System Problem

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howard.a.s

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Jul 22, 2005
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A while back my PC gave-up and despite all my best efforts I haven't yet been able to get it going again. I am hoping that someone out there can help me
The PC is an Acer Aspire G600 with a Biostar M7NCG motherboard, AMD Athlon XP2400 processor, 512mb PC2700 RAM, 120gb HDD, running Windows XP Home SP2.

The problem occurred when I re-booted the PC after it 'froze-up' or 'hung' during printing some documents.
The PC powered-up but failed to get any further than that.
The green operate light glows behind the front button, but after a few seconds goes-out altogether. Whilst the PC is powered-up, the green leds mounted in the keyboard flash on and off rapidly, as if signifying some sort of alarm?
There appears to be no drive to the monitor, as the operate indicator on the TFT monitor remains orange, instead of turning green.
I cannot hear any beeps at start-up, but I'm pretty sure that this system never does beep when booting under normal circumstances.

I tried a process of elimination, removed one stick of RAM, then the other.
I tried disconnecting CD drives and also swapping-out the HDD for another known good unit. I removed any internal cards fitted to the main board by myself over the last couple of years, in case any of them had failed.
I also tried a replacement PSU.

All of this failed to rectify the issue.

When power is applied to the faulty PC the fans all run and the HDD can be heard to give a very brief first click or two. Then the operate light goes out, even though the system still appears to be running.

Can anyone tell me whether this fault is likely to be due to the motherboard, or the processor, or both. Could it be due to both sticks of RAM being faulty? Or, am I overlooking something really small and obvious?
Without a spare processor or motherboard or ram, how can I tell which may be the problem here?
 

MysticEyes

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You culd try resetting the BIOS. The easiest way would be to pull the battery out for a while.
 
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Mar 18, 2005
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Good Afternoon Howard, that sounds very ungood!
Try running just the motherboard removed from the case sitting on a table with just a basic set of parts, no drives.
if that still has the same condition shoot for a motherboard.
Are you familiar with how to do this?
Cheers, qldit.
 

howard.a.s

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Jul 22, 2005
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502
Not really sure but can have a go. I do have a wrist band and will proceed with caution. When you say just the motherboard, do you mean with the processor fitted or removed?
What will this show me that wouldn't be the same if the motherboard was fitted into its case?
Thanks for the info.
 
Joined
Apr 27, 2004
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In your case not a lot, its more for when a new mobo has been installed and wont boot.
The object is to see if the mobo will boot with minimum of hardware attached, cpu, one stick of ram and graphics card, if it still won't boot its probably a dead mobo.
 
Joined
Mar 18, 2005
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3,390
Good Morning Howard, there are often silly odd things that can cause a system to apear dead, but when the motherboard is removed to it's simplest arrangement on a table top does make a difference.
This idea removes the possibility of standoffs causing electrical shorts or things like the earthing tabs on the rear escutcheon plate interfering with the board etc.

So you can imagine having your kitchen table suitably covered with an insulating paper or a couple of large towels, the processor, memory, videocard (connected to monitor) with the removed power supply suitably situated and all things nicely set out and properly connected.
Plug the power lead to the PSU and prepare to operate the array.
Being extremely careful identify the Prw-SW pinouts on the corner of the board. (these are usually located with all the other HDDLED, and all those pins which would normally connect to the case front stuff)
Carefully momentarily place a suitable conductive tool of some description to short circuit those two pins. A small screwdrive is usually OK, but be careful to only touch the two PWR sw pins. This will initiate and latch the system to run status.
Keep an eye on your monitor for led status change to green. Observe for any screen activity if this can be achieved.
If the problem remains you have virtually reached the end of the line.

One thing not mentioned so far is the battery, usually a 2032 type, under different circumstances in different motherboards a flat or low battery can cause odd problems, so either check it's voltage at 2.8 volts or better try another good one.
Usually the battery is fitted to the board with the +showing upwards, I have seen one that was in upside down.

Enjoy the exercise, take your time and don't rush, you can try other arrangements like different memory sticks and practice analysis procedures, but remember to use care and unplug the power before any altereration is made.
You can clip your wrist strap to the power supply case.

Inspect the board for capacitors as in www.badcaps.net when this problem is apparent they swell or bulge at the top, the stamped cross is to enable a weak spot for them to burst or leak at that point.

A sniff check is also worthwhile, carefully sniff the entire surface of the m/b.
If an I/C fails they are often detected by the smell of burning silicon which is pretty distinctive.

Cheers, qldit.
 

MysticEyes

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Mar 30, 2002
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qldit said:
.......
One thing not mentioned so far is the battery, usually a 2032 type, under different circumstances in different motherboards a flat or low battery can cause odd problems, so either check it's voltage at 2.8 volts or better try another good one.
Usually the battery is fitted to the board with the +showing upwards, I have seen one that was in upside down.
It has been mentioned and should be tried first.
 
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