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Troubleshootin a dead system

Posted on 2007-11-23
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Last Modified: 2011-10-03
I upgraded two of my computers lately.
Nearly everything is the same:

Both: Intel Core 2 Duo E4400 Allendale 2.0GHz
Both: Seagate Barracuda 7200 320GB SATA
Both:  2GB memory

System #1: External video adapter, GEForce 7300
System #1: Intel BOXDP965LTCK LGA 775 Intel P96 system board
System #2: MSI 945GM3-F system board

I had both working fine.  I recently installed some software and on the reboot, system #1 would not boot up.

So, I swapped the memory with the working system, #2.  It works fine.
I placed the processor in system #2, and it works fine.
I placed the external video in system #2 and it works fine.
So, I determined it must be the system board.  I sent off for a replacement rma, and have just installed it, and still experience the same symptoms!
I even tried the hard drive in the working computer and let it boot up to the XP splash screen before powering down.

I turn it on, and all fans run.  It also sounds like the hard drive is spinning up, lights look normal, but I never get a video signal, nor do I get any POST beeps from the internal speaker.

What could I be missing?  The only thing I have not tried, is the power supply from the working system, but it is getting power, obviously, so should I even bother?  
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Question by:shawngilbert
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by:tryokane
ID: 20339817
try waiting sometime and tapping on ur keyboard.. and seeing if ur cap locks lits on and off....then you'll know if it's just your graphics card acting up on you
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Mark earned 200 total points
ID: 20340082
The power supply could be the problem as one of the power rails may be gone. You can get power to some of the components, but perhaps not to all.
If the system makes no beeps then it has not even started the POST (power on self test) You have tested the components in another computer and replaced the MB so that leaves the power supply or the motherboard is  shorting out in the case.
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by:Mark
Mark earned 200 total points
ID: 20340089
If you suspect a short you can place the motherboard on cardboard and run it outside the case.
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by:shawngilbert
ID: 20340142
I have left it on for quite some time with no response.  I am certain it is not the monitor or keyboard as I am using the same on both systems.  

I do not suspect any sort of short.  
When I first installed it, I did not use any of the standouts, but now I have 3 of them in use, because the front side hangs just a bit, and no way to mount it from that side.
If the power supply could be it, I will try to replace it.  What do you mean by power rails though?  I have not heard that term before.

Thank you.
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by:Mark
Mark earned 200 total points
ID: 20340572
There are different voltages offered by the PSU namely 3.3v, 5v and 12v. Each are seperate and feed certain components of the motherboard these would be considered rails.
Here is some reading on the subject.
http://www.playtool.com/pages/psurailhistory/rails.html

Do not use the standoffs where there is no corresponding hole on the motherboard.
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by:shawngilbert
ID: 20341428
Okay, I tried power supply from the system 2 in system 1 and received the same results.
I then tried the power supply from system 1 in the system 2 and it came on fine.  So, the power supply is apparently not the problem.

I know have system 2 running alongside system1, so that I can use the sata power from system 1 to see the data on system 1's drive.  It all appears intact, so presumably the hard drive is okay too.

I am at a complete loss what to try next.  Everything individually seems to work in the other system.  What else can I try?
I would gladly offer 5000 points if someone could point out the problem.  I have been building systems for years and have never had this sort of problem before.
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by:Mark
Mark earned 200 total points
ID: 20341558
Down to the motherboard I'm afraid. Not unknown to have a second dead MB especially an RMA board. Its been questioned at times whether the manufacturers are sending out new or refurbished boards as RMA replacements. Looks like another RMA.
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by:shawngilbert
ID: 20341721
It was not an actual RMA exchange.
Because I did not have the box and because I wanted to get this thing fixed, I bought a new one and shipped this one back as a refund instead of an RMA.

I suppose I will have to go through each component once more.  I must be missing something.
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by:_
_ earned 100 total points
ID: 20341917
Things to try:
*Clear the CMOS with the system unplugged from the wall and the battery out
*Disconect the Power On button from the motherboard, and jump it with a small screwdriver (of something similar.
*Take off all addin cards and disable the onboard stuff that is not needed to boot the system.
*Everything but one stick of ram, cpu, and videocard.
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by:nobus
nobus earned 100 total points
ID: 20342216
while i'm not saying that it is the problem  >>  So, the power supply is apparently not the problem  <<   it is good to check the power you need here :  http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculator.jsp      
also check the mounting studs for the mobo, one may be shorting - you can test the board outside the case
and test with the minimum connected : no disk, no cd, only mobo + cpu + 1 ram stick, video card, PS  --> any display ? if no, swap video card, ram PS.
although not very likely, you may have received a bad mobo, DOA

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by:shawngilbert
ID: 20342913
I will try these last suggestions out.
Right now, I only have the one card - the PCI-E video.
The site recommends a 243W power supply, and I have a 400W.  I also have a 500w on order, as the working system is still running a 300 or 350.
Thank you for the extra suggestions.  I will post back soon.
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by:shawngilbert
ID: 20343082
The BIOS reset jumber has a 1-2 position as Normal, 2-3 as Configuration and No jumper as Recovery.
It really is not labeled which is 1, 2, or 3, but it was initially in the last two (from the front side looking in).

I disconnected all the other internal cabling and only have one stick of RAM installed, with the only internal card, the PCI-E video.
When I plug it in, it immediately powers on, though I can hold a screwdriver to the pins and get it to shut off after a few seconds.  But still no video.
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by:rid
rid earned 100 total points
ID: 20343161
Take the MB out of the case, place it on an insulating surface (paper, wood...), disconnect everything except video (including mouse, KB etc!), hook up power and a monitor.

Actually, unless you've tried it, you can start with disconnecting everything but monitor with the MB still in the case. I've known bad mice to prevent boot-up.
/RID
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by:nobus
ID: 20343172
is the video on board?  then you can try a PCI video card
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by:shawngilbert
ID: 20343196
I only have extra AGP video.  I was thinking of picking up a PCI video (temporarily) from Best Buy, but then again, if the PCI-E is working in the other system, it wouldn't be the video, would it?  I do not have onboard video with this system board.
I have only been testing with just the video.  I do not have keyboard, mouse, or even hard drive connected at this point.  
I will try it outside of the case now.
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by:nobus
nobus earned 100 total points
ID: 20343212
try without video card or ram - it should beep
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by:shawngilbert
ID: 20343229
Okay, I have the system board on a sheet of cardboard.
I only have the PCI-E installed, the CPU and CPU fan, no memory and the two power connectors.
I trip the power pins, and I get nothing.  No beeps, no video.

Should I start putting parts in this computer again to verify they are good?
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by:shawngilbert
ID: 20343230
Without video too?  Okay.  Trying that now.
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by:rid
rid earned 100 total points
ID: 20343243
Ehm, no memory? The only reaction then would be a series of beeps if the CPU is alive. Is the speaker hooked up (have to ask...)?
/RID
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by:shawngilbert
ID: 20343248
Still no beeps without the video.
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by:shawngilbert
ID: 20343250
There is an on board speaker on this system board.  I would love to hear some beeps, but nothing. :(
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by:shawngilbert
ID: 20343266
I am going to swap CPUs again.
I suppose it is looking more and more like another bad system board?
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by:shawngilbert
ID: 20343351
I am giving up and sendin this one back as DOA.  I believe rid has a good point in that I should at least be getting some sort of beeps upon power up with no memory installed.
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by:_
_ earned 100 total points
ID: 20344837
>> The BIOS reset jumper ...  really is not labeled which is 1, 2, or 3...

OK. That should be 1-2.  
Just so you will know next time, Some mobos don't have numbers, but if you look real close, you will see a small dot, a triangle, or it just might have an outline that is marked a little heavier, next to the #1 pin. That last one takes some practice to notice it.  : /
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by:nobus
ID: 20345033
if it does not beep without ram or video, AND the speaker is ok - you have a dead mobo or cpu.
You can conclude from here what is wrong, since you say that the cpu is fine on another board
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by:Mark
ID: 20345517
As mentioned in  earlier posts
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by:_
ID: 20348229
Thank you much.   : )
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