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Thread: Test system

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    Test system

    A friend has an HP xt983 (Walmart Purchase) that is about 18 months old (out of warranty). Suddenly this morning it froze up on him and now will not start. There is no signal to the monitor. I brought over a second monitor to make sure it was not just the monitor. He gets no POST beep. The system powers up, the light on the cd drive flashes but that is it. Nothing more. As I said, no beeps at all. I pulled the ethernet card and the modem card to see if that would make a difference. No luck. I tried to boot with a WIN98 Startup disk - nothing. Is there anyway to test if it is the motherboard or what?

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    Re: Test system

    Could it possibly be a dead power supply? I know you said there is what looks like momentary power, but it could be that the PS is just oozing a tiny bit, but not enough to power the MB. Don't know how else to test the MB, other than removing all cards except video and one ram stick to see if your POST will come up. The boot floppy is a good idea, by the way, to prevent corruption to the onboard OS, if something should happen.

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    Re: Test system

    Hi Bigaldoc, Sorry for the confusion but the system powers up just fine. It retains power just fine. The power supply is working OK.

    The system simply does not start. I am not seeing the typical "green light" on the motherboard though I am not sure all motherboards have the greenlight feature. No post beeps. I removed the single RAM module (video card is integrated) and still no luck. I reseated all power connections.

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    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Test system

    trebor,
    If you removed the single memory stick and left it out to test, that would have defeated the purpose anyway, since SOME memory is required to boot. It does sound like the memory though. If you can beg, borrow or steal a similar memory stick just to sub it out, that would be better.
    Testing the MB is not really a suitable alternative. Big Al's suggestions of stripping the board down to minimum would be a thing to do. If the memory thing fails, I would start shopping around for a new MB.
    BOB
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    Re: Test system

    Bad video card could cause your symptoms. However, I would also try a different PSU. Even it _apears_ to be functioning OK, it might not be delivering the proper voltage. PSUs are common parts to break, and they probably aren't very hihgh quality in these "budget" machines.

    Jim

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    Re: Test system

    I know these kinds of things are tough for a home DIY'er but I'm still inclined to think you should check the PSU as Jim suggested. If you're not getting a POST beep, I don't know what signs you have that the PSU is working FULLY. Just because it's running its fan doesn't mean it's putting out. Although this only happened once to me at work, I do remember a case of a machine with onboard video that "failed" and the only way I discovered it was by putting a PCI video card in it to try to boot a DOS boot disk. When it worked, I disabled the onboard video to avoid IRQ conflicts and the machine worked just fine. This trial and error stuff is a real pain, huh? Good luck.

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    Re: Test system

    Hi Bob,

    I pulled the original memory stick and replaced it with one that I knew was good. Still nothing. No POST beep. No BIOS messages. No HP logo. There is a green light on the PSU but no lights on the motherboard. Sure seems to be the motherboard. What do you think?

    Where do I shop for a motherboard?

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    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Test system

    trebor,
    I have been using Gigabyte boards for some time now and am well satisfied with the quality and service support.

    You can link from Gigabyte to USA distributors at Gigabyte

    Or another good site for MBs and other hardware is DIRECTRON
    BOB
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    Re: Test system

    Bill,
    A quick peek inside the case will reveal if the box is a cheapo piece of c**p that you describe or if its an ATX or mini standard. I never heard of MB mounting like you found. But then it's a Dell and who knows. ( BTW, I'm WELL aware of how to replace a MB )

    I did not say that the PS wasn't a problem, I pointed trebor to a few spots where he could check out new MBs, as he asked.

    Maybe the best thing would be to get a "barebones" box with just the PS,MB,Case & CPU. That is if the rest of his hardware isn't pop-riveted in place.
    BOB
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    Re: Test system

    You don't just replace a motherboard - unless you are going to replace it with an exact model - There are too many variables - and after 18 months - that may be hard to do. Additionally, some "econoclass" PC makers do not make it easy, or even possible in some cases, to replace the motherboard. For example, on my dad's Dell, the old motherboard was obviously mounted by a machine. Instead of using screws to mount the mobo, a machine punched out "tines" (for lack of a better term) in the case and bent these tines up. The mobo was then set down in the case with the tines protruding threw the screw holes. Then the machine twisted these tines down on the motherboard to secure it in place. Unbending to remove the board resulted in several of the tines snapping off with no way to remount a new board.

    Had to get a new case. Ended up building him a new computer.

    As much as you feel your Power supply is not the problem, it looks like PS problems. And certainly, you should expect the original to be a cheap one - that is, one that is underrated, no overhead, noisy electronically, noisy sonically, and poorly regulated. Get yourself a new GOOD power supply - Antec makes excellent models and they are cheaper than new motherboard. If it does not solve your problem, then you will still have a good power supply to go in your new PC. Then get an UPS and use that too.

    I like Gigabyte boards too, also had good luck with Abit, ASUS, and MSI.
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
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    Re: Test system

    Bob,

    I agree with the barebones suggestion - that just might meet his needs if looking for a budget solution - but I would want to pick the PS.

    The problem with my dad's Dell was even more frustrating as the floppy reject button could only be pushed by a rod connected to a button on the case front - basically making it a proprietary floppy disk! And note that the layout of the I/O and motherboard mounts were standard ATX too - it was a standard ATX motherboard - just clamped by tines where the screws normally went.

    A peek in would easily reveal if screws were used or something else.

    Didn't mean to imply you don't know what you are doing inside a PC - just wanted make the point before money was spent, that with the econclass PCs, corners are cut to save a penny here and a penny there that may very well prevent any upgrade or replacement of what normally would be a replaceable component. Sorry.

    -Bill
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    Re: Test system

    Bill,
    You are right about budget systems. You get what you pay for. You can also get a barebones box without PS and of course with the floppy, you could always replace it by using a spare 3 1/2 slot or a 5 1/4 with an adapter. As discussed in other threads, I still hang on to floppy drives. In fact a while back I purchased a couple of spares for less than $5.00 each and stored them away, just in case.

    Adequate PSs are very important. Total agreement with you on that. I have two 600 watt, dual fan, regulated units. One in use and the other as an available spare. Good insurance and good testers in case you want to swap one out to see if there is an issue with a PS.

    I also rigged a couple of LEDs to lay on the 5 volt and 12 volt outputs of the supply. The operating levels of the LEDs are such that if the supply line drops below the proper voltage, ( or off ) the LEDs go out. Wired the LEDs into a spare spot on the case and a glance always gives me the condition of the Power Supply. I guess I just can't get away from the engineer in me and love to tinker like that.
    BOB
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    Long ago, there was a time when men cursed and beat on the ground with sticks. It was called witchcraft.
    Today it is called golf!

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