Dell Lat. 100L has bad battery. However when I connect the power supply with or without the battery in all I get is flashing lights on the front of the unit. Sounds like the fan starts but quits immediately.
I tried swapping ram chips to no avail. The lady I got it from said she tried a good battery in it and it booted fine.
I'm totally stumped. Can any one please help me???
It should boot without a battery if connected to a power supply, at least that is my experience with Dells. My guess is that there may be something wrong with the internal PSU or potentially the power cord. The cheaper method would be to try a new power cord to it and see if that fixes it. If not, it could be an issue with the PSU, which in laptops are a royal PITA to fix.
If the PSU provides power to boot the notebook, but the notebook suddenly shuts off, it could be either the PSU or the motherboard. You can check that the PSU is functioning normally but simply measuring it's output with a multimeter. PSUs are actually pretty easy to fix for notebooks, considering they're external, and 95% of the time, the only problem they have is a bad connection (which doesn't appear to be occurring here).
The motherboard is a bit harder to diagnose. If you test the PSU and it's fine, you're going to need to dismantle the machine and breadboard it, removing every bit of hardware you don't need to have the machine boot. If it boots fine, then one of the pieces you removed is malfunctioning, but if it still doesn't work, you may indeed have a dead board.