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Bill Dog's Journal: Borken PC, Part III - The Good News and the Bad News 6

Journal by Bill Dog

Last night I tried a couple of things I wanted to try before buying a new PSU:
1) Unplugging the power button connector and doing the screwdriver test, to rule out a bad front-panel switch. No difference.
2) Followed the MB manual's procedure for clearing the CMOS data. Well, I think. It said to unplug the power, but it wasn't clear if they meant cord and PSU socket, or cable and MB socket. I did both, moved the little bridging dohickey for > 5 sec, moved it back, and voila! PSU stays on!

So I reconnected everything, and everything spun up, but the PC didn't do anything, just sat there. MB manual's troubleshooting section, first item was "if no beep, your cpu and mobo aren't working together". OK, so pull the "cpu+heatsink+fan on a card" contraption out and put it back in. (BTW, I'm doing all this with the 3-prong power cable plugged in and touching the metal case often.) This time it seems to go in farther. The flexing of the mobo and some creaking/cracking sounds make me nervous. Power on again, and I get a single beep! And I see and hear it hit the CD drive and floppy drive, as part of the normal startup procedure. Awesome, except one minor little thing -- I have absolutely no video. And nothing in the manual about that.

And unfortunately this morning before work I tried clearing the CMOS again. Maybe I nudged the CPU card trying to pull the mobo power connector out, because now I'm back to the damn PSU shutting off 2 seconds after starting up!

I'm really just about ready to go Office Space on that machine -- it's effectively giving me the "PC LOAD LETTER" and the finger, and I want to smash it to bits. I don't know how some of you guys do this as part of your jobs. I definitely don't have the temperament for it. Nor the manual dexterity, nor the years of experience to know what to do and what not to be fooled by. I am *so* in way over my head here. For yucks (not really) I went to the Geek Squad web site, to see how much for diagnostic and repair, but it's $200 to bring it in, and then it only talks about OS issues and malware removal. This is for grandma, and her virus-infested Windows 98 machine, not me.

Okay, so before blowing a fuse, any idea how to get the video to display? (The monitor and cable are less than 6 months old.) Assuming the stars magically align once again and I can get it back to staying running again -- I guess I'll try reseating the damn CPU assembly again. The (PCI, and very early, initial GeForce model) video card got put back in the same slot it came out of, for sure. I have an old ATI ISA video card from my 90 MHz Win95 machine that I could try instead, if someone thinks maybe I somehow blew my video card. This mobo does not have any on-board video.

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Borken PC, Part III - The Good News and the Bad News

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  • But it sounds like your mobo is possibly okay. Your video card may be the cause of this, but finding an original PCI video card in this day and age could be a trick... even AGP is getting harder to come by. Pretty much everything is PCI-E now.

    The good news is if you can find a PCI video card, it can probably be had for cheap... 20 bucks, tops, maybe? If you know anyone who builds and rebuilds their system, they probably have one lying around they'll give you. Say, you don't live anywhere near Phoenix, d

  • I can't remember if I've seen one of those. ISA bus, sure, but slots? Can you post the make and model of the board? BTW, it sounds like the PSU is okay. But I have no idea if it's failing under any kind of load. Sounds more and more like a false or intermittent contacts on the cards(specifically the CPU card) in their slots. Those kind of problems will drive anybody nuts. If flexing the board lifted or broke any traces, the mainboard is hosed, unless you got good eyes and a steady hand and can re-solder it.

    • by Bill Dog (726542)

      I don't have the mobo manual with me today, but I think it's this [soyo.com] one. 5 PCI slots, 2 ISA slots (one a shared ISA/PCI one -- I have an ISA card, I think the Ethernet card (cheap POS the cable company gave me), in there and I remember it not taking up the whole row), and 1 ancient AGP one. Hmm, the video card must be AGP, didn't think so, but it must be, as I put that back into a slot that was the only one of its kind. It must've been my Win95 machine that had a single PCI slot and a PCI video card (I eschew

      • by iminplaya (723125)

        AGP video cards are extremely sensitive. I had to remove mine out of my old PIII machine at least 2 or 3 times a year to clean the corrosion off the contacts. And you risk damaging the contacts in the slot if you rock it back and forth while inserting or removing it. It needs to completely seated too. And the machine would fail to start when it messed up. Lots of long beeps. It seems to have finally died for what I believe to be other reasons. Actually it's "just resting" in a corner until I try to revive i

        • by Bill Dog (726542)

          And you risk damaging the contacts in the slot if you rock it back and forth while inserting or removing it.

          Oops. Then that's probably why I wasn't getting any video. Oh well, that system is dead now -- I reset the CMOS data again and got the PSU to stop shutting down, but I never got the post-POST single beep again, so I figure I either fried the mobo or CPU or both. So I've put my old hard drive in another machine, which has been (and continues to be) an adventure unto itself. I've got it booting from my

          • by iminplaya (723125)

            Google the mobo model number and get the network(and whatever other) drivers you need. You might need the chipset drivers also, but not always. Pass me the number and I'll dig it up for you, if you feel like. If the machine you put the HD into already had a working drive, you could've have made the "new" drive into the "slave" and booted from the original. Make sense? :-) C'mon, man! Hardware is fun. It's a nice relief from all that key punchin'.

            Operators are standing by

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