Why Won’t My Dell XPS 13 Turn On? [Flea Power Fix]

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If your Dell XPS laptop is suddenly failing to turn on, or turning itself off after a few seconds your machine might be storing some unwanted residual static electricity.

Also known as ‘flea power‘, the static charge can remain on the motherboard even after the laptop has been powered off and the battery removed!

The problem with flea power is that it can prevent the laptop from completing its Power-On Self Test (POST) that checks whether all of its components are in good working order. 

Whilst flea power is inconvenient it’s also a fairly common problem to encounter and doesn’t necessarily mean there is anything wrong with your laptop, simply that static electricity has slowly built up enough to short the motherboard.

In the four years I’ve had my XPS 13 9360 I’ve only required to drain the flea power once, and that was several years ago – leading to the conclusion that it was environmental factors that caused the build up of static power.

The Dell XPS 13 Service Manual advises to stick to  the following steps to drain flea power:

  1. Turn off your computer
  2. Remove the base cover
  3. Remove the battery
  4. Press and hold the power button for 15 seconds to drain the flea power
  5. Replace the battery
  6. Replace the base cover
  7. Turn on your computer

So we followed the advice and captured images along the way to give you confidence you’re carrying out the troubleshooting correctly.

Before we begin you're going to need to have access to a Torx T5 screwdriver to remove the screws holding the base cover in place.

Torx screwdriver sets are low cost and easy to come by on Amazon.

Beyond the Torx bit it’s also useful to have a tool to help prise open the cover. It’s a tightly fitted one so I’d recommend having a plastic ruler or picking up a Torx kit that includes a pick opener.

That way you won’t be tempted to use a knife or screwdriver to do the same job and risk scratching your case.

1. Turn off your laptop, remove peripherals and base cover screws

Firstly remove the charger and any peripherals including micro-USB receivers.

Unscrew the base cover by removing the 8 identical T5 Torx screws from the perimeter and 1 Philips 2mm screw hidden beneath the flap on the base.

2. Prise off the base cover

Use a prising tool to separate the metal case from the plastic chassis. It’s initially easiest to get your tool into place at the corners of the case before sliding it around the perimeter.

Note: The XPS is a tightly fitting cover and will require some force to remove. 

There are no wires connecting the base cover to the rest of the laptop, so you will not be at risk of damaging any of the components by removing it. 

You will hear clicks when the base fully separates from the back of the machine. This noise simply indicates that plastic clips have released their hold.

3. Remove screws holding the battery in place

Unscrew 3 x M2 2mm broadhead screws (A in the image below) and 1 x M1.6  4mm Phillips cross head screw (B in the image below) that secure the battery in place. 

4. Unattach the speaker cable

Free the speaker cable by peeling back 4 pieces of tape that attach it to the battery. The tape comes off fairly easily without leaving residue and will retain it’s stickiness for re-application. 

5. Unplug and remove the battery

Slide the battery connector out from its socket.

Whilst the connector is fairly robust don’t be tempted to pull on the wires to help dislodge it. Instead use a pick or spudger to lever it loose. 

6. Drain away the residual static energy 

With the battery now removed, flip the laptop over and press and hold the power button for at least 15 seconds to drain the residual static power.

7. Reassemble the laptop

With the flea power drained you’re now good to reverse the above steps to re-assemble the laptop.

Be aware that when you turn an XPS back on for the first time after entirely removing the battery you’ll receive a system prompt to configure the time and date. This is normal. 

And that’s all there is to it!

If you enjoy having the comfort of a video tutorial to follow along with, the below XPS battery replacement guide from Brue Computing guides you through the same steps we took.  

Final thoughts

Hopefully your XPS will return to operating normally after undertaking after draining away any static charge. 

If however the flea power fix is unsuccessful, the next step is to conduct a check on your charger and RAM, followed by a BIOS reset. Jaimen from PC Monkey does a fantastic job in showing how this is done.

Thanks for reading and good luck!

Chris Dosser

Chris Dosser

Co-Founder of Eden Indoors

Enjoys sharing solutions to problems encountered whilst building and improving his own home office over the past 8 years. Environmental graduate with a love for biophilic design at home and houseplants. Obsessive about making information easier to understand and simpler to digest.

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