Motherboard, CMOS battery, and recharge...


A

Ant

Hello,

A few days ago, I noticed powering on my computer showed MSI splash
screen (had this disabled) and then it went to BIOS screen to say "CMOS
Checksum error. Defaults loaded."

I was hoping it was a hiccup. I powered off the machine off and on to
see if it remembers my settings, nope. I had to reconfigure it
(annoying). The next day, it happened again. I usually turn off my
machine (including its SeaSonic 650 watts PSU) when I go out to work
(11-12 hours long) or gone for a long time when the machine is unused.

I did try turning off my machine without turning off the PSU for about
five minutes. Turning on did not show resetted CMOS. I have NOT tried
leaving my PSU on when the computer is off. I am not sure if that is
going to keep my CMOS settings intact or charge the battery. I usually
like to turn everything off completely (no lights and stuff) to avoid
those small energy usages.

Is the motherboard's battery is totally dead or is it just bad luck? I
only had this MSI K8N NEO4-F (MS-7125; PCB v3.0) motherboard (NVIDIA
nForce4) motherboard before Christmas 2006! Aren't CMOS batteries
supposed to last for years?

Thank you in advance.
--
"We're all ants. I'm a glittery little ant." --Alanis Morissette
/\___/\
/ /\ /\ \ Phillip (Ant) @ http://antfarm.ma.cx (Personal Web Site)
| |o o| | Ant's Quality Foraged Links (AQFL): http://aqfl.net
\ _ / Remove ANT from e-mail address: (e-mail address removed)
( ) or (e-mail address removed)
Ant is currently not listening to any songs on his home computer.
 
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J

Jan Alter

Ant said:
Hello,

A few days ago, I noticed powering on my computer showed MSI splash screen
(had this disabled) and then it went to BIOS screen to say "CMOS Checksum
error. Defaults loaded."

I was hoping it was a hiccup. I powered off the machine off and on to see
if it remembers my settings, nope. I had to reconfigure it (annoying). The
next day, it happened again. I usually turn off my machine (including its
SeaSonic 650 watts PSU) when I go out to work (11-12 hours long) or gone
for a long time when the machine is unused.

I did try turning off my machine without turning off the PSU for about
five minutes. Turning on did not show resetted CMOS. I have NOT tried
leaving my PSU on when the computer is off. I am not sure if that is going
to keep my CMOS settings intact or charge the battery. I usually like to
turn everything off completely (no lights and stuff) to avoid those small
energy usages.

Is the motherboard's battery is totally dead or is it just bad luck? I
only had this MSI K8N NEO4-F (MS-7125; PCB v3.0) motherboard (NVIDIA
nForce4) motherboard before Christmas 2006! Aren't CMOS batteries supposed
to last for years?

Thank you in advance.
--
"We're all ants. I'm a glittery little ant." --Alanis Morissette
/\___/\
/ /\ /\ \ Phillip (Ant) @ http://antfarm.ma.cx (Personal Web Site)
| |o o| | Ant's Quality Foraged Links (AQFL): http://aqfl.net
\ _ / Remove ANT from e-mail address: (e-mail address removed)
( ) or (e-mail address removed)
Ant is currently not listening to any songs on his home computer.
Yes, batteroes should last for years, but wouldn't it make sense at this
point to simply take out the battery and test it with a VOM to see what its
got left before arguing that it's the battery in the first place? It should
read 3V if it's in good shape.
 
A

Ant

Yes, batteroes should last for years, but wouldn't it make sense at this
point to simply take out the battery and test it with a VOM to see what its
got left before arguing that it's the battery in the first place? It should
read 3V if it's in good shape.
Is there a way to check via the computer like those hardware sensors? Or
do I need to verify it via a physical battery reader device (need to get
one)?
--
"... Our world is not an ant farm!" --Duncan MacLeod (Highlander Season
3 Finale Part II)
/\___/\
/ /\ /\ \ Phillip (Ant) @ http://antfarm.ma.cx (Personal Web Site)
| |o o| | Ant's Quality Foraged Links (AQFL): http://aqfl.net
\ _ / Remove ANT from e-mail address: (e-mail address removed)
( ) or (e-mail address removed)
Ant is currently not listening to any songs on his home computer.
 
J

Jan Alter

Ant said:
Is there a way to check via the computer like those hardware sensors? Or
do I need to verify it via a physical battery reader device (need to get
one)?


Well rather than be surprised that you don't have one lieing around you
could take a flashlight bulb and one wire and connect the battery with the
bulb and wire to see if the bulb will light. Now please don't tell me you
don't have a flashlight (that works with 2 C or D cell batteries).

I'm not aware of any sensors on the mb or software that gives you the
health of the battery.
 
T

The Seabat

Actually, it will read 3V (or whatever the rated voltage is) even if
the cell is no good. The only time you will get zero voltage is if
the cell is completely dead. You need to read the voltage under
load. The next time your car battery bails out on you, unhook it
from the vehicle and test the voltage, it will read 12V, but that
puppy won't turn your car engine over!

You have to test voltage under load, in other words, at the time it
is being used.
 
T

The Seabat

This would work if you were able to tell the difference in lumens of
the light bulb between a fresh battery and an old used one! Head
over to Radio Shack and pick up a cheap VOM, they have some that are
around $10 or so. It will come in handy with other projects.

When you read the voltage you will have to do it inline. You will
have to put the meter between the line (battery) and the load (BIOS
chip) and power on the system to get a correct voltage reading.

It might be easier to pick up a battery tester. Again, be sure and
get one that tests under a load!

Have you looked in the BIOS setup to see if there is any battery
health indication?
 
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R

Roby

Jan said:
Well rather than be surprised that you don't have one lieing around you
could take a flashlight bulb and one wire and connect the battery with the
bulb and wire to see if the bulb will light. Now please don't tell me you
don't have a flashlight (that works with 2 C or D cell batteries).

I'm not aware of any sensors on the mb or software that gives you the
health of the battery.
The flashlight bulb method is far better than a vom test: "dead" batteries
often show full/nearly full terminal voltage when tested with a voltmeter
(which draws nearly no current). Real battery testers connect a resistor
across the battery to draw some test current and read the voltage across it.
I have a cheapy tester from Radio Shack that serves my needs.

The battery SHOULD last several years. Yours might have been defective
or even beyond its useful age before it was installed. Why not just put
in a new one while you're in there?

If the replacement cell suffers premature death, you may have a leaky
capacitor on the motherboard: hard to find, hard to replace. Consider
building an off-board replacement - two AA cells in a battery clip
mounted somewhere inside the case and connected to the external battery
pins on your m/b. Remove the original battery. BE CERTAIN you get the
polarity of the new battery correct! I had a m/b that would drain a
CR2032 in about 6 weeks. Two AA's lasted about two years.
 
A

Ant

Well rather than be surprised that you don't have one lieing around you
could take a flashlight bulb and one wire and connect the battery with the
bulb and wire to see if the bulb will light. Now please don't tell me you
don't have a flashlight (that works with 2 C or D cell batteries).
Ooh, I didn't know this can be done. Is this with ANY flash lights? I
have one of those flashlights that I carry with my keychains.

I'm not aware of any sensors on the mb or software that gives you the
health of the battery.

--
"Ants are so much like human beings as to be an embarrassment. They farm
fungi, raise aphids as livestock, launch armies into wars, use chemical
sprays to alarm and confuse enemies, capture slaves. The families of
weaver ants engage in child labor, holding their larvae like shuttles to
spin out the thread that sews the leaves together for their fungus
gardens. They exchange information ceaselessly. They do everything but
watch television." --Lewis Thomas
/\___/\
/ /\ /\ \ Phillip (Ant) @ http://antfarm.ma.cx (Personal Web Site)
| |o o| | Ant's Quality Foraged Links (AQFL): http://aqfl.net
\ _ / Remove ANT from e-mail address: (e-mail address removed)
( ) or (e-mail address removed)
Ant is currently not listening to any songs on his home computer.
 
A

Ant

This would work if you were able to tell the difference in lumens of
the light bulb between a fresh battery and an old used one! Head
over to Radio Shack and pick up a cheap VOM, they have some that are
around $10 or so. It will come in handy with other projects.

When you read the voltage you will have to do it inline. You will
have to put the meter between the line (battery) and the load (BIOS
chip) and power on the system to get a correct voltage reading.

It might be easier to pick up a battery tester. Again, be sure and
get one that tests under a load!


Have you looked in the BIOS setup to see if there is any battery
health indication?
I only see via software monitors like hwinfo32:
Winbond W83627EHF:
VcoreA: 1.33
3.3V AVCC: 3.25
3.3V 3VCC: 3.25
VIN1: 1.55
VIN2: 3.09
+5VSB: 5.00
+12V: 12.09
VBAT: 2.93

Does that VBAT look correct?

I will check in BIOS when I reboot like tomorrow (probably will lose my
CMOS settings at that time hehe).
--
"For every 1 person on earth there are 1 million ants." --Factoid for
the video of Adam Ant's "Goody Two Shoes" Pop Up Video
/\___/\
/ /\ /\ \ Phillip (Ant) @ http://antfarm.ma.cx (Personal Web Site)
| |o o| | Ant's Quality Foraged Links (AQFL): http://aqfl.net
\ _ / Remove ANT from e-mail address: (e-mail address removed)
( ) or (e-mail address removed)
Ant is currently not listening to any songs on his home computer.
 
P

Paul

Ant said:
Ooh, I didn't know this can be done. Is this with ANY flash lights? I
have one of those flashlights that I carry with my keychains.
You would match a 3V flashlight bulb, with a 3V battery.

If you have a flashlight that uses two dry cells, then that is likely
to contain a 3V flashlight bulb.

It really depends on the voltage that your keychain runs at, as to
whether the bulb would be good for the test or not. If you use a 6V
flashlight bulb, it won't light, because not enough current flows.
If you use a 1.5V flashlight bulb, it would draw too much current,
burn too brightly, and could burn out before the test is finished.
A 3V bulb would be "just right" for the job..

Paul
 
F

Franc Zabkar

Hello,

A few days ago, I noticed powering on my computer showed MSI splash
screen (had this disabled) and then it went to BIOS screen to say "CMOS
Checksum error. Defaults loaded."

I was hoping it was a hiccup. I powered off the machine off and on to
see if it remembers my settings, nope. I had to reconfigure it
(annoying). The next day, it happened again. I usually turn off my
machine (including its SeaSonic 650 watts PSU) when I go out to work
(11-12 hours long) or gone for a long time when the machine is unused.

I did try turning off my machine without turning off the PSU for about
five minutes. Turning on did not show resetted CMOS. I have NOT tried
leaving my PSU on when the computer is off. I am not sure if that is
going to keep my CMOS settings intact or charge the battery. I usually
like to turn everything off completely (no lights and stuff) to avoid
those small energy usages.

Is the motherboard's battery is totally dead or is it just bad luck? I
only had this MSI K8N NEO4-F (MS-7125; PCB v3.0) motherboard (NVIDIA
nForce4) motherboard before Christmas 2006! Aren't CMOS batteries
supposed to last for years?

Thank you in advance.
This discussion may be of interest to you:
http://www.hardwareanalysis.com/content/topic/45235/

It appears that SpeedFan should be able to detect your battery
voltage.

- Franc Zabkar
 
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A

Ant

You would match a 3V flashlight bulb, with a 3V battery.

If you have a flashlight that uses two dry cells, then that is likely
to contain a 3V flashlight bulb.

It really depends on the voltage that your keychain runs at, as to
whether the bulb would be good for the test or not. If you use a 6V
flashlight bulb, it won't light, because not enough current flows.
If you use a 1.5V flashlight bulb, it would draw too much current,
burn too brightly, and could burn out before the test is finished.
A 3V bulb would be "just right" for the job..
Ah OK. So basically, I need to match the battery voltages.
--
"This is the ant. Treat it with respect. For it may very well be the
next dominant lifeform of our planet." --Empire of the Ants movie
/\___/\
/ /\ /\ \ Phillip (Ant) @ http://antfarm.ma.cx (Personal Web Site)
| |o o| | Ant's Quality Foraged Links (AQFL): http://aqfl.net
\ _ / Remove ANT from e-mail address: (e-mail address removed)
( ) or (e-mail address removed)
Ant is currently not listening to any songs on his home computer.
 
A

Ant

Ants don't have fingers. [grin]

Hmm, that's not good. I hope I don't have to RMA it. 5 weeks. Ick.

It appears that SpeedFan should be able to detect your battery
voltage.
SpeedFan v4.32 didn't detect it, but HWINfo32 did:

Winbond W83627EHF:
VcoreA: 1.33
3.3V AVCC: 3.25
3.3V 3VCC: 3.25
VIN1: 1.55
VIN2: 3.09
+5VSB: 5.00
+12V: 12.09
VBAT: 2.93

Does that VBAT look correct?
--
"I have to sit up with a sick ant." --unknown
/\___/\
/ /\ /\ \ Phillip (Ant) @ http://antfarm.ma.cx (Personal Web Site)
| |o o| | Ant's Quality Foraged Links (AQFL): http://aqfl.net
\ _ / Remove ANT from e-mail address: (e-mail address removed)
( ) or (e-mail address removed)
Ant is currently not listening to any songs on his home computer.
 
A

Ant

Also, I forgot to mention that I am already using the latest BIOS from
MSI since I ever got this motherboard.
--
"When I am at my lowest, that is when I see things the clearest. It's
hard to care about ants when you're soaring with eagles." --unknown
/\___/\
/ /\ /\ \ Phillip (Ant) @ http://antfarm.ma.cx (Personal Web Site)
| |o o| | Ant's Quality Foraged Links (AQFL): http://aqfl.net
\ _ / Remove ANT from e-mail address: (e-mail address removed)
( ) or (e-mail address removed)
Ant is/was listening to a song on his home computer: Virgill vs Bach -
Komm oh Tod du Schlafes Bruder
 
J

Jan Alter

Ant said:
Also, I forgot to mention that I am already using the latest BIOS from MSI
since I ever got this motherboard.


Regardless of what the software is reporting it would be conclusive to
follow earlier advice. The software is reporting the battery voltage while
the computer is on and there is some charging going on of the battery in the
first place. Being resistant to following some very simple recommendations
will not solve your problem and eliminate knowing if the battery is your
problem.
 
P

Paul

Jan said:
Regardless of what the software is reporting it would be conclusive to
follow earlier advice. The software is reporting the battery voltage while
the computer is on and there is some charging going on of the battery in the
first place. Being resistant to following some very simple recommendations
will not solve your problem and eliminate knowing if the battery is your
problem.
There is no charging going on, on the battery. Batteries have a diode in
the path, which allows only discharging, no recharging. This 440BX reference
schematic from Intel, shows an example of the diode ORing used in the circuit.
Try PDF page 18 here, lower left corner. The BAR43 Schottky is selected for a
low forward voltage drop, which gets the best usage from the available battery
voltage. Current flows only one way through the BAR43..

http://www.intel.com/design/chipsets/designex/BXDPDG10.PDF

Paul
 
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A

Ant

There is no charging going on, on the battery. Batteries have a diode in
the path, which allows only discharging, no recharging. This 440BX
reference
schematic from Intel, shows an example of the diode ORing used in the
circuit.
Try PDF page 18 here, lower left corner. The BAR43 Schottky is selected
for a
low forward voltage drop, which gets the best usage from the available
battery
voltage. Current flows only one way through the BAR43..

http://www.intel.com/design/chipsets/designex/BXDPDG10.PDF
Really? I always thought (read it somewhere) that CMOS batteries were
recharged when the computer was on. That's a bummer.

As for taking the battery out, I haven't been able to do so far. I have
to wait for my friend to come over to do it (probably next weekend)
since I am physically disabled and can't even open and move my computer
case nor yank the battery out easily. :(
--
"The ants are back Ted!" --Dougal from Father Ted TV show.
/\___/\
/ /\ /\ \ Phillip (Ant) @ http://antfarm.ma.cx (Personal Web Site)
| |o o| | Ant's Quality Foraged Links (AQFL): http://aqfl.net
\ _ / Remove ANT from e-mail address: (e-mail address removed)
( ) or (e-mail address removed)
Ant is currently not listening to any songs on his home computer.
 
F

Franc Zabkar

On 6/3/2007 3:14 PM PT, Franc Zabkar wrote:
Hmm, that's not good. I hope I don't have to RMA it. 5 weeks. Ick.
It could be just a flat battery (which may have expired prematurely
because of a mishandled or improperly stored motherboard ?). In any
case a new battery should cost around $2 or $3, and a cheap multimeter
should cost around $10.
SpeedFan v4.32 didn't detect it, but HWINfo32 did:

Winbond W83627EHF:
VcoreA: 1.33
3.3V AVCC: 3.25
3.3V 3VCC: 3.25
VIN1: 1.55
VIN2: 3.09
+5VSB: 5.00
+12V: 12.09
VBAT: 2.93

Does that VBAT look correct?
A fresh CR2032 lithium coin cell measures 3.20V unloaded. In my case
it also measures 3.20V in-circuit. Yours doesn't look too bad, but
then you need to remember that when the machine is powered up, the
power for the CMOS RAM comes from the PSU, not the battery, so VBAT
may be lower when the machine is powered down.

FWIW, I use this older hardware monitoring program:
http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/System-Info/Motherboard-Monitor.shtml

I like it because it is highly configurable. Among other things, you
can choose your own names for the voltages, temps, and fan speeds. For
example, you could change "VIN1" to "VAGP" (if that's what it is). You
can also edit an .ini file to correct any configuration errors. I have
no idea whether HWinfo can do any of this.

One other thing to check is your BIOS setup. AFAIK most recent BIOSes
have a hardware monitor screen. You could compare this with HWINfo32.

- Franc Zabkar
 
A

Ant

It could be just a flat battery (which may have expired prematurely
because of a mishandled or improperly stored motherboard ?). In any
case a new battery should cost around $2 or $3, and a cheap multimeter
should cost around $10.


A fresh CR2032 lithium coin cell measures 3.20V unloaded. In my case
it also measures 3.20V in-circuit. Yours doesn't look too bad, but
then you need to remember that when the machine is powered up, the
power for the CMOS RAM comes from the PSU, not the battery, so VBAT
may be lower when the machine is powered down.
Wait, when the computer is on, is the battery being charged? I read that
it isn't but I remember reading years ago, it was. I am confused. Is the
battery doing anything when the PSU is still on when the machine is off?
Because I always turn off the PSU when the machine is off.

Yeah, but it hasn't been updated since June 18th, 2004 13:27. Are you
sure it is usable under newer systems?

I like it because it is highly configurable. Among other things, you
can choose your own names for the voltages, temps, and fan speeds. For
example, you could change "VIN1" to "VAGP" (if that's what it is). You
can also edit an .ini file to correct any configuration errors. I have
no idea whether HWinfo can do any of this.

One other thing to check is your BIOS setup. AFAIK most recent BIOSes
have a hardware monitor screen. You could compare this with HWINfo32.
I will check again later today since I will be turning the machine off
again. :D
--
"An ant is over six feet tall when measured by its own foot-rule."
--Slovenian
/\___/\
/ /\ /\ \ Phillip (Ant) @ http://antfarm.ma.cx (Personal Web Site)
| |o o| | Ant's Quality Foraged Links (AQFL): http://aqfl.net
\ _ / Remove ANT from e-mail address: (e-mail address removed)
( ) or (e-mail address removed)
Ant is currently not listening to any songs on his home computer.
 
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R

Roby

Ant said:
Wait, when the computer is on, is the battery being charged? I read that
it isn't but I remember reading years ago, it was. I am confused. Is the
battery doing anything when the PSU is still on when the machine is off?
Because I always turn off the PSU when the machine is off.



Yeah, but it hasn't been updated since June 18th, 2004 13:27. Are you
sure it is usable under newer systems?



I will check again later today since I will be turning the machine off
again. :D
Prior to the ATX designs, power supplies were either on or off, and usually
controlled by a switch that interrupted the AC input. When the supply was
off, the battery kept the CMOS memory and real time clock happy.

ATX power supplies include an always-on output voltage that serves functions
like wake-on-lan and the low-voltage power on/off pushbutton logic built
into the motherboard. That always-on voltage also powers the CMOS memory
and realtime clock. When you unplug the PS or switch it off, the battery
takes over. If you never switched off the PS (and power never failed),
you could eliminate the battery entirely, causing massive unemployment
at the lithium battery factory.
 

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