Question about Dell Dimension 5100 (D51L1) PC Desktop

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Dell dimension 5100, power light orange

For the last three months I have had a recurring problem with my dell dimension 5100 desktop pc. When I turn it on it does not go through the standard sequence of green lights(numbers and HD symbol). The power light is just orange, no beeps or clicks. I have checked all of the connections to the computer and also inside the computer, they are all fine. I have been on to Dell customer support and they have gone through everything I have done and still no joy. In the end I just plugged everything out and left it for 3 days. When I connected it all back up, it booted correctly with no problems. It will work for a little while and then the problem occurs again. Again plug it out for a couple of days and I can get it working again. I would be grateful if anybody would have an idea what could be the problem here.

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Sounds like either a faulty cable or a bad motherboard, call dell again and tell them to send a technician out to look at it, they might be able to narrow down the cause of this problem.

Posted on Jan 09, 2008


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I have found this kind of problem to be related to one of two things. It will be either the power supply or the motherboard.

Test points to try would be...

Power supply:

When the issue occurs, unplug the power cord from the computer and look for the red toggle switch (it will have 115/230 in white lettering) on the back of the power supply. Toggle this back and forth a couple of times making sure that it is PUT BACK TO THE 115 setting before plugging in and turning on again!!!!!!!!! Plug the power cord back in and if it starts up immediately, the power supply is going bad. This is only a temporary fix as it will quit completely in a rather short time.


Shut the machine down, unplug the power cord from the computer, open the case and inspect EVERY CAPACITOR on the motherboard. Capacitors are the little round pieces with with a silver top stamped with a letter (T, K, X. Y etc..). Look for ones that are buldging or oozing. It will look like a battery that has gone bad with corrosion. Should you find a capacitor like that you should be able to call Dell and have them replace the motherboard even if it is out of warranty.

One thing to note would be, if your issue happens to be bad capacitors, your machine will just shut down as if someone unplugged your computer without warning. When you start it back up again you should get an error saying your "System was shutdown due to a thermal event". This is the classic tell tale sign of bad capacitors.

Unfortunately either way you will end up having to call Dell for a replacement part of a power supply or a motherboard. Hope for the latter because if it is a capacitor problem, Dell should replace it for free. Plus the motherboard is one of the more costly expenses of computer repair.

Good luck.

Posted on Jan 27, 2008


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