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Need help with a sony pcv 90

Posted on 1998-06-11
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I had bought an Atlas 33.6 Kbps modem to install in my Sony PCV90 (200 Mhz) system.  In this computer, which I bought as an openbox item from circuit city last fall, there was the internal modem (28.8 DSVD PCI) which was software driven.  However, when I had purchased the computer, I found the software to install the modem was defective and thus, never got my modem to work.  Furthermore,  when I called the Sony computer tech support, they said I had to first register the computer, which could only be done using the modem, in order to receive warranty benefits.  However, as the modem could not function, I never could receive help of any kind from them.  Not so discontented with this situation, I decided just to take good care of the machine and it was of good use throughout the year.  Now, four days earlier, as I mentioned, I bought the Atlas 33.6 Kbps modem as advertised in Best Buy paper. Here is the exact procedure which i took to install it:
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Question by:fshakir
38 Comments
 
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by:mikecr
ID: 1019178
The cd is not going to do you much good if the computer doesn't boot up. I would reccommend removing one hardware item at a time, video card last, and trying to boot the computer to see if you accidentally shorted an item in the computer and now your having problems. Try this first and let me know what happens.

Thanks,
Mike
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Author Comment

by:fshakir
ID: 1019179
Mikecr, the video card, which is an ATI Rage 3D chip, is built into the motherboard.  But, my real question is how can all this be affected just by trying to put a modem in the computer?
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by:mikecr
ID: 1019180
The possibility is there that the modem that you put in may have been bad and caused a short to the system. Try removing the cards as I said and see if the computer will boot at all. If it doesn't then it may have hurt the bios or done some other damage. Let us know what happens.

Thanks,
Mike
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Expert Comment

by:rmarotta
ID: 1019181
fshakir,
Is there any activity at all?
Can you hear power supply or hard disk running?
Power, keyboard, or disk LEDs blinking?
Some things to check:
1) Be sure all cables are firmly attached. (Power cord, monitor, K/B, etc.)
2) Check the memory SIMMS to be sure they have not been misaligned or unseated during the work.
3) Also check that power supply plugs on the motherboard are firmly connected.
Regards,
Ralph

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Author Comment

by:fshakir
ID: 1019182
ralph,

Thank you for mentioning those checklists.  However, all those have been checked and doublechecked and put in firm. Memory is good and never touched, but it is aligned and seated.
Think of it like this:  the computer is turned on, it starts normally (the hard drive light flashes for a few seconds and so does the cdrom, the usual sounds also) but, rather than going anywhere, it stops at the Bios.. It can't even enter the BIOS setup.  Also, nothing shows up on the monitor...
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by:mikecr
ID: 1019183
Havc you tried pulling cards yet to see if it would come back to life?

Mike
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by:fshakir
ID: 1019184
yes i have, mikecr. Pretty wierd hardware problem here, huh?
I am trying to look for someone who has a sony pcv90 computer just like mine...
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Author Comment

by:fshakir
ID: 1019185
yes i have, mikecr. Pretty wierd hardware problem here, huh?
I am trying to look for someone who has a sony pcv90 computer just like mine...
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by:rmarotta
ID: 1019186
Exactly what do you mean when you say "....rather than going anywhere, it stops at the Bios"?
Do you see the videocard BIOS screen, or memory counting at bootup?
Ralph


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Expert Comment

by:cmcgee
ID: 1019187
I found some cool info on this system with reguards to the modem.
It does make mention of this modem requiring 2 COM PORTS..

http://modems.rosenet.net/pn/sony.html

However you will have to tackle your Hardware/BIOS issue before it will help you.

Good Luck..
Craig

Anyway
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Expert Comment

by:sullypa
ID: 1019188
1. Is the CMOS battery secure and healthy? Check the wires and socket.
2. Are all chips secure in their sockets? During your struggle to insert the new modem you might have loosened one.
3. Finally, you might want to pull the motherboard and check for a broken solder connection from the pushing and shoving
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by:jrbuck
ID: 1019189
To properly diagnose the problem you need to find someone with a POST card, this is a power on self test card.  This card has an LED readout which flashes numbers, which correspond to codes in a book that is included with the card.  You need to know who makes the bios to make this easier.  This procedure will save you hours of grief as you try to determine what is wrong.  Good Luck


Jeff
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Author Comment

by:fshakir
ID: 1019190
Right now, I don't know anyone with a POST card, but thanks for mentioning that.

As to the other experts, I removed all the cards and disconnected the storage drives.  However, it is doing the same thing, which is not showing anything on the monitor.  I had a feeling all this time, from the time I first saw this problem, that the BIOS chip is dead, since I cannot even use the keyboard or mouse and the BIOS output cannot be displayed on the monitor.  Knowing this, however, I have another problem.  I cannot locate the BIOS chip on my motherboard.  By the way, how much can I get a new BIOS chip for (a reliable one)?  If any of you have a SONY PCV90, please tell me where the bios chip is if you know.  For the last couple of days, I have been trying to tell SONY of my problem and it is on hold as I have to fax my receipt.  I am going to see what kind of reliable technical service Sony will give to me.  Let's hope I get what I need from them.
If you still have advice, please please tell me. Thanks for the continued support as experts.  
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by:rmarotta
ID: 1019191
Absolutely nothing on the monitor?  What indication do you have that it is working?
If keyboard and drive LEDs flash at startup, I would begin to suspect a monitor problem.
Double-check that one of the pins has not been bent or mis-aligned in the 15-pin connector of the monitor cable.
Ralph

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Author Comment

by:fshakir
ID: 1019192
I am pretty sure the monitor works because I connected it to my other computer.  It has to be the BIOS chip because, ever since the day that it happened, I never could enter the BIOS setup at all, although it responded by saying "Entering BIOS setup...." and never did even after a long time.  Now, it shows nothing on the monitor, my mouse and keyboard cannot be used anymore, and still doesn't get to boot.  But thanks, Ralph.

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by:747
ID: 1019193
1. Did you install any additional video cards?

2. If not, can you borrow a video card and install it in the Sony to verify that your onboard video is perhaps toast?

The Sony PCV-90 uses an AG-430HX motherboard which is built by Intel for OEMs.  If you install a video card in a PCI slot the BIOS is supposed to automatically disable the onboard video.
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by:rmarotta
ID: 1019194
Or, I think you can use a "plain-vanilla" (ISA-VGA) card to do the same thing.
Ralph

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by:747
ID: 1019195
FYI there has also been a BIOS update since the original release of this computer.  

I dont know if it will help your particular problem but it caused a problem on mine.  It always showed the COM ports as in use unless I removed them from Device Manager and let W95detect them again.  Even after that they would only work until next reboot.  I wouldnt recommend flashing the update.

I fixed the problem by converting it to a Linux machine.....
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by:fshakir
ID: 1019196
I think I might as well try putting a new video card in it for now and see if it works.  Right now, I am trying to get Sony to do something for me (I still have my warranty benefits) and they are verifying my warranty options.  They then said that they will go through a couple more troubleshooting options and then send a new motherboard (let's hope) with onsite technical service.  What I would like to know is how in the world can installing a PnP modem in a computer actually kill it??? My friends have suggested that it could be a defective modem. But for now, that is the only question I have: what could have caused it??  By the way 747, if you have a Sony PCV90, please tell me one thing:  Is it possible to boot up a computer which cannot bootup on its own with the Recovery CD-Rom??  As you probably know, my computer is an open-box item, meaning I got no CDs.... Just wondering...what is on that CD-ROM? Thanks..
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Expert Comment

by:rmarotta
ID: 1019197
The recovery CD is used for re-installing the software that originaly came with the computer.
It will not boot your computer by itself.
Even if the computer was operable. (CDROMs are not bootable....  Yet!)
You will need a floppy disk with system files on it when the hard drive won't boot the machine.
Ralph

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by:747
ID: 1019198
I never tried to boot up off of the CD.  It is much easier for me to boot into DOS from floppy, re-partition and re-install.  I do seem to recall my CD having a problem with a missing file though.  Answer:  Yes I do it a lot from floppy, but my video works.

In any case I would only re-install after upgrading the hard drive but it was much easier to clone the old drive, so that is what I did....
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by:ris
ID: 1019199
a couple of comments...CD-ROMs CAN be bootable, I have seen where it allows the CD-ROM drive to be checked for a boot-disk before the hard drive...I just haven't seen a CD-ROM that had an OS on it.

Now onto the real problem at hand.  If you can't see anything on your screen that sounds like a video problem to me, not a BIOS problem.  Also you may have something screwy with your OS on your hard drive which could be messing with you.  Some things I suspect may have happened:
1. when you tried to install the new modem, it did something screwy to your hardware configuration in your BIOS - you said it froze on that step so that is the most probable cause of the problem.
2. when you were installing the new card you really did bump something loose by accident which you have not yet found and fixed.  I think #1 is more likely, but it is worth another run-through of all the cards and cables in your PC making sure each is securely plugged in.

Some possible solutions and things to try.  I suggest restoring all installed cards and cables back to their configuration from before you tried to install the new modem.  This will ensure that you aren't causing more problems by taking more hardware out of the system.

1. boot off a boot disk.  This will tell you if the problem is involved with the OS on the hard drive.  If you can boot of the disk and get something on the screen then that probably means that your hard drive has some corrupted things on it.  What you need to do then is get the recovery CD from Sony, or just install windows yourself.  If you can get Sony to send you the recovery CD, though, then it should install the software for your old modem for you.  Hopefully this is not the route this problem will take you because it will mean the loss of everything on your hard drive.

2. install a known-good video card.  You mentioned that you have another PC, perhaps you can use the video card from that or borrow one from a friend who has one that is not built into the motherboard.  This will tell you if your video is dead.  You may have touched some circuitry with a static-charged hand while working in your computer and shorted your video card or port.

3. There is usually a way to reset the BIOS/CMOS chip.  You can try removing the BIOS/CMOS battery and rebooting - that might do it.  Or sometimes there is a jumper on the motherboard near the BIOS chip that you can set and have it reset the chip when you reboot (after rebooting you will want to set the jumper back though).  Even though you bought this "open box" did you at least get a manual with it?  That way you could at least have a diagram of the motherboard to help you find these things.

4. A longshot you can try is to see if you can disable the onboard modem with jumpers on the motherboard.  Look for the modem port and look around from there for a group of jumpers that deal with COM and IRQ settings - maybe compare that region of the motherboard with your other modem to see if the hardware looks similar (that will tell you if you found the right part - all modems seem to have this large coil of wire and/or a thing that looks like a speaker with too-large wholes in the cover.)

I hope some of this helps you with your problem.
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by:rmarotta
ID: 1019200
ris,
At this point, he can't get to BIOS, or see anything on the screen, so booting from a floppy probably won't do much.
I see that you are new at E-E, and you have presented some valuable information for fshakir.
Now I mean no offense, but it is generally accepted here to propose an answer only when it is THE solution to a problem.
Anything else dealing with possible solutions, or what we might suspect, should be submitted as a comment for the questioner to consider.
This avoids needless comments and confusion over what to do about incorrect answers.
I truly hope this helps to better inform you, not infuriate you! (It has happened before)
Regards,
Ralph

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Author Comment

by:fshakir
ID: 1019201
First of all, thank you very much for your thankful thoughts, ris.  To note, I have already tried all the above that you mentioned and more.  And many thanks to Ralph; I positively agree that comments should be the way to help.  

about my computer, after much talking to Sony, they finally agreed that Circuit City can repair it and bill Sony.  So, in a week, I will ask the experts who fixed it exactly what the cause was.  If you are interested please tell me.  By the way, I am returning the new modem because I have a new plan.  I am thinking about putting the old modem back in and getting the few files needed to get Windows to recognize it.  So, I would like to ask any of you who have a Sony PCV 90, especially 747, if you could transfer to me the directory that contains the modem installation files.  It should be under your Program Files directory.  This is because I do not have a recovery CD nor did I ever have a working copy of these files.  Please do me a favor by telling me if you have those files and i can contact you to get them.  

One final thing:  Thanks to all the experts here.  Please remember one thing: Although we are experts, not every problem has a solution attainable by humans.  Anyway, many thanks to all who helped and laboriously spent time for my problem.
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by:747
ID: 1019202
So sorry, I converted my Sony to a RedHat Linux box and the first thing I did with that modem when I bought the box was remove it.  I cannot help you with the files.  

I do recall talking to Sony one time and they told me to use a driver from a major manufacturer that was already on the W95 CD.  Sorry, I cant remember the brand name, but you can either e-mail Sony or call the tech support line.
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by:johncook
ID: 1019203
OK....
Just a couple of comments... and answers
Q: how could a PNP Modem cause this?
A: If the modem was good it could Not.

Q: How could this have happened?
A: By your own admission, "With much struggle and patience, my friend and I were finally able to get the modem in its place", the device was not a good fit and had to be 'forced' into place.
It seems to me the symtoms indicate that while inserting the modem into the system you either:

1. dislodged a chip component, or cable on the motherboard(try reseating the CPU and bios chips) also (try reseating the power and drive cable etc. as per rmarott).

2. Shorted out, or broke a connection and zapped The Motherboard(let us hope this is not the case).

I hope that reseating components on the motherboard will help, though your description of the events leading up to the failure tend to point more towards a processor(CPU) fault(if you are receiving no BIOS fault beep codes), or some other catastrophic failure.

Finally a ref. to your bios - you may have a flash bios. If you do, and it is zapped...the motherboard will need to make a trip to the repair facility to have a new one installed or the motherboard may need to be replaced.

If it is not zapped and you get to where you can boot from floppy you may be able to re-flash the bios.(I don't feel this is where we are at.)

We are dealing sight-unseen with your problem so it is possible there is some significant indication which would assist us in making a more reliable and concise recommendation.

You are Doing the right thing in dealing with the Manufacturer they can restore you much more readily than we can...but we may be able to help you figure out what happened.

Good luck,
John C. Cook
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by:747
ID: 1019204
I just remembered that the Sony PCV-90 does not give a beep to indicate the POST test completed successfully.  Either that or my speaker is not working in my Sony :P
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Author Comment

by:fshakir
ID: 1019205
Thanks Johncook for the helpful Q&A response.  I might have shorted out something, unfortunately, but I still have not received my computer from Circuit City..When I receive it, I will tell all what the problem was. However, I feel confident that I didn't short out anything nor dislodge any component.  But, we shall wait.  By the way 747, I believe it is your speak that doesn't work :) since it is suppose to beep after the POST command, UNLESS, you turned it off in your BIOS setup, which is most likely in your case. Thanks for your help, 747, and thanks to all the others who have offered undying assistance.
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by:SirCaleb
ID: 1019206
I'm anxious to see what the end result is...my suggestion would have been to disconnect as much as possible from the motherboard as possible, everything [except power of course :-)], and try a "dry" boot.  If your system didn't at least get to "invalid system disk," one of two things is/are the problem.  1) Bios chip damaged/lost information.  2)Motherboard/IC chip damaged.
I could be totally wrong but from my experience this would have to be the problem.  Last week I upgraded a friend's system and used his old IDE cable to connect the hard drive and when I turned on the power it was a "dead" machine...it had the exact same symptoms you have...but simply disconnecting the IDE hard drive cable allowed the system to boot...computers are strange :-)


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by:SirCaleb
ID: 1019207
I'm anxious to see what the end result is...my suggestion would have been to disconnect as much as possible from the motherboard as possible, everything [except power of course :-)], and try a "dry" boot.  If your system didn't at least get to "invalid system disk," one of two things is/are the problem.  1) Bios chip damaged/lost information.  2)Motherboard/IC chip damaged.
I could be totally wrong but from my experience this would have to be the problem.  Last week I upgraded a friend's system and used his old IDE cable to connect the hard drive and when I turned on the power it was a "dead" machine...it had the exact same symptoms you have...but simply disconnecting the IDE hard drive cable allowed the system to boot...computers are strange :-)


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Expert Comment

by:patedm
ID: 1019208
In future, find and buy your all your hardware from a reputable source.  Bargain shopping ultimately leads to an exhaustive amount of buggering around to make all the cheap stuff work.  Great price but did you really "save" anything?
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Expert Comment

by:Tinkerer
ID: 1019209
Okay, I'm lost...

Does the power supply power up? (does the fan at the back come on?)
does you power led come on?

If yes to the above then I would agree with "mikerc"
removed EVERYTHING attached to the mainborad and turn it on..
And I mean EVERYTHING, I knew a guy had a problem like that once
and it was a screw lodged behind the mainbord..
what happens? it should give SOME error, EVEN if the BIOS is shot..

If still no error, then it's something shorted on the mainboar or power supply.. Don't sweat it, I've got ahead of myself before to..

At that point, you may want to pull it all out of the case and track it down more.. (A power supply is only about 25$)

On another note, I was working with an older Acer system the other day, that did THE EXACT SAME THING when I removed it's propritary sound card.. Hmm.. And I mean the exact same, it may be it has to have the original modem, and if IT got shorted or in the proccess of removing it  finished the job of it not working.... Hmmm....

Let us know..
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by:davidbchen
ID: 1019210
Hmm, seeing that so many suggestions have been made and many seem to go beyond the fact that your bios is not even being loaded, I'm going to make my suggestion as quick as possible.

1.  Make sure that the jumper that disables the on board video card was not accidently set to disable.  (If one exists)
2.  Take out the cmos battery which will reset the bios to factory defaults.  If the bios has been damaged, this will require a bios recovery which you will need to go to Sony to have done.

Ok, that was my 2 cents on your problem.  Seeing that you already sent it in for repairs, I realize that my comments are rather pointless, but should anyone be suffering the same problems, they might want to consider what I said.

Have fun
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by:rmarotta
ID: 1019211
Any progress on this yet?
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Expert Comment

by:gosowski
ID: 1019212
Try not to get too frustrated with a dead PC.. From what you have mentioned.  Try to take out the memory and Re-seat the memory, if you have more than one memory chip,, try Re-arrange, thus switching the slots.  

If you get no video, No beeps, then your computer should go back under warranty.  Your problem then lies with the Memory, CPU, OR BIOS.  If the three above were working properly, you would some Errors Beeping,,even if the video was not functioning.

If you have no warranty,,, try substituting the memory first.
The BIOS is a version of an EPROM (programmed chip),, that is not the most popular thing to go first.
The CPU's on the other hand,,, have a history of overheating and of course dysfunctioning.  Many times this is directly related to the cooling fans that inevitably fail.
good luck,
Gary
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by:rmarotta
ID: 1019213
Gary,
Please see my comment dated Friday, June 26 1998 - 05:15PM PDT.
Regards,
Ralph

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Author Comment

by:fshakir
ID: 1019214
Thanks for your help, Gary... But my computer is already repaired.  As I said earlier, it was a dead motherboard and there's nothing more to be repaired.  Ralph, if you would kindly suggest an answer, I can award points to you for your dedication to helping me and other fellows in this course that inevitably happened.

Thanks

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rmarotta earned 100 total points
ID: 1019215
fshakir,
There is a lot of valuable troubleshooting information to be found in this thread.  Contributed by many experts........
I'm only "answering" this question so that it can be saved in the PAQ for others to benefit.
Best regards,
Ralph

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