Dell Optiplex GX280 won't start, amber light flashing

By DarkJP ยท 41 replies
Aug 1, 2008
  1. RobotRob

    RobotRob TS Rookie

    I currently support about 50 GX280's and one of mines began to flash this amber light as soon as I plugged the power cable into it. I switched a power supply out of a perfectly fine GX280 and placed it into my pc that was blinking amber and that solved the problem. Just to verify that it was my power supply I actually placed the power supply that I suspected to be faulty into the working pc and that made the power button blink amber again and not power on. Tell me how this works out for you guys.

    Sorry to double post but I also removed an added on DVI video card, and converted to the intergrated VGA port before I swapped out the power supply.
  2. msteelefl

    msteelefl TS Rookie

    I just found a half dozen SX280's (small form factor) with bad caps at my new job stuck in a storage room. I'd want to go ahead and replace the caps and was wondering if anyone has a link to the service manual or another site that shows how to remove the motherboard? I removed all of the screws and standoffs that I could see, but obviously I'm mising something. Do I need to remove the CPU?. Any help would be appreciated.


  3. javeous

    javeous TS Rookie


    I just worked on two of these systems that would start with the 12v CPU not attached. The power supplies were bad in that specific system, but powered another board no problem. Fortunately, I had new PSU's for them. Both systems worked when they were swapped.

    I did notice one difference between the bad and good PSU's. The 12v tested too low on the bad PSU's; which makes sense.

    Can anyone elaborate on why the system wouldn't come on if the voltage was too low? Is there some type of mechanism on the board that can control whether the system will start based on voltage?
  4. jhebert

    jhebert TS Rookie

    New Motherboard worked for me

    I put a new motherboard in my Optiplex SX280 that had an amber flashing light on the power button and that fixed it.

    Be careful not to bend any of the capacitors, especially around the CPU-heatsink case. As I was putting the case in, the capacitors were bent slightly because they are so close to the case.
  5. tb421ny

    tb421ny TS Rookie

    The caps don't always show signs of failure. 99% of the time they do but occasionally I have to break out the capanalyzer88. On the SX280 the capacitors under the hard drive always fail. The 3X 6.3v 820uFs and the 6.3v 2200uFs especially. The newest Dell USFFs come with a fan built into the hard drive caddy. I have done hundreds of these now with kits from the cap king and have no problems. If you have questions about it email Troy at
  6. Jerichards

    Jerichards TS Rookie

    Take a closer look at the motherboard. I have fixed 100's of these motherboards and every single one of them that had the power button flashing amber was related to a blown/faulty capacitor. Either 6.3v 2200uf or 6.3v 820uf. You can fix it yourself with a soldering gun ($10 radioshack), solder, and a philips screwdriver. If you can't find the exact cap replacement, you can use a 6.3v capacitor that is greater uf than the original. Ex: you can replace the 6.3v 820uf cap with a 6.3v 2200uf no problem. The tops of the capacitors should be completely flat. They may or may not be leaking yellow/orange fluid and it may be a subtle rounded top. A peripheral with a bad cap is possible as well. Take all peripherals off and try to start. Hope this helps.
  7. Jerichards

    Jerichards TS Rookie

    Hah. I swear I didn't see tb421ny posting before i wrote this. So I'll just make mine confirmation that what he said is true. :)
  8. Chips

    Chips TS Rookie

    Just FYI, I've got a Dell Optiplex GX280 that shuts down and flashes its amber power light when it's under stress, i.e. a CPU or graphically-intense program. The PC works fine for days if you just want to surf the web. Anything meatier seems to trip it. Upon feeling the PSU it's very hot and the PSU fan is erratic and doesn't seem to be spinning at full speed. I suspect the problem is a dirty/dusty fan. In an attempt to save money I plan to replace it rather than replace the whole PSU.
    If I manage to replace the fan I'll report back and let everyone know.
  9. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,473   +126

    These DELL systems made cheap the issues with MOBO has been going on for more than 10 years! Even with the GX200 series I had placed daily 20 MOBO in the systems because the onboard video was shot. I don't know why companies still want to lease DELL systems they have so many issues.
  10. Chips

    Chips TS Rookie

    I've worked at corporates that turn over hundreds of Dells ever year and the failure rate is very small. Having said that, the GX280 definitely had a batch of Friday Builds as we saw out-of-control fans and intermittant power downs from time-to-time. I think it's harsh to say that they're all cheap mobos though. I use Dell exclusively at home and also recommend them to my clients. They're a bit like Starbucks or MacDonalds - a known and trusted quantity, but not wildly exciting. I have no tie-in with Dell, I just like their kit.

    A thought has just occurred to me. I'm in the UK, and I think our Dells are made in Ireland. That will probably change, if it hasn't already, but it may explain the quality differences.
  11. Chips

    Chips TS Rookie

    OK, I promised I'd get back with my results. I bought a new fan off eBay (60mm x 60mm x 10mm) and fitted it. The PC is now drastcally quieter and no longer trips the thermal cutout. Result: complete success.
  12. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,473   +126

    Really one of out Aerospace Factories and Corp Office here had such issue with GX200 series a few years back with DELL. All we did was order new or rebuild (DELL likes to do it that way) motherboards for replacement. Time is money and production would suffer if a factory, office or executive was down for any length of time.

    Others companies I've been too DELL units seem to be getting a bit better in the GX Series. Not much DOA, but there are some. So replacement is low.
  13. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,473   +126

    That's great!
  14. daben

    daben TS Rookie


    I guess that I am just lucky.. I just popped the battery on the motherboard out and it's working like a charm
  15. davb

    davb TS Rookie

    Just had the flashing amber light on my SX280 - tb421ny and Jerichards were spot on, with leaking caps. Replaced three 2200uF under the hard drive caddy (1 leaking badly, 1 just starting to leak, and 1 domed).
    Got some new caps off Ebay, and up and running again, thanks for the info.
  16. erer11

    erer11 TS Rookie

    I'm dealing with the same problem , and I know I have to replace the capacitors although they look perfect. so even if your capacitors doesn't seems to be blown, and you still experiencing with such problem , you will have to replace them.
  17. davb

    davb TS Rookie

    Take a good look at all the capacitors on the board, and the top surface should be nice and flat. If there are any that are slightly domed, then that's a sign that it could be starting to fail.
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