Black screen on boot: MB or PS defect?


T

Tom McCreadie

My elderly system consists of: Asus P4C800-E del, 2Gb ram / Antec Truepower
480W PS / Matrox P650 AGP video / Iiyama AS4332U monitor /Win XP SP3.

This has been hitherto rock solid, but after a recent incident, it now only
gives a black screen on start up Not a case of Windows hanging, methinks, as I
don't reach the Win XP start up screen. Indeed, I no longer even get the Asus
splash screen...or any scrolling post messages!.

The issue started some months ago: monitor screen would occasionally suddenly
start to fracture into a crazed mess of fuzzy, unreadable text. This problem
happened sporadically, but, perhaps significantly?, I could always reliably
induce this screen corruption simply by visiting the BBC iPlayer website. (Flash
overwhelming my Matrox card?). Till now I could always restore proper screen
working by restarting the pc, but on the last occasion, the screen corruption
was so severe that I had to power down the pc...and since then I only get the
black screen, thus am denied any chance to dive into the bios, or
install/uninstall other drivers etc.

The monitor works fine when hooked up to a different pc
Things I've checked so far without success:
- replacing Matrox with a Geforce 6200 AGP card
- resetting bios via MB jumper settings
- booting to a bootable Win CD
- reducing load on MB / PS by removing all peripheral cards and HD's, except for
video card.

I've no other PS available to swap in for the Antec, but last time | checked
with a software utility, the system hardware voltage rails all seemed healthy.
Any pointers? Asus MB blown? I guess it's time long overdue to move on?
 
K

Krypsis

My elderly system consists of: Asus P4C800-E del, 2Gb ram / Antec Truepower
480W PS / Matrox P650 AGP video / Iiyama AS4332U monitor /Win XP SP3.

This has been hitherto rock solid, but after a recent incident, it now only
gives a black screen on start up Not a case of Windows hanging, methinks, as I
don't reach the Win XP start up screen. Indeed, I no longer even get the Asus
splash screen...or any scrolling post messages!.

The issue started some months ago: monitor screen would occasionally suddenly
start to fracture into a crazed mess of fuzzy, unreadable text. This problem
happened sporadically, but, perhaps significantly?, I could always reliably
induce this screen corruption simply by visiting the BBC iPlayer website. (Flash
overwhelming my Matrox card?). Till now I could always restore proper screen
working by restarting the pc, but on the last occasion, the screen corruption
was so severe that I had to power down the pc...and since then I only get the
black screen, thus am denied any chance to dive into the bios, or
install/uninstall other drivers etc.

The monitor works fine when hooked up to a different pc
Things I've checked so far without success:
- replacing Matrox with a Geforce 6200 AGP card
- resetting bios via MB jumper settings
- booting to a bootable Win CD
- reducing load on MB / PS by removing all peripheral cards and HD's, except for
video card.

I've no other PS available to swap in for the Antec, but last time | checked
with a software utility, the system hardware voltage rails all seemed healthy.
Any pointers? Asus MB blown? I guess it's time long overdue to move on?
Try swapping out memory sticks. IE, remove all but one, try starting the
beast. Then substitute a different memory stick each time you try a
restart. Only takes one faulty one to stop everything. Don't forget to
remove the power cord each time BEFORE removing or inserting RAM. I also
press the power switch once to get rid of any stray capacitance charge
as well.
 
D

david

My elderly system consists of: Asus P4C800-E del, 2Gb ram / Antec
Truepower 480W PS / Matrox P650 AGP video / Iiyama AS4332U monitor /Win
XP SP3.

This has been hitherto rock solid, but after a recent incident, it now
only gives a black screen on start up Not a case of Windows hanging,
methinks, as I don't reach the Win XP start up screen. Indeed, I no
longer even get the Asus splash screen...or any scrolling post
messages!.

The issue started some months ago: monitor screen would occasionally
suddenly start to fracture into a crazed mess of fuzzy, unreadable text.
This problem happened sporadically, but, perhaps significantly?, I could
always reliably induce this screen corruption simply by visiting the BBC
iPlayer website. (Flash overwhelming my Matrox card?). Till now I could
always restore proper screen working by restarting the pc, but on the
last occasion, the screen corruption was so severe that I had to power
down the pc...and since then I only get the black screen, thus am denied
any chance to dive into the bios, or install/uninstall other drivers
etc.

The monitor works fine when hooked up to a different pc Things I've
checked so far without success:
- replacing Matrox with a Geforce 6200 AGP card - resetting bios via MB
jumper settings - booting to a bootable Win CD - reducing load on MB /
PS by removing all peripheral cards and HD's, except for video card.

I've no other PS available to swap in for the Antec, but last time |
checked with a software utility, the system hardware voltage rails all
seemed healthy. Any pointers? Asus MB blown? I guess it's time long
overdue to move on?
Check for bulging capacitors.
http://www.badcaps.net/
 
F

Flasherly

My elderly system consists of: Asus P4C800-E del, 2Gb ram / Antec Truepower
480W PS / Matrox P650 AGP video / Iiyama AS4332U monitor /Win XP SP3.

This has been hitherto rock solid, but after a recent incident, it now only
gives a black screen on start up Not a case of Windows hanging, methinks, as I
don't reach the Win XP start up screen. Indeed, I no longer even get the Asus
splash screen...or any scrolling post messages!.

The issue started some months ago: monitor screen would occasionally suddenly
start to fracture into a crazed mess of fuzzy, unreadable text. This problem
happened sporadically, but, perhaps significantly?, I could always reliably
induce this screen corruption simply by visiting the BBC iPlayer website. (Flash
overwhelming my Matrox card?). Till now I could always restore proper screen
working by restarting the pc, but on the last occasion, the screen corruption
was so severe that I had to power down the pc...and since then I only get the
black screen, thus am denied any chance to dive into the bios, or
install/uninstall other drivers etc.

The monitor works fine when hooked up to a different pc
Things I've checked so far without success:
- replacing Matrox with a Geforce 6200 AGP card
- resetting bios via MB jumper settings
- booting to a bootable Win CD
- reducing load on MB / PS by removing all peripheral cards and HD's, except for
video card.

I've no other PS available to swap in for the Antec, but last time | checked
with a software utility, the system hardware voltage rails all seemed healthy.
Any pointers? Asus MB blown? I guess it's time long overdue to move on?
My asus may be older, AMD ASUS socket 756 setup. It has it's
anomalies, for sure, although not to the point of unreachable BIOS.
You can mess with the CPU and memory timings, voltages, depending on
availability. I have, keeping as close to stock as possible. No
help, really, though. Somebody was mentioning a P4 host frequency or
something. Mine's 100 on a Celeron D, maybe 533, 478 ASUS setup, but
I'll be swapping in a P4 800 sometime soon and I'll have to remember
to see if the BIOS auto setting bumps the host freq up to 200. You
could try taking it down to 100 if possible. That system has been
relatively solid, though. Almost seems newish at least to me. This
AMD noway & flatout isn't. I *have had* luck with swapping power
supplies on not only the AMD. . .with the AMD it gets better, a little
and for awhile I guess, considering how bad it's really gotten over
the years, and that's worse for the wear on pretty much an all
downhill course. I'm fed up dicking with and feeding it power
supplies. Keeping an eyeball out for extra sweet deals, I am, that
and swapping around variously a couple semi-reasonably working extra,
single-core setups. These days prices I find things overall pretty
peachy compared to some of the crap I'd buy at unbelievable
yesteryear's prices. Can't wait to try my very first PCI-EXPRESS
card. :)
 
P

Paul

Tom said:
My elderly system consists of: Asus P4C800-E del, 2Gb ram / Antec Truepower
480W PS / Matrox P650 AGP video / Iiyama AS4332U monitor /Win XP SP3.

This has been hitherto rock solid, but after a recent incident, it now only
gives a black screen on start up Not a case of Windows hanging, methinks, as I
don't reach the Win XP start up screen. Indeed, I no longer even get the Asus
splash screen...or any scrolling post messages!.

The issue started some months ago: monitor screen would occasionally suddenly
start to fracture into a crazed mess of fuzzy, unreadable text. This problem
happened sporadically, but, perhaps significantly?, I could always reliably
induce this screen corruption simply by visiting the BBC iPlayer website. (Flash
overwhelming my Matrox card?). Till now I could always restore proper screen
working by restarting the pc, but on the last occasion, the screen corruption
was so severe that I had to power down the pc...and since then I only get the
black screen, thus am denied any chance to dive into the bios, or
install/uninstall other drivers etc.

The monitor works fine when hooked up to a different pc
Things I've checked so far without success:
- replacing Matrox with a Geforce 6200 AGP card
- resetting bios via MB jumper settings
- booting to a bootable Win CD
- reducing load on MB / PS by removing all peripheral cards and HD's, except for
video card.

I've no other PS available to swap in for the Antec, but last time | checked
with a software utility, the system hardware voltage rails all seemed healthy.
Any pointers? Asus MB blown? I guess it's time long overdue to move on?
If you're done a "Clear CMOS", that returns the P4C800-E Deluxe to using
"full screen logo" during startup. That would normally be covering the text
during POST. One of the first things I do on that motherboard, is disable
"full screen logo", so the text will be visible. Not that it matters in this case.
Removing full screen logo, makes it easier to determine how far along in POST
it is getting. And I like to leave it that way, in case of later troubles.

So what I think we know in this case is:

1) Machine stuck at BIOS level.
2) No beep pattern to speak of (as the machine beeps a code if the BIOS detects a problem).
3) No audible error messages (as the board has the Winbond Voice chip and if you're using
motherboard Line_Out connector and have the Winbond enabled, you could also potentially
hear a message on there).

Along Krypsis line of thinking, I'd remove *all* memory DIMMs (with power completely
removed). Then, start the system. Does the computer case speaker beep a repeating
"bad RAM" message ? If it does, that means the processor has been able to execute
enough code, to be able to attempt startup of the RAM. And that's a good sign, that
BIOS code is loading. If the machine will beep, that helps test CPU, NB/SB chipset,
BIOS ROM, and so on. A lot of the system has to work, in order for it to beep.

If you get no reaction, no beeps, black screen, then that means the processor is
not able to execute code. You'd want to get a multimeter and verify voltages at
that point, because, after all, you did mention Antec Truepower, and some of
those have died with bad caps inside the power supply. I have two dead Antecs here.
On one of them, the five volt output eventually died (went out of spec), due to
leaking caps that filter that output. You get the orange/brown crud seen on the
caps in this picture. There are at least five bad caps in this picture.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/PSU_Caps.jpg

If a replacement supply won't bring it to its senses, then you have
many possibilities. If it won't beep, with the RAM removed, then also
remove the video card and retest. If a video card was to "short out" the
AGP bus, that might load the Northbridge enough to prevent proper operation
of the rest of the interfaces. So a second "beep test case", is with
both RAM and video removed.

That might leave motherboard or CPU, of which motherboard is the "weak link".
CPUs are generally pretty good, with the odd batch that "escapes proper testing"
at the factory. You don't see that too often. Your system is old enough, the
processor is not an "infant mortality". I'd tend to look at motherboard
first in that case, unless the processor has already been giving signs of
trouble. If you'd been torturing the processor, you probably would have
mentioned that by now :) Northwood processors suffer from "sudden death"
syndrome, if you apply the right value of boosted VCore. But that might take
the max setting the BIOS has to offer, for VCore.

With regard to the chipset, there have been many motherboard failures due to
ICH5/ICH5R. But that kind of failure is very sudden - one day it works, the
next day it doesn't. The root cause could be a "latchup" failure. Sometimes,
all the USB ports blow, and the board still boots. But if you see this
burn mark, "she's dead Scotty". If it's burned like this (and the warranty
is long gone), it means finding another motherboard.

http://onfinite.com/libraries/179057/2ea.jpg

Paul
 
T

Tom McCreadie

Try swapping out memory sticks. IE, remove all but one, try starting the
beast. Then substitute a different memory stick each time you try a
restart. Only takes one faulty one to stop everything.
Thanks for alerting to possible memory issues. My PSU is a Prescott P4 3.2GHz
(FSB Freq 800 Mhz; FSB speed 200 MHz), and the MB was loaded with four 512 MB
sticks of Kingston DDR-400 RAM [KVR400x64C3A/512; PC3200 (200 MHz). I've since
tried booting with all permissible perrmutations of one-, two- and four sticks,
as described in the Asus MB manual, but this did not help.
 
T

Tom McCreadie

My asus may be older, AMD ASUS socket 756 setup. It has it's
anomalies, for sure, although not to the point of unreachable BIOS.
You can mess with the CPU and memory timings, voltages, depending on
availability. I have, keeping as close to stock as possible. No
help, really, though. Somebody was mentioning a P4 host frequency or
something. Mine's 100 on a Celeron D, maybe 533, 478 ASUS setup, but
I'll be swapping in a P4 800 sometime soon and I'll have to remember
to see if the BIOS auto setting bumps the host freq up to 200. You
could try taking it down to 100 if possible. That system has been
relatively solid, though. ....
Thanks for the response. Unfortunately I cannot report on, let alone adjust, the
current state of my bios settings because of the frustrating 'chicken and egg'
situation that I'm now unable to get access to the bios.

Generally I have always run with conservative 'auto / default' settings, with no
overclocking or agressive timings.
 
M

Mike Easter

Tom said:
I've no other PS available to swap in for the Antec, but last time |
checked with a software utility, the system hardware voltage rails
all seemed healthy. Any pointers?
My local Fry's often has sales on PS as low as $20, whereas retail price
when you need one is much much more expensive.

So I buy one on sale when I don't need one and so there is always a
brand new 'spare' around for me to troubleshoot with.

I also keep a spare bought-on-sale router around for the same reasons.
 
T

Tom McCreadie

If you're done a "Clear CMOS", that returns the P4C800-E Deluxe to using
"full screen logo" during startup. That would normally be covering the text
during POST. One of the first things I do on that motherboard, is disable
"full screen logo", so the text will be visible. Not that it matters in this case.
Removing full screen logo, makes it easier to determine how far along in POST
it is getting. And I like to leave it that way, in case of later troubles.

So what I think we know in this case is:

1) Machine stuck at BIOS level.
2) No beep pattern to speak of (as the machine beeps a code if the BIOS detects a problem).
3) No audible error messages (as the board has the Winbond Voice chip and if you're using
motherboard Line_Out connector and have the Winbond enabled, you could also potentially
hear a message on there).

Along Krypsis line of thinking, I'd remove *all* memory DIMMs (with power completely
removed). Then, start the system. Does the computer case speaker beep a repeating
"bad RAM" message ? If it does, that means the processor has been able to execute
enough code, to be able to attempt startup of the RAM. And that's a good sign, that
BIOS code is loading. If the machine will beep, that helps test CPU, NB/SB chipset,
BIOS ROM, and so on. A lot of the system has to work, in order for it to beep.

If you get no reaction, no beeps, black screen, then that means the processor is
not able to execute code. You'd want to get a multimeter and verify voltages at
that point, because, after all, you did mention Antec Truepower, and some of
those have died with bad caps inside the power supply. I have two dead Antecs here.
On one of them, the five volt output eventually died (went out of spec), due to
leaking caps that filter that output. You get the orange/brown crud seen on the
caps in this picture. There are at least five bad caps in this picture.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/PSU_Caps.jpg
<rest benignly snipped>

Thanks for the typically thorough reply, Paul. You bring up a lot of
considerations that I still have to work my way through.

My 'Clear CMOS' procedure was: disconnect MB power > move a MB jumper from 1-2
to 2-3 for a few secs, then back to 1-2 > restore power. But I did not remove or
replace the CMOS battery. OK?

I get no Winbond Voice audible error message and also get no PC case speaker
beeps when I boot with no memory installed. Ditto when booting with all memory
re-installed. (<- all these tests were run with video card installedI). My
Winbond Voice is presumably still active, as I recall using it during my system
build; but I guess I need to dredge up the handbook of my Antec P160 case to
check if my case speaker is still properly connected :) All the caps on the
MB appear fine. I still have to inspect the innards of the Antec or measure the
voltage rails...but at least the MB and case fans, drive bay lights etc. all
work fine.

FWIW, on a few occasions (generally unconnected to my aforementioned fuzzy
screen issue ) when my system has hung and needed a power-off reset, I often
have seen an errror message on reboot: "system overclocking failure". I found
that mystifying as I never overclock. But maybe that was linked to my
impatient, multiple-pressing of the case 'reset' button. (I recall a thread back
in June where you pointed out the consequences to the bios of using the 'reset')
.. .
 
G

GMAN

My elderly system consists of: Asus P4C800-E del, 2Gb ram / Antec Truepower
480W PS / Matrox P650 AGP video / Iiyama AS4332U monitor /Win XP SP3.

This has been hitherto rock solid, but after a recent incident, it now only
gives a black screen on start up Not a case of Windows hanging, methinks, as I
don't reach the Win XP start up screen. Indeed, I no longer even get the Asus
splash screen...or any scrolling post messages!.

The issue started some months ago: monitor screen would occasionally suddenly
start to fracture into a crazed mess of fuzzy, unreadable text. This problem
happened sporadically, but, perhaps significantly?, I could always reliably
induce this screen corruption simply by visiting the BBC iPlayer website.
(Flash
overwhelming my Matrox card?). Till now I could always restore proper screen
working by restarting the pc, but on the last occasion, the screen corruption
was so severe that I had to power down the pc...and since then I only get the
black screen, thus am denied any chance to dive into the bios, or
install/uninstall other drivers etc.

The monitor works fine when hooked up to a different pc
Things I've checked so far without success:
- replacing Matrox with a Geforce 6200 AGP card
- resetting bios via MB jumper settings
- booting to a bootable Win CD
- reducing load on MB / PS by removing all peripheral cards and HD's, except
for
video card.

I've no other PS available to swap in for the Antec, but last time | checked
with a software utility, the system hardware voltage rails all seemed healthy.
Any pointers? Asus MB blown? I guess it's time long overdue to move on?
Do a google search for "ICH5R Latchup"

http://onfinite.com/libraries/179057/2ea.jpg


http://www.tomshardware.
com/forum/154095-30-latchup-problem-ich5-chip-p4p800-deluxe
 
P

Paul

Tom said:
Thanks for the typically thorough reply, Paul. You bring up a lot of
considerations that I still have to work my way through.

My 'Clear CMOS' procedure was: disconnect MB power > move a MB jumper from 1-2
to 2-3 for a few secs, then back to 1-2 > restore power. But I did not remove or
replace the CMOS battery. OK?

I get no Winbond Voice audible error message and also get no PC case speaker
beeps when I boot with no memory installed. Ditto when booting with all memory
re-installed. (<- all these tests were run with video card installedI). My
Winbond Voice is presumably still active, as I recall using it during my system
build; but I guess I need to dredge up the handbook of my Antec P160 case to
check if my case speaker is still properly connected :) All the caps on the
MB appear fine. I still have to inspect the innards of the Antec or measure the
voltage rails...but at least the MB and case fans, drive bay lights etc. all
work fine.

FWIW, on a few occasions (generally unconnected to my aforementioned fuzzy
screen issue ) when my system has hung and needed a power-off reset, I often
have seen an errror message on reboot: "system overclocking failure". I found
that mystifying as I never overclock. But maybe that was linked to my
impatient, multiple-pressing of the case 'reset' button. (I recall a thread back
in June where you pointed out the consequences to the bios of using the 'reset')
. .
If you've verified the case speaker is connected (to listen for a beep pattern),
you can try again, to remove both memory and video, and listen for beeps.

If it won't beep, one possible reason, might be if it was "stuck in reset".
The power supply has a "power good" type signal, which must be asserted
by the power supply, before the system will start. You might hear the
power supply fan start, the case cooling fans start and so on, and yet
no other reaction. The power good signal is tied into the reset logic,
and the system comes out of reset, at some time after that signal is
asserted. A similar thing might happen, if you pushed on the reset button
too hard, the reset button was cheap, and got crushed in the "ON" state.

You could check the power good signal with a multimeter, on the main ATX
cable, while the system is running. (You can place a probe into the nylon
shell and touch the wire, with some effort.) You could also try that,
with the power supply removed and sitting on a table top, but then that
isn't as good as an "in-system" test.

I'd probably also want to check a few of the supply pins. You can access
+5V and +12V on a Molex disk connector. The +3.3V would be on the main
connector, or if your supply has it, it might be one of the pins on the
1x6 aux connector (seldom used). Again, I'd do that in-system, to save
a little time. (I don't recommend in-system testing, if the power supply
has made it obvious it's sick. If the power supply has emitted any
"magic smoke", then all testing should be done with the power supply
removed from the system. But since you don't report any symptoms pointing
at the supply, then testing it in-system should be OK.)

The Winbond, as far as I know, would be enabled after you've reset the
CMOS. You may be able to verify that, by looking at the user manual,
in the BIOS section. The Winbond output, is sometimes capacitively coupled
to the motherboard sound Line_Out lime green colored connector, and may be
coupled into one of the stereo sound channels. If you're using a separate
SoundBlaster, and have speakers hooked up to that, then you'd miss it.
Move your computer amplified speakers over to the motherboard sound,
and listen for some of that "illegible" voice audio. I use the tempo and
intonation, comparing to the list of errors in the manual, to kinda guess
at what she's saying :)

The Winbond works, even when there is no CPU present. If you pull the CPU
from the motherboard socket, the Winbond has one message that detects
there is nothing plugged into the socket. Two of the messages are timer
based (Winbond timer). If the CPU doesn't clear the timer, within the
timeout period, then those messages will come from the speakers. The
rest of the messages, require proactive BIOS activity, writing something
into the Winbond chip, to get the audio message delivered. The Winbond
has its own processor (state machine) inside, which is why it can clock
out an audio message, when everything else is dead. But if the reset
signal is stuck ON, it's possible even the Winbond will be silent.
I can't remember whether it's connected to reset or not...

Between either the Winbond feature (and your computer amplified speakers),
or the beeping on the case speakers, you should be able to get some kinda
feedback as you remove stuff and test.

Paul
 
F

Flasherly

FWIW, on a few occasions (generally unconnected to my aforementioned fuzzy
screen issue ) when my system has hung and needed a power-off reset, I often
have seen an errror message on reboot: "system overclocking failure". I found
that mystifying as I never overclock. But maybe that was linked to my
impatient, multiple-pressing of the case 'reset' button.
Asus K8NE-Deluxe here, same one mentioned on the downhill curve. May
be they're both closer than not in manufacturing timeframes. I've
seen same message more than a few times, and associate it as a valid,
though generic, BIOS condition after the unusual occurrences, say an
electrical brownout or perhaps a software crash. Following through,
the BIOS then wants to reset to its default values. However, if
another reset is performed it'll skip merrily along into whatever the
user settings are and return up again as normal. Not a symptomatic
message or at least hasn't impressed me as such in my 8xx-series
case. I starting getting weird things happening with my DVD units
two, three years ago. Strangely losing drive unit functionality,
which advanced to crashes when accessing a unit, but now it's
apparently doesn't need the optics and is happy enough to have turned
into a regular three ring circus. I suspect this mb has accelerated
decrepitude.
 
L

larry moe 'n curly

My elderly system consists of:  Asus P4C800-E del, 2Gb ram /  Antec Truepower
480W PS /  Matrox P650 AGP video / Iiyama AS4332U monitor /Win XP SP3.
I've no other PS available to swap in for the Antec, but last time | checked
with a software utility, the system hardware voltage rails all seemed healthy.
Any pointers? Asus MB blown? I guess it's time long overdue to move on?
If fans run, especially those in the power supply or connected
directly to it, then the +12V isn't completely dead, but it could be
as low as 4-5V. OTOH if a hard disk runs (old PATA IDE is probably
better for this test than SATA), then the +12V is probably perfectly
fine, as is the +5V. You can also use an old-style music CD to test
the +12V and +5V, but a DVD drive may not help because almost none
have a play button or earphone jack, unlike most CD drives.

Unfortunately modern motherboards also need +3.3V, and I don't know of
a way to test it, except with a meter or working motherboard. Those
cheap digital multimeters Harbor Freight often advertises for $3 with
a coupon (some of their coupons make it free with any purchase, others
free with a $10 or $20 purchase) are perfectly fine for this. If that
power supply is bad, I suspect the junky Fuhjyyu brand capacitors
because original Antec TruePowers and SmartPowers were full of them,
and Fuhjyyu is one of the worst brands ever made.

To discharge the CMOS, you have to not only unplug the AC but also
remove the battery and move the jumper. A very few motherboards won't
show any signs of life unless a good battery is in place, but I've
seen only two like that.
 
T

Tom McCreadie

Paul said:
Between either the Winbond feature (and your computer amplified speakers),
or the beeping on the case speakers, you should be able to get some kinda
feedback as you remove stuff and test.
Some Incremental progress: After correcting an erroneous cable routing in the
snakes nest behind my desk :), I _do_ now get a Winbond voice message on
start-up. That message was exactly the same irrespective of whether I started
with a) no video or RAM installed; b) video but no RAM; c) both video and RAM.
It was an indecipherable four word Mantra from a charming Chinese lady. If I
presume it was in default English mode, it came over to me as something
phonetically like "display control fullboard crash" :)

But I get no speaker case error beeps. The 4-pin SPKR lead (System Warning
Speaker Lead) from my P4C8800-E MB is connected to the control panel of the
Antec P160 case, but I can find no speaker in that case, nor or a ref to it in
the manual?

I appreciate the many useful leads provided by you and the other thread posters.
Still following them through
 
P

Paul

Tom said:
Some Incremental progress: After correcting an erroneous cable routing in the
snakes nest behind my desk :), I _do_ now get a Winbond voice message on
start-up. That message was exactly the same irrespective of whether I started
with a) no video or RAM installed; b) video but no RAM; c) both video and RAM.
It was an indecipherable four word Mantra from a charming Chinese lady. If I
presume it was in default English mode, it came over to me as something
phonetically like "display control fullboard crash" :)

But I get no speaker case error beeps. The 4-pin SPKR lead (System Warning
Speaker Lead) from my P4C8800-E MB is connected to the control panel of the
Antec P160 case, but I can find no speaker in that case, nor or a ref to it in
the manual?

I appreciate the many useful leads provided by you and the other thread posters.
Still following them through
Look in section 3.2 of the P4C800-E Deluxe manual. You can go to
support.asus.com and download a copy from there, if you don't have the
paper copy (with the tiny print).

It's actually faster for me to navigate their ftp site, than use the web interface :)

ftp://ftp.asus.com.tw/pub/asus/mb/sock478/P4C800E-DX/e1347b_p4c800-e_deluxe.pdf

The first three in that listing are:

No CPU Installed <---- based on CPU grounding a socket pin etc.
You hear this, if powering a "blank" motherboard
fresh from the box, with no components installed.

System Failed CPU Test <---- BIOS code to clear Winbond timer, didn't
get run in time. Most likely reason is that
no BIOS code at all is executing, and it's
just crashed or had a double bus fault.

System Failed Memory Test <---- This is better, because the BIOS cleared the
first timer event, then moved on to attempting
to test memory. You could still have a broken
memory interface on the Northbridge (such that,
no combinations of new memory, change the test
results)

Have a look through section 3, and try and match the message as best you can.

The thing about the PC speaker and the beep patterns, is an unfortunate BIOS patch
was used years ago. When a new generation of BIOS came out, it was beeping once for
each USB device connected. The frequency of those beeps, was slightly different than
the regular BIOS beeps, and users were expected to have "perfect pitch" to tell
the difference. When the users complained, the BIOS patch issued, consisted of
ruining the subroutine that drives the beeper, rather than navigating to the
USB interface code and removing the feature properly. As a result, there are some
motherboards, which don't have proper functioning beep code. I don't know how
many motherboards were affected, what BIOS versions had that feature etc. But
what that means is, if you have a motherboard from around then, and you can't get
beeps, it is possible it's that patch. And I doubt the Asus release notes for the
various BIOS, would go into enough detail to track that down to specific versions.

Paul
 
G

GMAN

Some Incremental progress: After correcting an erroneous cable routing in the
snakes nest behind my desk :), I _do_ now get a Winbond voice message on
start-up. That message was exactly the same irrespective of whether I started
with a) no video or RAM installed; b) video but no RAM; c) both video and RAM.
It was an indecipherable four word Mantra from a charming Chinese lady. If I
presume it was in default English mode, it came over to me as something
phonetically like "display control fullboard crash" :)

But I get no speaker case error beeps. The 4-pin SPKR lead (System Warning
Speaker Lead) from my P4C8800-E MB is connected to the control panel of the
Antec P160 case, but I can find no speaker in that case, nor or a ref to it in
the manual?

I appreciate the many useful leads provided by you and the other thread
posters.
Still following them through

DO a search on Google for ICH5R latchup

The ICH5 and ICH5R are know to meltdown.

The P4C800-E Deluxe uses this chipset.




http://onfinite.com/libraries/179057/2ea.jpg


http://www.howtofixcomputers.
com/forums/homebuilt-pc/pc-has-no-video-no-beep-code-301641.html
 
T

Tom McCreadie

Look in section 3.2 of the P4C800-E Deluxe manual. You can go to
support.asus.com and download a copy from there, if you don't have the
paper copy (with the tiny print).

The first three in that listing are:
ery error
No CPU Installed <---- based on CPU grounding a socket pin etc.
You hear this, if powering a "blank" motherboard
fresh from the box, with no components installed.

System Failed CPU Test <---- BIOS code to clear Winbond timer, didn't
get run in time. Most likely reason is that
no BIOS code at all is executing, and it's
just crashed or had a double bus fault.
Thanks. Yes - on renewed, more careful listening, the above "System Failed CPU
Test" was the only error message I was getting. This was irrespective of the
installed/uninstalled combo's of video or RAM. (And to my embarrassment, I'm
now aware that there has already been screeds of Usenet- and web-forum postings
on that specific error message)

Thereafter in my testing, however, at the instant I powered up for the umpteenth
time (with the intention to check out the working system voltages with my
meter), a decisive event occurred: The Antec PS gave a sharp cracking bang,
emitting a small puff of smoke and a burning smell !. Capacitor exploding?

My tentative take then is that an ageing / failing Antec PS was the culprit in
my start-up (and fuzzy screen) problems. But of course, can't rule out that the
troubleshooting régime of frequent on/off power switching may well have
hastened its demise. My understanding is that most Antecs die gracefully, so I'm
crossing my fingers that there will be minimum collateral damage :).

Anyway, time to pick up a new PS...there's nothing like a small explosion to
help crystallize the thoughts and narrow the choices :)
 
T

Tom McCreadie

DO a search on Google for ICH5R latchup

The ICH5 and ICH5R are know to meltdown.

The P4C800-E Deluxe uses this chipset.
Thanks, but after checking, I don't think I had any latchup issues because:
- ICH5R was only lukewarm after hours of power on
- no scorch marks signs etc. on chip
- all rear USB ports had been running OK

The problem turned out to be a failing Antec TP480 power supply (details in
reply to Paul in this thread)
 
P

Paul

Tom said:
Thanks. Yes - on renewed, more careful listening, the above "System Failed CPU
Test" was the only error message I was getting. This was irrespective of the
installed/uninstalled combo's of video or RAM. (And to my embarrassment, I'm
now aware that there has already been screeds of Usenet- and web-forum postings
on that specific error message)

Thereafter in my testing, however, at the instant I powered up for the umpteenth
time (with the intention to check out the working system voltages with my
meter), a decisive event occurred: The Antec PS gave a sharp cracking bang,
emitting a small puff of smoke and a burning smell !. Capacitor exploding?

My tentative take then is that an ageing / failing Antec PS was the culprit in
my start-up (and fuzzy screen) problems. But of course, can't rule out that the
troubleshooting régime of frequent on/off power switching may well have
hastened its demise. My understanding is that most Antecs die gracefully, so I'm
crossing my fingers that there will be minimum collateral damage :).

Anyway, time to pick up a new PS...there's nothing like a small explosion to
help crystallize the thoughts and narrow the choices :)
"System Failed CPU Test" could be power related, but lots of other
motherboard failures could also do it.

*******

"sharp cracking bang". I bet that got your attention :)

It also kinda answers your questions as to what is broken.

At least I pulled mine, before that happened. I only got a small
puff of smoke from one of mine, which was probably smoke coming
out of one of the output caps (rather than something on the primary
side).

Hope there is no collateral damage. Time will tell. I think the
odds are in your favor, and still worth buying a replacement supply
and giving it a test.

*******

With regard to the power switch on the back of a PC. It's not meant
for quick toggling. The inrush limiter needs time to cool off, to
operate properly. Rapid toggling (like once a second), is hard
on the switch, amongst other things. The supply draws a huge current
for a cycle or two of 60Hz AC. In some cases (I have a supply here
that does this), it draws enough current to cause the UPS to beep on
overcurrent.

In this power supply schematic, inrush limiting is provided by NTCR1 in
the upper left hand corner. The temperature of NTCR1 changes while
it's running. It has to cool off a bit, so it goes back to the
high resistance state, which helps limit current flow for the first
second or two of operation. I give mine perhaps 30 seconds, before
switching on again. This might not be the only way to build an
inrush limited, and perhaps there are more reliable ways to do it.

http://www.pavouk.org/hw/en_atxps.html

If too much current is jammed through the power switch, it degrades
the contacts. On a product we built at work, we had a whole bunch
of power switch failures, caused by that current flow. In fact,
on the computer at my desk (our own brand of computer), I switched
on one morning, and the switch crumbled in my fingers. The underneath
of it was burned out. Pretty funny, and a good way for the problem
to get some attention :)

Paul
 

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