Not sure if this is a good question to ask...


I acquired a Dell M6800 laptop that was considered bad or dead. Little troubleshooting was done at the time it was sent to the waste pile. I understood it to be a bad motherboard. I brought it home and put some RAM, disk drive in and attempted to turn it on. One of the diagnostic lights would flash on for a split second and then the machine would just remain off. I replaced the motherboard with an eBay replacement. The result was the same. I replaced the DC jack cable since it would seem the machine wasn't getting power.

The result: More diagnostic lights, remaining on, and the CPU and GPU heatsinks warming up. No fans, no other power. I double checked RAM spec as it seems this model will only work properly with DDR3L. Making sure that was correct caused a couple lights to go off. Even on just the battery, the result is the same.


The only diagnostic light that is on is the power indicator light. It comes on and remains on as long as the battery is connected or plugged in with the PS. The heatsinks for both the CPU and GPU warm up, as if they are running. The manual doesn't have any troubleshooting for this kind of error/problem that I can find, the light codes don't have a issue for only power light on.

Could my replacement motherboard be bad?

Has anyone seen this kind of failure/problem before?

Any suggestions?

closed as too broad by Ramhound, robinCTS, Pimp Juice IT, phuclv, music2myear Jul 16 '18 at 18:46

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Hardware troubleshooting is very difficult to do remotely. Your best bet for a good solution is to get the computer to a competent local technical professional for analysis. – music2myear Jul 16 '18 at 18:46
  • I'm trying to do this on the cheap. I am competent to do this myself, but I don't know what to test or what method to test. Hence the question. – SiXandSeven8ths Jul 16 '18 at 20:26

Yes, your replacement motherboard could be bad, but it also could be your RAM your display or display connection or anything else. So I would start at the very basics, find out if you power supply is working properly, check the voltage if possible. If it does, remove the battery and all other unnecessary components to minimize the error source. Try to check the remaining components in a different system (if possible). Then try to turn it on and describe what happens. Is only the power light coming on and the CPU/GPU getting warm? Is anything happening?

There is really not enough information yet to make a useful suggestion except guessing. We'll see how your test goes and continue from there.

PS. I assume you know what components are essential if you are unsure better ask.

  • Its not the PSU because the problem persists on battery. Its not the RAM, the machine doesn't power on whether there is memory in or not. It can't be the display because the machine isn't even powering up (or powering up properly). The problem is: is a bad motherboard the source of these symptoms or another component, ie shorted daughterboard, bad CPU, etc. – SiXandSeven8ths Jul 12 '18 at 20:09
  • @SiXandSeven8ths there is no sure way to say because there is no sure 1:1 connection between symptoms and source of a problem. So you are back to trying to eliminate potential problems and trying to find the actual problem source. For instance, I had a case once where a faulty graphic cable resulted in problems with the power up - who would have figured that?! But granted your problem sounds most likely to be main board related but since you already tried two main boards with the same results I suspect the problem being some where else. – Albin Jul 12 '18 at 20:25

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