Strange hardware problem?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by ray_gillespie, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. ray_gillespie

    ray_gillespie Moderator Staff Member Political User

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    Hi guys,
    I've just been to have a look at my godson's PC which has stopped working for some reason, but I can't get my head round the problem.
    Essentially, when he turns his computer on no signal is sent to the monitor so it remains on standby, and if you turn the monitor off then on it comes up with the usual 'no signal' message.
    I tried to boot up with a different monitor, different leads and different plug sockets and still came up with the same problem, so it has to be something in the case that is causing this. I presumed it was his graphics card at first, but he has an integrated graphics chipset so there is no way to check it, and also I can't just add another graphics card because I'd need to set the BIOS to use the new card before it would cut past the (presumably broken) onboard graphics.
    Now, here's where it gets even more interesting. He's got a HP Compaq D230 Microtower which is very very quiet, so I didn't notice this at first, but when you press the on switch the fans turn on and the LEDs etc, but then it actually powers down for 2 or 3 seconds, then powers back up and stays on. Strangely, when the button is first pressed, the keyboard lights (Caps, Scroll lock etc) all flash us usual, and then flash again when the computer powers up for the 2nd time, then nothing. They won't work at all, pressing Caps lock etc just does nothing, as if there is no power to them. I even plugged in a MS USB mouse that usually glows, and that showed no sign of life when I booted up the PC. Apparently, the computer has been doing the twice boot thing for a while, though my godson is only 11 so I don't know how reliable that is as at first he claimed it had always done that.
    Also worth noting is that the computer doesn't make a single beep when booting up, and when I unplugged the keyboard and mouse is didn't make any error beeps either. There is power to the CD-ROM for certain as I tried to open and close it a few times.
    I opened it up to see if I could spot anything out of place but it all seemed ok. I even reset his CMOS to make sure he'd not screwed with his BIOS or anything (I don't think he would tho) but that did no good.
    So, does anyone have any suggestions? I'll be handing out reps to anyone that can give any advice. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. American Zombie

    American Zombie Moderator Staff Member Political User

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    Did you unplug the power supply from the wall when resetting CMOS and leave the jumper in the reset position for a few minutes?
     
  3. ray_gillespie

    ray_gillespie Moderator Staff Member Political User

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    I unplugged it but it wasn't a jumper it was some sort of button, I've never seen one before but it was clearly marked CMOS and I coulnd't find any CMOS jumpers elsewhere.
     
  4. ming

    ming OSNN Advanced

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    Newer mobos have CMOS reset button clearly labeled. Press it once (probably hold for 5 secs), and then switch on machine.
     
  5. ray_gillespie

    ray_gillespie Moderator Staff Member Political User

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    Yeah that's what I tried but with no success :cry:
     
  6. kcnychief

    kcnychief █▄█ ▀█▄ █ Political User Folding Team

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    I would say the motherboard at the least is fried, with the possibility of more hardware. If the computer isn't even POSTing (you said no beeps), that's really bad. Is there a warranty on the machine?
     
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  7. American Zombie

    American Zombie Moderator Staff Member Political User

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    If the board did not sense a problem it may not beep during POST. I know mine does not beep at all unless there is a problem detected.

    Take out the ram then see if it beeps.
     
  8. kcnychief

    kcnychief █▄█ ▀█▄ █ Political User Folding Team

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    Yeah, good call. Also you could try re-seating the CPU as well as the RAM, and any other removable hardware.
     
  9. bush dogg

    bush dogg OSNN Senior Addict Political User

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    I wonder if it’s a video driver problem? Or maybe the little guy set the refresh rate more than the monitor could handle.

    Have you tried safemode if so do you have video or not?

    If the refresh rate is more than the monitor can handle then it won’t accept the signal so when you hit the monitor power button to turn it off and on you will get
    "No video signal" on the screen.

    But having said that I would think you would get the bios loading screen just for a second before it went blank.

    The USB keyboard and mouse problem could be with windows not loading right (I don’t remember all the details it was a long time ago but I had a windows loading problem once that left me with no mouse or keyboard).
    I also had a VIA board one time a couple years back that the bios was set to no USB at boot (or something like that) so until windows loaded I had no keyboard or mouse I couldn’t even get to the bios until I connected a PS2 keyboard to reset it.

    So I’m thinking try a PS2 keyboard to see if you can get into the bios and look around some.
     
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  10. LeeJend

    LeeJend Moderator

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    The MB is starting POST or the keyboard lights would not flash so CPU and MB and Bios are operational.

    The keyboard flashing twice sounds like a power problem. If you have a power supply you can use to check out the system I would suggest that first. Possibly one of the voltage rails from the PS is bad but the 12V to the CD motors is still good. Also check for pushed back pins in the motherboard power cable. It would produce low voltages that cause shutdown when everything starts coming on during POST.

    Most newer built in video does not require you to disable it before inserting an AGP or PCI card. So if you have a video card available you can just plug it in to check out the system. I'd highly recommend this as the next step because a broken connector to the on board video would show the results you are getting except for the double keyboard flash.
     
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  11. ray_gillespie

    ray_gillespie Moderator Staff Member Political User

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    Yeah, the flash once, then the power dies, then it comes back on and they flash again. But after that they don't respond to pressing caps lock etc.

    Cool, I might try this then. I've never had onboard video thankfully so don't know much about it!

    Yes that's right, the initial POST screen would show up at least, so it's not that.

    He's actually got a ps2 keyboard & mouse, I tried a USB to see if it lit up and it didn't, but I plugged the ps2 one back in and still nothing.

    Yeah that's definitely worth a shot. My computer doesn't beep unless there's a problem but this is the first one I've had that doesn't, and his is quite old and I would expect it to beep but can't be 100% sure.

    Nope, it's a couple of years old now. It's a crap computer really but it's good enough for what he likes (Zoo Tycoon etc) and it would be a shame to have to ditch it.

    Of all the symptoms it is showing, the powering off then on again is the most strange and makes me think it is the PSU, but then again apparently this did happen before and it still worked. Could easily be the graphics chipset, what would happen if theoretically the onboard graphics died? Would it be able to POST just without seeing anything?
    I thought it could also be the mobo or CPU but as LeeJend says the keyboard wouldn't flash at all.
    Hmm, anyway, thanks for all the great help guys, I'll get back to you if I find out anything else.
     
  12. mlakrid

    mlakrid OSNN BASSMASTER Political User Folding Team

    Well Ray I would venture to say its more a HD or on-board videop problem, more a video however, if you can get past the POST screen, and then it goes black. To check it out you simply get into your BIOS disable your on-board video, power down, install the test video board, and reboot... if it is just your video you will know in a matter of a minute or two..

    I also doubt what you are describing is a PSU problem, especially if you have the same symptoms time and time again...

    Let us know what else you find out.
     
  13. ray_gillespie

    ray_gillespie Moderator Staff Member Political User

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    I can't get to see anything at all, there is no signal to the monitor at any time. Maybe it tries to post then fails, but only the keyboard lights are any indication as the screen is blank so it's hard to tell what it's doing. I can't get to the BIOS for the same reason.
    It's got me stumped.
     
  14. mlakrid

    mlakrid OSNN BASSMASTER Political User Folding Team

    For installing peripherals, it says nothing about installing another video, and I would assume you would normally disable the on-board video before installing another video card, but if you have another old video board I would just installit, bceause at this point you have no other recourse.

    HERE is the link for HP regarding your D230...
     
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  15. kcnychief

    kcnychief █▄█ ▀█▄ █ Political User Folding Team

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    He mentioned above that probably wouldn't work because he would still need his old video to get into the BIOS to disable it. However, it might be worth a shot, maybe the PC is intelligent enough to detect a PCI/AGP card, who knows?
     
  16. mlakrid

    mlakrid OSNN BASSMASTER Political User Folding Team

    Thats kind of what I meant... even if it only gives him video long enough for him to see the POST and press F10 to get into the bios to shut down the on-board video... :laugh:
     
  17. bush dogg

    bush dogg OSNN Senior Addict Political User

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    Have you tried booting the system 5 or 6 times in a row to see if the video will come back after a few tries?

    The reason I ask is because of the article below, may not apply but worth a read as it involves the model you have (d230) and a video problem. It talks about a screwed update from Microsoft back in September/05 that causes video problems.

    http://h18007.www1.hp.com/support/files/hpcpqdt/us/download/22417.html