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Dell Dimension E521 No USB/bad cable

By racerx509
May 3, 2008
  1. Hello all. I've got a dell dimension E521 desktop with a bad USB controller it seems. The unit halts at bootup reporting a bad keyboard, bad cable and invalid system configuration. It tells me I can press F2 to continue, but the keyboard input does not work.

    The USB ports are shot, so no matter what, I cannot press F2 to make the unit boot. Dell kindly has not included PS2 ports, so the system just halts at the bios screen. I was wondering if this could be motherboard related, or is this the IO controller in the front?

    Where are the USB controllers located on these machines? Should I go out and order a new board, or get an IO controller?
     
  2. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,979   +362

    How do you know for sure it isn't a bad keyboard? If you haven't already, try the front USB ports and try a different keyboard or try your USB keyboard on another PC.

    The USB controllers are on the motherboard. Exactly where I don't know. You'd have to look but the only thing you could probably do is check the fit of the connection of the front USB ports. The USB ports on the back would be connected to integrated controllers so there's nothing you can do with them.
     
  3. racerx509

    racerx509 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    tried 3 different keyboards. I'm pretty sure the controller is shot. I've tried it with ports on both the front and back of the unit.
     
  4. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,979   +362

    If you have a free PCI slot, you could try a USB controller card. They aren't that expensive although I wouldn't necessarily buy the least expensive one.
     
  5. racerx509

    racerx509 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    tried that too
     
  6. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 710

    1.Are your drivers up to date?
    2.Is your bios up to date?
    3.If you run Vista w/o sp1 do you have all the reliabilty and performance updates installed?
     
  7. racerx509

    racerx509 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    YOu can't do a bios update without any sort of keyboard support. The machine is not respond to ANY input, and won't make it past a basic bios error screen. I'm thinking its bad controller. And once again I will highlight hte fact that dell stupidly eliminates PS2 ports, so the PC is essentially useless unless you replace the motherboard (it seems).
     
  8. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,979   +362

    Yes, so it would seem.

    Unless you buy a new motherboard from Dell, the problem with replacing motherboards on Dells is their non-standard connectors for the front panel switches, LEDs, USB ports and sound/microphone jacks. Dell tends to use solid, combined connector blocks instead of the separated, individual front panel connectors found in standard PC cases. So adapting a standard ATX or micro ATX motherboard requires some ingenuity and connector surgery. It probably can be done but I would just get another case.
     
  9. kpo6969

    kpo6969 TS Maniac Posts: 710

    Did you try to boot with your system utilities disk?
    What did tech support say?
    Here's your manual (if for some reason you never got one or didn't read it)

    http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dime521/en/OM_EN/PY349A03MR.pdf
     
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