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Hardware Failure Advice

I was using my computer fine this morning, then went to turn it on again and:
- screen is blank
- hard drive light permanently on

I have two HDDs so tried switching the master / slave but no effect.

What could this be / should I do, please?
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lhutton
Asked:
lhutton
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3 Solutions
 
Ultimate_NescaFeCommented:
Hi!

First of all, try to run the PC with just one HDD (try each) with no <M/S chip inserted.

If this is not going to work, then try to reset the CMOS (check your MB manual, ussualy 2 pins located near the battery) an run the computer again.

If this is not going to work, then something has surely burned out. Just tell me when you finish with these and we can go on!

Hope this helps!
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lhuttonAuthor Commented:
Tried both HDDs individually, as you suggested: no change.
Tried each memory stick (2 identical) individually: no change.
Tried resetting CMOS: no change.

I'm tending to think the MB is at fault: what do you think?
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improveyourpcCommented:
lhutton,

Have you tried replacing the CMOS battery as it may be dead? Can you hear/see your CPU fan working?
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lhuttonAuthor Commented:
All fans are working. Would the CMOS battery be likely to die after less than a year? (I've had MB for 11 months).

When I've seen a CMOS battery die, I've still been able use the computer. In this case, I can't get anything on the screen.
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datarecoverymanCommented:
Are your hdds western digital ?
If so -  changing master / slave jumper settings on your hdd when trying to boot from a single hdd - remember that there is additional setting besides <master/slave>  - it's <single drive> setting (no jumpers)

Are your hdds in a stripe /raid mode?

Check for unusual noises/ power up noise from your hdd.
If the hdds are ok, - check the IDE cable ribbons.
It's possible your onboard Ide controller is gone - if motherboard replacement is out of question  you can get external PCI IDE controller such as the one from Promise or SIIG.  
Are we getting closer?

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datarecoverymanCommented:
Seems as if i missed your last comment - power up your computer as usuall, check for motherboard post sounds (BIP) - many of them signal problems this way.
Press numlock button on your keyboard, does it light up/down ?
If so, the problem could be graphic card or monitor

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lhuttonAuthor Commented:
Both are Maxtor. Have tried with no jumpers, as Ultimate_NescaFe suggested.

Not in stripe / raid mode.

No unusual noises. Cable ribbons look fine.

No MB post sounds. No keyboard access.

Graphics card fan still works and monitor still works; just nothing showing. The giveaway is with the disk light being permanently on, so looks like it has to be MB.
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datarecoverymanCommented:
last thing to try - remove the motherboard from the case, unplug /remove everything, leave only the essentials: motherboard/cpu+fan/vga/ram/monitor/keyboard.
The mb has to be connected only to the power supply and the power sw should be connected to the mb. Place the mb on antistatic foil and power up.
Just give it a last try before discarding the mb. Goodluck
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lhuttonAuthor Commented:
Will do, thanks. Fortunately, MB is still (just) under warranty.
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_Commented:
Is the Power Supply fan turning?
Do you have another PSU to test with?
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lhuttonAuthor Commented:
All fans are working.
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MarkDozierCommented:
the fans running do not mean you are getting voltage on the motherboard. Grab a P/S and hook it up and test. I would alomost bet it is the P/S. chedap and eaiser to test the P/S before you pull you system apart.
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nobusCommented:
try another video card, even a cheap pci one will do

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mugman21Commented:
lhutton,

When you tried each memory stick independantly, I assume you transplanted them to the correct slot.... I'm betting the power supply is bad and supplying incorrect voltages to the MB as suggested above.

I've never had a mother board just die out of no where..... MBs usually get a little flakey before giving out, at least that is my experiance.

Just because all fans are running means nothing too me. If my memory serves me correctly, on ATX boards the HD is twelve volt, the PCI, ISA,  cpu Heat sink fan (and all other fans) and the floppy drive are all 5 volt, and the processor and memory is 3.3 volts.

It is my opinion that the 3.3 volt lead from your power supply went out. Thus causing your processor not to execute its BIOS instructions. Even if the MB was bad, I see a 1 out of 5 chance it would prevent you from atleast seeing the bios splash screen.

I don't know who this guy is that keeps harping on the cmos battery in every question for the last week, but the system would still load with a bad battery. you would just lose some settings and your system time would reset on every boot up.

Mugman
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mugman21Commented:
One more thing, sometimes power supplies go out like light bulbs, they just suddenly pop and become worthless. MBs and other expansion cards pratically never do this...... after thinking about this for several more seconds, i'm will to bet just about anything it's the 3.3 v lead on the power supply. I'm sure of it!!!!!

Mugman
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nobusCommented:
Mugman spoke !
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lhuttonAuthor Commented:
Is there any way, perhaps using some device, I can check whether the P/S is at fault?
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Gaud-woCommented:
With a VU meter. The do-it-yourself technician always carries it (as do the pro's).
You can get one cheap at your local DIY shop.

I'd think you can check if there is -any- curerncy by hooking up some LEDs to the right pins, but you really need some accurate ratings...

Maybe a handy neighbour?
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_Commented:
There is also a ATX power supply tester you can get from a computer shop or electronics store. It plugs into the 20 pin connector. Might be worth looking into.
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MarkDozierCommented:
Antec Power Supply tester. $15.00 it can be found at Antec.com
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mugman21Commented:
I don't see the need for you to buy a $15 tester when power supplies usually cost only $30. If you took your power supply out, and went to your local electronics store, they would probably test it for free.

Stores like circut city, fry's, best buy, ect have repair techs working there usually and would have a tester avaliable, if they try to charge you, take your business elsewhere or complain to management and be persistant.

Mugman
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lhuttonAuthor Commented:
Managed to source another PSU to try and no change.

So, looks as though the problem must be with either the CPU or MB, having disconnected all unnecessary cards and CD-ROMs and played with the HDDs, FDD and RAM.
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rekkerCommented:
Seems like you've pretty much narrowed it down to the motherboard, since more chance of a bad mobo than cpu and a bad cpu would probably not light up the HD Led.

Rob
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mugman21Commented:
lhutton,

Well, I hate being wrong, but your symptoms are exactly as those that would be shown with a bad PS.

Question, when you turn off this computer, do you have to pull the plug out of the back of it, OR do you have to hold in the power button for about ten seconds????

If it's the later of the two where you hold the power button, that idicates that POST did indeed load into the upper 512 bytes of ram, and the CPU is functioning correctly because it is able to count to ten (the time your holding the power button).

Therefor, this would then signal a hardware problem. Did you do as recommended above, remove all expansion cards except a video card, and replace it with another one??? I once had a problem like this, the modem in the computer was the culprit. When I attempted to boot, POST was loaded into memory and began to do it's thing, then it would halt the system and the screen would remain blank. A bad expansion card could cause enough noice on the computer's BUS(es) to prevent the PCI(or ISA) bus from finishing it's "polling". Thus halting the POST program in it's tracks. Polling is a process on startup where bios sends a signal to every peice of hardware on the system, challenges them, makes them challege eachother, all in order to determine which peice of hardware is the master on the bus, and which peice of hardware gets, uhh, VIP usage of the BUS (VIP, best way I can explain it right now).

You removed everything right? The network card, sound card, modem, tv card, SCSI card, ect.. You tried a different video card as nobus recommended????

If you have done these things to no avail, and the point about holding the power button is true, then I believe it can only be the MB now.... Probably the controler chips, or something that was intergrated onto the board.....

Mugman

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lhuttonAuthor Commented:
I never tried holding the power button in; always had to turn off at back.

Yes, I removed everything. Am right now having system checked by someone more in the know than me before having MB sent back.

Thank you for your help here. Will let you all know how I get on...
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lhuttonAuthor Commented:
Well, it turns out it was the motherboard! I have everything running as normal again :) Thank you all again for the valuable help and suggestions: definitely appreciated!
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