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Computer does not recognize monitor/sound card may be loose

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Yarhead, Oct 31, 2011.

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  1. Yarhead

    Yarhead Thread Starter

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    Background:

    Dell Dimension 4550 desktop. Runs Windows XP, has 120GB hard drive, 2.4 GHz processor. A friend gave it to me because he upgraded to a new computer. The presumed specs on this would be perfect, but...

    When I initially attempted to connect a Samsung Dynaflat Syncmaster 955DF 19" CRT Monitor (which works with another desktop I tried) to the desktop's VGA port, the monitor would go black as if it was connected, but nothing would be on the screen. When I then unplugged the monitor from the VGA port, there would all of a sudden be an image on the screen with something along the lines of "please connect to a computer" or something generic along those lines.

    I texted my friend even though I didn't want to bother him. Here's the log:

    Me: Hi Ras, thanks so much for the computer last week :)! Quick question: had you experienced any issues with the vga port in the back being loose and if so, how did you rectify it? (I understand if you lack time to respond) 10:34 PM

    Ras: No worries. I did have trouble with that a while back, but after the following fix had no issues for a while (sad to hear that it reoccurred). The fix is easy enough, if you're comfortable with opening up the computer: it's the entire sound card (which I upgraded at one point) that's loose. To fix: unplug all chords from the pc and place it on its side. Press the two buttons on the top and bottom at the same time to open up the computer. You'll see the sound card "dangling.". Simply re-insert it into its slot. You have to use some force/effort, but NO violence. Then carefully shut the computer chassis again, to not loosen it again, and power up. It should work fine. Sorry this gave you trouble and let me know how it goes. Call or email me if I can help further :) 10:56 PM
    Me: Absolutely appreciate it. Thank you so much for taking the time. Really, really thank you :).

    --log over

    So, I did what he said, but I still get the same result, a blank screen, when I attempt to power up the computer. I think the sound card is still loose, partly because the green latch that attempts to keep the various cards/ports in place may not close completely.

    I'm not sure what to do. If the sound card is loose (and maybe not recognized by the computer, and perhaps, as a result, anything plugged into the VGA port wouldn't be recognized?), then I clearly have an issue. But everything's supposed to be functional. How can I fix this? (Maybe I didn't use enough force... is that the issue? Still seems a bit loose.)

    If there's no way to work the sound card out, should I try to get a VGA-to-DVI adapter and see if plugging the monitor into a non-loose port helps at least with the visuals?

    Thanks for any insight!
    -Jared
     
  2. Yarhead

    Yarhead Thread Starter

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    Idea: I suppose the first thing I can try is to screw it in because I think there's space on top. Any ideas to figure out the potential screw size without lugging the whole computer to home depot?
     
  3. dustyjay

    dustyjay

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    The sound card should have nothig to do with the Video at all. They are two different types of cards. Yes if it has a descrete sound card it should definitely be secured to the case with a screw. The Green latch sounds more like you are dealing with a Descrete Video card though.
     
  4. Yarhead

    Yarhead Thread Starter

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    dustyjay, thanks. Well, the green latch covers all the cards, not just this one. If it could be secured, it could keep this in place without a screw, but it does not ultimately get secured enough.

    In terms of this card, the VGA port is connected to it. Does that mean it definitely is a video card?
     
  5. dustyjay

    dustyjay

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    Yes it is a video card. According to Dell your computer has onboard Video which has a VGA output. This port would have the 15 pin socket located near the sockets for the Keyboard and the mouse. You cold remove the Video card that you can not secure, and use the onboard video instead.
     
  6. Yarhead

    Yarhead Thread Starter

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    dustyjay, thanks! I can't find the 15 pin vga socket, let alone the onboard video, near the keyboard/mouse sockets. The only 15 pin vga port (female) is on the new video card.

    Is it possible for the onboard video to be removed (if so, maybe that's what happened)? Ras did tell me that he had "updated the graphics card."
     
  7. dustyjay

    dustyjay

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    After reading further on the Dell support site you are correct, there is no onboard video. Your Video card is an AGP video card. It appears that the green card retention lever that holds everything in place may not be locking fully. Are there any other cards besides the video card installed? If so one of them may not be fully inserted and keeping the locking lever from snapping into position. Also when you lift the lever are ther screw holes in the case corresponding with the Screw slot for the Video card? If there are you could use a screw to hole it in place istead of the locking lever. Also on the AGP Slot there is a locking lever at the end of the slot that needs to lock in place to hold that end of the card secure.

    You said your friend upgraded the Video Card. It could have been replaced with a PCI viedo card instead of an AGP video card. THe slot the card plugs into should be the one at the far left as you lay the case down to open it, with the little latch lever at the end of the slot. It it is not in this slot it would be a PCI Card.
     
  8. Yarhead

    Yarhead Thread Starter

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    dustyjay, thank you again for your help.

    The card is in one of the middle slots, so the card would then be AGP?

    So, thanks for that additional info. Upon further extension, there was a screw in the hole closest to where the green lever locks in, which was blocking the locking mechanism. So I unscrewed it, and then screwed it in the screwhole that actually is available within the green lever (and goes into the same hole below that is attached to the computer). Then, the lever closed shut and really seemed to keep all the cards in place.

    However, when I plugged in the computer, I had the same issue with the monitor. Same exact, when the computer turns on or the monitor plugs into the VGA port on the card (while the computer's on), the screen goes blank entirely.

    Is it possible that the card's still loose? Still seems that it's really in now. Faulty card? Maybe the monitor isn't compatible for some reason. Additional info on the monitor. It seems to have only 13 pins (4 on top, 5 in middle, 4 on bottom) (it should have 15, right?). Could that be an issue? That said, it does work on a Dell Dimension 2200 that I have...

    Other stuff I plug into the 4550 seem fine. Keyboard's recognized (it lights up). Something's gotta be happening with the card or monitor, right? Because for the monitor to be acting weird and entirely black, the card must be recognized, right (then it would have been previously recognized earlier even though it was loose?)?

    Thanks so much again for any insight!
     
  9. dustyjay

    dustyjay

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    The plug is a 15pin D-sub, though not all 15 pins are actually used, and to have pins missing is not uncommon. As you look at the open computer, the AGP slot is the one on the extreme left, the rest of the slots are PCI slots, there should be 1 AGP Slot (and it is probably labled as such) and 3 or 4 PCI Slots. If the card in question is in the middle of the slots then it is a PCI Video card.
     
  10. Yarhead

    Yarhead Thread Starter

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    dustyjay, duly noted. Yes, it would be PCI then. Any thoughts as to what I should try next? Maybe there's something wrong with the video card? Or, based on the above, could something be loose?
     
  11. dustyjay

    dustyjay

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    Given the symptoms, I would say that it is entirely possible the card has been damaged. Also unless you can find a known working properly, replacement very cheap, The computer is not really worth spending a lot of money on. Though if you can find a card for say $25 or $30 it may be worth it for a back up system.
     
  12. Yarhead

    Yarhead Thread Starter

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    dustyjay, I appreciate it. Can I buy only certain types of video cards? Only older models, perhaps? Recommendations as to where to find them? I have an old system... maybe I'll try to swap its video card into this one...
     
  13. dustyjay

    dustyjay

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  14. Yarhead

    Yarhead Thread Starter

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    Thanks so much! Seriously considering that one. It gets great reviews.

    I also see someone selling some video cards on craigslist for $5-7 and pickup is in a convenient location. Could be worth trying just to make sure that the issue is indeed the video card. I emailed for more info, because this is all that was listed:

    S3 dual head VGA/DVI video card - $7
    several VGA video cards - $5 each
     
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