Dell 510 not booting after usb power surge

Dell / Dimension e510
April 4, 2010 at 00:37:03
Specs: Windows XP
I read another post on here similar to this but my issue was slightly different so this is the only reason I'm posting a similar question.

I have a Dell Dimension E510, been using it for 5+ years.
The power supply is 115V. Pretty much a stock computer I bought off the website, with upgraded PCI 256mb vid card and sound card.

Bought new headphones, they've been working fine until now. Moved my computer to the office today, plugged it in and everything worked fine except for my headphones. Unplugged them, then plugged them back in. Got USB device not recognized message on bottom right corner taskbar. Then tried my other USB port next to it(2 on front of computer) and I got a USB Power Surge Error. I had gotten the power surge error 2 times yesterday from that same port, so I clicked on the message and clicked "reset" on that usb device from the list that popped up. Yesterday I was able to just plug it back into the other one next to it, and it would work.

This time though it didn't work. Turned off computer, unplugged the power cord, but left everything else plugged in, and plugged the headphones in the back USB ports and plugged my power cord back in.

Tried to turn on computer but it won't turn on at all, only partially. The green light on my motherboard is lit when the power cord is plugged in. The power on button on the front of my computer is blinking orange every second or so, and making a noise like its trying to power on every second but it can't. Even if I don’t touch a thing, and I just leave the power cord plugged it, every second the power button blinks and I can hear the computer trying to power on but can’t. The green led light on my mother board is steady, not blinking.

Unplugged everything even the power, but it was still blinking and making that noise. So I held the power button down for 10 seconds and everything stopped.

Unplugged and replugged everything back and forth a few more times hoping for a fix but still won’t work. I was losing hope and desperate so I went into my computer and unplugged the power supply cords directly to my motherboard and everything else I saw. Replugged all the power cords to my mother board and plugged power cord back into my computer. Still doing the same blinking thing. Tried a few more times, now the light on my power button is blinking twice as fast and the noise is twice as fast. The noise is like its trying to power up but it fails over and over again.
I’m assuming something is destroyed. Is my computer salvageable?

See More: Dell 510 not booting after usb power surge

April 4, 2010 at 13:03:53
The short answer....

With the AC cord uplugged from the computer, or with the AC otherwise switched off to the computer, you could try making sure all ram and cards are all the way down in slots, and that all connections inside the case are okay, and if that doesn't help.....

Your power supply is probably in the process of dying. If you replace it your system will probably work fine.

I checked and your power supply is a standard sized standard wired ATX power supply.
Example replacement PS:

You can replace it with any decent standard sized standard ATX PS with the same capacity or greater.

Standard (PS/2) power supply size - 86mm high, 150mm wide, 140mm deep, or 3 3/8" h x 5 7/8" w x 5 1/2" d , or very close to that, though the depth can be more or less for some PSs.

Don't buy an el-cheapo PS.
See response 3 in this:

Since you have added a video card, or you changed your previous video card, you MAY need to get a power supply with more capacity.

Your power supply must have at least the minumum capacity required to support a system with the graphics card you are using installed, or the max graphics card you might install in the future.
(Onboard video - video built into the mboard - IS NOT A CARD ! )
If that info is not in the ad for the video card, you can go to the video card maker's web site and look up the specs for the model - often under system requirements - the minimum PS wattage, and, more important, the minimum amperage the PS must supply at 12v is stated. If you don't find that, any card with the same video chipset including any letters after the model number has very similar minimum PS requirements. Some power supplies have two or more +12v ratings - in that case, add those ratings to determine the total +12v current capacity.

If you're a gamer...
In most if not all cases, the max capacity rating of the PS is an intermittent rating. It's recommended that you do not load your PS to any more that 80% of that rating if you are going to be using something that puts a constant load on it, such as playing a recent game for hours on end. In that case, you multiply the min capacity stated for the system with the particular video chipset on the card by 1.25 to find the min. capacity of the PS you should get.

The details....

Why would it fail ?

- power supplies tend to fail as they get older in any case - the electrolytic capacitors in them deteriorate over time, and in some cases were improperly made in the first place .

- the video card you added may overloaded it.

Apparently this model comes with a 305 watt power supply.

"...upgraded PCI 256mb vid card..."

Depending on which video chipset it has, the power supply may not have had enough capacity to support having that card being installed, and if that's the case, the power supply is trying to run at 100% of it's capacity all the time the computer is running. Computer power supplies are not meant to run at 100% or their rated max output continuously - that max is an intermittent rating - and eventually the power supply is damaged and fails.

Manuals - Service Manual

In that...

"The power on button on the front of my computer is blinking orange every second or so..."

" Blinking amber

A power supply or system board failure has occurred.

Check the diagnostic lights to see if the specific problem is identified. "

You may also have diagnostic leds that have lit up in a pattern that yield you more info - take a look at the info there.

Also in that Service manual..

- you have a 305 watt power supply, originally, of course

- there is a single double row USB header on the mboard, for two USB ports. You have either just two front USB ports connected to that,
or, you have an optional Media Card Reader in a 3.5" bay.

If you have only the two front USB ports, no card reader, probably, each port is connected to it's own USB port connection on the USB header. In that case each front USB port can probably supply the full USB spec max 500ma of current.

If you have the optional Media Card Reader in a 3.5" bay, one USB port connection on the USB header is for the card reader, and if there are two USB ports on the card reader, those two USB ports share one USB port connection on the USB header - they are in effect two ports in a USB hub, not directly connected USB ports - those ports cannot supply 500ma for each port - some devices that require more current will cause the bios to generate an overcurrent message when you plug them in - not all USB devices will work in a hub that connects to only one USB port connection in any case.
You are likely to get the overcurrent message from the bios when you plug some USB devices into those USB ports.

and - sometimes the wiring between the USB header and the USB port is inadequate, whether you have directly connected USB ports or not, and not all USB devices will work properly with those ports. You MAY get the overcurrent message from the bios when you plug some USB devices into those USB ports.

The USB ports on the back of the case that are built into the mboard should work fine with any USB device and you should NOT get overcurrent messages when you plug something into those.

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April 4, 2010 at 22:46:55
Wow you covered everything thanks for taking the time it is definitely appreciated!

I will check all the cards and ram to see if they are all down, but It sounds like my power supply is dying. I don't mind buying that new power supply, $55 is better than a whole new computer. But you said if I have a separate video card I might need a stronger power supply, so that one you linked me would that work? I mean its been working for about 5 years so buying the same supply should be fine right? I had the video card from the start so it's not like its anything new, Dell installed that for me with that power supply.

I don't have a media card reader in the front, that bay is empty, just the two usb ports. So from now on I should probably just use any usb ports in the back of the computer? I have open ones, I just use the front because it was easier.

Thanks so much for all the help, did not expect that, thank you very much!

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April 5, 2010 at 07:30:00
That power supply is only an example. On that web site you can look up replacement power supplies for brand name computers. When I did that for your E510 it confirmed that the power supply is standard sized and standard wired, so you can use any decent standard ATX power supply, not necessarily that one, but don't buy an el-cheapo. You can often get suitable power supplies locally - when you take into consideration there is no shipping cost when you pick it up yourself, locally bought power supplies can be cheaper. You are more likely to get lower prices from smaller local places that build custom computer systems and have lots of computer parts, rather the big box stores.

I was assuming you added the video card later. If you're a gamer, it's a good idea for the capacity to be 1.25 times the minimum recommended for a system with the video chipset on the video card, or more.

"I don't have a media card reader in the front, that bay is empty, just the two usb ports. "

In that case, either both front ports are connected to only one USB port connection on the USB header, or the wiring between the header and the front ports is inadequate. If the latter, if you're handy, you can replace the wiring with USB 2.0 rated wiring, and the front ports will then work fine with everything the back ports work fine with.
Or you could use a fairly short USB 2.0 rated USB extension cable (male to female) between a back port and the front of the case.

I've seen that brand new cheap generic computer cases sometimes have inadequate wiring for the front USB ports on the case.

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