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  1. #1
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    I recently purchased a Elston Micro PCI PC Post Tester to help me troubleshoot computers with potentally faulty motherboards.

    The documentation that accompanies this item is very sparse, but if I understand correctly, when placed into an empty PCI slot, the card displays a series of numbers during boot up. If boot up hangs somewhere along the process, the last numbered dislayed can help identify a precise problem with the board.

    I've tried the card on a Gateway E-2000 where fans are working on the mobo but no video is displayed; on a Dell Optiplex GX270 with a set of similar symptoms; and with a working HP PC and with a working Dell Optiplex GX270. The only thing this card has displayed is "FF" which the documentation says means that the BIOS has already passed control to the operating system. It's appears almost immediately after the mobo has power and stays on ubtil I turn the PC off.

    This puzzles me as two of the four PCs I've used it on has onboard video that isn't responding. I would think I'd get some indication of a defective mobo on these PCs.

    I've done a cold boot with all the above PCs but all I've seen is FF. Does anyone with experience with a mobo tester - especially one from Elston - have any thoughts of what's I'm doing wrong? Or should I simply send this item back to Cyberguys?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

  2. #2
    5 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Vanover View Post
    I recently purchased a Elston Micro PCI PC Post Tester to help me troubleshoot computers with potentally faulty motherboards.

    The documentation that accompanies this item is very sparse, but if I understand correctly, when placed into an empty PCI slot, the card displays a series of numbers during boot up. If boot up hangs somewhere along the process, the last numbered dislayed can help identify a precise problem with the board.

    I've tried the card on a Gateway E-2000 where fans are working on the mobo but no video is displayed; on a Dell Optiplex GX270 with a set of similar symptoms; and with a working HP PC and with a working Dell Optiplex GX270. The only thing this card has displayed is "FF" which the documentation says means that the BIOS has already passed control to the operating system. It's appears almost immediately after the mobo has power and stays on ubtil I turn the PC off.

    This puzzles me as two of the four PCs I've used it on has onboard video that isn't responding. I would think I'd get some indication of a defective mobo on these PCs.

    I've done a cold boot with all the above PCs but all I've seen is FF. Does anyone with experience with a mobo tester - especially one from Elston - have any thoughts of what's I'm doing wrong? Or should I simply send this item back to Cyberguys?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
    You could try contacting Elston for advice on using their software. If no response then certainly send it back as any company that can't give support are not worth it.
    Clive

    All typing errors are my own work and subject to patents pending. Except errors by the spell checker. And that has its own patients.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    It looks like Elston has a 22 MB pdf eguide on their site, have you looked through it?
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  4. #4
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    Elston does supply sparse documentation. It's primarily a list of codes for BIOS manufacturers and what they indicate. There is no contact information supplied on their site or in their documentation.

    Thanks.

  5. #5
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    Just to put a period on this thread, I spoke with a knowledgeable tech at CyberGuys today who provided some helpful info. While he couldn't explain why the FF code that indicated that that the OS had taken control of the boot process was appearing so quickly, he indicated that FF generally indicated the mobo was working correctly. Sure enough, one of the boards I believed defective is fine. Before speaking with the tech, I had traced my problem to the CPU. Once I substituted a different chip, everything was fine.

    Finally, when I revisited the documentation for the diagnostic card, I did find a phone number and email address for Elston to be used for support. My bad and my apologies for the error in my earlier message.

    Ron

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