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HELP, booting problem

Posted on 1999-07-19
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
This is bizarre. When I try to boot up after my computer has been off for a day or two, I get a long beep followed by three short beeps and nothing shows up on the monitor at all. Re-booting/powering down and restarting are all ineffective until about a half-hour after I have left the power on (w/ nothing on the screen). It seems it needs to warm-up or something. Very odd. I can tell that it is not booting the OS by listening to the HD, and the fact that the keyboard does nothing(CTRL-Alt-Del does nothing). Only after about a half hour, what does seem to help is unplugging the case and then plugging it back in and booting up. (Approximately a half hour)
I have tried switching memory and video cards to no effect.
My system specs:
Retail Celeron 300A (not overclocked)
Abit BH6
128MB Micron RAM
INWIN A500 case
Maxtor 8.4 HD

Any help would be much appreciated as it is VERY annoying.
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Question by:saturnman
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22 Comments
 
LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:oldgreyguy
ID: 1159549
I have had a couple of systems like this (new power supplys even) and I had to replace the power supplies.

I guess the little guys inside with the matches and firewood were feeling poorly.

bill
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:oldgreyguy
ID: 1159550
I have had a couple of systems like this (new power supplys even) and I had to replace the power supplies.

I guess the little guys inside with the matches and firewood were feeling poorly.

bill
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:MATTCEI
ID: 1159551
I agree it sounds like the power supply.A voltmeter would confirm this in a few minutes,if you can beg/borrow/steal one.In lieu of that:

-See if your BIOS shows the power supply voltages.If so,go there as soon as it boots and see if they fluctuate.

-Blow a hair dryer into the power supply from the fan opening,when the system's cold,until the inside of the PS is good and warm - see if it now powers on,or at least takes less time to 'warm up'.


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Author Comment

by:saturnman
ID: 1159552
Hmmm. I might try that blowdrier idea...
Anyways, I do actually have a voltmeter. Do you guys know where exactly to measure?
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:oldgreyguy
ID: 1159553
having burned more things up than my wife would like, I (honestly) don't know much about the power supplies line out voltages, especially for the lines to the mainboard, the ones to the devices are, well now thats a thought, try unplugging the cd rom, floppy, anything except the mainboard, display and hard drive, see what it do?

bill

ps, would you use 3" or 4" duct tape for the hair dryer
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:gangajn
ID: 1159554
As suggested, pull the power cable from the CD-rom and measure the voltage between the black wire(any one) and the yellow wire.That should be 12 volts.Then measure between the black and the red wires, that should be 5 volts.
Remember to measure before pressing the ON button and AFTER pressing the button,so as to compare.
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:Gryphon031198
ID: 1159555
I have had this beeping problem from PC's with an AGP screen card.  You might consider reseating the card by taking it out, cleaning the connectors with a soft cloth and alcohol and then putting it back, but be sure to push the card in until it "clicks".  Because of the extra row of connectors, the actual slot is deeper than PCI and ISA, so you need to push it in harder.  Bad contacts can create ths kind of error.

Gryphon
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:mark2150
ID: 1159556
Long & three short is *VIDEO* controller fail. If it were a POWER SUPPLY failure you wouldn't get *ANY* beeps.

Video card is crapping out. May have IC loose in socket (only makes connect after system is warm.

Pull video card. Lay on flat, non-conductive surface. Push down on all socketed IC's with thumb to hear "crunch" as they reseat.

Clean edge connector with green side of dollar bill (ink will remove all oils, dust, etc but *NOT* gold.) Blow out connector to clear dust with "canned air" Reseat Video card fully and screw down. Reattach video cable and check that is fully seated.

M

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Author Comment

by:saturnman
ID: 1159557
Thanks for the advice everyone. I am gonna try playing with video cards and my voltmeter. I'll let ya know how it turns out.
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Author Comment

by:saturnman
ID: 1159558
OK, I spent a bunch of time trying to figure what is wrong.

The computer I am talking about here has a Abit BH6 Mboard and a Stealth II S220 4MB PCI vid card.

I have another comp(the "old system") made from my old parts(pentium 75, but plenty fast for who I am giving it away to). It has an older Cirrus Logic 1MB PCI vid card. This older card works fine in the old system, no problems. I put this old video card in my "new" system and I get the same beeps as before. This leads me to believe that something more is wrong with my "new" system. I am thinking mother board. Then, I placed my "new" video card into my old system and it didn't boot. This leads me to believe the "new" video card has something wrong. (I cleaned everything up, BTW) So I am guessing that I have both a bad video card and mother board. Kinda strange to say since I am using them to write this.

I checked the Power supply voltage and it was 12V for the yellow to black and 5V for the red to black so I think the power supply is ok.

Any new ideas?

Thanks again for all the help.
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:gangajn
ID: 1159559
If the old (1 M) video card does the same thing as the Stealth, that is , work after half of an hour, I would recommend to leave the video card out of consideration for the time being and concentrate on the PCI socket into which you plugged the card. Did you try another socket? If so, you have to consider the PCI Bus and controller on the motherboard. Take out the motherboard and use a magnifying glass to look for any loose solder---MAYBE EASIER to just try another motherboard.
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:MATTCEI
ID: 1159560
Don't give up on the power supply yet.
(By the way,I'm assuming this is an ATX supply - correct me if I'm wrong)
There are quite a few more voltages produced by it,all measurable at the main plug to the motherboard (just shove the point of the probe down in where the wire goes).One of these - PON - is not supposed to go 'ready' (+5V) until the others are up to spec.The motherboard won't start the boot process until it sees this signal,so mark2150's comment about not hearing any beeps if the PS is missing a voltage is usually true - except for:

-Instances where the motherboard ignores PON and one voltage is out.

-Instances where the 3.3V output is good enough to fool PON,but out-of-spec enough to cause problems.This could very well be your problem.This voltage is used by the I/O bus and if wrong can cause what you're seeing - I/O cards that work in one system but not in another.I've seen values as close as 3.25V cause this.The older AT power supplies didn't have this voltage (it was generated by the motherboard),but the ATXs supply it on pins 1 and 2 (if you're not sure which these are,just poke around all 4 corners of the plug).

-There's one more trick ATX supplies are prone to,but we'll get to that if the previous item doesn't pan out.
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Author Comment

by:saturnman
ID: 1159561
Ugh my system is getting worse I think. It took quite a while to get going. I tested the 1M video card with my system more and I can get it to boot up eventually, but windows won't load all the way. So I am lead to think it is Mboard or power. I looked at the Abit BH6 voltage in the bios and here is what it said:

Vcore: 2.08V
VIO: 3.32V
+12V: 11.61V
-5V: -5.09V
VIT: 1.50V
+5V: 5.16V
-12V: -11.76V

I tested the corners of the Mboard power connector as well.
ATX by-the-way.
I couldn't find any readings near 3.3V, I got:
8.5V, 6.5V, 1.7V, and (0V between top two corners, the upper right corner had a 1 next to it so I assume it is pin 1)

I guess I should reject mark2150's answer in light of recent developments, though I truely appreciate all the ideas.

thanks everyone
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Author Comment

by:saturnman
ID: 1159562
Oh, I tried switching to different PCI slots and had the same problems, btw.
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:MATTCEI
ID: 1159563
What were you using for ground? Should be one of the black wires.Remember - these measurements are only meaningful right after power-on after the system has been off for awhile.
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Author Comment

by:saturnman
ID: 1159564
whoops, you are right MATTCEI.
I was measuring incorrectly.
I got 3.3V at both pin 1 and 2 now.
I will measure again after it has been off a while and tell ya what I get tomorrow.

Thanks for the catch.
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LVL 12

Accepted Solution

by:
mark2150 earned 1600 total points
ID: 1159565
MATTCEI's comment "Instances where the motherboard ignores PON and one voltage is out."

IBM spec on powersupply includes failsafe shutdown in event of *any* of the voltages being out of spec. I've *NEVER* see a PS only lose *one* voltage and continue to run. This essentially CANNOT happen. If the -12 or +12 lines *dies*, then the PS folds up and quits. They'll also shut down due to low line, high line, etc.

Again, if you're hearing beeps, PS is OK. The one long, three short identifies as VIDEO FAIL.

You said "I placed my "new" video card into my old system and it didn't boot." - Guess what? Your "new" video card is jamming the bus or has memory failure. The problem moves with the new video card. It may be damaging the bus on the MB's because the new system stayed down!

*TOSS* that video card and get another. Test it in a different system and make sure that it works. Then try it in your OLD system and make sure that one comes up. *FINALLY* try it in a DIFFERENT SLOT in your new system.

My original answer, "Video fail" is correct.

M

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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:MATTCEI
ID: 1159566
Mark - I agree a totally absent voltage would probably keep the motherboard from trying to boot.What I'm referring to is a voltage out of spec enough to cause problems,but still there enough to make PON happy.

In any case,we'll see - I think.Saturnman - you still there?
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Author Comment

by:saturnman
ID: 1159567
Sorry for the slow response. My comp has been very dead for a couple days. Well, mark2150, you were correct. I bought a new TNT card and it worked great for a couple boots. Then, much to my horror, the machine refused to boot, but no beeps. So I tried the other two vid cards and had the same result, no beeps no, no nothing. I was ready to throw the towel in until I accidently nudged the celeron CPU. I got a response with a re-boot. I guess it had gotten a bit loose. I pulled it out and re-inserted it. I think that had thrown off my investigation before.

Works well now. Thanks everybody.
I also would like to give some points to MATTCEI, if you are interested.
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:MATTCEI
ID: 1159568
I didn't call it,saturnman,so I can't in all good conscience accept any points.Thanks anyway.The fact that you had already switched video cards is why I doubted that route,but...

Just out of curiosity (NOT being a poor loser,Mark) - does your old video card still not work? Or was it the CPU all along?
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:mark2150
ID: 1159569
The fact that he got beeps with no video says that the CPU was running for most of the exercise and the video card *was* bad. Also this is confirmed by the fact that when the video card was installed in another system, *that* system died too.

Thank you for all the lovely points!

Drop by the web page and say "Hi". www.cyberchute.com/rvbus/madmark

M

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Author Comment

by:saturnman
ID: 1159570
Good question, MATTCEI.
I checked my old 1MB video card in my new system and it still had the same problems that the Stealth had. Very odd. I tried the 1MB card in the old system and it still works just fine. I guess I must conclude that both of those vid cards have problems, the old machine is just tolerant of the 1MB card.

Just glad my comp works again with the fancy 16MB TNT.
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