Compaq Pressario 7474 never gets past POST

I've got an old Pressario that I'd like to get up and running again. But I'm facing a rather serious problem - I can't interact with it!

It's a Compaq Pressario 7474

It starts ok, but it never get past the POST check. I tried to reset the CMOS, so now it shows the logo and checks the memory but does not go any further. Actually it doesn't check all memory, it stops short with 8 Mb left, but I guess that's occupied by videoRam for the integrated videochip.

I've tried with a different PSU, different RAM, with and without diskdrives connected, but it doesn't help.

I can't get in contact with the bios either (tried F1, F10, INS, DEL and any other key I could think of) and upgrading BIOS i a bit difficult as I cant get it to boot at all, not even from a disk.
ellegaardAsked:
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
bad motherboard....contact Compaq for repair / replacement

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ellegaardAuthor Commented:
are you sure on this or is it just an educated guess? Cause in that case I'll just dump it, it's far too old to spend any money on.
smiffy13Commented:
Try creating a boot disk using knoppix: http://www.knopper.net/knoppix-info/index-en.html if it boots with that then at least you know if it's hardware or software.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
You mentioned the following..

- can't get past POST
- reset the CMOS yields the same problem
- you already changed out the RAM

Probably one last thing before you chuck the board, is download the latest BIOS for the mobo and flash it.  Look for the hardcore bootstrap method that doesn't require a display.  Only a working floppy.  If there is no such thing, then you're SOL.

Intel boards provide this feature in case of corrupt BIOS.

The only thing left is the cpu on the mobo...but since you do have a display then you can rule the CPU out.  Everything else is integrated.

maramomCommented:
>>I can't get in contact with the bios either (tried F1, F10, INS, DEL and any other key I could think of) are you sure your keyboard functions properly
ellegaardAuthor Commented:
Yes, I've tried two different. And it doesn't explain why it refuses to get past the POST
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
broken mobo.
tech_sup_execuCommented:
Try the following steps:

1) is the HDD detected in the BIOS??    

The Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) contains the code required to control the basic hardware associated with the computer, such as keyboards, display screens, disk drives, etc.. The BIOS is generally used for disabling or enabling devices or device functions. Changes in the BIOS affect the computer even before the operating system has a chance to recognize the device.

Pressing the F10 key on the keyboard after starting the computer can access the BIOS of early Compaq Presario desktops. The BIOS of the S3000 series, 6400 series, and later models of Presario desktops can be accessed by pressing the F1 key on the keyboard. Use the following instructions for entering the BIOS:


Press the Power button to start the computer.

When the red Compaq logo is displayed on the monitor, press the F10 or F1 key on the keyboard.

 

If prompted with a language selection screen, select the language and press Enter.
----------------------------------------------------

2)LOAD BIOS defaults by pressing F5

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3)Is the HDD is spinning???

A spinning hard drive emits sound
A spinning drive produces a whirring sound that is generally loud enough to be detected by the human ear, though you may have to listen very carefully to hear it. This sound is most noticeable as the drive first begins to spin, or when the power connector is first connected to the drive.

A spinning hard drive will feel warm
After spinning for several minutes a hard drive will produce a noticeable amount of warmth. To detect warmth in the hard drive follow these steps:



CAUTION: Electrostatic discharge (ESD) can damage the processor, disk drives, expansion boards, and other components. Wear a grounding wrist strap and attach it to a metal part of the system unit before handling components. If a wrist strap is not available, maintain contact with the system unit throughout any procedure requiring ESD protection.


Turn off the computer and unplug the power cable.

Remove the side panel of the computer case.

Use an ESD wrist strap and attach it to the metal frame of the computer. If you do not have an ESD wrist strap, keep one hand on the metal frame of the computer to provide electrical grounding.

Touch the top of the drive where the label is located. Do not touch the circuit board or any of its components.

A working hard drive should produce noticeable warmth.


If the hard drive fails to produce sound or fails to become warm when the computer has been powered on, unplug the power cord, unplug the power connector and connect the hard drive using a different 4 pin power connector. Plug the power cord back in and turn the PC on. Perform the steps again to see if the hard drive is spinning.

---------------------------------------------------

Verify the power connector is properly secured to the drive???


Before you begin
The LED light on the back of the Power Supply should light up immediately and remain lit when the PC is plugged in. Plug in the power and look at the power supply light. Use one of the following links to find the correct steps:

Power supply light does not turn on

Power supply light on or flashes

Power supply light does not turn on
Perform the following steps, in order, until power is restored or it is determined that there is a hardware failure:



NOTE: If the Power Supply fan spins when the PC is turned on but the light does not come on, it is possible the LED is defective. If this is the case, use the section Power supply light comes on .


Disconnect everything from the PC, including the power cord.

With the power cord disconnected, press the power button on the front of the PC.

Plug in the power cord and test to see if the PC can turn on. If not, continue using these steps.

Replace the power cord with another power cord, like the one used by the monitor.

Test to see if the PC can turn on. If not, continue using these steps.

With the power cord removed, flip the red voltage selector switch to the opposite position. Wait about five seconds, and then switch the red voltage selector switch back to its original location (115V for North America).

Performing this step ensures that the voltage switch is engaged and set correctly for your country/region.

Plug in the power cord and test to see if the PC can turn on. If not, continue using these steps.

Plug a lamp into the same outlet to see if the wall outlet has power. Try the PC in a different outlet in order to eliminate the outlet as a possible source of the issue. Test both to see if the wall outlets have power.

Remove all extension cords, power strips, surge protectors and any converters that remove ground. Plug the power cable directly to the wall outlet. Test for power. If this fixes the issue, find the device that is causing the issue and do not use it.

Use a vacuum cleaner to remove the build-up of dust from the power supply fan vent holes. Make sure that the PC is turned off and that the power cord is plugged into a grounded outlet. Only use the end of the vacuum hose near the outside of the fan entrance.


Plug in the power cord and test to see if the PC can turn on. If not, continue using these steps.

If all of the above steps have been tried and the power supply light remains off, replace the power supply.

Power supply light on or flashes
Perform the following steps, in order, until power is restored or it is determined that there is a hardware failure:



CAUTION: This product contains components that are easily damaged by ElectroStatic Discharge (ESD). To reduce the chance of ESD damage, work over a non-carpeted floor, use a static dissipative work surface (like a conductive foam pad), and wear an ESD wrist strap that is connected to a grounded surface, like the metal frame of a PC.


Disconnect everything from the PC, including the power cord.

With the power cord disconnected, press the power button on the front of the PC for five seconds.

Plug in the power cord and test to see if the PC can turn on. If not, continue using these steps.



NOTE: If the power supply fan makes an inconsistent grinding sound or stops and starts erratically, replace the power supply

With the power cord removed, flip the red voltage selector switch to the opposite position. Wait about five seconds, and then switch the red voltage selector switch back to its original location (115V for North America).


Plug in the power cord and test to see if the PC can turn on. If not, continue using these steps.

Plug a lamp into the same outlet to see if the wall outlet has power. Try the computer in a different outlet in order to eliminate the outlet as a possible source of the issue. Test both to see if the wall outlets have power.

Remove all extension cords, power strips, surge protectors and any converters that remove ground. Plug the power cable directly to the wall outlet. Test for power. If this fixes the issue, find the device that is causing the issue and do not use it.



NOTE: If you find the device that was causing the problem was a surge protector, resetting a breaker or fuse on the surge protector may fix the issue.

Remove all attached devices except for keyboard, mouse, and monitor.

Remove any internal component that was recently added, such as video card, memory, CD, DVD, and hard drives. An added device may take more power than the power supply is rated for. If the problem goes away when the component is removed, the only option is to upgrade the power supply to power supply with a higher wattage rating.

Check the power switch:

With the power cord disconnected, press the power button on the front of the PC. The button should release easily and not stick in the socket.

If the button sticks, it should be replaced or serviced.

If the power button does not stick and appears to be functioning, continue using these steps.

With the power cord disconnected, remove the case or side panel.

Follow the wires from the power button on the front of the PC to their connection on the motherboard.

Look at the power switch cables connected to the motherboard. If the cable has become disconnected, connect the power switch cable connector to the connector on the motherboard.


Replace the side panel, plug in the power cord and test to see if the PC can turn on. If not, continue using these steps.

Find the defective part:

With the power cord disconnected, remove the case or side panel.

Disconnect all power cable connectors from their connectors on the motherboard and from the back of internal devices (the back of drives). Make sure to label or remember where each cable connects for future reference.


Replace the side panel, plug in the power cord, and examine the light on the back of the power supply:

If the LED is on solid and is not flashing, the power supply is probably good and the problem is most likely caused by a defective component (processor, memory, PCI card) or a defective motherboard. Have the PC serviced, or remove the components and replace them, one at a time, to find and replace the defective component.

If the LED is still flashing (it should not flash with all connectors removed), plug the power cable into a different power outlet that is known to be good. If the LED still flashes, the power supply should be replaced.

If the LED light is now off, plug the power cable into a different power outlet that is known to be good. If the LED stays off, the power supply should be replaced.
------------------------------------------------------

4)If none of the above works try resetting the memory

Swap memory Stick / Try With one Slot at a time.
   
     
1. Remove all memory modules
2. Take one memory module and insert in Slot 1.
3. Reboot and check.
4. If that works, try the same memory module in Slot 2,to rule out that the motherboard is    causing the issue.
5. If it does not work, try other memory module in Slot 1 and repeat steps 3-4.

------------------------------------------

If you find either of these steps working then stop your troubleshooting there and service the defective component. I believe it's either with the HDD or the RAM the problem resides.    



 
















 




ellegaardAuthor Commented:
Hmm, seems like the usual standard error finding script you get from the support department...   ;-)

There's absolutely no contact to the BIOS and with my previous experience that rules out any problem with HD. With no HD drives at all, shouldn't it still present me with a BIOS?

Don't think that anything beside the ram part i usefull in this - sorry, but I've tried that one too.
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
-  With no HD drives at all, shouldn't it still present me with a BIOS?
No... the BIOS / motherboard is not 100% functioning..and if that were NOTE the case you will see your hardrives popup.

Hey ellegaard, thanks for accepting the answer but....."C"?  Even though it was not the answer you wanted to hear, it was the correct answer.  Could you kindly review the grading on the following link please?

"grade quickly and fairly"
http://www.experts-exchange.com/help.jsp#hi55

Also, if you agree then you can visit the following...
"can a grade be changed?"
http://www.experts-exchange.com/help.jsp#hi18

Thank you,

Irwin
ellegaardAuthor Commented:
Sorry, but it's seems like I'm not familiar with the way this grading works.

My reason for giving "C" was that it was of course the obvious answer and my reason for asking the question was to find out, if there was another solution.
 And when I asked for a confirmation from you, if you actually knew this was the only answer or just jumped to a fast conclusion, I got no answer other than the "broken mobo".

I still don't know what is wrong other than it isn't working, which hasn't brought me anymore knowledge than I had before I asked the question.
 
In http://www.experts-exchange.com/help.jsp#hi73 it says:
 "If you have given the Expert(s) ample time to respond to your clarification posts and you have responded to each of their posts providing requested information; or if the answers, after clarification, lack finality or do not completely address the issue presented, then a "C" grade is an option."

That's what I at the moment felt most fitting, but any arguments contradicting this is welcome. I'm willing to reconsider.
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
:-)

Well, first off, you didn't ask a question and just stated the facts.  Like finding a bullet ridden dead body of a married woman screwing around with some hunky guy, who's screaming in fear "DON'T SHOOT! I didn't mean to screw your wife!",  the husband is standing there with a loaded gun and the barrel is still smoking.

...and then I walk in and determine that the man holding the gun shot the woman and I know this because the gun's barrel is still smoking meaning that the weapon has recently fired, the hunky guy shouted "Don't Shoot" to the man, and of course the dead body.  There's motive and a most defining situation where the husband shot his wife.

back to the real story at hand... from experience..dead motherboard.  Can't really tell you exactly what is wrong, in fact, no one here will be able to unless you take an oscillosope to the board and tap into each of the integrated components....is that really going to happen?  No... if you send it to the manufacturer for repair, they might fix it....and then again, they may determine it is too much of a hassle and they chuck the board and give you a new one.

In addition, I provided a few items for you to do a last minute check to confirm the status of the board.  The other experts that added comments came no where close to my answer as their solutions pertained to working BIOS.

"And when I asked for a confirmation from you, if you actually knew this was the only answer or just jumped to a fast conclusion, I got no answer other than the "broken mobo"

On the contrary, i posted the following:
---------------------
- can't get past POST/- reset the CMOS yields the same problem/- you already changed out the RAM

Probably one last thing before you chuck the board, is download the latest BIOS for the mobo and flash it.  Look for the hardcore bootstrap method that doesn't require a display.  Only a working floppy.  If there is no such thing, then you're SOL. Intel boards provide this feature in case of corrupt BIOS. The only thing left is the cpu on the mobo...but since you do have a display then you can rule the CPU out.  Everything else is integrated.
---------------------

"I still don't know what is wrong other than it isn't working, which hasn't brought me anymore knowledge than I had before I asked the question."

:-)    ...again...

You were just looking for some soul to confirm your situation  but haven't realized it yet.  AND really, you did gain knowledge, the next time you get a Compaq Presario 7474 board that doesn't get past the post with the same problem you described in your statement, is a revelation that your motherboard is dead.

Here is the grading for an "A";
---------------------
A: The Expert(s) either provided you with a thorough answer or they provided you with a link to information that thoroughly answered your question. An "A" can also be given to any answer that you found informative or enlightening beyond the direct question that you asked.
---------------------

I'm sure you'll find this thorough explanation of a self-revelation enlightening
ellegaardAuthor Commented:
I stand corrected!

I had missed the explaining part, for that I humbly apologize.

I have to agree that you deserve the "A" rank - how do I contact the moderators for this?
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
No problem...I had a good chuckle writing my last post :-)

Here is the FAQ to changing the grade..
http://www.experts-exchange.com/help.jsp#hi18

Go to community support (support link on upper right corner of page)
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Community_Support/  (questions here are 0 points)

Put this in the title:
----------------
Please reopen question so that I can give a better grade to the accepted answer
----------------

Put this in the body:
----------------
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Desktops/Q_21734257.html#15950209
Thank you.
-----------------

When the moderator opens up the question (usually within a day)...just come back and re-grade.

Thank you!!

Irwin
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
awesome..

Thank you!
ellegaardAuthor Commented:
You're welcome  ;-)

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