Question about Dell Dimension 8400 PC Desktop

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I got the steady Amber light of Death in my dell.

I do not have the system specifications, my problem is that when I turn on my pc it turns on with a steady amber light it's not the first time this happened tome it's about the third, the other 2 times before I just unplugged it disconnected everything and kept connecting it back for hours until it turned on and had no problem for about a week, then when it happened I spent 3 hours disconnecting and connecting it back until it turned on but that same day I got the steady amber light of Death, the thing is when you get the steady amber light of death no diagnostics light turn on, when I turn it on my power supply fans turn on and it glows blue, the motherboard light turns on also I changed the 3v Cmos battery on the motherboard, I checked all usb ports and they were ok no pins were bent, right now I did the same thing I disconnected everything and connected everything back and nothing happened, I tried the password reset jumper. If it was the motherboard would it have turned on the first and second time? If it was the power supply would it have worked before to? I am out of ideas and my patience is wearing thin, any advice would be useful thank you.

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  • arborlon2003 Jun 28, 2009

    when the computer started it said I had a floppy drive error so I turned of the diskette drive in the system set up, I didn't deal with the power options. The last time my computer just froze, when I saw that I couldn't bring up the task manager I turned it off, when I turned it back on I got the steady amber light of Death (that's how people are calling it on the web).



    I will try your solution bluecrash since you are right about the video card it's pretty big, but I have the evga precision program and it tells me how hot the gpu and the cores are even when I am on a program so I do not let it overheat, also I always keep the cover open, at first I thought it could have been to much dust since I keep it open, but I removed all cards from the motherboard also removed the heat/sink so I cloud clean up, and check the motherboard for rust, dust or leaked electrolytes, just found a little bit of dust, and that did not do anything, the computer is 2 years old it was my brother since he wasn't using it he gave it to me, I have only spent 2 weeks with it and it's my first one, so I do not know a lot about computers if I am off on anything I have written here please correct me.

    Bonroe I do not know how can power settings can affect if you would explain I would be grateful.

    Bluecrash I will certainly try your solution and will let you know if it worked, any other advice would be useful.

    Thank you for your time guys.


  • arborlon2003 Jun 29, 2009

    No I do not think it's heating issues i will take it to a repair shop for a diagnostics test.

  • arborlon2003 Jun 30, 2009

    Got my computer to a repair shop the problem was the power supply's -5v cable which means I have to change the power supply, it's not entirely broken, just that cable, the thing is the -5v cable goes into the MB and damages it, if the computer turns on with the cable reading below -5v I have to check my motherboard but it was power supply.

  • Ron Lyons
    Ron Lyons May 11, 2010

    Sounds like you know a little bit about what you are doing. When you got it to come back on did it start normally, or did it give you a system failure warning? You did not mention anything about power settings so I assume you have those set correctly. Hibernation, standby, and such.

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As a hardware repair technician at a local university, I have seen the amber power light problem on quite a few Dell computers. If the machine is in warranty, Dell insists the power supply be the first thing replaced, even if it tests ok. If that does not do it, then they send me a new motherboard. Of the dozens of machines that have had this problem, only 1 of them needed a new motherboard. The power supply alone resolved the problem on all the rest. I have found this to be true on out-of-warranty systems as well.

Posted on Jul 05, 2009

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Sounds like you are having northbridge heating issues. the motherboard has a sensor on it, and if the northbridge gets too hot, it will not let the computer come back on, to protect the cpu.

make sure your fan is running on top of your cpu. unplug the power cable for an hour, then plug it back in. keep your case open for now to let some of the heat out, if you have a floor fan, it might be a good idea to have it near to help circulate the air.

I am guessing you have 9800 model graphics card? These need a lot of space, and give off a lot of heat. Buying a 90$ case that has better circulation could fix all your problems. You will know, if the computer works with the side open.

Do not put your case in your closet. It will get too hot in there.

Posted on Jun 28, 2009

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