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Author Topic: Computer will not start!  (Read 3539 times)

Deozaan

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Computer will not start!
« on: March 28, 2008, 03:52:16 PM »
Turning off my computer is a gamble these days, and the risk is higher and higher every time. For Spring Break I took it with me to visit my family and I haven't been able to get it to start since coming back home on Easter. I turn it on and it beeps at me a few times and then shuts off.

So here are the details:

I have an Abit AX8 K8T890 motherboard. It has two LED digits that show what it's doing when it starts up. The numbers and codes and their meaning can be found here: Award BIOS POST Codes.

When the computer is off, the digits show 0.0. When I turn it on it starts going through some numbers at the bottom of the codes list on that site I linked. It goes through a couple really fast, but I manage to see 8.3. then it flashes FF then just 2. for about a second. Then it goes to 8.3. then 8.b. and that's where it stays until it beeps a few times, flashes FF and sits on 2. for half a second then goes back to 0.0.

So the strange thing is that it seems to shut itself down during the bootup process when it goes to F.F. then 2. for a second before resuming the POST codes. In fact, even the fans and hard drives and anything that was making noise goes silent (unpowered) while it is showing the 2.

There's also a red LED on the motherboard that lights up when the system is on, and it turns off during that second.

So I'm wondering exactly what the post code means. Since 8.b. means "AGP voltage ready" does it mean that it shuts down on 8.b. because that's where it failed, or did it successfully complete 8.b. and get stuck on the next part of the POST? The next part would logically be "8.C. - 3VDUAL voltage ready" if it goes in order.

So I guess my question is, is it failing at 8.b. or at 8.c.?

To me, 8.b. doesn't make much sense because my motherboard doesn't have an AGP slot. So unless it's talking about some other kind of AGP, that doesn't make any sense at all for that to be failing.

But if it's 8.c., and the 3V DUAL voltage is failing, I guess that could make sense. If it's a power issue that could explain why it seems to have a temporary power failure in the middle of booting up, and could also explain why it only happens when I shut the computer down.

Eventually I've been able to get it to start by trying lots of times and wiggling wires around inside, but I'm not sure if I just got lucky when it started or if the wire wiggling made any difference. This time, though, I haven't been able to get it started since I began trying on Tuesday.

As for troubleshooting: I've cleared the CMOS, I've removed everything but CPU and PSU (and mobo of course) and it still has the problem. I just got the PSU last year when the last one failed. One concern I have, but I'm not sure how much of an issue it is, is that this PSU is only 350 watt and my old one was 400w or 450w. This problem has been happening sporadically over several months and I'm not really sure when it began. It is possible it began when I got this PSU but I can't say for sure.

When it first started up, I'd usually only see the problem happen if the power went out. i.e. If there was a complete interruption of power. I'd usually just have to unplug and replug the power cord and flick the power switch to get it to start up again. But lately (as in the past few months) if the power goes out or I turn off the surge protector due to going on an extended trip, it will take hours to get up again. This last time, days, and it's still not up. :(

Any tips?


f0dder

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Re: Computer will not start!
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2008, 06:55:54 PM »
first: unless you have a really wicked system, 350W really should be enough, as long as it can deliver those 350W with stable voltages (even my overclocked Q6600@3GHz and a GF8800GT/512 graphics card, 2 x 10.000rpm raptor harddrives only goes to ~210W under full load).

As for what the problem is, I really dunno - could be PSU related, but computers are so wonderfully indeterministic... :(
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Lashiec

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Re: Computer will not start!
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2008, 08:59:14 PM »
So, which is your PSU?

Renegade

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Re: Computer will not start!
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2008, 09:02:46 PM »
I've had similar problems a few times. Here's what the solutions were for me:

For all of the below, the symptom was that the computer would not power on.

1)
Problem: DVI port on graphics card died.
Solution: Don't use DVI. Only use the other port.

2)
Problem: Motherboard...
Solution: Replace it with the same model.

3)
Problem: A few actually -- Same computer with the DVI problem above. CPU fan came loose too.
Solution: Replace video card & CPU fan. Still didn't work. Replace power supply. Worked.

There are lots of points of failure, and you really need the right tools (physical ones that is) to diagnose them. I don't have those tools, so I just took it into the shop to get fixed.

Not sure if that helps or not...

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Dormouse

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Re: Computer will not start!
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2008, 09:07:02 PM »
If it is not obvious what is wrong, my experience suggests that the first thing to swap out is the PSU. They often give rise to intermittent faults and, by and large, you get what you pay for with them and cheap ones are generally to be avoided.

f0dder

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Re: Computer will not start!
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2008, 09:11:20 PM »
So, which is your PSU?
I had money to burn and wanted to eliminate points of failure, so I went massively overkill and got a 750W ThermalTake... but hey, at least that means I only run at ~30% capacity; less stress, less heat from the PSU. At least theoretically :P
- carpe noctem

Lashiec

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Re: Computer will not start!
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2008, 09:16:08 PM »
Actually, I was asking which PSU Deozaan has, but I think that if you face computer problems in the future (I hope not!), lack of power won't be one of those ;D

Carol Haynes

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Re: Computer will not start!
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2008, 09:27:49 PM »
Couple of thoughts:

1) Check all the capacitors on the motherboard - if any are starting to bulge that could be your problem ...

2) How old is the machine? When did you last change the NVRAM battery on the mobo - losing NVRAM can cause odd problems.

3) If you remove everything from the system except the graphics card, one memory stick and a floppy do you still have the same issue? If so it would suggest PSU

Deozaan

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Re: Computer will not start!
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2008, 01:37:36 AM »
So, which is your PSU?

My PSU is an Antec SP-350

Couple of thoughts:

1) Check all the capacitors on the motherboard - if any are starting to bulge that could be your problem ...

2) How old is the machine? When did you last change the NVRAM battery on the mobo - losing NVRAM can cause odd problems.

3) If you remove everything from the system except the graphics card, one memory stick and a floppy do you still have the same issue? If so it would suggest PSU

1) I checked the capacitors, they look fine.

2) Built the PC myself in May 2006 from all new parts. I did pop out the battery and pop it back in, hoping it would reset the NVRAM. Maybe that was a bad idea, but it's started up since I last popped it out. And actually I vaguely remember buying another one of these batteries because I thought mine had died last year. So it should be newer than the mobo.

3) I already tried removing everything but the CPU and PSU. Is there a reason why you're suggesting these specific items? I could try the video card and 1 stick of RAM but I don't have a floppy drive.

For all of the below, the symptom was that the computer would not power on.

1)
Problem: DVI port on graphics card died.
Solution: Don't use DVI. Only use the other port.

2)
Problem: Motherboard...
Solution: Replace it with the same model.

3)
Problem: A few actually -- Same computer with the DVI problem above. CPU fan came loose too.
Solution: Replace video card & CPU fan. Still didn't work. Replace power supply. Worked.

There are lots of points of failure, and you really need the right tools (physical ones that is) to diagnose them. I don't have those tools, so I just took it into the shop to get fixed.

Not sure if that helps or not...

Maybe I should also mention that as of now, nothing but the power cable and the keyboard and mouse are connected to the input panel. No monitor, speakers, or anything else.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I think the POST code should provide some sort of clue what's going on, but I can't decipher it. It also emits a beep code, but the beeps don't match up anything I found at the Abit website and I've since unplugged the PC speaker because I got tired of hearing it beep several times with each attempt, so I don't remember it exactly. I think it was 1 long, 4 short.

« Last Edit: March 29, 2008, 01:39:56 AM by Deozaan »

Carol Haynes

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Re: Computer will not start!
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2008, 07:04:44 PM »
3) I already tried removing everything but the CPU and PSU. Is there a reason why you're suggesting these specific items? I could try the video card and 1 stick of RAM but I don't have a floppy drive.

Some motherboards fail to boot without memory installed - you will just get beeps. A graphics card is useful if you want to see any error messages  :D. You could try known good graphics and memory cards - at least then you isolate that the problem is not the memory and graphics.

I suggested a floppy because you can boot up a floppy of diagnostic tools - or at least a DOS disc. If you don't have a floppy I suppose a single CDROM would do.

If it doesn't boot with a very minimal set of components it is one of three things:

  • PSU - try swapping it for another one and see if things improve
  • BIOS or NVRAM corruption. Most mobos require that you you not only pop the battery but also move a link to ensure the NVRAM is flushed. Check the mobo manual. Don't forget to put the link back before restoring the battery though or powering up as you will fry your board.
  • Motherboard component is faulty or dying.

Good luck - it is a real PITA when this sort of thing happens and a good reason for buying a mobo next time that has a sensible documented BIOS (such as AMIBIOS) where at least you know what the beep codes mean!

mouser

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Re: Computer will not start!
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2008, 07:13:38 PM »
i suggest you plug the speaker back in and look harder for the bios beep code explanation -- that's really your best first clue.

Deozaan

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Re: Computer will not start!
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2008, 07:30:17 PM »
Some motherboards fail to boot without memory installed - you will just get beeps. A graphics card is useful if you want to see any error messages  :D.

The screen doesn't ever show anything when this happens. The PC turns on, runs through a couple numbers on the display on the motherboard, then beeps and shuts off.