can't get my Dell Dimension 8300 to boot

Discussion in 'Dell' started by ryansa2, Nov 11, 2006.

  1. ryansa2

    ryansa2 Guest

    Problem: my Dell Dimension 8300 won't boot up.

    Help sought:
    1) ideas on what to try in order to fix it;
    2) additional info on interpreting diagnostic lights;
    3) advice on usefulness of Dell Technical Support.

    I was away on a business trip this week and when I got home my wife
    told me our 4-yr old Dell Dimension 8300 desktop wouldn't turn on.
    It had been running fine when I left and has worked extremely well
    (reliably) since we bought it. I have not installed any new HW
    components since getting the computer.

    So here's the only possible cause of this problem I could come up
    with: We're having work done in our basement, including electrical
    work, and my wife said the power was off in our den for awhile this
    week (where the computer is). I'm wondering if perhaps a power surge
    could have fried something -- ?
    Note that I have a DVD drive and a CD drive in the Dimension tower.
    The light on the CD drive flashes green when I power on. And neither
    of my attempts to boot with the Dell Dimension Resoruce CD or the
    Reinstallation CD worked. My monitor just remains blank when I power
    on -- no <F2> or <F12> choices, nothing.

    The ABCD diagnostic lights in back appear as follows:
    A: green to amber flashing back and forth (?)
    B: amber
    C: green
    D: green

    I found no info about *flashing* diag lights in Dell's documentation
    for the 8300 and so have no idea what that indicates.

    Any ideas on what I should try? I'm hoping a buddy who builds his own
    computer will help me, but would appreciate advice from any experts on
    this forum as well.

    Lastly, if I can't get resolution through an online forum like this,
    I'll likely call Dell Tech Support. Anybody have opinions on whether
    that'll be worth the $? I heard when they moved their Support
    offshore, the quality declined sharply.
    ryansa2, Nov 11, 2006
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  2. ryansa2

    S.Lewis Guest

    First of all, if you have to contact Dell, I'd suggest using their online
    chat if you have another machine by which you can do so:

    The alternating "A" diag LED alternating from green to amber is either a
    good or bad sign. Personally, I'd unplug the system from power, open it up
    and carefully remove the CMOS battery on the motherboard for a few minutes.
    Then replace the battery, plug in and try to boot.


    Also, upon reboot I'd do so with the power plug connected directly to a
    "known-good" wall outlet, temporarily removing any power strips or UPS in
    between as variables.

    And yet before re-plugging, I'd reset the power supply using the red/slide
    button on back. Move it from the standard 115v over to 230v for a few
    seconds, then back.

    Beyond this, it gets a bit more complicated. Since a power bounce is
    suspected, it could be most any component from the power supply in. If it
    comes to disassembling to find the failed component post back.

    I have an 8300 myself and the machine is certainly worth saving.

    S.Lewis, Nov 11, 2006
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  3. Find the service manual for that model and see what the light code
    means. This could very well be a power supply problem. I can't tell
    you if there was a cause-effect relationship, but it was not wise to
    have the computer PLUGGED IN while the house electrical system is being
    worked on. Many parts of all modern ATX [and later] computers are
    ALWAYS ON. Another recommendation for the future, get a UPS; I have
    come to the conclusion that ALL computers should be on a UPS. Finally,
    this MIGHT help: unplug the computer, wait at least 30 seconds, remove
    the CMOS battery, short the "clear CMOS" jumpers if there are any
    (otherwise wait a minute or two), reinstall the CMOS battery, plug the
    unit back in and see if it boots.
    Barry Watzman, Nov 12, 2006
  4. ryansa2

    w_tom Guest

    Numbers from a 3.5 digit multimeter and but two minutes can either
    identify your problem or provide sufficient information to get a useful
    response. In your case, first numbers would come from purple wire
    (probe in connector for purple wire to chassis ground voltage) when
    computer is only connected to wall receptacle. That voltage must
    exceed 4.87. Then move on to gray and green wire. Green wire must be
    above 2.0 volts before pressing power switch and must drop to below 0.8
    volts when power switch is pressed. Gray wire must be near zero before
    and rise above 2.4 when switch is pressed.

    Lights can illuminate and still the voltags can be completely
    defective. Without such numbers, your list of possibilities remains
    only speculation.

    Numbers (record those values) obtained in less than one minute that
    provide significant insight into what is and is not working.
    w_tom, Nov 12, 2006
  5. ryansa2

    Steve W. Guest

    Just went through this on my other 8200 when the local power acted up.
    It is in the shop and is on 24/7. They were playing with the power lines
    and I forgot that machine isn't on a UPS (only use it for service
    writing and music in the shop as well as plan storage and manuals)

    To resolve it I pulled the CMOS battery, then got it to come up and had
    to set the time/date and such in the BIOS. Then got it to start in safe
    mode and ran the registry program to use a backup copy of the registry.
    This allowed me to get it up and running. Took about 20 minutes. While I
    was in there I cleaned out the dust bunnies and pulled and reseated all
    the cards and memory as a preventative measure.
    Steve W., Nov 15, 2006
  6. ryansa2


    Nov 19, 2006
    Likes Received:
    I have the exact same problem on a Dimension 4550. Checked the manual and there is no mention of flashing diag lights :confused: . I have tried removing all components from the PC so it is just a motherboard and *still* get the same combo of lights. Only time the light combo differs is if I remove the RAM chips then A and B go amber. I am more than a little confused as if it was RAM failure It should only affect one RAM chip (big assumption I think).

    Anyway, before I start buying replacement parts (RAM, motherboard, PSU) I was wondering if you solved your problem?

    jimbob666, Nov 19, 2006
  7. ryansa2


    Jan 29, 2009
    Likes Received:
    DEL infineon 8300 flashing yellow B solution

    I had similar problem today. After reading your posts I managed to solve it.
    The problem started after I removed the memory cards and tried to install it again.

    to solve it I did:
    1) removed the battery
    2) removed the electric cord for a minute

    Cleaned the memory slot with flowing air (from dust)

    Reinstalled batery and memory and it booted!!!
    ananbaransy, Jan 29, 2009
  8. ryansa2


    Mar 17, 2009
    Likes Received:
    I don't know if anyone will come across this but I thought I would post it anyway. My 8300 experienced the same issue and I found the video card to be at fault. During the time that this pc was manufactured there were alot of electronics made using faulty capacitors. i have found this in both motherboards, TV's, and now video cards. See the attached picture, the gold and blue capacitors are bulging at the tops, in all other defective units this too was the case and the capacitors had the cross + on the tops of them. This supposedly is due to overheating and the capacitor being at fault. So check your capacitors!! Hope this helps someone. :D

    Attached Files:

    Glen, Mar 17, 2009
  9. ryansa2


    May 24, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Thanks to this forum I managed to startup my dimension 8300 again.
    I had the same problem:
    > A: green to amber flashing
    > B: amber
    > C: green
    > D: green
    This problem occurred most probably after I accidentally switched of the power while the PC was on stand-by. I took out almost every card, but replacing the battery solved the problem.
    mmoolenaar, May 24, 2009
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