Complete Failure to boot (even to the BIOS!) after thinkering with PC

Hi Guys,
First of all may I suggest to anyone out there reading this, NEVER try and fix your friends computer while having a few beers.

Here's what happened, The PC is a 700Mhz, 128Mb Ram, Dell Machine running Windows 98. It was having trouble recognising the CDRW Drive, in fact the drive was not opening at all. It was receiving power though. Apart from that the computer was working fine. After numerous attempts to update drivers etc. I decided to open up the computer and check the connections. No loose connections. So I decided to try connecting the CDRW to the second IDE connection on the ribbon cable. I then booted up the computer. Nothing happened. Not even a boot to the BIOS. The PC Powers up, no drive access spinning sounds and no beeps, the monitor goes into sleep because it's not receiving a signal and PC remains powered on, the only sound being the noise of the fan spinning. I switched connection on the CDRW back to it's original but the same thing happens. I checked all connections numerous times and still nothing, I then decided to take a break from it as I was not getting anywhere and could not see the wood from the trees at that stage anyway. ANY help will be greatly appreciated.

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Luc FrankenEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
Hi davemckenna,

>>First of all may I suggest to anyone out there reading this, NEVER try and fix your friends computer while having a few beers.
Normally that gives me the best ideas, but as you say.... I'll never do it again.

Now, for your problem:
Strip down your computer to the bare minimum. Disconnect all drives except for the first harddrive. Pull out all PCI Cards, only one stick of memmory. Try booting now.


Luc FrankenEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
If it doesn't boot then. Check all connections you have at that time, while fiddling with the IDE cable, something may have come loose. Reseat the processor, reseat the memmory.

If it does boot, try adding things until it stops booting, then you've found the troubling device.


p.s. I assume you're sober now ;-)

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davemckennaAuthor Commented:
Thanks LucF for quick reply, yes I am sober now nursing a sore head and a bruised ego!. My friends have now nick named me "Sergeant Sparks", I don't think they will let me near their computers for a long time to come!
I shall be trying out your suggestions tomorrow, hopefully I can report back then with some good news.

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Luc FrankenEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
Ok, let me know
Reseat the power connector to the motherboard....... also reseat the CPU....... you may have jarred either one of those.... if there is a problem with the CPU, the BIOS cannot execute.... so no POST.... nothing....

Try to reseat all interface card, video connector, drive connector, kB & mouse.... everything and try again.

Possible problem:
1) CPU zapped,
2) BIOS zapped,
3) Power connector or under voltage power supply.....
4) Could be a short from crooked interface card....

The probelm is much simpler I reckon. You reported that you had connected the "CDRW to the second IDE connection on the ribbon cable" to quote. OK, that's fine but to do so you need to do a number of other things. If you did them you didn't report it. So here goes. The jumper on the CDRW needs to be set to 'Master' and in the BIOS the Primary Slave first needs to be set so that it shows nothing because you removed the CDRW from first IDE. After that you need to set the Secondary Master in the BIOS to CDROM and autodetect. Save the BIOS settings and allow the pc to boot up.

Hope that helps.

ps Just in case you're not sure about the jumper on the CDRW it is the small black block at the back of the drive which connects two pins which are labelled 'Master'. The jumper should have been in the 'Slave' position originally if it was attached to IDE0.

Luc FrankenEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
patrickab, good thing to mention, but computers will post when the settings are wrong, and also => "I switched connection on the CDRW back to it's original but the same thing happens. " indicates to me that something else is wrong.
Agree with LucF, computer will post if settings are wrong.... It will even post with just CPU (you can't see a thing but it will beep for no video and no memory).    If computer will not post, it's CPU, MB, damaged BIOS (chip), low voltage power supply or crossed/shorted adapter board..

Also, a completely shot power supply or a bad video card will prevent a POST, and a disconnected cpu fan will allow a brief power on and then a shutdown.
Glen A.IT Project ManagerCommented:
I have to ask this -  When you opened up the PC to tinker, did you remember to unplug the power cord at the back, or switch it off at the back of the power supply?

Using the front panel switch on an ATX machine doesn't truly stop power to the system, and working on it in this state can fry components...  If that's the case, it is possible that some damage was done to your board during the work you did...
Luc FrankenEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
Glad to help ;-)

What did you find?
davemckennaAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the help. Only got a chance to have another look at it yesterday, first thing I saw was a black and blue cable caught behind the hard drive which is mounted vertically towards the front. Plugged it back in to the mother board beside the main power connection and hey presto!
Still not sure what the connection was though? Some sort of power connection I presume.

Thanks for the help. Never drinking and thinkering again!

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