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The Dell Inspiron 15 (N5050) is a mid-sized laptop manufactured by Dell, Inc. that operates on Windows 7. The laptop features include a WLED HD display screen and a max supported memory of 8 GB.

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Why won't my N5050 power up?

A few months ago I was using my laptop for art projects when suddenly it shutoff and hasn't run since. I get no response from the power button. I know the battery is not the issue, as the computer stayed plugged up all the time up til that point. I really hope it's not the hard drive, as I'd hate to think that I've lost all my art projects.

Note: I have asked this question somewhere else and one person seemed to think that the main board might have gone bad. Which I'm going guess that they were referring to the mother board. Since Googling main board gives results for mother board instead. Still, I could use a second opinion on the matter before I decide what to do.

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Hopefully its something simple, however worst case you could be up for a new computer or a motherboard.

However, in all likelihood, your hard disk will be fine, as will all your files.

If, in the worst case, your motherboard is faulty, you can simply plug your hard disk into a desktop computer via the SATA connections and copy the files from there, or you can buy a USB enclosure to put it into and recover you files that way.

Anyway, a few things to try:

Remove the main battery first, then disconnect the mains power, and hold down the power button for a few seconds.

Then reconnect just the power supply.

(The batteries have a “smart” circuit that communicates with the mainboard via a i2c SMBUS or similar, and if that locks up, it can cause the unit to fail to power on, even if the power supply is good.)

(If it works, reinstall the battery and retest - if it continues to fail with the battery in it, most likely the battery has failed… or extremely less likely, the mainboard battery charging circuit has a problem.)

If that doesn’t work, I’d try with a known good power supply, or alternatively test your one with a multimeter.

If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to disassemble the unit and remove the BIOS battery from the motherboard for 30 secs or so - its a CR2032 or similar silver watch battery, under the top cover, near where the touchpad sits above.

That will reset the BIOS to defaults, and, if the BIOS was corrupted, should fix the issue.

Here is a tear down guide for your model ( There may be better guides out there though…)

Then retest.

Also check if the LED light (if there is one) on the AC adapter turns off when it plugs in, if it does - there is an internal short… if so, check that none of the USB ports have been physically damaged but looking closely at them - if the positive pin is bent and touching either the USB housing or other ground point, that will create a short.

If one of them is physically bent, you can try to straighten them, or at least make sure they are no longer touching a ground point.

If there is a short, and the USB ports look OK, you’ll need to remove any and all components from the motherboard, and retest - it may be one of the daughter boards, the display itself, or some other component has a short.

If, after removing everything, and there is still a short, it must be in the motherboard, and would require skills to isolate and repair, and may not be viable to proceed with

Assuming there is no internal short, and if all the above fails, I’d re-seat the ribbon cable from the power button to the motherboard.

Then, if that doesn’t fix it, I’d test the power switch with a multimeter and make sure that it is actually functioning.

Its rare that they fail, but they sometimes do.

If still failing, you’ll need to check with a multimeter that power is actually getting to the motherboardconnection - i.e. 19 volts where the cable that runs from the DC port and goes to the motherboard is.

If you are getting 19 or so volts there, then the issue is probably further into the motherboard- often around the two MOSFETs near where the power connects to the motherboard, or the power IC (BQ737 or similar) - and would again require a technician to diagnose and repair it.

Hope this information helps.

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Well, I tried your first suggestion, again. Low and behold, it started up this time. Keep in mind that it has been sitting on my desk upside down for the past few months with just the battery attached.

What I did, was removed the battery, hold the power button, and plugged back in the power cord. Then l pressed power and everything started like normal. I turned the power off, unplugged the cord, then reinserted the battery, and tried the power. Nothing. Then I reconnected the power cord, and it powered up.

The task bar has an animated icon of a battery with a plug and a red X that features the message: "0% available (plugged in, not charging) Consider replacing your battery".

I find the fact that the battery going bad rather odd, as the computer stayed plugged up all the time. Give or take few instances where the cable would become disconnected and I would find out about until the low battery message would appear.

But still, this is great news.


Good to hear Jason.

It sounds like you just need to replace the battery then.

You should be able to pick up an after market one on Ebay pretty cheaply.

eg $20 USD or so...

Alternatively, you can just continue to use it without a battery, however, be careful, if you bump the power cable the unit will shut off immediately and you'll lose any work you have open. Doing that could also corrupt the OS and require the os to be repaired or reinstalled (unlikely though).

Batteries are notorious for failing, even when fairly new.

They do like a bit of a workout though, so its best to let them run down every month or so, then fully recharge them.

Now that its working, now is the time to make a complete backup of any files you want to an external hard disk, or to another computer. :)


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