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General Topics => R & R => Science and Technology => Topic started by: Coronach on October 29, 2014, 05:02:50 pm

Title: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: Coronach on October 29, 2014, 05:02:50 pm
I suppose it was inevitable, I'd screw something up. The questions are, how much and how bad? ;)

I opened up the PC from this build (https://wethearmed.com/science-and-technology/pc-assembly-questions/ (https://wethearmed.com/science-and-technology/pc-assembly-questions/) ) today to swap out the CPU fan and put in the cooler. I had resolved to try to run it with the stock fan and see how it worked. It never got very hot, but, as someone predicted, the stock fan was LOUD as all ****. So, I pulled the stock unit off, removed the CPU (well, courtesy of the heat grease, it came off with the stock heat sink), cleaned the old grease off, put new on, installed the new heat sink/fan, and started it up. It failed to get far enough along in the boot process to even send a video signal.  :facepalm

I stopped, carefully went back over everything, and could only find one obvious problem (that might not even be a problem). On the back plate for the old CPU heat sink attachment bracket, there was, apparently, an insulating plate. I have no idea if it was supposed to insulate heat or electricity, but one way or the other, I didn't install it the first time. I took everything out, put in the plate (just a plastic wafer, really), reinstalled everything ... same result.  :confused Everything else looked fine visually ... no plugs unplugged, nothing obviously botched.

At this point, I'm thinking:

1. Having that plastic plate off for the first spin up may have caused a short. I have no idea if this is the case, but it's the one thing that I apparently did obviously wrong.

2. I wasn't diligent enough with my static precautions and I inadvertently fried some component. I would like to think I was careful enough, but I may not have been. I'm sure the Ebola nurses thought they did a good job too. ;)

Any ideas how to trouble shoot from here? When I put everything together and plug it in and hit power, this is what happens:

1. Stuff turns on. You can hear the drives spin up, the optical drive will open but immediately close if you hit the eject button.

2. The lights light up normally (the one or two on the mobo light up normally, and also the LED by the Ethernet cable recognizes a connection, and the LED for the power button illuminates).

3. All fans run, but they seem to be spinning at the lowest speed (PSU fan, three chassis fans, the CPU fan and the fans on the GPU all spin)

4. The LEDs on the keyboard do NOT light up. Mouse seems dead. And, as stated, the DVI cable generates no signal to the monitor.

5. Also, the LED on the back of the wireless PCI card does not light up (and the computer does not try to reach the wifi hotspot).

I'm quite certain that the CPU is installed properly. I used no force, bent no pins, got no excess thermal paste in the pins or into the socket, and I made sure it was oriented properly (see "used no force").

Any ideas? I'm guessing the CPU or the Mobo is hosed, but I'm not sure.

Mike  :banghead

Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: ksuguy on October 29, 2014, 05:12:43 pm
Do you get a post beep fromthe internal speaker?
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: Coronach on October 29, 2014, 05:14:09 pm
No, but remember, I couldn't hook up the speaker due to the plugs not matching up.
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: Roper1911 on October 29, 2014, 06:14:36 pm
did you plug the CPU fan into the right place? the motherboard has a safety- if you don't plug the CPU fan into the CPU fan slot- it'll just spin up the fans.
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: Coronach on October 29, 2014, 06:36:51 pm
I ... don't know. I plugged it into the place the old one was plugged in. So, probably ... but I'll check that as soon as I get home. That would be a nice solution ...
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: ksuguy on October 29, 2014, 06:54:23 pm
Yeah, see about getting the speaker working if you can too.  It will give you a varying number of beeps to help you troubleshoot.   
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: Coronach on October 29, 2014, 07:03:47 pm
Well, looking on the web, I have it plugged in right, but it could be a case of the cooler fan not working right. I can doublecheck the plug and also try plugging the old fan in and see if it boots.
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: Coronach on October 29, 2014, 08:35:44 pm
OK, I tried two things:

1. Unplugged/replugged the CPU fan into the correct socket (it was there already).

2. Unplugged the aftermarket CPU fan (but left it in place) and plugged in the OEM fan, just to see if it would proceed further into the boot process.

No joy. The symptoms remain unchanged.

I have not yet plugged in the case speaker, because I have to see which LEDs are being disabled by doing so (that, and I have to spend a lot of time with a flashlight squinting at teeny markings).

Mike
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: GeorgeHill on October 29, 2014, 09:52:35 pm
Clean off the CPU and see if its discolored.  If it is... You poached it.  If not... You still may have.
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: Coronach on October 29, 2014, 09:59:22 pm
It didn't get hot. It was fine prior to swapping the cooling units, and it never came on afterwards, so I'm pretty durn sure it didn't get fried. I've looked at the underside (pin side) since this happened, and it's fine (visually). If I have the cooler off again for any reason, I'll make sure to check that, though.

Mike
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: ksuguy on October 30, 2014, 08:47:11 am
Try taking out your RAM and re-seating it.  Can't hurt anything.   
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: Coronach on October 30, 2014, 11:04:08 am
Done. No joy.

I also removed the cooler, confirmed that the back of the CPU has no obvious discolorations, confirmed that the pins are all straight and clean, confirmed that the pin holes are all clean, confirmed that there's no extra thermal grease floating around, reinstalled and tried again. No joy.

Mike
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: Coronach on October 30, 2014, 11:09:25 am
I also confirmed that the only way to get the audio plug to work would be to cut it off and manually solder in the wires to the board. It just doesn't match the pin pattern on the mobo.

Mike
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: ksuguy on October 30, 2014, 11:19:08 am
Maybe you can order a different speaker that matches?   Should only be a couple dollars.   

If you could hear the error beep codes, you can look up what the problem is in your motherboard manual.
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: Coronach on October 30, 2014, 11:28:27 am
I may cut the plug and see if I can just touch the wires to the pins.

Mike
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: ksuguy on October 30, 2014, 11:30:16 am
Seems kind of odd that your speaker plug would look like that. I think mine was just a 2 pin connection with wires that ran up to the little disk shaped speaker.
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: Coronach on October 30, 2014, 11:36:24 am
Mine is a 10 pin connector with one blank. So, 5 over 3 and 1. The front switch buttons are on 2 pin connectors.

Mike
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: ksuguy on October 30, 2014, 11:43:29 am
I  have never heard of a case speaker like that.   Does it look like this?

(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-22G45vW94j8/T1ENPftfHDI/AAAAAAAAAH8/1ua5usBIOjY/s1600/speaker.jpg)
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: Coronach on October 30, 2014, 11:54:17 am
(http://tapatalk.imageshack.com/v2/14/10/30/622729003dd33c3f52080f3cf718eb47.jpg) No idea what the speaker looks like, here's the plug.
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: ksuguy on October 30, 2014, 11:59:00 am
Yeah I don't think that is actually the case speaker plug.   That may be for front panel audio connections or something.

You should have something in your case or motherboard box that looks similar to that picture.  It will probably have a 2 pin or 4 pin connector.   If not,   see if you can pull one out of an old computer.
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: Coronach on October 30, 2014, 12:04:08 pm
That's the only plug coming off of the front that is not accounted for. * shrug*

I do have an old Pentium in the basement I can probably rob of its case speaker ...
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: ksuguy on October 30, 2014, 12:07:44 pm
Usually there isn't a cord..   The speaker is actually that little black circle thing.  I know it doesn't really look like a speaker.
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: luke213(adamsholsters) on October 30, 2014, 12:59:11 pm
That plug your picture shows is for another audio hookup like front panel on the case if you've got headphone plugs somewhere up front on the case or something along those lines not PC speaker, which is what you need for post codes. Your looking for a 4 pin header on the board most times, and the same just an old PC speaker out of any old case will do it's a speaker maybe 1.5in. across with a 4 pin wire and plug on it, should go right in and polarity won't really matter for this application. That should give you post codes to what part of the system is stopping it from completing the post.

On the CPU I didn't read through the other threads but most CPU's these days will shut down automatically before they actually fry it's something Intel added from memory in the early Pentium 4 days and despite my lack of knowledge of current chips I'd be very surprised if they didn't keep that feature on their newer chip lines as well. So because of that even with a bad cooler install it shouldn't toast the chip though the key word is shouldn't.

I would go through and reseat everything from RAM, CPU to any PCI-Ex cards etc. Sometimes the flexing caused by resetting the cooler on the board can cause other mounted components to shift slightly causing contact issues, it's not super likely but it's possible. Reseat the connector for the power supply and verify all those connections. If you still have no joy, go through and pull all the SATA connections, all cards but video(if you have any others installed), pull any extra RAM IE if your running 4 slots, pull 2 out basically eliminate everything that it doesn't need just to post. If you get post then, start adding things one at a time and figure out what is causing the issue. If stripped down it doesn't post then you can focus on core components and figure out what the issue is. If your other machine you built is running the same basic CPU as far as socket you could swap it into this board and see if it posts with the other CPU if so you can isolate that the CPU is causing the issues. Granted post codes through the PC speaker might just solve this also.

And now that I'm thinking about post codes some newer boards well older now would do post codes via the integrated audio, not sure if that's used on this board or exists but it probably does if so make sure you've got speakers hooked to the sound card in the back and they are turned on during post. It might beep through the regular speakers rather then the old school PC speaker, I'm really not sure how most new boards are handling that feature. I've got some fairly new stuff that doesn't do that and I've got an Asus from quite a while back that would speak the error through the normal speakers on post. So that's another thing to look at.

Luke
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: Coronach on October 31, 2014, 08:17:10 am
Yeah, I'm pretty sure that the leads for the case speaker and the leads to the front audio outputs are combined in that one plug. I mean, it is a total of 9 wires/pins, which seems like quite a lot for any one of those two functions, but for both combined it is probably about the right number.

And, to reiterate, I'm very certain that I did not destroy the CPU via heat. It never got hot in use with the old heat sink/fan, and it never got past boot with the new one. I may have somehow destroyed the CPU or the mobo, but it was not through a temperature excursion.
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: Roper1911 on October 31, 2014, 08:49:24 am
The CPU pulling free like that might have caused the socket to seperate.... Seems unlikely though...
If all else fails- take the motherboard and bake it.
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: Coronach on October 31, 2014, 08:57:55 am
And ... bake it? Like, in the oven?
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: Coronach on October 31, 2014, 09:00:39 am
The CPU just lifts in and out. Without the tension on the cooler (either OEM or aftermarket), it would just fall out if you turned the mobo upside down and maybe gave it a shake.
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: ksuguy on October 31, 2014, 10:09:29 am
There isn't a clip to hold the CPU down?
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: Roper1911 on October 31, 2014, 11:46:46 am
Of the socket isn't retaining the CPU, the motherboard is bricked. Sorry...
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: Coronach on October 31, 2014, 05:06:48 pm
Ah ha! It was, possibly predictably, a rookie mistake. When I removed the OEM CPU fan, it pulled the CPU out. I forgot about the retention lever, and so I wasn't unlocking the socket to insert and relocking it to secure the CPU. It was just sitting on top and held in by downforce from the cooler. I pulled it again, opened the socket, installed the CPU, relocked it, reinstalled the cooler and hit power. It's 5x5.

Whew!
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: GeorgeHill on October 31, 2014, 05:16:36 pm
 :doh
 :rotfl

Glad it's all gold now!   

 :clap
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: ksuguy on October 31, 2014, 05:23:44 pm
Aha!   I thought it was weird when you said the CPU would slide out and was not being held down.   
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: Coronach on October 31, 2014, 08:56:54 pm
Yeah, I would rather have avoided the rookie mistake, but if the choice is a rookie mistake or a new mobo and/or CPU, I'll take the rookie mistake anyday.

In related news, the new CPU cooler is a lot quieter in more ways than one. At "idle" it is about the same noise-wise, but the old one generated a hellacious static sound in the speakers. I suspect that it did it when it hit high RPMS, too, but it was drowned out by the sound coming from the case. The new one is quiet in both ways. Much better.

Mike
Title: Re: PC Hardware Troubleshooting
Post by: Lupinus on October 31, 2014, 10:55:48 pm
Yep. That'll do it...