Saturday, December 19, 2009

Possible fix: Dell Inspiron 1525 won’t power on

Update 12/20/2009: My stepmom is continuing to have the same problem with her laptop, so apparently the possible solution outlined below is not a "real" solution. (She ended up calling Dell tech support and they're going to replace her machine's motherboard.) Still, leaving this post here on the off chance that it might prove helpful to someone.


My Dad and Stepmom came to visit my house for the weekend this weekend.  My stepmom tried to power on her laptop, a Dell Inspiron 1525, to finish up some work; however, the machine wouldn’t power on.  All of the power LED lights on the bottom-left corner of the machine were completely dark; pressing the laptop’s power button had no visible effect at all.

We tried, without success:

  • Reseating the battery (removing and replacing it)
  • Plugging in the AC power
  • Removing the battery, but leaving the AC power plugged in

None of these steps helped; after trying each step, pressing the laptop’s power button had no visible effect, and all of the LED lights on the machine stayed dark.

At this point, I was just about ready to give up and punt the problem to Dell repair (as the machine was still under warranty), but I tried one more thing: I (1) disconnected the AC power (for safety); (2) removed the battery; (3) cleaned/polished the metal contacts both on the battery, and on the laptop itself where the battery connects to the laptop; (4) and then replaced the battery.

After doing this, upon pressing the power button once again, the machine powered on!  The LED lights at the bottom-left came on as normal, and the machine proceeded to boot into Windows.

The machine did power off without warning once during the evening while my stepmom was using it, so the problem apparently isn’t completely resolved.  I did just use my sweater to clean the power contacts on the battery and the laptop; if the connection between the battery and the laptop wasn’t actually the problem -- and I’m not convinced that it was the problem, but the symptoms do seem to be consistent with an issue related to the power supply – then maybe using a better method of cleaning the contacts would yield better results.

In the meantime, though, I thought I would post this, as I didn’t come across this solution in the course of my Googling for inspiron won’t power on – although I did come across many forum posts from users looking for a solution to a problem with this same set of symptoms.

If anyone does give this solution a try, and is successful, please leave a comment to let me and others know!

15 comments:

  1. Jon - thank for posting! A few days ago, my Dell Inspiron 1501 laptop suddenly and abruptly powered off in the middle of the day - for no apparent reason. It was plugged into 110. I waited a few minutes and powered it back up and it's been fine.

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  2. If you're still having problems it may be a solder joint on the motherboard. I've seen several times on different brands where the battery or AC solder joints break. The laptop turns on if in a certain position or with enough fidgeting.

    Anyway if this is the case you need to have the MB repaired or replaced or you'll be continuously plagued by power problems.

    Best of luck replacing the motherboard if you're doing it yourself... It's usually a royal pain to replace laptop MB's.

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  3. Came across this post. I purchased one with this problem. When I took it apart, the ground contacts were all tarnished. I cleaned them up and haven't had a problem since.

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    1. hey sorry for asking this question but what do u refer to as ground contacts....is it the battery?

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  4. Same prob with a Inspiron 1720. Dead no lights, adaptor green light goes out on connection to laptop. Very common prob. with no posted solution.
    Prior to reading this I obtained a fix by removing battery and mains adaptor, then waiting 30 mins.
    Usind a small piece of aluminium foil across the battery contacts ON THE LAPTOP (not the battery!!)
    the pins were all effectively grounded.
    Refitted battery, switched on- perfect ever since. Would recommend the fix but would suggest trying carbon loaded foam as used to eliminate static from mosfet devices. Would be a safer bet but not tried. You carry this out at your OWN RISK, however it seems foolproof and if your laptop is knackd what have u got to loose ?

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  5. This is a very common problem with the Inspiron 1720's. When the power brick LED goes out when plugged into the laptop. No cleaning of ground pins.. or inserting aluminum anything will resolve that issue.

    There are shorts on the motherboard board that need to be repaired. Just had these guys do the repair for about $100 bucks: AQSTech.com once they start advertising a fix for a problem.. it means dell should do a recall! Hello!!!!

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  6. Jon--I had the same problem on my wife's Inspiron 1525. Power was getting to the AC Adapter and PC, but the power button was completely unresponsive. No lights came on at all.

    I unplugged it. I removed the battery, cleaned the contacts, then removed and switched the memory chips. Connected the AC adapter and it powered right on!

    I'm sure if my wife had called Dell, they would have told her to replace the motherboard. They did that to her last time and she just needed a clean install of her OS.

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  7. Not sure if others are still running into this issue. My mom's Inspiron 1525 is having the issue. It looks like the laptop powers down as soon as the laptop is connected to AC power via the adapter. Without being connected to AC power, the laptop appears to turn on and function just fine. However, once I plug the laptop into AC power, it shuts down and the power button is unresponsive. I have tried other Dell AC adapters with the same or higher wattage as the adapter that came with the laptop, and all three adapters result in the same behavior - abrupt shutdown and unresponsive power button.

    The laptop is well outside of its warranty, but other than this issue it appears to be in great working order. Is my only recourse to have Dell replace the motherboard?

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  8. same issue in my dell inspiron 1525..charger green lights goes off when charging the loptop..pls share the solution pls help

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    1. I too got the same issue. Did you get any solution?

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  9. I'm having same issue...what I've noticed is when I remove the laptop will boot up! in bios of course but i'm suspecting hard drive..ordering one from ebay..thnx..

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  10. oops..remove the "hard drive" !!!!

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  11. Ok, yes ive been messing with this thing for hours and i'm convinced in my situation and similar of your symptoms, try removing hard drive reseating, try without and attempt at least getting to the bios, but I actually got a different sata drive to boot it completely up= all through the troubleshooting I only had any luck getting the screen to come on is by removing the hard drive- now with a different hard drive its working, i'm wondering if there's also some ground in there or just sole hd issue...not sure completely yet but i'm up and running for now...these machines are decent but are getting up there in age...good luck

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  12. Does this mean my hard drive has crashed and I lost all my pics?

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  13. I have a Dell Inspiron 1720 laptop, replaced the motherboard twice, and bought a new battery. Laptop still doesn't come on, only the blue light that indicates that the battery is charging comes on. The charger is totally functional.

    Could it be the dc jack since it's clear there's no power going to the motherboard?

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