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PC will not post, can't get into bios, no video at all.

Some people here might remember that I've had some struggles with my wife's PC. She's had the PC for a little over a year and a half and we are on the 4th motherboard. Before we got this last one we also deduced that her PSU was probably the culprit so we not only got a new mobo, but a new case  and new PSU. Everything was running smoothly for about three weeks and then tonight her front USB ports died ( similar symptomns to her last 3 motherboards ) then all the usb ports died. I tried the usual steps of uninstalling the root hubs and USB controllers etc etc and nothing. I then thought of trying a windows repair and about halfway through the PC just crapped out...the video went out and when I rebooted the system powered up but all that happens is the lights on the dvd-rom and dvd-rw blink on and off. I opened up the case to make sure everything was seated properly and then tried to boot up again and got the same result. The only things that are the same as when we originally put it together are the CPU, Ram, video card and 2 hdd's 1 sata and 1 EIDE. My thoughts are that it's possibly the CPU, any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Het setup is as follows:

AMD 3700+ socket 754
1 GB ( 2x512 ) Corsair XMS Ram DDR400
Saphire ATI Radeon 9600 Pro AGP 8x
Gigabyte K8 Triton motherboard
Western Digital 250 GB sata hdd
Seagate 120 GB EIDE hdd
Aspire X-Navigator case w/500 PSU



Thanks
Casey
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logan510
Asked:
logan510
4 Solutions
 
maduropaCommented:
strange that it keeps happening.
If I'm correct you told that the PC was on a UPS,

since it keeps happening to her PC, is her PC the only one on the UPS, or also other PC's on that UPS. ?
Maybe one UPS-outlet is somehow faulty and giving power-surges?
You can keep repairing it, but if it keeps getting damaged,
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maramomCommented:
Hi Casey,

--Static Discharge
--Power Related--Surges/Spikes/Bad Wiring

It's not likely that your components would do this unless there is gross overheating, in which case, the cpu or video would show signs of this first.

Is the system plugged into a circuit with 'power spiking' appliances? (TV/Vacuum/Iron/Washer, etc...) The surge protector has limited capacity and surges/spikes can exceed it's limit. It may not necessarily be in the same outlet, but circuit which can spike right through the surge protector. Any lightning storms? If you are using a UPS, it would probably go first, however.

Static discharge...plugging/unplugging USB devices........can be enough to fry a port and damage the board.

Since all roads seem to lead to the USB ports, the static discharge is probably the culprit.

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logan510Author Commented:
Her PC wasn't on a UPS the first 2 times it happened. We got it for her after the 2nd motherboard died. Her's is the only PC on that particular UPS. I also have a UPS..the same model as hers and I have 3 PC's on it and have had no problems. Is there any chance you think it could be the CPU? We're just about at the point of getting her a new CPU ( socket 939 this time ) and possibly a new video card as well. I'd rather avoid that if possible...but we're going through mobo's like candy. Also..the first 2 mobos were when she lived with her folks, the last two have been since we've been married and she moved in with me.



Thanks
Casey
0
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logan510Author Commented:
Maramom,
  It seems so odd that she could fry 4 motherboards through the usb with esd. Our PC's are in the same room and we both use usb devices on a regular basis and I have never had this problem. I guess it's possible that she's some kind of electro-static freak ( no offense intended to her :), but it seems unlikely. I'm really at my witzend with this thing.




Casey
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scrathcyboyCommented:
There are times when you just have to get the "ghosts" out of the system by starting from scratch.
Start with a totally new system, new case, PS, MB, HDD, CPU and everything else.  If you do this, you cannot inherit any problems from the old system.  WIth time, you will find what was wrong with the old system.  This is the only way to fix problems that have been going on for this long.  Good luck!

But you want a guess?  The WD SATA drive is incompatible with the MB (they are incompatible with about 50% of MBs) and the Radeon video card is not compatible with the MB either.  10-to-1 that time prove me right on one or the other, or both.  As I said, Good Luck !!
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maduropaCommented:
Okay, recapitulate.
mobo nr 4, new PSU, new casing, added a UPS, but still no luck.
Like maramon suggests, take a look at static discharge, could be it.

Also, what USB-appliances were also there since the first motherboard. If one is as old, maybe it's best to unhook it, maybe internal circuits are wrong, and it's causing the errors.

It seems unlikely that a cpu would cause such blow-ups but until proven,
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logan510Author Commented:
I hope this isn't a silly question, but if either the WD sata hdd or video card were incompatible with the motherboard...wouldn't they just not work at all right from the get go?






Casey
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logan510Author Commented:
Maduropa- The usb devices she uses on a regular basis are her San Disk jump drive ( she's been using this since the systems was first built ) and she connects her Creative Nomad MP3 player to it and she also charges her bluetooth headset with usb as well. Is it really possible she's had a bum jump drive this whole time and it's been the casue of all this mess? I have the same exact model and have never had a problem with it...she also used to use it in class when she was in school and it never caused any of the lab PC's to fry. Weird stuff.






Casey
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maramomCommented:
>>Our PC's are in the same room and we both use usb devices on a regular basis and I have never had this problem
It sounds less likely, in that situation, but I wouldn't rule it out completely...it's been studied that women often carry more charge than men (at least when pumping gas resulting in combustion)

Maduropa may be more on target with the actual USB devices...do you interchange devices between systems, are any devices powered?
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logan510Author Commented:
maramom- We've swapped jump drives, but thats about it. None of her devices are powered as far as I can tell.





Casey
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maduropaCommented:
Is that the only device connected?

charging with USB, just curious, I've tried several times to recharge my cell-phone via USB, but it took forever, so I'm back to the normal power-plug. But I think a headset will have just a small powerpack.
But charging with USB, if I'm correct only 5 Volts come from the USB-port, with not much ampere's. How much power goes through the USB for charging it? Is there perhaps a driver in use that boosts the power for the main USB-Hub.
With the Hardware-console, you can see how many milli-amp's are in use by the USB-Hubs, how much power is consumed.
Did she have to install extra drivers for the charging or not. how much power-consumption is there with USB-charging, and without USB-charging.
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maramomCommented:
Puzzling...

Have you monitored the temps on her systems, when they worked(mb/cpu/video)? Although you'd expect erratic behavior before the board is fried, perhaps 'something' is overheating the boards. It could even be the hard drive.

Well, you can keep replacing components, but I think that scratcyboy has a good point in just getting an all new system.

I'm guessing that you're the type, however, that would like to know 'why' it's happening. If I had to point to a component, I'd really only be guessing,..the cpu would be first guess of what's left over, but seems so unlikeky...the only way to know is by testing..but then you risk frying out another board.
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maramomCommented:
aha, I missed the 'charging' clue....Has she done this with every system? If so, maduropa probably found your answer.
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nobusCommented:
my 2 cents : your PC's are on the UPS, but are the other devices connected on the ups too? printer, scanner, etc...
is there a good ground connection? measure it between ALL devices and PC's. Bad grounds are known to cause this kind of problems.
As for static, it is a possible cause, but then you should have felt it imho. (or your wife should wear underwear that generates static - some fabrics were known for this ) - If you suspect it as a possible cause, i would suggest an antistatic mat or carpet
if the AC is not stable, i would think that your power supply would have died several times by now.
if your problems start often with USB problems, then i would use a powered USB hub.
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PCBONEZCommented:
Hi logan510,
I remeber your last go-around with this....

There is something else all these systems have in common.
Those USB devices you plug in........

There's a possibility of an intermittent electrical fault...

There's also a possibility that if anything you plug in is some sort of storage device (hard drive, flash memory, MP3 player, any other device with memory) that there is a virus stored on that device.
(Possibly even a virus that damages the BIOS.)
Such a virus would lay dormant until that file was called. If it's something she doesn't open often..........
And your anti-virus program might miss it if the device isn't attached during scans or is not set to scan removable devices.

This idea may be a little off the wall but so are the problems you are having.....

PCBONEZ
.
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Sentinel8oCommented:
Are these usb ports ur plugging into intergrated onto the mobo or are they the front panel type? maybe miswiring when pluggin in the front panel to the motherboard. i dunno if that could cause a mobo to get fried but it would cause them to not work. But i think then they would have never worked in the first place..... but doesnt hurt to check
do u get any post code when u turn it on? single beep no beep?
u try running machine with least amount of hardware? one RAM one ide HD etc..?
u have no problem running these usb devices on another pc?

Gigabyte GA-K8NNXP ---> this is the model of motherboard correct?
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jimilicaCommented:
Hey Casey,

Try the folowing experiment:

You said you have tree computers in the same room pluged into your ups.
try giving her one of those and see what it happends.
This if she is satisfied with what you have to offer ;)
My opinion is that you have some electrical malfunctions in there so you could do a check in this mather to.
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bradbrittonCommented:
Get an el-cheapo circuit tester from Home Depot and see if there is actaully a ground on the line that the unit plugged into. I used to live in a pretty nice condo unit and had my pc's keep barfing out on me. I tried it all, then I found that the wiring was bad, so the UPS wasn't even helping. Worth a try?
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Intense_AngelCommented:
There is a lot posted here and I didn't read it all so forgive me if I repeat something.  Buy your wife a pad of paper and pen!!  Just kidding...I have seen this before a multiple times and it usually is something like everything that was said above....BUT....3 times and spaced apart through the years I have seen this same thing because of a bad case...yes a bad case and sometimes you find out that everything replaced was actually ok...depends.  But the cases sometimes cause bad behavior with electronics...I don't know what it is, bad ground, static, one of the computes I seen it on was all plastic, worked for awhile then crapped out like yours...so anyway, cases are cheap try one out...stranger things have happened.
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PCBONEZCommented:
Intense_Angel
This go-around he replaced the case and PSU.
It's in the initial post by the asker.
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J_RinehartCommented:
The bad USB device is what I lean toward after ruling out the power supply.  Also make sure that no stray contacts are coming in contact with the mobo (look at how its mounted to case).  A loose screw under the mobo could be shorting out the system.  But see how long you can run without any of the old usb devices and add them 1 at a time and run each a week or so.  Eventually you may find the culprit, but that may cost you another mobo.

I was just told by a co-worker that their wife has to use a grounding strap near a computer.  She is a static machine and has toasted a pc before due to static charges.
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aindiscuteCommented:
When you go to Home Depot to get something to check your line, make sure its one that looks like a  regular three prong pluc on one side and three lights on the backside.  This will tell you if the plug was wired properly and if its grounded.  Are all the computers plugged into the same circuit?  You can be creating surges by turning on computers or blenders within the wiring attached to one circuit breaker.  Surge protectors are better for lightning strikes than for toasters going on.

An anti-static mat for under the chair might be a good idea.  Staples has those.
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willcompCommented:
First, lets see if mobo or some other critical component is actually fried.  Remove mobo from case and place on cardboard or anti-static foam (I use foam that comes with mobos).  You want only CPU, RAM, and video card installed.  Remove PSU from case and connect to mobo.  Use a jumper or small screwdriver across front panel connector power pins to start system.  Let us know if it does or doesn't boot with minimal configuration.  Also try different RAM and video if you can.

This has occurred at wife's parents home and yours too it appears. Also with and without UPS.  Believe electrical supply glitches can reasonably be ruled out unless PC was in same building when all the failures occurred.

A faulty USB device would probably blow the port when connected for the first time.

Assume that front USB ports work for awhile and then fail.  That would rule out mis-wired front USB connector.

Generally, if someone is "static prone" they would know.  Touching case would create an arc.  The part of USB connectors/devices that one holds to connect is normally non-conductive.  See if that's the case for your devices.

Given your problems, I would change cases and try a powered USB hub.
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PCBONEZCommented:
~~ Experts ~~ This one is not so easy as the posts I see here...

You really need to read this history on this one before you post:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Q_21783647.html

Static and power quality issues have already been addressed several times.
The motherboard, case, CPU, and PSU HAVE been replaced.
This is the 4th different mainboard to fail with the same symptoms.

logan510 (joking here)
One other thing in common is your wife.
Have you had her checked to see if she's radioactive and corrupting BIOS codes?
Excessive psychic energy fields???
Perhaps she's finding ways to keep you home at night. ???

Seriously:
Is there perhaps a transformer or a power box on the other side of the wall from this PC?
Are there any near by transmitters?
Are you near an airport?
.










.
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willcompCommented:
Haven't seen anything that tells me the case was actually replaced unless I missed something.

Logan510, was case replaced or are you still using same case?
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PCBONEZCommented:
It's in the third sentance in the actual question.
"so we not only got a new mobo, but a new case  and new PSU"
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willcompCommented:
Oops.  Caught the power supply and overlooked case.  Eyes are as old as I am.
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maduropaCommented:
Hey Logan,

seems it's a hot question you've asked.
I've done some more research regarding the charging via USB.
I achieved on two computers the maximum charge of 500 mA for charging my cell-phone.
One computer with drivers for the phone, one without, so there's no difference in it.
But, on one PC I had also the mouse connected to the same usb-hub, so it gave a total charge of 568 mA out (500 for the phone, and 68 for the mouse)
I mean the USB-Hubs on the motherboard itself, no external connected USB-HUB's.

still, try to check out how much power the headset pulls out from the PC, and if other USB-powered devices were connected to that same on-board USB-Hub.
I'll try to find out how much it can generate at max,
If you had multiple "high-powered" devices on that USB-hub, it just might have been to much.
I'll check later today how the power-consumption will be if an external USB-Hub is used,

hope we'll finally get the cause, and the solution.
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PCBONEZCommented:
The specification for USB is 5 volts and a max of 0.5 amps (500 milliamps) per port.
Some laptops limit the current even more.
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maramomCommented:
I'm with maduropa on this one. The issue from the very beginning appeared to relate to power. Replacing the power supply and adding a UPS didn't solve it. Replacing the case didn't solve the problem either. You are left with a few common components. The cpu and ram are unlikely candidates (but not impossible). The link seems to be USB ports, as you've described it. ESD could be an issue, but since your system is in the same room, and the same happened at another location, and your wife is not blowing out motherboards at work (but, perhaps she's not connecting USB devices at work), the real connection must be the devices used in the ports. Since charging the Bluetooth headset is pulling power from the machine, it may be overworking the system, or even sending some charge back. Did your wife happen to charge the headset shortly before the failures?
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PCBONEZCommented:
Still going with USB.. Power or maybe not..

Overloading the USB would normally only kill the USB function and not the entire motherboard.

Per my previous suggestion, perhaps one of the USB storage devices has a virus hidding away in there.
The devices at work have a different anti-virus software.... don't they?
A virus can attack the BIOS.
.
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PCBONEZCommented:
Also EMI. ~ The same room doesn't matter much.
EMI can be different 2 feet away.

I've worked on ships where we had problems with radars screwing up computers.
(Usually just the monitor but the occational CPU would 'eat it' too.)
It was common for it to affect one monitor but not another of the same monitor on the desk right next to it.

The simple reason was location.
Different structures inbetween the EMI source and the computer equipment and the way EMI can bounce.
It doesn't take much distance for the EMI to be different.

This is why I asked if there a transformer on the other side of the wall from your wifes desk. (over?, under?)
Is there an electric stove, oven, microwave on the other side of the wall.
A big motor? (Pool pump, AC unit, fan.) High voltage wires near by? Does anyone near you arc weld?
A radio or microwave transmitter near by? (A building or a wall could sheild your PC and not her's.)
.
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maramomCommented:
>>A virus can attack the BIOS.
True... but clearing CMOS or reflashing should clear any viral instructions. (Unless it's an extremely rare virus that can burn it's instructions within CMOS..not impossible)
Have you tried clearing CMOS? Reflashing is not likely a possibility if the board is dead. Also try leaving the battery out overnight.

As far as the bluetooth, it can actually be sending voltage through the system, which can blow out the board.
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PCBONEZCommented:
maramom
If you'd read my previous post you'd see I'm talking about a virus stored dormant on a USB storage device.
It's only goin to kick in when the file is opened and if the device isn't connected (or selected) during virus scans it would be missed and live to damage again.
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PCBONEZCommented:
One example might be a virus attached to an MP3 (any music) file that she only listens to occationally and not when she's at work.
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maramomCommented:
Right, PCBONEZ, I wasn't arguing your case, in fact, I thought I was reinforcing the possibility of a 'not impossible virus'. I believe it's more likely to be the power in the device, but I would never rule out a virus without it being extensively checked.
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maramomCommented:
..and if clearing CMOS fixes the problem, it more clearly points to a virus than an issue of power.
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logan510Author Commented:
I appreciate all the advice and suggestions given by everyone, thanks. This really is a head scratcher, my boss at work ( Network Administrator ) says he's never heard of anything quite like this, same for quite a few other techs I've consulted with. In the end...since it's my wife's PC and it's her decision...we ended up replacing the motherboard ( 5th time's the charm, right? ) and getting her a powered USB hub. I also bought one of those outlet testers and everything is in the green as far as that goes. We'll see how things go with this over the next few weeks, I suppose if it crashes again it won't be too hard to convince her we should just replace everything. I'm going to split the points appropiately.



Thanks again
Casey
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logan510Author Commented:
BTW, I did virus scan her jump drive and I did try clearing the CMOS this last time. Also as far as I can tell her wall is opposite nothing. If anyone would be at risk it's me as my setup is against a wall where there's a TV on the other side of it.





Casey
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PCBONEZCommented:
In addition to the hub I suggest you scan (if possible) or reformat any USB storage devices you have. If you need to save files save them to a PC with an adavanced and updated anti-virus program and scan them after the save.

If it goes fooey again I'd like to know.
My email addy is at the bottom of my profile page.
(Putting it in a post here is against the rules.)
.
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maduropaCommented:
Let's hope everything stays cool now with the next motherboard.

When everything is up and running again, keep an eye on the power distributed by the USB to the bluetooth-charging-device. This is visible in the hardware-device manager.
maybe use the extra devices only one by one.
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nobusCommented:
i still suggest to have a tech check the AC and grounding.
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logan510Author Commented:
Well, it's been almost a month and so far so good with the latest motherboard. Everything seems to be running well and there's been not so much as a hiccup. Thanks to everyone who posted in this thread, there was some very good advice and suggestions and it's all very appreciated.




Casey
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