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Dead startup with beep tones

Posted on 2006-06-12
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My father gave me his old PC which he could not boot up. He took his hard drive out and a repair shop transferred his data to CDs. When I turn it on it beeps once (regular), then two short beeps, then a high tone followed by a low tone. It has Award BIOS. The two short beeps indicate a video problem, I believe. I tried two other video cards (AGP) with exactly the same result. My monitor has a small floating message "no signal connected". I cannot get the On Screen Display to work either.
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Question by:isenberg
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by:SteveG00000
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Need to know the exact tones but from what you have said so far there could be two options

1long, 2 short Video adapter error Either video adapter is bad or is not seated properly.  Also, check to ensure the monitor cable is connected properly.

Repeating High/Low CPU Either the CPU is not seated properly or the CPU is damaged. May also be due to excess heat. Check the CPU fan or BIOS settings for proper fan speed.
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by:Callandor
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I would give a PCI video card a try, to see if it responds.  If it does, perhaps the AGP slot is faulty, but in any event, reset the BIOS and try it.
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by:isenberg
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to SteveG00000:
One long beep (normal length) then 2 short beeps, then a hightone beep, then a lowtone beep. Sounds to be an octave apart. It does not repeat. I have tried a new monitor cable and have replugged it several times on both ends.

to Callandor:
I was in error on my first entry. The replacement card I bought was a Diablotek ATI Rage XL / 8MB SDRAM / PCI / VGA / Video Card. It gave the same result. I borrowed another older card from a local merchant and it didn't work either.
I can't see the BIOS. I've tried pressing the Delete key to see if it would let me in. No dice.
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by:isenberg
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to Callandor:
Oh, I think I see what you mean. I'll pull the battery for overnight.
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by:BillDL
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Attach another monitor and test.  It could just be the actual connector that plugs into the graphics socket at the back of the PC which is faulty.

I know you have stated "I have tried a new monitor cable and have replugged it several times on both ends", but that sounds as though you were referring to the power supply cable rather than the actual signal cable. Signal cables are hard-wired into the monitor's case.

I think you have a combined problem, judging by the beep codes, and Steve has abviously caught the same page as I found for Award BIOS Beep Codes:
http://www.bioscentral.com/beepcodes/awardbeep.htm

It could be that the 2nd set of beeps is to do with the CPU overheating, and then being cut off before it can sound repeatedly.  Either that or attempts are being made by beings from another galaxy to send you a message.

If you have been messing with motherboard jumpers or mini switches, then you may have set the processor multiplier wrongly.

Don't you have a Motherboard Manual?  That might tell you the beep codes if extra ones have been added by the manufacturer, and would also show you default jumper settings if you have moved any.  In addition, it will tell you whether there are any particular PCI slots that should be used for the graphics card.  On some older computers, which slots are used can be important.
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by:isenberg
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to BillDL:
No manual, it was my dad's PC. Company was Quantex and they went TU. I could try another monitor but it will take me a few days. Signal cable is 15-pin male connector (3X5) and I've tried 2 of them.
If the graphics connector was faulty, I would have replaced it when I tried the 2 other boards. Still got same result.
Haven't touched the jumpers (yet). I'm going to pull the battery overnight & see what happens.
Smile about the aliens.
Would the CPU instantly overheat after being off for 3 days?
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by:Callandor
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Make sure the cpu fan is plugged into the cpu fan header on the motherboard.  Otherwise, it may think the fan is not working and shut down.
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by:Visual3DMaya
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i say don pull the battery as it mostly don have any effect, find a jumper that may "clear CMOS" and kiip it there just about 30 seconds.
Does the processor warm up?
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by:SteveG00000
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What make and model of PC is it, might give a better idea what it could be then.
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by:mjcoyne
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Several places I've seen say that 1 long beep followed by 2 short beeps indicates a video initalization error, while any other beep(s) indicate a RAM problem, so I'm not quite sure why all seem convinced this is a video problem -- the beep codes don't match.

What kind of computer is this?  What kind of video does it have (integrated and using shared system RAM, maybe)?
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by:isenberg
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Pentium II 350 MHz. It has two small (7.4) GB hard drives with Win98 SE. the master drive is the one originally installed and carries the OS. The other drive (slave) is my old one which I formatted before installing. Right now is has the original PCI video card installed. I can't tell what brand it is. I did try a new card in its place with same result.
It has either 256 or 384 MB RAM. I'll have to check. I made sure that the RAM chips were locked-in.
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by:SteveG00000
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OK, first of all, try disconnecting everything except the keyboard, Video card/Monitor, CPU & Memory, then turn it on and see what happens.
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by:BillDL
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mjcoyne:
>>> "I'm not quite sure why all seem convinced this is a video problem -- the beep codes don't match". <<<
They match this:
http://www.bioscentral.com/beepcodes/awardbeep.htm
http://www.amptron.com/html/bios.beepcodes.html

Video Adapter error AND cpu problem, one after the other.

The high and low beeps seem to be unique to Award and Phoenix, as you see no mention of this against Phoenix or AMI codes listed.  I'm not disagreeing with the possibility that there could be a RAM problem, but I can't find any listing for ONE single beep code that goes:  1 long - 2 short - 1 high - 1 low.  The only other mention of different frequency beeps is for Phoenix, and it only mentions one low pitched beep: http://www.bioscentral.com/beepcodes/phoenixbeep.htm
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mjcoyne earned 125 total points
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Okay, I see what you mean -- I guess I was confused by isenberg's description.  If you equate a "normal length" beep with a "long" beep, then I guess it fits the 1long, 2 short pattern.

So, if you've tried two PCI cards with the same result, it's likely this is a motherboard problem.  At this point I would disassemble the computer completely, including removing the motherboard from the case, and all components from the motherboard.  I would clean out everything with compressed air and perhaps an artist's paintbrush.  Remove all RAM and any add-in cards (network, sound, whatever), and blow out the slots they occupied with compressed air.  Make sure all motherboard stand-offs are in place (the motherboard shorting to the case could cause this type of problem; that's why you should include removal of the motherboard in your disassembly process), and carefully reassemble the rig.

I'm still unclear on what kind of CPU we're dealing with here; I know it's a Pentium III, but is it a SECC (CPU on a card, see example at http://www.intel.com/support/processors/procid/pix/secc_b.jpg) or a pin grid array (see an example at http://www.intel.com/support/processors/procid/pix/fcpga_t.jpg)?
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by:isenberg
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Okay, I'll break it down over the weekend. I'll take digital pictures inside the box so I can reassemble correctly. It is a P II, not P III. I'll verify the CPU type while I'm in there.
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by:BillDL
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Some very good suggestions offered, but without full details as asked for and promised by isenberg, none of us will really know if any of them might have been relevant to the problem and useful in solving it.

I suggest waiting a week and then deleting without refund.
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by:BillDL
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Hmmm.  I've reconsidered in view of isenberg's profile:

member since 1998.
Questions Asked 49
Questions Open 2
Questions Graded 42
Questions Deleted 5
Last 10 Grades Given A A A A A A A A A A

Only one forced accept out of the most recent 10 questions.

Perhaps delete and return points would be more appropriate.
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by:SteveG00000
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lmao, i'm getting used to this :-)
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by:isenberg
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I haven't got the box broken down yet. I'll make it a priority this weekend.
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by:isenberg
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No. go ahead and distribute points as you wish. I'm going to replace the mobo and start from scratch. thanks!
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