SECTION #1:

PROBLEM: The system will not come up at all, the display is blank and the computer does not make any beep sounds from the speaker.

Solution 1: Check the power connectors to the case, the monitor... and to the wall and on the Mother Board. Are any lights coming on at the monitor, case? If not, then you may have popped a circuit breaker in your house or office. Try plugging in a different electrical device or multi-meter to check the power... it should be between 115 and 120, over 125 can easily FRY a computer and other electrical devices. If the lights are on, and the power seems to be fine, then you need to determine if the fan in the power supply coming on? Is the monitor powered on? Is the monitor's video cable plugged into the video card? Double check the brightness and contrast settings. Plug the monitor into another computer if possible to verify the monitor isn't the problem.

Solution 2: Are any of the drive lights on - floppy, hard disk, or CD ROM drives? Did they flash during power on? If yes, then it's probably not the hard drive or cabling... if they are staying on, there a definite problem. Check the BIOS settings. Maybe the battery is dead or too low. If the BIOS is correct, trace the cables and double check all of the connections and jumpers. Make sure that it did not miss any of the pins when it was installed. Also, make sure that the power connector is on properly, remember "red towards power" on most drives.

Solution 3: If the monitor is working fine, and all of the rest of the stuff checks out, chances are - short on the motherboard, bad power supply, or PC speaker connected wrong. If the PC speaker is wrong, you wouldn't hear the beep codes.

Solution 4: Verify that all of the expansion cards are fully seated in the slots. A partially inserted card can cause the system not to boot - power supply fan may be on, but the monitor is black (blank) without any messages. If all the cards and cables are correct, and the system is STILL not working...

Solution 5: Try unplugging and disconnecting everything except the motherboard, PC speaker, and video card... if it doesn't power up here, then check the RAM, video card, motherboard, and power supply.

Solution 6: Try a different power supply - this is a very common problem. Today's power supplies are designed to give up their lives to protect (save) the rest of your computer. Also, most of the new power supplies being sold today we tested do NOT pass the basic tests, and use many short cuts to reduce the cost.

Solution 7: Replace the system RAM, or move them to different slots.

Solution 8: If all else has failed, replace the Mother Board itself. This is a very rare problem, but does occur in once of one-hundred plus boards.

Solution 9: Try a different CPU - also extremely rare... in 20 years, I have only seen this twice on a system that was previously working.

PROBLEM: The system sounds like it is booting but there is no video display.

Solution 1: Verify that the monitor is connected to the computer and power, and is turned on.

Solution 2: Check that the brightness and contrast controls are NOT at the lowest settings.

Solution 3: Replace the Video Adapter.

Solution 4: Replace the monitor itself.

PROBLEM: The system emits a series of beeps but does not display a message on the screen.

Solution: Video Card or RAM memory is the usual problem. Double check the beep codes in the motherboard manual. Remember, there are long and short beeps, like Morris code. Consult the Technical Manual for your Mother Board, to get a description of what these codes indicate. After you have located the code replace the indicated circuits, fix the cables, or otherwise try to solve the problem, and boot the system. Did the beep codes change, stop, or remain? Each BIOS has a different set of "beep codes" you motherboard manual should have a detailed listing of the beeps you are hearing on YOUR system.

RAM and video card are to of the most important items on the system, next to the CPU. If all of the jumpers are working right, there are no shorts on the mother board, and the CPU, RAM and Video card are good and working properly,  the system WILL start, and WILL give you either beep codes, number codes (displayed on the monitor), or nearly human understandable error messages.

PROBLEM: The system displays a numeric error code (usually alphanumeric numbers).

Solution: Check the motherboard manual. Double check the RAM and various cards. Are they seated, and installed correctly? Can you get into the BIOS? If yes, double check the BIOS settings. Don't change ANY SETTINGS unless you are absolutely sure a particular setting is wrong. If you are a novice, bring in a smart friend at this point or a consultant, and consider calling the company you purchased the components from. This is a rare message type on today's systems.

PROBLEM: The Screen displays both FDD and HDD Controller Failure messages.

Check the Bios. If the controller is on a card (not the motherboard) then make sure the card is properly seated in the slot and the cables are correctly set to pin 1.

Solution 1: Make sure that the data and power cables are properly connected to both the drives and the controller.

Solution 2: If both control circuits are on the same interface card, this is common, replace the interface card.

PROBLEM: The screen displays a FDD Controller Failure message.

Double check the cabling and power. Did the floppy drive light up shortly after power up? Yes, did it stay on? Yes - the cable is backwards or wrong. No, double check the BIOS settings. Is the Floppy drive type correct?

Solution 1: Make sure that the data and power cables are properly connected to both the drives and the controller.

Solution 2: Verify the drive controller is fully inserted into the Mother Board.

Solution 3: Replace the Floppy Disk Drive Controller.

Solution 4: Replace the Floppy Disk Drive.

PROBLEM The screen displays a HDD Controller Failure message.

Double check the cabling. Is pin 1 in the correct location? Is the drive hooked up correctly? Is there more than one drive on the same cable? Are the jumpers (master/salve/cable select) set properly? Is there a CD-ROM on that cable? If yes, make sure the CD's jumper is set correctly.

Solution 1: Make sure that the data and power cables are properly connected to both the drives and the controller.

Solution 2: If you have more than one drive in the computer make sure that the drive select jumpers are properly configured. These jumpers are detailed in the Technical Manuals provided with the Hard Disk Drives or written directly on top of the drives.

Solution 3: Verify the drive specifications are set correctly in CMOS.

Solution 4: Verify the drive controller is fully inserted into the Mother Board, if it isn't integrated.

Solution 5: Replace the Hard Disk Drive Controller.

Solution 6: Replace the Hard Disk Drive.

PROBLEM: The screen displays a Keyboard not installed or Keyboard Error message.

Is the keyboard plugged in? Yes, did the numlock light flash after power on? No - bad key board or wrong setting (check the back of the key board, and make sure it isn't set to XT mode - set it to AT mode). When RAM is counting, can you get in to the BIOS? Try a different key board if possible.

Solution 1: Verify that the keyboard is connected to the computer.

Solution 2: Is the keyboard set correctly? Many keyboards still have an XT setting on the bottom or back, which will generate errors on the new systems.

Solution 3: Double check the BIOS - is the Keyboard turned on? If yes, and the keyboard works on a different system, then replace the Mother Board. The circuits that control the keyboard are located on the Mother Board itself.

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Copyright 1998 T.E. Mercer, all rights reserved. This page was last updated 17 April 2000

 

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