Dead or Dormant? Corpse or Comatose?

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Thread Starter
Nov 27, 2001
I need help interpreting some beeps I get at start up after my computer received a shock through the sound card.

When I start up my computer, I hear four beeps: Two at the same pitch, a pause, and then two more beeps, descending in pitch. The computer then hangs up. I can still hear the humming of the fans. When I insert an emergency boot disk, I still hear the first two beeps, but not the second two and the computer still hangs up.

What do these beeps mean? The way the last two beeps descend in pitch sounds foreboding. I'm assuming that the motherboard is gone, but I'm praying that the hard drives are still okay.

I mainly need help interpretting the four beeps, but here is how the sound card received the shock in the first place.

First, my set up -
I used an audio patchbay to hook the stereo OUTs and INs from my computer, a digital multi-track recorder, a stereo and a guitar amp all together.

Somehow, occasionally, I was getting shocked (near 120v), but I never understood why and it never seemed to affect the sound quality. The patchbay has no power source or ground.

The computer was plugged in to one outlet and everything else was plugged into another outlet on the other side of the room. My house has a history of odd wiring issues and the fact that different outlets were used could have completed a circuit.

What happened -
I was talking to a friend on the phone when I was adding the stereo outs from a VCR to the set up and one of the VCR OUT cables touched a Stereo IN cable and there was a bright, magnesium-like spark and I got shocked. I told my friend what just happened and that I'd been getting shocked for a while. He had majored in audio engineering and said to unplug everything, saying that audio signals do not carry enough voltage to shock me like that.

I didn't listen. Because everything had been working fine and I really wanted to record some audio from a TV show in a few minutes, I went ahead with it. I hung up the phone and moved the patch cable from the VCR OUT to the Computer IN and there was another small flash and puff of smoke from within the patchbay.

At this point, I noticed that my computer had no audio what-so-ever. I decided to reboot and while starting up, the computer said it detected new hardware, "New Floppy Drive found. Installing driver software." And then when I tried to play an audio file, I got a message that it wasn't supported.

Now, I knew for certain that something was really messed up and I shut the computer down and unplugged everything from the patchbay. I went out for a bit and when I got back I decided to try the computer again and that's when I got the four beeps.

Jul 29, 2001
I think your MB is probably fried, but you could try taking out the sound card and other cards to see if you can at least boot the system. Not sure what the make of your BIOS is, but it sounds like a Phoenix here are the post codes with the 4-2

4-2-1-3 Unknown interrupt error.
4-2-2-1 Pending interrupt error.
4-2-2-3 Initialize option ROM error.
4-2-3-1 Shutdown error.
4-2-3-3 Extended Block Move.
4-2-4-1 Shutdown 10 error.

Not good....just hope it was only your sound card that fried

Good Luck!!
May 26, 2001
Sorry... but I also feel your mobo is fried. Take out everything except the video card and hard drive and see what happens. The only things I think could be fried is the sound card and possibly the mobo... so your HD should be fine, but you never know. I don't mean to sound like I'm scolding you (because I not) but you should have really listened to your friend. With that setup and what was going on something was definately wrong... but sorry, enough with that. Too bad what happened though. Maybe there is something defective in the setup somewhere and you claim the fried parts???... it maybe be worth a try. The other month my mom ran over something in the road and it severed an oil line that leaked all over the engine and killed it... and the insurance let us claim it and put in a brand new one for--oh never mind. You wouldn't really be able to claim it.
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