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Possible CPU/motherboard issue?


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#1 LittleJennyWren

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:58 AM

Hello,

I've got a problem with my dad's computer and am looking for a bit of help if possible please. I can't give you much in the way of spec other than that the OS is Windows XP (SP3).

I'm told that the history is that the display became increasingly erratic over a day or so (cursor freezing, mostly). After a forced shutdown the computer went through the motions of starting up - Windows screens with progress bars showed up just fine - but then the OS seemed not to load and there was only a black screen with a fully movable cursor.

When trying to boot up after another forced shutdown nothing came on the display at all.

Since then I have attached the hard drive to my own computer and it appears to be working, or at least everything seems to be accessible. I have also tried replacing the PSU with my own working one (same model) and no joy.

When powered up all the fans work properly and the processor(?) light on the front of the tower flashes a couple of times then no more.

I am wondering whether it could be damage from overheating as the CPU fan has a dedicated funnel to the outside of the case and the outer mesh was at least half blocked by fluff. The tower has now had a good clean with an air duster and I reseated the CPU just in case there was some kind of connection problem but still nothing happens apart from fans whirring away merrily.

There are no obvious signs of damage inside, there has never apparently been any kind of overheating smell and everything looks pristine.

Thanks for reading and for any advice.

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#2 Artrooks

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 02:03 PM

Hi LittleJennyWren,

What is the computer make and model number?

You could try the suggestions here: How To Troubleshoot a Computer That Won't Turn On. You probably will want to start on number 4: Computer powers on but nothing happens.

Regards,
Brooks



 


#3 LittleJennyWren

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 04:51 AM

Hello Artrooks,

Many thanks for your reply.

That page is very helpful - I've got it bookmarked for future reference - and, yes, no.4 is the starting point.

I'll work through it and see where things go from there.

The computer is an E-System 102. It is a few years old now so its future is in the balance a little anyway.

#4 Sterling14

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:36 AM

Whenever I have a computer that will not start as you described, the first thing I always do is unplug the computer from the wall, and remove the cmos battery. The cmos battery is a little quarter-sized battery, and will be somewhere on the motherboard. Let it sit for 5 or 10 minutes and put the battery back in, then plug the power back in and turn the computer on. This will reset all BIOS settings, so you will need to go and change the clock settings to the correct date and time.
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." - Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943

#5 LittleJennyWren

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 01:22 PM

Many thanks for the reply, Sterling14.

I have just tried unplugging, then removing the battery and replacing after 15 mins, as you suggest, but it made little difference.

I shall work my way through the rest of the list suggested above.

Thanks again to both of you for the help, it is much appreciated.

#6 Sterling14

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 04:52 PM

If you are getting the fans to spin, and lights coming on, from my experience this means the processor is working. You can test this by removing the processor and plugging the fans in. You will notice nothing happens when attempting to do so. I am thinking motherboard or ram, and motherboards are more prone to failure than ram. I would still test the ram, if there are multiple sticks, I would try each stick separately, and try each in different slots. If you have other ram that is compatible, it wouldn't hurt to try that.
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." - Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943

#7 LittleJennyWren

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 04:39 AM

Sorry for the delay in getting back here.

This is interesting.

With all components in place, the fans and lights work. To shut down I press the power button and the power is cut instantly, unlike a normal forced shutdown where it takes a few seconds.

With the processor removed all the fans and lights do still work but to stop the power I have to unplug from the wall socket.

There are only two sticks of RAM and two slots. I have tried swapping them over as well as using each individually but that makes no difference. I don't have any other compatible sticks but can buy one to try, if need be.

Something I did just notice with the processor out. All of the contact points are gold except just one of them which looks silvery. Is this likely to be normal or could it have been a short of some kind? The processor is an Intel Celeron D SL8H9. I only have a point-and-shoot camera which is no good for macro work so am unable to post an image.

#8 noknojon

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:23 AM

I have just tried unplugging, then removing the battery and replacing after 15 mins, as you suggest, but it made little difference.

I think you should actually Replace the battery and not just use the same one - Only a couple of dollars from most places -
You may be using a bad battery and not a good one -

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Intel-Celeron-D-LGA-775-Processor-CPU-SL8H5-2-53-Ghz-/320883577813?pt=CPUs&hash=item4ab626d3d5
http://www.ebay.com/itm/INTEL-CELERON-D-SL8H9-2-80GHz-256-533-Socket-775-CPU-Processor-TESTED-WARRANTY-/130656436641?pt=CPUs&hash=item1e6bbb01a1

2 picture linksof an Intel Celeron D SL8H9.




#9 LittleJennyWren

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:29 AM

Thanks for that. I'll try a replacement battery as soon as I can get hold of one.

I was just coming back to say that I'd found a close up of the processor on eBay (one that you mention above) and that it doesn't have the "silver dot" that mine has.

Is this pointing to a short and, if so, presumably both the processor and the motherboard would need replacing?

#10 jhayz

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 08:46 AM

black screen with a fully movable cursor

Hard drive, cable connector, PSU, corrupt windows (did you try safemode?). Have you tried removing the silvery color you were mentioning?

Tekken
 


#11 LittleJennyWren

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 11:48 AM

black screen with a fully movable cursor

Hard drive, cable connector, PSU, corrupt windows (did you try safemode?). Have you tried removing the silvery color you were mentioning?


Hard drive functions when attached to another computer via USB/SATA connector.

Which cable connector do you mean?

Replaced PSU with identical working model from my own computer and it made no difference.

Initially assumed corrupt Windows as this happened to my own laptop about a month before and symptoms seemed similar to start with. On the laptop I could use safe mode and could also run repair which cured it. With the desktop that I am asking about here I cannot access the BIOS, safe mode, repair, anything. There is now no display at all. There no longer appears to be any communication between the tower and the monitor because the monitor remains in power saving mode all the while.

Silvey deposit(?) might actually be irrelevant. I just wiped it with a dry cotton bud and it disappeared. Replaced processor in unit and all is still exactly as before - fans and lights working but nothing else.

Edited by LittleJennyWren, 11 April 2012 - 11:58 AM.


#12 James Litten

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 07:16 PM

Hi

It's really starting to sound like a problem with the motherboard. Maybe that little silver dot is a clue. Could it have been some thermal compound or do you have any idea where it came from?

If it were an old Dell Optiplex I would bet money that it was a bad capacitor on the motherboard but when I did a search I could not find anyone reporting capacitor problems with the machine that you have. Your description of how it went is exactly how those bad cap Dells would go out :)

Try this to see if it is doing the POST at least.

Unplug the power

Pull out all of the memory

Plug it in and turn it on

That model should beep a beep code I'm not sure what the sequence is for that model but it should definitely beep repeatedly. If it does not beep then it is definitely a problem with the motherboard that is not even supplying proper power to the BIOS. If it does beep then we can try the next thing.

Let us know what happens.

James

#13 LittleJennyWren

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 04:45 AM

The silvery dot. Yes, James, it could have been thermal compound. It was so perfectly small and round, entirely covering only one of the contact points, but I have just replicated it easily...I know... so it has either been there since manufacture or it happened a couple of days ago through mis-handling....I know...I know....

With no memory at all there are single long beeps, each maybe a couple of seconds long then silence, repeated.
(You have no idea how exciting it was to hear that sound :lol: )

With some memory - one stick or two and whichever slot they are in - there is a single, very short, sound which is more like a buzz than a beep, then nothing more.

=====
editing to add:

I think I can see where we might be heading here.

My dad said that his computer had become much slower over the last month or so (which could have been anything) but maybe one stick of RAM gave up and now the other has gone as well? Unless it could be the motherboard?

I have just ordered a stick of RAM as a first step. It should be here in a day or two, so I can try it out then.

Edited by LittleJennyWren, 12 April 2012 - 05:47 AM.


#14 James Litten

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 08:50 AM

I'm happy to hear that it made beeps :)

Sometimes those come with a video card but more often the video is part of the motherboard. What does yours have for video?

James

#15 LittleJennyWren

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 11:04 AM

Oh, okay. Maybe the excitement was a bit premature but any kind of beep beats just the whirring of fans.
:wink:

The manufacturer's sticker on the tower casing says:
Integrated SiS 661 FX AGP graphics




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