How to troubleshoot motherboards with multimeter

I need to know how to use a multimeter to test faulty motherboards.  I am a bit new to this.  I have visited lots of websites that give some very vague examples but I really need more specific instructions.

Based on experience, can you recommend resources such as websites or books? Again, I am looking for information specifically for troubleshooting laptops and desktops with a multimeter.
LVL 16
Who is Participating?
Dr. KlahnConnect With a Mentor Principal Software EngineerCommented:
There is not much practical troubleshooting of a motherboard with a multimeter, outside of checking the power supply connector to see if the voltages are correct.  In fact, if some CMOS components are probed with the multimeter in resistance mode, the voltage the multimeter puts across the component may damage or destroy them.

I recommend a POST 4 PCI card to test motherboard functionality.  They are available on ebay for a few dollars (see below).  If the motherboard is working at all, the POST card will report how far it is getting into the self-test, and where the failure is occurring.

If the motherboard won't display to a POST card ... well, imho, there is not much "fixability" to a motherboard outside of sending it to the manufacturer's service center or factory.  Even if the defective component can be found, it frequently can't be purchased as a one-off part, the faulty component can't be removed without SMD desoldering equipment, and the replacement can't be installed without SMD soldering equipment.

nobusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
as said, a multimeter is not practical; the only thing you can see is that the different voltages are there : 3.3, 5 and 12 V and you can measure the derived voltages on the on board voltage regulators.
 personally i never used postcards.
the only sure way  for troubleshooting is booting them with different, KNOWN GOOD  parts
you can use my guide  -always helpful !
CallandorConnect With a Mentor Commented:
A multimeter will not tell you anything about bad capacitors, which are among the most common causes of motherboard failures - for those, you need an ESR meter.  Bad capacitors can also afflict power supplies, so learn what you can about recognizing the symptoms:
rbudjAuthor Commented:
thanks for the info guys.  Very thankful.
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.