I plug in the laptop and the light on the power chord lights up as usual. When I press the "on" button on the laptop, the only thing onboard that lights up is a light that looks like a capital "A" inside a lock. It intermittently turns on and off before just remaining off and the laptop never turns on. What could be the problem?
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When you say you "tried turning it on with the battery removed", did you leave it plugged into the wall with the charging adapter at the time? Please clarify that you tried to use it while plugged in without the battery and it would not power up? When you plugged it in without the battery, was the green charging light on? Or did you get no power light at all?
With your battery in, try using a different outlet to plug into. Plug it into another outlet and when the green charging light comes on press and hold your power button on your keyboard and do not release it for 30 to 45 seconds. Tell me if this boots up the pc even if just for a moment?
There are three lights on your keyboard that should come on when the laptop is plugged in and turned on. One is the power light, the other is the battery charging light and the last one is the hard drive indicator that looks like a round cylinder on the picture. Tell me when you plug it into the outlet and the battery charge light is on, does the hard drive light come on and/or flicker when you try to power up the laptop? How many lights come on when you press and hold down the power button with the cord plugged into the wall?
From the description, sounds like you have two failures, both concerning the mother board.
1. The connection to the motherboard for the battery is no longer good. Replace the mother board. The points of failure that you have given so far and has not fixed the issue. Battery fully charged, seated well, no change, mother board.
2. Laptop will come on with AC adapter attached but will not boot up; mother board. There is a built in test that you can run, from a powered down state press FN + Power button, this puts this into a diagnostic state. If it does not go into this diagnostic; mother board. The diagnostic is stored in the BIOS, which is a part of the mother board.
3. If the diagnostic runs note any error codes that it gives. They will be in the form off XXXX-XXXX or XXXX:XXXX, where the X's represent a letter or a number. These can be used for further trouble shooting.
There is a small IC that Dell solders into their power supply as well as their batteries. When this parts fails you will have the type of problem you are having now. If you do a search on the web you will find a large number o sites that discuss this. Unfortunately there is no fix other than replacing your power supply. I had to do the same thing myself for the Dell laptop I use.
remove the memory and make sure that the contacts are clean, then be sure to replace the memory correctly & power up as when you power up & the light flashes before boot up this is usually a memory problem i have found with my d600