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How to diagnose beep codes

This is a PC with Win XP Pro installed.  Multiple viruses were removed but still a fault remained so I wanted to do a repair install.  The PC was not booting off the CD, so as the CMOS chip has an AMIBIOS sticker on it I hit the DEL key during boot, but it kept going to XP.  I wanted to get to the BIOS to change the boot order.  So next time I started the PC I hit the DEL Key many many times.

Now there is no BIOS screen displayed when I start.  In fact nothing appears on the screen !  I do hear a beep, then a long (5 seconds) delay followed by two beeps then a single beep.  If I attach a POST card it displays 75.A2     If I attach a micro-POST it displays .85

I have disconnected the mains power and removed the BIOS battery for 12 hours, but the problem remains.  There are no markings on the mobo to identify the manufacturer.  When the PC was bootable I ran Belarc and it gave
BIOS: American Megatrends Inc. 062710 07/15/97

Suggestions appreciated.
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EugeneGardner
Asked:
EugeneGardner
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1 Solution
 
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
reseat memory and the video card
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EugeneGardnerAuthor Commented:
Memory reseated, video comes off mobo.  Problem persists.
The (Ultra-X) POST card now reads 73.85 and the micro-POST .85
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
.85 is a video problem..

got another video card to drop in that machine?
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EugeneGardnerAuthor Commented:
I did put a new video card in, but I am unable to get to the BIOS to tell it not to use the onboard port.  Same situation remains - with or without the separate video card.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
ok...focus on the memory,

if multiple modules.. use one at a time, swap in/out  on the board
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EugeneGardnerAuthor Commented:
Thanks for sticking with this.  Alas the memory seems good.  There are 2 modules and I tried booting with each individually in both slots.  Same problem.
I moved the memory to another PC and ran Memtest86 (only for 15 minutes) and no errors were displayed.

Can my hitting the DEL key (frequently) cause the CMOS to become messed up ?
After resetting to default settings (presumably as the BIOS battery was out for 12 hours) how come it will not boot from floppy or CD before trying the HDD ?  A hardware failure would be very coincidental.

If I can't boot from the floppy, presumably I can't flash the CMOS - even if I knew where to get the appropriate firmware.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
"Thanks for sticking with this."
No problem.. but I'm going to sleep soon..it is 12:30am in Hawaii and this will be my last post for the night..I'll be back 8 hours from now.

"Can my hitting the DEL key (frequently) cause the CMOS to become messed up ?"
unlikely.

Is that a Pentium II system?



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EugeneGardnerAuthor Commented:
1.67 gigahertz AMD Athlon XP

Currently 11:45am in England.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
one last thought for the night

remove all the data & power cables to the motherboard & drives
reseat the CPU

reboot your computer. post your results.
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burrcmCommented:
Change the keyboard - your repeated hits may have damaged it.

Chris B
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mwnnjCommented:
Hi EugeneGardner,
here are the ami bios beep codes:
http://www.bioscentral.com/beepcodes/amibeep.htm
http://www.esupport.com/techsupport/award/AMIBIOS-codes.pdf
as you mentioned that you can't locate the model of the motherboard;can you locate though the make of the motherboard and the chipset?

Cheers!
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EugeneGardnerAuthor Commented:
Thanks for replies.  irwinpks, I did take the cables out to test the PSU.

burrcm, when I said that I 'hit' the DEL key, I didn't mean to imply sufficient force to cause physical damage !  The same keyboard is attached (via a KVM switch) to another PC which is working fine.

mwnnj, Thanks for the pointers.  The bummer is that there are so many manufacturers who 'customize' the cosed, and I don't know which one I am dealing with.  Code 85 seems to indicate a soft error - whatever that means.

It seems to me that either the video is shot - in which case I need to either find a way of disabling the on-board video via jumpers - difficult without a manual or knowledge of the Manufacturer.  Or the CMOS is shagged (could this be a virus effect ?).   Both ways it looks like a new mobo !    Please, someone tell me I'm wrong.
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burrcmCommented:
You don't generally need to disable the onboard video if the mobo has an AGP slot - normally it will sort itself out.

Chris B
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
Look on the board for an FCC #..we can probably find it that way.
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EugeneGardnerAuthor Commented:
Video sure didn't work when I put a separate AGP card in.

If I told you there was no FCC# on the mobo, you may not believe me, so I have a couple of photos to prove it:
http://files.filefront.com/mobo_fccjpg/;5117325;;/fileinfo.html
http://files.filefront.com/mobo_alljpg/;5117322;;/fileinfo.html

The CMOS is the bottom right most component.  Is there any way to just replace this ?
A replacement mobo would probably only cost £30 though.  Any suggestions which to get ?  Must support SDRAM and AMD Athlon XP

Thanks
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
how about the REVERSE side of the board?  It's a bummer because it is mounted and I don't want to be a bother.  If there  is an actuall FCC #.. the you can query the following for a manufacturer (and then 1//2 the battle is over)
http://www.driverzone.com/search.htm

"The CMOS is the bottom right most component.  Is there any way to just replace this ? A replacement mobo would probably only cost £30 though.  Any suggestions which to get ?  Must support SDRAM and AMD Athlon XP"

It may just be easier to get a replacement motherboard.  Here's one on Ebay
http://cgi.ebay.com/ASRock-K7VM2-AMD-Athlon-XP-Duron-SDRAM-and-DDR-support_W0QQitemZ6887813204QQcategoryZ99238QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
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EugeneGardnerAuthor Commented:
I removed the mobo and after all that... there is less information on the underside than on the top !
I guess the manufacturer was not too proud of their creation.  Perhaps it is just part of a bulk shipment for an OEM.
Thanks for the link to the FCC number lookup, very useful for the future.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
"I guess the manufacturer was not too proud of their creation."
Ha!

"Perhaps it is just part of a bulk shipment for an OEM."
if it doesnt' have the FCC ID# on the board..especially silkscreen or etched, it is an overrun from the manufacturer.. An overrun is an item that is usually made by the employees or management in cahoots, producing product "after hours", where the crew sells the board dirt cheap, basically stealing from the company.  OEM will always identify their product for market through distribution in the United States
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EugeneGardnerAuthor Commented:
I have now replaced the mobo.  If I try to boot with no further changes I get a BSOD for .1 of a second then an auto reboot.  I reckon I need to lay down a new HAL.  A Windows repair install would do the trick nicely.  

The problem is that the original XP Pro SP1 (Retail) installation CD is lost.  I have a note of the product key, but it is no use as the only XP Pro SP1 CD I have is an OEM one with a different product key (which has already been used in another PC so can not be reused here).

I wonder if I could reuse the OEM product key so as to get to a bootable place which requires activation, then telephone MS and ask for forgiveness.

Is there an easier and/or legitimate way ?
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
no....that's the way.  As long as you have a legit CD KEY
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EugeneGardnerAuthor Commented:
Micro$oft would not allow activation using the previous installation CD.  I had to buy a new XP Pro CD and use that for a repair install.  

Having done that I ran into another problem: one of the two DDR RAM sticks was faulty.  It passed all of Memtest86 tests without problem, but errors continued until I ran the extended memory test in Utrra-X.  Having replaced the RAM all is now well.  That's the first time I have heard of Memtest86 failing to detect an error.

Thanks.
RC
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
"Micro$oft would not allow activation using the previous installation CD."

Really??? that's new news to me.

Bummer on the memtest...perhaps it's NOT invicible.
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EugeneGardnerAuthor Commented:
Perhaps irwinpks should get all the points for tenacity.  Not sure which post to attribute to the answer, of if a C grade is appropriate.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
Yay! poinks!  :-)

Well... a "C" is like we tried...and all efforts really sucked and led to some place in timbuktu
"B" is for valiant attempts, almost...almost almost..
"A" is for a right on answer.

You can actually close this yourself, just accept. :-)
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EugeneGardnerAuthor Commented:
Sure, I'm happy to provide closure.  Just not sure which post would be most helpful to anyone coming here later, and which grade is most appropriate.  The solution seemed to be replacing the mobo and a RAM stick.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
Think about it like this...

We poke and prod you here and there...and by doing so we isolate the problem.  Ultimately, it led up to the replacement of the motherboard.  Without us initiating the troubleshooting sequence, we (you) wouldn't know where to look, even though we didn't directly state to replace the mobo, it was indirectly implicable, and surely leading to that direction.

You could SPLIT POINTS (located above the comment box).  Then review comments that nudged you in the right direction. Minimum you can award an Expert is 20 points..but you can "accept" multiple comments per Expert in the SPLIT POINT feature.

I would say, the grade should at least be a "B"

Here's the EE guideline...
http://www.experts-exchange.com/help.jsp#hi73

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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
Cool.. thank you! :-)
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