A Blinking Orange Power Light

Yesterday morning I plugged in my computer. I reached for the power button on my Dell Dimension 8400, but then noticed that the tower’s power light was flashing orange. In my Dell manual, I found the section about power light signals and read:

If the power light is blinking amber – The computer is receiving electrical power, but an internal power problem might exist.

Ensure that the voltage selection switch is set to match the AC power at your location (if applicable).

Ensure that the processor power cable is securely connected to the system board (see page 73).

Well, I was sure that the voltage selection switch was in the right place. And I found it highly unlikely that the processor power cable would suddenly unseat itself. Ugh.

Then I had an idea. I flipped off the surge protector and then flipped it back on.

Tada! No more orange lights. Weird.

The moral of the story: try the simple stuff first.

Many visitors have provided additional solution ideas in the comments section below.

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  1. Thank you for the tip about the bent USB pin ! I checked the two front USB ports and sure enough, one of them was bent. Straightened it out and EUREKA! we have boot up again!! I was getting ready to drop $900 for a new computer, but now my Dimension 5100 has a little more life left. My wife was hoping this meant we were upgrading to a new PC, but alas, not yet. That’s OK. The budget wasn’t quite ready for it anyway. We’ll have our upgrade soon enough.

    • JOHN


      • Bernie the Veteran

        Thank you Bob & John!
        My friend dropped of hic computer and whenI saw USB, sure enough both front usb plugs were jacked up. I had the tools to straighten the pins and put the usb’s on order tomorrow

  2. kilomilo

    thanks man you are a saver

  3. Randy

    I have a Dell Dimension E310. A while back ai went to turn it on and, nothing. The amber light by the battery is on but I have no other lights anywhere, no beeps, nothing. It just will not turn on. I’ve tried replacing the power supply and still nothing. I’ve also tried everything short of replacing the processor as was recommended by the Dell website. Any ideas or suggestions?

  4. tcs

    I’ve been dealing with this blinking amber light issue for the past 5 hrs.

    Did everything within this thread… then read “Jim’s” mssg about the cmos battery.

    That did it — I got lights other than amber… but now I have that BLUE screen … and i’m stuck.

    A problem has been detected and windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer.

    If this is the first time you’ve seen this stop error screen, restart your computer. If this screen appears again, follow these steps:

    Any ideas??

    I found my Dell Diagnostic disk, and i’m walking thru that… but i have no idea if this will work or not. I can not recall 6 yrs ago to see if i did a boot disk… i highly doubt it.

  5. Ale

    I had the flashing amber and the smell of electrical components burning. I immediately assumed the power supply and purchased a new one from Dell. After installing it, the amber still flashed. After finding this thread, I looked and found a bad USB port. It had bent pins and the tab that holds the pins was gone. I straightened the pins so they wouldn’t ground out, but still the amber flashed. I unplugged all USB attachments, still the same. I removed the video card from the AGP slot…there was the culprit. As soon as that was out, the Dell 5100 booted up. I installed the original video card that came with the machine and we are back in business.

  6. moomooland

    i found a broken USB cable caused a problem,many thanks to the many people who contributed to this thread.

  7. Kalin

    My dad came home with a Dell Dimension 4600c. The orange/yellow light on the MB stays solid, doesn’t blink. The power light on the front blinks. I am going to try changing the cmos battery, and have already looked at the USB’s (no problem) and changed where I plug the computer into the wall. If changing battery doesn’t work, I’ll get a new power supply.

  8. Kalin

    Whoa! I unplugged everything except for the hard drive and IO board. When I pressed the power button, there was a VERY high, loud, squeaking sound and…*sniff* “What in the world is that smell”!? I looked over at the power supply, and POURING out of it was the smoothest, nastiest-smelling smoke I’d ever encountered.
    Power Supply – 1
    Well, now I’ll HAVE to get a new one.

  9. Madandaulo

    Hey bloggers thanx for your valuable advice, My I was about to get a New PSU for my DELL OPTIPLEX 750. After reading all your posts just discovered it was a problem with one of my usb ports…

  10. A Johnson

    I have dell dimension 5150 which use to work fine and now i am having problem. Any time I switch it on, it will give me an error screen and it will switch itself off. Please can some one help ?

  11. Matt

    Thank you so much for the USB idea. I unplugged all USB’s and it shut down. After rebooting, I plugged everything in and the system is working fine.

    Thanks, again.


  12. Kain

    Here is my issue. Hopefully, someone here can provide advice for me.

    My laptop computer is working fine, except that the power light is flashing orange and it’s annoying. When-

    Hmmmmkay….as I write this messsage, the orange light suddently stopped…you guys are awesome…lol…im laughing big time right now….that’s the best computer fix I’ve ever seen !

    For the records, my situation was that the light was flashing orange all the time, it started doing it today, but the computer was still working well. Unplugging the power cord would stop the light from flashing (when the computer is on battery). I tried plugging the power cord directly in the wall (not to the powerbar), it didnt change anything…and i tried with another power cord (i have another Dell portable computer here), it didnt fix the problem either.

    But apparantly, now it is fixed. Thanks to you guys of course ! =)

  13. alexrota1970

    The same happened to me (Optiplex 320).
    Removed the two RAM modules: nothing changed!
    Replaced PSU: nothing changed!
    Disconnected all peripherals: nothing changed!
    …then I disconnected and reconnected the front panel connector on the motherboard and eureka, the PC was alive again!

    BYE BYE!

  14. Umair

    I have Dell gx620 .When I turn it on, the lights 1 2 3 4 which usually turn on first in green colour are not turninig on. When I press power button a solid amber lights turns on with nothing on monitor. What should I do? please anyone reply quickly

  15. Dave

    Help! Well I’m stumped and hope someone can help me out. I have a Dell XPS 420 that was starting to give me trouble. The PSU fan was failing (rattled a lot and one day stopped spinning? shortly there after the video would stop displaying within a couple minutes of starting the system. So I just purchased a new PSU, installed it and the system seems to be OK except the PSU fan in the new PSU is also not spinning. Help Any ideas??

  16. Rod

    I have a Dell computer it’s a Optiplex GX520. When try to cut the computer on the orange light will come on. It want be blinking it will just come on and stay an a solid orange color and nothing will be showing on the monitor. The monitor will also have a orange light showing on it as well. What does this mean.

  17. michael

    same issue with dell optiplex tower. my solution was replacing the power supply. i did however troubleshoot it down to that by checking the voltage on the CMOS battery, inspecting all USB ports for damage, checking the motherboard for darkened or discolored areas, ensuring there were no pinched cables (shorts). I ensured that everything was plugged in correctly inspecting everything with fine tooth comb ensuring that everything appeared in working order before i applied a new psu to make sure that it wasnt something that cause the PSU to go out and would potentially cause the new one to have the same fate. After installing new psu and powering up everything works fine.

  18. Amanda

    Can anyone help me? My Dell Dimension 9150 will not boot up. All I get is an orange blinking light from the tower and the number 2 is lit on the tower as well. Does anyone know what that means and how to fix it? Thanks!

  19. Matt

    Mine had the error. For awhile, I removed all of the USB connections (saw it online somewhere) and that would work. After a hurricane Sandy blew through even that didn’t work. I took it to Best Buy and they suggested buying a new power source.

    I can say that has fixed the problem.

  20. Dave

    I have an Dell OP745. Could not boot, no power except power button flashing amber every 3 seconds. No numbers lit. I troubleshooted everything and was ready to order a new MB until I ran across this thread. One of the front USB ports had the pins bent and were touching each other. Bent the pins straight, taped it off, and I’m good to go.

  21. Evans

    Thanks guys I have toiled with this amber blinking Power Switch 18hours now. I have applied almost all suggestions herein above contained. I will still do until I get to Eureka. It seems even Dell is hell on this problem and its all left to try and err by users themselves! Unfortunate. Anyway this User experience knowledge base is so invaluable.

  22. jack

    On my 9150 the power light would blink orange and #2 lit. Would do that for about 45 seconds to a minute then it would boot up..
    The problem was my monitor was no good…

  23. eddy

    my dell mother board only lights orange instead of showing a green light at power light, makes beeps,when i tried changing RAM and processor,power supply still the problem persisted,should i try changing capacitors

  24. Eduardo

    Greatings i have an old poweredge 800 with a unusual error, sometines when i have to shutdown it down and unplugged from power source, the server dont start, no lights, no sounds, it seems like a power source issue however, i changed it and still the same error, no lights, no sounds, i have to leave it unplugged for hours or days and then it works whitout failure, i suposed is and MB issue, but there is no signs of damage on it. Anyone knows what could be?? thank you.

  25. Raze

    I have been battling with this amber light for about a month now and I have been looking for some good advice around. I even called the Dell tech support( a complete waste of my time). I tried every single advice but not any of the ones where I have to open my laptop. You see my battery on my laptop won’t hold any charge for about a year now so my laptop has always been plugged in. I had thought, maybe the power supply has gone bad already but Dell replaced this a a year or two ago after i bought my computer. So here’s what stopped the annoying blinking……take the battery out and the blinking stopped! I’m a happy camper:)

  26. Clifford

    Great worked, the UPS was connected to an extension that is connected to the wall plug. I connected the machine to the wall outlet directly and bingo it is on. i swapped the whole connection by connecting the UPS to the wall outlet and then the extension to the UPS. It worked fine. Thank you a million times

  27. Patrick Crotty

    My thanks to, John. I found your solution fixed my blinking orange light/ dormant Dell 5150c. The only oddity I found was that I tried it unsuccessfully before disconnecting and reconnecting the power-to-motherboard cable a third time before the PC restarted. Perhaps there’s some sort of capacitor holding a charge which has to leak away before the fix takes effect?
    Thanks again

  28. I have a dell window7 that won’t boot up and it has this flashing orange light wen I plug on the power I remember the time I lost the speakers sound because of the usb modem but was long time ago how did you know about MyPCbackup because I did install it too think that could be the cause of the orange flashing light

  29. Ashford

    my dell optiplex 210 have an orange blinking light whenever I switch it on. I have been dealing with this problem for the past one week now. I have tried all your suggestions but to no avail. I don’t even know what to do again

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