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Computer Suddenly Died. On-board Video Display Problem? CMOS Battery?

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November 23, 2013 7:08:18 PM


One of my older computers suddenly died of no reason. Well I meant it did not show any warning signs before it suddenly stopped working.

It is a Dell PowerEdge SC 440 equipped with Intel Xeon dual core processor, 4 gb RAM, dual hard drives with one running Windows 7 and the other running Windows XP Professional. It was running Windows 7 before it died. Everything was working fine. I just stepped away for a little while. When I came back to the computer, it was already dead. On the same table there were other computers running as well when I stepped away and they were all working well when I came back. Only this Dell PowerEdge SC 440 died.

I opened the cover of the system and had the system connected to another monitor and another keyboard/mouse set. It seemed that the power supply worked fine. The fan was blowing. All the light indicators were on. I touched both hard drives with my finger and felt that both hard drives were spinning. However, the monitor shows nothing.

What could possibly go wrong? Does it have something to do with the built-in video display of the mother board. (There is no separate video card installed with this computer.) Does it have anything to do with the CMOS battery? (Would that help if I installed a new CMOS battery to the mother board?)

Any help or advice will be greatly appreciated!
a c 143 V Motherboard
November 23, 2013 8:24:53 PM

did you try a pci-e card in the system to the monitor not using the onboard ?
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November 23, 2013 8:28:27 PM

scout_03 said:
did you try a pci-e card in the system to the monitor not using the onboard ?


The short answer to your question is: No, I don't have a video card for this particular computer.

One of the main problems with this computer is that it does not have a 16X PCIe slot and the system resources is not enough to take care of the independent video card.

I have two extra video cards but they both use PCIe 16x interface so none of them will work on this computer.

Once upon a time, I bought a 512 mb video card with PCI (Not PCIe) interface specifically for this computer. It worked initially. However, after a power outage, the video card does not work anymore. For this incident, I tried to refresh the CMOS by taking out the battery and putting it back. I think I messed up the CMOS a little bit by doing this because afterwards I had to press F1 every time I started the system.

Luckily, I don't use this computer much in the past couple of years but I still would like to save it if I can because it is nice to leave this computer running day and night due to the fact that it was designed as a server and equipped with an Intel Xeon processor.
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a c 143 V Motherboard
November 23, 2013 8:32:45 PM

if you did a cmos and the date is not keeping i would check the battery for the voltage but dont forget to put her in until you have a new one or bios be gone .
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November 23, 2013 8:40:53 PM

scout_03 said:
if you did a cmos and the date is not keeping i would check the battery for the voltage but dont forget to put her in until you have a new one or bios be gone .


After I took out the battery and put it back the first time, the time was still okay. (I forgot whether I had to reset the time back then, most likely not.)

I just took out the battery a little while ago. Should I put the battery back right now?

The computer died for a couple of weeks already. I just had a chance to take a look at it today.
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a c 143 V Motherboard
November 23, 2013 8:49:32 PM

put the battery back in you wil be lucky if the eprom bios is not erase .
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November 23, 2013 9:25:48 PM

scout_03 said:
put the battery back in you wil be lucky if the eprom bios is not erase .


I put the battery back in already.

I tried to turn on the computer again and found the following:

1. Though I turned off the computer before I unplugged it earlier, the computer was automatically turned on the moment I plugged the power cord to the power strip.

2. I heard some beep sound from the front panel the moment the computer was turned on automatically.

3. Though all the parts inside the system case (kind of) indicates everything is running, there is no signal to the mouse and the keyboard at all. In other words, both the mouse and the keyboard have no light on.

Based on all the things mentioned above, I definitely think this is a hardware problem.

Any further advice or help will be appreciated.
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November 23, 2013 9:28:58 PM

There is one more thing: After the computer is turned off but the power cord is still plugged, I can see a yellow light still being lit on the mother board.
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a c 143 V Motherboard
November 23, 2013 9:29:27 PM

do you see if the led on the board is lit if not you need to test with another psu means system not receiving power .
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November 23, 2013 9:38:58 PM

scout_03 said:
do you see if the led on the board is lit if not you need to test with another psu means system not receiving power .


Please see my post right above yours.

I looked at the side of the light. It says "AUX_PWR_LED". The light is on after the computer is turned off but the power cord is left plugged.

Based on my "common sense" (which could be very limited), the biggest suspect is the power supply unit. However, it is kind of misleading because it seems all mechanical parts are running and all lights inside the system case are on, EXCEPT FOR THE MOUSE AND THE KEYBOARD.



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a c 143 V Motherboard
November 23, 2013 9:42:43 PM

does this light come on green when power is on ?
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November 23, 2013 9:57:01 PM

scout_03 said:
does this light come on green when power is on ?


When the power is on, the light is yellow also. Is it supposed to be green?
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November 23, 2013 10:01:19 PM

Again, I would like to emphasize the fact that there is some beep sound when the computer is first turned on "automatically by plugging the power cord" but not pressing the power switch. The latter part is not even necessary.
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a c 143 V Motherboard
November 23, 2013 10:02:58 PM

not exactly some stay yellow it is the board maker choice could you give me your motherboard name and model .
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November 23, 2013 10:10:03 PM

The computer is Dell PowerEdge SC 440. I know Dell's mother board is unique as compared with the "standard" mother boards. While I am looking at my documents including those saved on my computer, you may search it as well. You may come up with the model faster than I do. :) 
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a c 143 V Motherboard
November 23, 2013 10:12:49 PM

been seaching at the start of post and found nothing you will have to open the case and look inside .
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November 23, 2013 10:18:24 PM

I am looking at the mother board right now. It doesn't say anything. All I can see is,

DELL
www.dell.com

Then there is a white color label with black prints, listing a number starting with CN-0NY........
Underneath this is "REV A01" "Made in China"

Let me look at my documents as well.
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November 23, 2013 10:23:06 PM

Again, as far as I know, Dell has their "proprietary" mother boards which are different from all other standard mother boards. For example, all "standard" computer cases open on the left hand side if you are looking at the front side. However, all Dell computer cases open on the right hand side. This means the mother boards are also "inside out" for all Dell computers as compared with all "standard" computers.

Again, allow me a little time to look at the documents.
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November 23, 2013 10:40:42 PM

I couldn't find much from the document as far as the make and model of the mother board is concerned.

However, I found these on the web:

https://www.serversupply.com/products/part_search/pid_f...

http://www.impactcomputers.com/km864.html?gclid=CKCMge_...

http://www.upgradebay.com/Products/ProductInfo.aspx?rid...

http://www.impactcomputers.com/ny776.html?gclid=CL-x-oz...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/141101785571?lpid=82

I will continue to find more information regarding this if it is available.
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November 23, 2013 10:46:41 PM

I can also take a picture of the mother board and post it here. Unfortunately, I don't even know how to post a picture on this forum.
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November 24, 2013 4:16:42 PM

scout_03 said:
see this look like it is your board and have a pci-e slot and thet are plenty of them on the net some made by foxcon and jetway .http://www.dhgate.com/product/for-dell-poweredge-sc440-...


I said it did not have a PCIe 16X. I knew it had a PCIe 1x, 4x and 8x. Those video cards are too expensive. It is not worth the money to "upgrade" this kind of computer now.

Also, I tried a PCI video card (512 mb memory) before and the card stopped working after a power outage. I was afraid this would happen to the PCIe 1x video card as well, in addition to being too expensive for the video card to start with.

By the way, you may see a PCIe slot on the mother board with the length of 16x. But the length of those slots are actually cut in half by a divider in the middle. Some other people mentioned that they "cut" out the divider with a heated knife and installed a PCIe 16x video card there. I just did not want to go through such a hassle. I am not sure if I am able to do it anyway.



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a b V Motherboard
November 24, 2013 4:49:29 PM

You said you heard some beeps. What was the pattern, One short Two long beeps or something else?
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November 24, 2013 5:08:13 PM

coastie65 said:
You said you heard some beeps. What was the pattern, One short Two long beeps or something else?


Two short beeps.

But do your know what? I just plugged the power cord to the computer again with the system case cover closed. Surprisingly, the computer came back to work now. Last night, I tried to start it with the system case cover open, it did not work.

At the end, maybe there is no issue at all.

I don't know why it died in the first time. Maybe there was a power surge or something?


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November 24, 2013 5:21:00 PM

The computer was able to turn on earlier. But after I connected the ethernet cable to the switch, the computer died again. Virus? Not possible! I am a very low risk computer user and I had anti-virus software installed on the computer.

After I had the ethernet cable removed (but with the power cord and keyboard/mouse plugged in), I tried to turn on the computer again. It did not work this time. There were about 4 long beeps as soon as I turned the power switch on.

I am going to turn it off again and have everything else unplugged. After a short while, I will try again without the ethernet cable.


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November 24, 2013 5:41:30 PM

I unplugged every thing (power cord, VGA connection, keyboard, mouse, etc.) and tried to plug the power cord again. This time I heard 6 long beeps. The computer could not start.

I will do the same thing as mentioned above plus open and close the system case cover, and then try to plug the power cord again without the ethernet connection.

Based on what I mentioned above, I basically can rule out the possibility of on-board video display problem. I don't think it has anything to do with the CMOS battery either.

Either I need to install an independent network card (on the hardware side) or I need to scan the whole system with an anti-virus software (on the software side), I guess.



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November 24, 2013 5:47:43 PM

Just did what I mentioned in the last post. It had 6 long beeps and could not start. :-(
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a b V Motherboard
November 24, 2013 6:16:41 PM

If the CMOS battery is dead or dying, that will manifest itself in the computer not keeping good time. This may not always be the case though. You can always get another one as they are inexpensive. Removing the CMOS battery and replacing it results in the the BiOS being reset to the factory defauts. You will not lose your BiOS by leaving the CMOS battery out as it is programmed on a chip ( EPROM ). For resetting the BiOS to factory defaults, Turn off the Computer, Unplug the power cable from the wall and computer. Press the start button to drain whatever residuall power is left. Remove the CMOS battery for about a minute or so. Replace the battery and power cable and that should reset the BiOS. I went back and reread your original post and I believe you tried a different monitor with the same results. Thta woulod rule out the monitor. You are not running a dedicated card so are on an onboard graphics chipset. It could be that that has gone south. The only real way to check is by installing a dedicated card. If you have Graphics, then you know it is the Onboard chipset. No replacing that. You need to replace the motherboard.
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November 24, 2013 6:46:11 PM

I tried one more time. 6 long beeps. could not start.

Next I will switch to another hard drive and try to boot up with Windows XP Professional. I will report the result a little later.
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November 24, 2013 7:07:06 PM

Hi Everybody, the mystery is now solved--------------------------the hard drive was fried.

I switched the hard drive and started the computer with Windows XP Prefessional without any problem. The ethernet cable is connected as well. I am able to browse the internet too. I restarted the computer and it is okay also. I guess I just need to get a new hard drive. It is not too bad. The original hard drive that came with this computer was only 160 gb, too small to today's standard already.

Thanks to everybody who comes to read this thread and my special gratitude and appreciation to those who replied to my posts and tried to help me.

Again, thank you very much!!!



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a c 143 V Motherboard
November 24, 2013 7:16:59 PM

glad to know that you have it resolve ,does this case have in the back the 4 led we use to see on the dell case .
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a b V Motherboard
November 24, 2013 7:17:45 PM

Usually with a Hdd gone bad, it wil get through post and stay on the manufacturer's screen and not go to the Windows load screen. Not sure if this was what yours was doing or not.
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November 24, 2013 7:27:09 PM

scout_03 said:
glad to know that you have it resolve ,does this case have in the back the 4 led we use to see on the dell case .


It has 4 LED plus a network icon and a hard drive icon.

When the computer could not start, both 3 and 4 were lit plus the hard drive icon.

Now when it is okay, only the network icon is lit.

Thank you very much for your help.


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November 24, 2013 7:31:21 PM

coastie65 said:
Usually with a Hdd gone bad, it wil get through post and stay on the manufacturer's screen and not go to the Windows load screen. Not sure if this was what yours was doing or not.


It could be a software problem instead.

Now I connect the original C: hard drive as drive F: and I am still able to see the contents inside there.

The problem was, when I used that hard drive as the primary hard drive {C:}, the computer could not start. When I switched hard drive, the computer can start with Windows XP Professional.

Thank you for your help!
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a c 143 V Motherboard
November 24, 2013 7:32:51 PM

your welcome ,next time you have a issue with it check those led in the user manual they tell you what it could for troubleshooting the system .
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November 24, 2013 7:42:20 PM

scout_03 said:
your welcome ,next time you have a issue with it check those led in the user manual they tell you what it could for troubleshooting the system .


Like I said in my last post, the hard drive may not be fried anyway.

Should I switch the hard drive back to test it one more time? Or should I format the hard drive and install the system again?

Hardware wise, the computer is kind of old. I bought it in 2008. However, the computer runs well under normal circumstances. I especially like the Intel Xeon processor and the heavy build. The computer is not too noisy either. The bad thing about this computer is the video display. It is too expensive to get a good video card that is not with PCIe 16X interface.


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a c 143 V Motherboard
November 24, 2013 7:52:44 PM

test it with the maker tool on short and long test and if it pass i would use it again for the pci card see around if you could find a old one that people dont use anymore .
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November 24, 2013 7:56:28 PM

scout_03 said:
test it with the maker tool on short and long test and if it pass i would use it again for the pci card see around if you could find a old one that people dont use anymore .


I am not sure if I have the maker tool because the hard drive came with the whole computer system.

According to the trouble shooting, when 3 and 4 are lit, it is "Memory failure". I am not very sure about this in this situation.


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a c 143 V Motherboard
November 24, 2013 7:59:54 PM

then do memtest on memory for the drive if you could give the name and model or some number i try to link you on the tool .
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November 24, 2013 8:09:15 PM

scout_03 said:
then do memtest on memory for the drive if you could give the name and model or some number i try to link you on the tool .


Brand: Samsung

Model: HE160HJ

SATA
160 GB
RPM 7200
FW: JF800-24


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November 24, 2013 9:05:16 PM



Thank you very much. I am new in doing a web-based hard drive scan. I will go over this material and will try it tomorrow or some other time.

Does doing the scan mean I have to erase everything on the hard drive first?

I really appreciate your help.


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a c 143 V Motherboard
November 24, 2013 9:08:21 PM

no just scan for seeing if the drive is good or not you dont have to erase to test it .
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!