new PSU so I'm guessing either on/off switch for the computer or Mobo?

  4. #4
    Master Modder Tazz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006


    The On/Off switch isn't likely the issue. To verify that you can simply follow the wires for the On/Off switch to the mobo connection, remove that one plug and short those two pins with a small screw driver.

    The mobo could very well have gotten zapped when the USB drive shorted.

  5. #5


    My guess would be the mobo.. If sparks went out.. Well that just means that too much current has flown through there, and as far as my experience goes, anything that creates sparks (not intended to) won't last for long soo.. Maybe the transistors on the MoBo? Can you check the motherboard, where the USB had been plugged in (the cable on the speedy connector), if you can find anything black (burned) around it?

  6. #6


    The on/off switch on this model (Dell Dimension E510) is posted on an IC board along with mic input, speaker input and two USB ports all on the same circuit, an accident waiting to happen if you asked me. The switch isn't independent in anyway so there's no way to test the circuit individually. Looking at the board though (approx. 1"x3.5&#34 there are no visible hotspots or burn marks at all.
    Tracing it back to the mobo again it goes to a horizontal 30 some pin post which again shows nothing visually. I traced the connection back to the mobo surface and nothing is apparent.
    He's getting a switch from Dell so we'll see if that is perhaps the culprit. If it's not, I suggested getting a new system rather than try to figure out where the problem is. Someone else suggested an onboard transistor perhaps? More time and money involved to tack it down than what it's worth most likely.

  7. #7
    The Main Man Dewayne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006


    Sparks! No restart...

    DOA motherboard or CPU :-(

    More time and money involved to tack it down than what it's worth most likely.

  8. #8


    Eww, I hadn't even thought of the CPU but you're right, that could very well be the culprit.

    To the best of my knowledge the switch has already been ordered and paid for so I'll go through testing it just in case but afterwards if it's still DOA, I'll pronounce it.

    Thank you all very much for your input. It is appreciated immensely.

  9. #9


    Ok it's been pronounced DOA, not sure if it was mobo or proccy but it's definitely a deader. Too bad, even though it was a Dell it was a nice system.
    He was pretty upset about the whole thing but I told him at the very least he might be able to salvage the HD's (2 x 160) and the video card if they too weren't zapped. I think he was more mad at himself than anything but it was a learning experience. If it doesn't fit, quit.
    A simple $15 thumbdrive and rushing killed his $1200 plus system.

  10. #10


    I came across an experience like this before, a friends daughter plugged her ipod into the usb port and his psu made a popping noise and started smoking. He brought the computer to me and the psu was fried. After getting a brand new psu and hoking it up we noticed that when the psu died it took out the mb's ability to read any kind of external device hooked up to it such as usb ports, ethernet card, onboard ethernet and and a usb card. It seems that when the psu went from a short circut with the ipod plugged into the usb port it killed the part of the mb which recognized all plug and play with the board or something along that line.

    the board itself had no visible damage on any parts and booted up fine but was very limited as to what it could do such as no internet, no printing, no usb access, ect, so he replaced his mb and all was good, seemed to be no damage to the processor.

    With any luck in your friends case it just took out another more importand part of the board causing it not to be able to boot and not the processor since mb's are a lot cheaper than most processors.

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