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Old 12-21-2010, 06:58 PM   #1
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Default Computer won't boot - please help

Ok, so here are the facts:

I have a desktop that is about 5 years old that I built myself. It is running some old gigabyte board, with AMD FX-57 cpu, 1gb ram, 2x 160gb HD's in RAID 0, and a Sapphire ATI X300 vid card. Recently, the computer will not boot, or at least that seems to be the problem. I turn on the computer, and the power and HD indicator lights stay solidly lit, but nothing shows up on the monitor. I tried my monitor with my laptop, and it works, so that is not the problem. Also, my friend had a working X700 vidcard that I tried, but that didn't fix anything. Now, I am stuck as to what might be wrong, since if the OS had a problem, it would say while booting up, and if the BIOS had a problem, something would show up on the screen. My problem right now is that NOTHING at all shows up on the screen. The only thing that I think might be different from before is that the HD indicator light stays lit after hitting the power button, rather than flashing. Other than that, I am completely lost. Any help is appreciated!
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Old 12-21-2010, 08:22 PM   #2
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Default Re: Computer won't boot - please help

Have you tried another harddrive or booting to just 1 harddrive? Sounds like its not posting so you might want to reset the cmos by removing the battery and unplugging it for 10 minutes and trying again.
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Old 12-21-2010, 08:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: Computer won't boot - please help

Do you hear any beeping when you try to start your computer? You might want to try the CMOS reset already suggested and maybe removing memory DIMMs one at a time to see if anything changes (unless there is only one DIMM installed, then you would have to replace the memory in order to test).
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Old 12-22-2010, 05:36 AM   #4
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Default Re: Computer won't boot - please help

Quote:
Originally Posted by codeman0013 View Post
Have you tried another harddrive or booting to just 1 harddrive? Sounds like its not posting so you might want to reset the cmos by removing the battery and unplugging it for 10 minutes and trying again.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cboucher View Post
Do you hear any beeping when you try to start your computer? You might want to try the CMOS reset already suggested and maybe removing memory DIMMs one at a time to see if anything changes (unless there is only one DIMM installed, then you would have to replace the memory in order to test).
Both good points. The solid lights are a sign your system isn't POSTing at all, already eluded to. I work issues like this from the ground up, starting with the basics.

First and foremost, inspect your motherboard for bulging capacitors. If you have bad CAPS, finding this simple visual detail will save you the time and headache of diagnostics.



1) Unplug everything that is not necessary and I mean EVERYTHING, hd's, usb hubs, dvd rom, etc. Just keep the basics (20/24 pin, 4/8 pin and optional PCI-E power) and give that a shot. IF it POSTs, plug things in one by one and power on to find the fault. If this doesn't work, keep only the basics plugged in and continue.
2) Check your PSU. If you have a spare known good PSU swap that in and check your results. If you don't, hook up a multimeter and check your voltages (if you need more description here, I can help). Something I also recommend is just to check the PSU in another machine (ONLY IF VOLTAGES TEST OK) just to verify it's able to provide accurate sustained voltages.
3) If your PSU is ok but you're still not posting, reset your CMOS via jumper and remove the CMOS battery. Let the machine sit for about 10 minutes like the others suggested (with the PSU disconnected from AC power) and try again.
4) If you're still getting no display, try reseating your RAM and GPU.
5) If no POST, begin to remove RAM one by one as cboucher said, be sure you power on the machine between these to check the remaining sticks.
6) If none of the sticks work, get ahold of some known good RAM and try that.
7) If you're still not posting, keep the known good RAM installed and install a known good GPU, then try to power on.
8) At this point if you're not getting a POST still, try reseating your CPU (very rare that this fixes a problem). If you still get no POST, replace the CPU with a known good CPU.
9) If you still have no POST chances are your motherboard has failed. If you've followed the above steps you've replaced every component except the motherboard, leaving it at fault.

Let me know if you have questions along the way..
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Old 12-22-2010, 12:51 PM   #5
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Default Re: Computer won't boot - please help

@bullzi

Thanks, I'll try that when I get some time and I'll let you guys know.
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Old 12-22-2010, 03:06 PM   #6
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Default Re: Computer won't boot - please help

Quote:
Originally Posted by codeman0013 View Post
Have you tried another harddrive or booting to just 1 harddrive? Sounds like its not posting so you might want to reset the cmos by removing the battery and unplugging it for 10 minutes and trying again.
this is what i think is the problem. Unplug all hard-drives / cd-roms and turn the computer on. If it turns on connect the hard drives / cd-rom one by one
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:56 PM   #7
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Default Re: Computer won't boot - please help

Quote:
Originally Posted by bullzi View Post
Both good points. The solid lights are a sign your system isn't POSTing at all, already eluded to. I work issues like this from the ground up, starting with the basics.

First and foremost, inspect your motherboard for bulging capacitors. If you have bad CAPS, finding this simple visual detail will save you the time and headache of diagnostics.



1) Unplug everything that is not necessary and I mean EVERYTHING, hd's, usb hubs, dvd rom, etc. Just keep the basics (20/24 pin, 4/8 pin and optional PCI-E power) and give that a shot. IF it POSTs, plug things in one by one and power on to find the fault. If this doesn't work, keep only the basics plugged in and continue.
2) Check your PSU. If you have a spare known good PSU swap that in and check your results. If you don't, hook up a multimeter and check your voltages (if you need more description here, I can help). Something I also recommend is just to check the PSU in another machine (ONLY IF VOLTAGES TEST OK) just to verify it's able to provide accurate sustained voltages.
3) If your PSU is ok but you're still not posting, reset your CMOS via jumper and remove the CMOS battery. Let the machine sit for about 10 minutes like the others suggested (with the PSU disconnected from AC power) and try again.
4) If you're still getting no display, try reseating your RAM and GPU.
5) If no POST, begin to remove RAM one by one as cboucher said, be sure you power on the machine between these to check the remaining sticks.
6) If none of the sticks work, get ahold of some known good RAM and try that.
7) If you're still not posting, keep the known good RAM installed and install a known good GPU, then try to power on.
8) At this point if you're not getting a POST still, try reseating your CPU (very rare that this fixes a problem). If you still get no POST, replace the CPU with a known good CPU.
9) If you still have no POST chances are your motherboard has failed. If you've followed the above steps you've replaced every component except the motherboard, leaving it at fault.

Let me know if you have questions along the way..
Thanks for the suggestions, I've tried all of that so far, except for checking the voltages from the PSU. Nothing else solved the problem. Can you help with checking the PSU, as in which wires I need to check, and what the readings for them should be? Thanks.
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Old 12-22-2010, 11:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: Computer won't boot - please help

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Originally Posted by -_--_--_- View Post
Thanks for the suggestions, I've tried all of that so far, except for checking the voltages from the PSU. Nothing else solved the problem. Can you help with checking the PSU, as in which wires I need to check, and what the readings for them should be? Thanks.
Absolutely. So you've gone through and essentially replaced all the components with no luck? Hopefully the PSU is at fault then and not your motherboard.. let's find out!

First off, unplug everything from the PSU including the AC in. Be very sure of this, if something isn't unplugged it could be fried when we force the PSU to turn on.

There are 3 main areas we need to check out..

This is a diagram of a standard 24 Pin ATX motherboard connector.

1) Get a paperclip or small wire and insert one end into pin 16 (PS_ON) then insert the other end into any of the COM pins. What you've just done is give the PSU the 'on' trigger, motherboards send a signal up this PS_ON wire for the PSU to turn on. Now, plug the AC back into the PSU (this paperclip normally shouldn't shock you as it's a ground connection being utilized here, but bad PSU's do weird things, so try to avoid touching it. make sure it's not in contact with anything else.) and flip the switch on the back of the PSU. The PSU should now turn on. This is just to verify your little trigger is actually working. You can now disconnect AC power again.
2) Computers run on 3 main voltages 3.3v, 5v and 12v. Out of this, we need to check multiple sources as different rails in the PSU can fail.
- With your multi-meter, check all of the 3.3v pins in the main motherboard connector verifying that they are close to 3.3v, a ground may be established by using any of the COM pins. The voltages will differ slightly, but as long as they're +/- .1v, that's generally ok. Make note of the voltages, just so we can compare them after the test.
- Continue the 3.3v method with 5v and 12v pins within the 24 pin connector.
- After noting these voltages, it's time to check the CPU 4/8 pin connection. This will be a 12V output which feeds the CPU directly with power. Repeat these same steps with this connector. Yellow will be your +12v and you can ground to the black on this connector.

- Now that you've checked the motherboard connectors, IF your GPU utilizes a PCI-E connection it needs to be checked as well. It'll be very similar to the CPU connector so give it a check as well. Again, the yellow is +12v and the black will be ok to ground to.


After you've gone through this we can look at the voltages and figure out if there's an issue. PSU testers do exist and any computer repair shop should have one. I'd recommend pulling your PSU out of the case and having it tested by this method as well, any shop should do this for free as it's a quick process.

This isn't always a 100% guaranteed test, here's why..

PSU's obviously provide power to a computer at a pretty decent load sometimes. So, your PSU may produce good voltages but under load it may crumble. This is why I recommend trying a second PSU.
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Old 12-26-2010, 05:31 PM   #9
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Default Re: Computer won't boot - please help

So when the two power connectors are connected to my motherboard, the PSU can run and the CPU fan starts turning, but when I tried the paperclip connecting the two pins together, the PSU won't power on. I tried multiple PS_ON - COM connections, and none of them worked. I did notice that when connected and I flipped the power switch, the PSU fan would twitch slightly, but that was it.
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Old 12-26-2010, 08:09 PM   #10
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Default Re: Computer won't boot - please help

Hmm, well sounds to me like you have a defective power supply. Any power supply should power on using that method without any issues. I'd be willing to bet that's your issue..
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