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"New" Dell will not boot.........Post error

Posted on 2005-03-25
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Got a new (refurb) Dimension 8400. Seemed to have sporadic problems booting and would get stuck at POST.

The progress indicator for POST on start-up would just freeze with no error message. Could not hit F2 or any keys.

Rebooted again and this time received a message alerting that the system was halted and could not boot. That it had encountered an Ithr error and to contact Dell Support.

Of course I should have learned my lesson in helping others to not buy Dell even if it were a bargain.

So I tried putting the memory in reverse locations, tried one 512mb PC34200 memory stick instead of the 2, reflashed the Bios, still could not boot/get past post. A lot of times would just hear steady beeps.

Ideas?

Bad memory, Bad motherboard, Just a fool for buying a Dell I assume.

Have 1 year warranty but damn if you can get through to them on the phone. I have a small business helping others with PC's, recommending them, etc.. I should have stuck to my guns and followed the advice I give my 150 customers thus far--Never buy a Dell, never accept a Dell as a gift.

Only things in the unit are an SATA drive, 2 CD drives, modem, and Geforce 256mb card--all came with unit.


Thanks for any help,

Peter
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Question by:pacumming
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14 Comments
 
LVL 3

Accepted Solution

by:
SUSQ earned 2000 total points
ID: 13633339
The first thing I would do is listen to the beep codes.  They definetly arnt just for the sweet sound they make.  Here are the beep codes for your system:
1 Short beep - System is operating normally.
1 Long beep - Memory refresh circuitry has failed which indicates a problem with the motherboard. Try reseating the memory DIMM or SIMM modules. Make sure if you have added memory that it is rated at the correct speed for the system.
1 Long 2 Short beeps - The video adapter has failed, or the video memory is having a read/write failure. Try reseating the video card. If the video card is a PCI video card, try moving it to another slot.
1 Long 3 Short beeps - The system does not detect a monitor. Verify that the monitor cable is properly attached to the video card or the onboard video and to the monitor (if the monitor has a detachable cable). If possible, try another monitor on the system to verify that the video adapter is operating properly.
2 or 3 beeps - There is a problem with the system’s memory. Reseat the memory DIMM or SIMM modules.
4 beeps - This indicates a non-functional timer. This indicates a problem with the motherboard.
5 beeps - This indicates a CPU (Central Processing Unit or processor) failure. Try reseating the processor.
6 beeps - This indicates a keyboard controller failure. Try reseating the keyboard connector.
7 beeps - Another indication of a processor problem. Reseat the processor.
8 beeps - This indicates a video memory read/write failure. Reseat the video card (if any) and memory DIMM or SIMM modules.
9 or 10 beeps - This indicates a ROM (Read-Only Memory) checksum error or shutdown register failure. This indicates a defective BIOS chip(s). Reseat the BIOS chips.
11 beeps - Indicates an error in the cache memory. If the system has a Pentium class processor, reseat the processor. If the system has a cache memory module, try reseating it. These beep codes will vary depending on the system.

This is straight from Dell at:
http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/kb/en/document?dn=1011727

Thankfully they dont use a complicated system of many shorts and many longs so you should be able to differentiate.  Hope this helps!!!

Rich
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Author Comment

by:pacumming
ID: 13633377
Constant or no beeps. Memory came with the system. I mentioned already I swapped memory. Everything has been reseated including all cables. Reseated BIOS chip.

Still no boot past BIOS progress screen.

Think I may just take it to CompUSA and let them take a look even though under warranty.  Saw one post on Google with another person who had this problem but no resolution. I wrote them.

Thanks, Peter
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LVL 3

Assisted Solution

by:SUSQ
SUSQ earned 2000 total points
ID: 13633394
The only other thing I can think if its stable is start trying to boot it taking one component out at a time...  Start with the drives and work your way down to see if you can even get a post.  And of course clear the CMOS or leave the jumper for that in the mode which keeps it clear and turn it on it wont boot but you should at least see an image on the screen.
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Author Comment

by:pacumming
ID: 13633405
Good idea. Have system at a frends house who is playing with it.
Else I would shoot the damn thing. Now I know what rhymes with "Hell". I should have followed my own advice and never ventured into Dell waters.
Thanks so much
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:SUSQ
ID: 13633406
Just a thought... Try removing the battery and running off AC power at boot.  If there is a faulty battery it can often times lead to boot problems even if you have the ac adapted plugged in.  

Erik
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Author Comment

by:pacumming
ID: 13633411
It is  a Desktop.
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:SUSQ
ID: 13633420
There should still be a battery in there for the BIOS but removing the jumper does the same basic thing.

Rich
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:bman9111
ID: 13634195
disconnect the hard drive and cd and then try to reboot. See if u get past the dell screen with an error
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:Watzman
ID: 13634219

Sounds like a bad motherboard, I'd stop fooling around and just call Dell.  Contrary to what you say, Dell is pretty good as off-the-shelf factory systems go -- much better than HP, Compaq, Gateway, etc.  I do try to avoid the low-end models, however.
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:bman9111
ID: 13634257
my 2 cents which means nothing so please don't anyone get crazy over my opinion....
People get real defensive now a days....

I agree with u pacumming, I have serveral clients that had a dell and everytime it would break they would give a wrong explaination  to the problem. My most recent customer call them because the dell screen wouldn't go away so they took him to unhook the hard drive and try to connect it to the cd ide, he did that and then they said well the motherboard is bad and to buy a new one....I took a 1 minute to determine the hard drive was bad, replaced it and never had a problem since.  and these where top money products. I guess it is all in who had good experiences and those who had bad. With me and people I know they all been bad...............

did u try another hard drive??????
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:sciwriter
ID: 13634394
Dell's QC on MBs has gone to hell, I was a major service center for them in this area many years ago, I finally told them, forget it, your boards are basically defective when they leave the convict camps of mainland China.  They were real happy to hear this, but for many models we struggled with, it was true.  Send it back in warranty, now, and tell them you want an entire NEW system that is guaranteed to work, or your money back.  I would stick to that, if it were me.  No sympathy for Dell any more.
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:jjk16
ID: 13635077
   Dell refurbs have i believe, a 14 day return policy no questions asked and shipping  is free if you return them in exchange . I have bought many(more then 10). I have had problems with one. Got a better computer in exchange.  Also, compusa is a joke. Seems to me you have more smarts than all of em over there. Unless, your lucky enough to get the one guy there who knows something about computers and doesnt work there for the tshirt  and name tag that reads"im a tech" (same with best buy)

    Dell has ateast a 90 day warranty on all refurbs(sometimes onsite is free). Get something to drink, a comfortable chair and call dell's tech support and be prepared for thier "techs" to make you do everything they can possibly think to do to the computer before they finally authorize a return.
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:mysticaldan
ID: 13635825
Did u try changing the battery on the board?? Try to just have the RAM and the video card in and then try to boot up without any CDROM and Hard Disk attached. A fatal error can also come if some of the components on the baord are not initialising and that can include the hard disk or maybe even the video card for a bad memory. Did u try leaving the system at the POST screen. Sometimes if any component is not initialising then it will present you with an error message after sometime.


Ok maybe DELL sucks for quality now and reserves best quality for high end systems. Lets try and get u flying for now and if u cant just burn the plane errr board and get a replacement :-)

Dan
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Author Comment

by:pacumming
ID: 13636342
CompUSA said bad memory today. I did not have more memory to test. But to me it did not seem like bad memory as you have to use pairs in DDR2 per Compusa and the 4 slots ion the MOBO. Thus it would work sometimes with one memory module and not both. Strange considering the rule I was told is that the memory had to be in pairs.

Thanks, Peter
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