Make sure the monitor is properly plugged in. Make sure that if you have more than one video signal on your computer, that you have it plugged in to the right one. (A video card overrides normally an on-board video connector). Make sure your monitor has power and has a power light on. Does your PC beep as it comes on? If so, it is indicating a very basic problem with the machine.
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Remove power unit, battery, RAM and hard drive. Press the power button to discharge any energy that is left. Insert the power plug and press power. If the laptop goes to the start screen, the motherboard is probably OK. remove the power supply. Add the RAM and repeat. Then do it again adding the hard drive. There will be a point when the faulty item is identified or it will now boot.
Either your driver for the hard drive has messed up or you need to exchange it for a new hard drive. Usually just exchanging it causes less headaches and frustration than trying to fix it manually. It could also be that something is physically wrong with the drive, such as the arm inside the hard drive. Good luck and hopefully that helps!
I'd say that you have exhausted your options. You can try to isolate the power on problem by removing your your memory modules, hard disk drive and see if it at least stays powered on. Here is a link from Dell for your laptop's manual: ftp://ftp.dell.com/Manuals/all-products/esuprt_laptop/esuprt_inspiron_laptop/inspiron-1521_Owner%27s%20Manual_en-us.pdf
Try unplugging from wall socket then press on button (this clears out extra electricity in PC). Plug back in then try to turn on again. If PC is older, try blowing out the dust inside tower especially around the CPU fan.
Power getting to the laptop. Try first to see if this will give a screen image on an external monitor, listen for the sound of the cpu fan, hard drive and DVD rom drives clicking, see if the DVD rom drive will open if pressed.
Then remove battery and AC adaptor, press the power button for 30 secs, refit mains only and try this on mains supply (no battery)
If this fails to boot, check the light on the ac adaptor is a steady green, flashing green indicates power is not fully reaching the laptop (motherboard problems)
If it is steady and the LED power light on the laptop is steady, suspect the DC jack socket. If this feels loose or sloppy, it will need replacing, depending on the type fitted, it may be soldered onto the board, or a wired connector, which sometimes goes bad.
After that, I'd suggest that a capacitor has gone on the actual motherboard and you will need to strip the laptop to check it.
Can you tell if the flashing is a pattern. count the flashes ( long and short) in a cycle. This will provide an error code to hopefully discover the problem.
You may also try removing and reseating the RAM and Video card, blowing out the connectors with compressed air before reseating.. Also look closely at the components on MB for any signs of swelling, leaking, burning etc. I suspect the MB.