Three Long Beeps/RAM Problem?

I recently switched some EDO RAM in one of my machines and installed it into another old PC.

When booting up the old PC I receive three long beeps. According to research this is likely to be a RAM problem. I have made sure the RAM is firmly inserted into the sockets, tried installing the RAM modules into other sockets (one stick at a time, 2x 8MB sticks) and have put the original RAM that was previously installed and working fine back into the machine and I still get three annoying long beeps.

Can anyone help?

Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?Commented:
Make and model of computer?

This is so we can confirm that the 3 beeps are memory errors for that computer.  It is fairly common though that they do mean memory error but no harm in checking.

And what happens if there is no memory in the sytem?  Any beeps?

Also blow out the memory chip sockets in case there is dust in them and generally clean the motherboard (vacuum or blower) of any dust that there may be around.  Also what environment was this computer used in?  If this was in a garage or workshop environment then the machine may be full of dust or grit in its components.

Also there is a good chance that a memory socket is damaged.  Look carefully into them and see if there are any burn or damaged parts.
Paul MacDonaldDirector, Information SystemsCommented:
If you put the original memory back in and you're getting the error, it's likely to be something else causing it.  Do double check to make sure you're putting the memory in the correct way (it's keyed, and should only go in in one direction).

Once that's done, pull out and push back in all expansion cards - especially your video card.  Double-check all your power connections by reseating the connections on the motherboard.

If it still won't boot, it's likely to be a CPU issue.  This is unlikely, because you'd have had to fry the CPU or motherboard while replacing the memory, but it's not impossible.
on ibm or AST Research BIOS(the only computer models to use 3 long beeps) its a keyboard error

ami bios 3 short beeps is memory

award doesnt have 3 long or short beeps in its error codes but anything other than 1 long 2 short  beeps indicates a ram problem

you could have damaged the socket inserting the ram, try the ram in a known good computer to test
Redefine Your Security with AI & Machine Learning

The implications of AI and machine learning in cyber security are massive and constantly growing, creating both efficiencies and new challenges across the board. Check out our on-demand webinar to learn more about how AI can help your organization!

richardgrayukAuthor Commented:
Okay, I have used one stick of the original RAM that works fine (tested in another computer) in all four RAM sockets and I am still getting the same problem.

Am I looking at a CPU or PSU problem?

I installed a PCI Slot Voodoo 3D Blaster Banshee Model: 6760 graphics card, could it be that this graphics card is somehow too advanced for the CPU (a Pentium Model SX968 90 MHz) and fried it?
put the computer back to the original configuration that it was last working in. then change 1 thing at a time till it works or doesnt, you should then pin point the problem
Paul MacDonaldDirector, Information SystemsCommented:
No, the video card won't fry the CPU, but it may have power requirements that exceed your power supply.  It's unlikely in this case - you're using a turn of the millennium-vintage computer, so any power supply over about 300 watts should be fine.  If you replaced the video card at the same time you replaced the memory, you might consider switching the old one back in, or try putting the new one in a different slot.

That the motherboard beeps at all is an indication it's getting logic power (+5vdc).  The only other requirement would be +12vdc for motors (hard drive, CD drive, etc).  Does the CPU fan spin?  It may be you don't even have a CPU fan on something this old.  In any case, if you have a spare power supply, you can certainly try swapping them out.  I'd put this at the bottom of the list though.

You mentioned the motherboard before, but - to be sure - it doesn't require RAM be installed in pairs, does it?  Even if it does, I presume you've filled the appropriate slots so that's probably not the problem.

You've verified all the other cards/connectors/etc are seated securely?  Do you get any other indications aside from the three POST beeps?  Do the front lights light?  Does the hard drive sound like it's spinning up?  Do fans spin?

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
richardgrayukAuthor Commented:
HI Paul,

I put another graphics card in (an old ISA slot Cirrus Logic) that used to work fine and received the same problem. However, in the original configuration there was one pair of modules (2x 16mb) and I was trying to boot with just one module. I will put the old pair back in and see what happens.
richardgrayukAuthor Commented:
I have got the machine working again. The problem was related to the RAM. The solution was that I had to install the RAM in pairs AND install them into two particular sockets (the other sockets may have become defective).

Many thanks to everyone for their input!
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.