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Is it a Ram problem?


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#1 avisccs

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 04:40 PM

Hi all

 

My computer died a couple weeks ago. I pressed the power button, it loaded for 2 seconds and turned itself off. There is no beep.

 

First, I though it was a power supply problem. So I got a multimeter to test the power supply. All the voltage are ok.

 

I have the minimum components: motherboard, power supply, CPU and RAM, but it still doesn't start.

 

I then unplug RAM (1 x 4G RAM) and put it into another slot. It can be turned on!!!! I thought it was fixed.

 

Two days later, I attempt to turn it on, but the same problem happens. Power on, loaded for 2 second and then died. I unplug the RAM and put it into the old slot, but didn't work.

 

My question is: Is this indicating a RAM problem? Did this RAM damage my mother board? If it isn't a RAM problem, what would it be?


Edited by avisccs, 03 November 2013 - 05:02 PM.


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#2 synergy513

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 10:43 PM

i would guess it is the power supply. when a PC is powering up and initializing, that is one of the most stressful moments on a PS because of the disks spinning and other things. voltages on a PS can check out fine, but without sufficient amperage, failure is imminent.

 

 RAM comes in different voltages. if the RAM voltage is wrong for the motherboard, the stick won't fit in the mobo slot because the notch is in a different spot. this prevents RAM of incorrect voltage from woefully damaging mobo circuits.

 

the lack of a POST beep could be an indication of something else.


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#3 cryptodan

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 10:48 PM

Reassemble the PC outside the case such as on a rubber mat or cardboard box to insulate and protect the motherboard from static. See if it powers up, and if it does then there is a short involved between your motherboard and the case.

#4 slgrieb

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 11:14 PM

i would guess it is the power supply. when a PC is powering up and initializing, that is one of the most stressful moments on a PS because of the disks spinning and other things. voltages on a PS can check out fine, but without sufficient amperage, failure is imminent.

 

 RAM comes in different voltages. if the RAM voltage is wrong for the motherboard, the stick won't fit in the mobo slot because the notch is in a different spot. this prevents RAM of incorrect voltage from woefully damaging mobo circuits.

 

the lack of a POST beep could be an indication of something else.

I'd go with a PSU problem. These days using a multimeter to test a power supply is difficult because of all the different circuits involved. There are also some potential problems that very difficult to test with a multimeter. Whenever you boot a computer, a couple of things happen. First of all, pressing the power button isn't like a light switch; it closes a relay that sends the Power_On signal to the board. That wakes up the power supply, which then sends the Power_Good signal to the motherboard, and if all other voltages are in spec, it starts up and runs.

 

The catch is that is if the +5 V Power_Good signal doesn't come up within a specified interval, the computer doesn't start. If the voltage is too far out of spec, the computer doesn't start, and if the Power_Good signal is unstable, the computer shuts off. All this stuff is happening within less than one half second or so. That makes catching Power_Good signal issues with a multimeter pretty difficult. And again, even if the machine powers up but has a power supply that can't generate a stable Power_Good signal, it turns itself off. That's the most likely problem here.


Edited by slgrieb, 03 November 2013 - 11:17 PM.

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#5 avisccs

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 05:09 AM

Thank you for the replies.

Thank you for Slgrieb for the clear explanation on why multimeter does not check every thing. I have been thinking whether or not my tests can conclude any thing apart from individual voltage. 

 

This computer used to have blue screen of death about a year ago and it eventually cured itself. I just unplug and plug all the components in the computer. I have no idea how it was cured... might be connection problem. Blue screen of death happened at random time, including when no software was on (apart from Windows).

 

Re PSU, I guess I can get the PSU in my hubby's computer to test it. I will let you know after.



#6 cryptodan

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 06:02 AM

Please see post number 3.

#7 slgrieb

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 05:55 PM

Thank you for the replies.

Thank you for Slgrieb for the clear explanation on why multimeter does not check every thing. I have been thinking whether or not my tests can conclude any thing apart from individual voltage. 

 

This computer used to have blue screen of death about a year ago and it eventually cured itself. I just unplug and plug all the components in the computer. I have no idea how it was cured... might be connection problem. Blue screen of death happened at random time, including when no software was on (apart from Windows).

 

Re PSU, I guess I can get the PSU in my hubby's computer to test it. I will let you know after.

A multimeter can give you good baseline readings on voltages supplied to the motherboard, but they do have some limitations. They may give you more accurate measurements in some ways than a power supply tester, but you can't test as many lines simultaneously.


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#8 avisccs

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 04:09 AM

Last night, I took the mother board and the PSU out. Put them on a piece of wood. It starts. Tested a couple times, still ok. So I think it might be a short between the board and the case, like cryptodan said. I then think 'ok, so what should I do?' I have no idea, so I put every thing back in the case. The computer starts! Tested a couple times. Still ok. Put it back to my desk, plug into the original socket, tested it a couple times. Still ok. Well, then I thought that was the end of the story although I don't really know why it stopped working in the first place.

 

This morning, I tried to turn it on. The same old problem happened again. The computer died within a few second.

 

What's going on?



#9 avisccs

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 04:11 AM

Would it be because the computer got warm after the few tests when the mother board and PSU was outside the case. Then the computer can handle the warm starts within the case. But in the morning, it has to start from cold and it won't start.... I'm just guessing from the logic of a car....

 

Anyway, any idea how to solve the problem, apart from running the computer without a case...


Edited by avisccs, 05 November 2013 - 04:13 AM.


#10 dpunisher

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 06:18 AM

If your motherboard has a few years on it, give the caps (the electrolytics)  a look. Ck for bulges/leaks. 


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#11 slgrieb

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 11:51 PM

Last night, I took the mother board and the PSU out. Put them on a piece of wood. It starts. Tested a couple times, still ok. So I think it might be a short between the board and the case, like cryptodan said. I then think 'ok, so what should I do?' I have no idea, so I put every thing back in the case. The computer starts! Tested a couple times. Still ok. Put it back to my desk, plug into the original socket, tested it a couple times. Still ok. Well, then I thought that was the end of the story although I don't really know why it stopped working in the first place.

 

This morning, I tried to turn it on. The same old problem happened again. The computer died within a few second.

 

What's going on?

Erratic behavior from failing electronics is routine, but I just don't buy into the explanation that you are experiencing intermittent shorts between the board and the case. dpunisher, has a good suggestion about a potential problem with the motherboard, leaking capacitors are usually a pretty obvious sign of failure, and a motherboard can fail even without obvious physical signs.

 

Thing is, that without some professional test equipment, you can't really check the mainboard. That leaves you inferring a problem with the motherboard after you've eliminated other likely causes. Unfortunately, you still haven't done much to eliminate the PSU as a point of failure. Until you do, I don't think you are going to get reliable diagnostic results.


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