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dead processor or dead bios?





MarzEz
i have a problem with my computer. ( this is to be expected... it's a dell Razz ) when i turn it on, the hard drive and cd drive spin up, but my screen remains blank. i've changed graphics cards, other cards, ram, ram slots, hard drives, and i've even substituted one processor for another identical one. there is a chance that they're both blown, the motherboard with the other processor never worked. here's what happens:

i press the power button. the hard drive spins up, the cd drive whirs momentarily, and nothing else happens.
if i remove the ram, it gives me the 3 beeps it normally does. does that mean the bios still works?

please reply. i need help badly.
Craeft
MarzEz wrote:
i have a problem with my computer. ( this is to be expected... it's a dell Razz ) when i turn it on, the hard drive and cd drive spin up, but my screen remains blank. i've changed graphics cards, other cards, ram, ram slots, hard drives, and i've even substituted one processor for another identical one. there is a chance that they're both blown, the motherboard with the other processor never worked. here's what happens:

i press the power button. the hard drive spins up, the cd drive whirs momentarily, and nothing else happens.
if i remove the ram, it gives me the 3 beeps it normally does. does that mean the bios still works?

please reply. i need help badly.


Does the computer shut off after the initial HD and CD-ROM spin or does it keep running blank?
Donutey
MarzEz wrote:
i have a problem with my computer. ( this is to be expected... it's a dell Razz ) when i turn it on, the hard drive and cd drive spin up, but my screen remains blank. i've changed graphics cards, other cards, ram, ram slots, hard drives, and i've even substituted one processor for another identical one. there is a chance that they're both blown, the motherboard with the other processor never worked. here's what happens:

i press the power button. the hard drive spins up, the cd drive whirs momentarily, and nothing else happens.
if i remove the ram, it gives me the 3 beeps it normally does. does that mean the bios still works?

please reply. i need help badly.


If the beeps are longer/shorter than each other and repeat after a while, then the motherboard BIOS is telling you that you have a problem. Dell tech support (ugh) probably has the beep codes (although you could probably look them up yourself.
william
Oh boy, let's just say that those codes aren't always accurate. Neither are those ABCD lights on the back of some of theirs. What model do you have? I remember reading about stories similar to yours, and the most common problem...the power supply.
datadoc
well since you are at least familiar with removing a processor, if your processor is an AMD there is a way to test it to see if it is blown or not. I can explain in detail if you have an AMD, let me know. Other wise if you are running an intel processor, I would suggest trying to flash the bios with the correct bin from the mfg's website.
Kelvin
Did you try changing the PSU? Your system may be under powered or overloaded. If it is the case your system will still turn on but your processor will not function. I've tried this and experienced a similar situation when i changed the CPU of a computer only to see it unable to boot up although everything seems to be working. I replaced the PSU with a higher output capacity and the system ran without any problems.
MarzEz
it was working fine just before it blew...
and the beep codes only occur when i take out the ram.
as for my computer's specs:

Processor - 1.0ghz Pentium III, 1.75 volts, - may be blown,
ram - 128mb pc-133 in one of two ram slots, - ram is fine,
disk drives - 80gb quantum hard drive, attached to a "cable select" configuration with a cd drive - the jumpers are configured correctly, - all work,
computer itself is a dell (ugh) dimension 4100,
OS - windows XP pro, SP1(never got around to instaling SP2), not that it matters.
graphics card - ati 9200se, - works,
sound card - sound blaster ct4800, - ancient, but doesn't stop computer booting,
usb extension card - unknown, usb 1 - doesn't prevent booting either,
screen -"20" inch apple CRT screen (really 19 inch) - old, but works fine.
speakers & amp - Custom car amp connected to rather large custom speakers and a custom 13.6 volt, 2 amp power supply, - not shorting out,
miscellaneous usb devices aren't causing trouble,
bios - unknown, "sst" printed on chip, - doesn't load. chip soldered onto motherboard.

that's about it...

i've tried resetting the cmos, (hard reset: take out battery, discharge capacitors. it usually works.) but with no success.
i've also tried hitting it. it didn't work.

thanks for the ideas so far, but i still don't know what to do. Confused

EDIT: will try replacing PSU on weekend, busy during week. shouldn't be the problem, but will try it. thx.
Craeft
Kelvin wrote:
Did you try changing the PSU? Your system may be under powered or overloaded. If it is the case your system will still turn on but your processor will not function. I've tried this and experienced a similar situation when i changed the CPU of a computer only to see it unable to boot up although everything seems to be working. I replaced the PSU with a higher output capacity and the system ran without any problems.


That's exactly where I was going with my post above. Mine was doing that when I first built it and the problem was undervoltage.
william
Exactly, the power supply is one of the most common sources of the problem. And in most cases, you don't realize it. Many OEMs load a cheap PSU into their systems, causing problems like this. Dell has even misdiagnosed many cases as a motherboard problem.

Knowing Dell, I'm expecting a cheap 200-250 watt PSU in that system. Upgrading to a semi-decent one will most likely fix the problem. I have experience with their cheap PSUs, it's not a pretty site. I got a really nice 500 watt power supply and everything runs well.
Craeft
william wrote:
Exactly, the power supply is one of the most common sources of the problem. And in most cases, you don't realize it. Many OEMs load a cheap PSU into their systems, causing problems like this. Dell has even misdiagnosed many cases as a motherboard problem.


Dell sucks for any kind of support.

As for PSUs. There's an interesting thing one should know when buying one. PSU manufacturers rate their systems at idle. The dip with load can be dramatic. A fast and dirty way to tell if you have a good PSU as opposed to a PoS is to look on the side of the box. The 12v rail rating should be higher than the 5v rail rating (in terms of max amps). This is backwards from what one would expect. What happens is when they build them, they put undervoltage and overvoltage safeties inside on the Circuit Board. The lesser models, they either don't hook some things up or they omit them altogether. The PSU we just got not too long ago, the 12v rail was dipping to 10.5v (waaaaaaay under spec). We took it apart and found things missing and found safeties that were way to resistant. We actually removed the safeties and installed a pot. We set max for the PSU to 20v and minimum to 11v using a pot. We added some status LEDs for power, undervoltage, overvoltage, UPS. We mounted it under the shelf and now have 4 HAM radios, a DTMF controller, and a partridge in a pear tree running off of it. We hooked it up to a home-made UPS and >>POOF<< one hell of a PSU with UPS backup.

Whatever you do, do NOT buy Logisys brand PSUs. They do NOT support their product. They wouldn't answer the phone and never called me back regarding serious undervoltage.

Quote:

Knowing Dell, I'm expecting a cheap 200-250 watt PSU in that system. Upgrading to a semi-decent one will most likely fix the problem. I have experience with their cheap PSUs, it's not a pretty site. I got a really nice 500 watt power supply and everything runs well.
Nah. It's probably 300-350ish, but still... with the computer innards that are out now, that's cutting it low.
MarzEz
i have a few power supplies lying around, although one exploded recently. it must've been a dell PSU.
i'll try changing them now. it looks like it's a common problem.
thanks heaps for the help already!
ocalhoun
^Well, if I was there, I would put my post probe card in it. This is a special diagnostic PCI card that will give numerical codes from the BIOS (and special codes for malfunctioning BIOS) and lights for proper power. They can be a little expensive, but they are exactly the diagnostic tool you need in a situation like that. Without one of those, I would test the power supply with a multimeter, and then try replacing components in order from cheapest to most expensive.

What I would try in your situation:

1> Try the CPU from the dell with the problem in the motherboard you took the other CPU from. If it works there, then the other computer's CPU was bad, and the dell's motherboard was bad.

2> Buy a new motherboard/CPU combo. (Assuming the power supply tested correctly on the multimeter)

The fact that taking the RAM out changes the problem probably means that the RAM is good.
MarzEz
well, i've lost my one PSU compatible with my dell.
Quote:
t's probably 300-350ish, but still... with the computer innards that are out now, that's cutting it low.
if you read my specs, you'll see that my Dell doesn't really count as "computer innards that are out now." more "computer innards that were out 5 years ago." however, I'm surprised a dell lasted that long.

ocalhoun: there's a slight problem with number 1: i quote myself:
Quote:
there is a chance that they're both blown, the motherboard with the other processor never worked.

however, i have yet to test the PSU. might see if i can do that now.
Kelvin
I didn't know PSU had compatibility problems. As far as I'm aware, they are all plug and play. Just have to make sure the sockets fit, that's all and that you have a reasonable PSU with an average voltage of 350W up.

Hope this is the root cause of your woes. Let us know the outcome when you get it replaced.
william
Well, actually, the Dimension 4100 (and other Dells of that time period) use a non-standard ATX pinout. It will physcially fit, but turn it on and you could destroy your PSU, your motherboard, or both. I've seen Dell replacements that are 350 watts, which is a good improvement over the 200 watt one in your system.

Hopefully things work out. Dell and their propietery stuff is really annoying. Good luck!
carz
what about ibm or compact
Craeft
carz wrote:
what about ibm or compact


Stay away from Compost (Compaq™) at all costs.
MarzEz
well, the pins don't fit.
that's my main problem.
i might just get a new computer. that would be easier.
ocalhoun
MarzEz wrote:

i might just get a new computer. that would be easier.

Perhaps just a bare bones kit with case, PSU, MB, RAM, and CPU?
MarzEz
it depends what i can get cheap.
very cheap.
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