EPoX MoBo sick, now Promise Controller dead?

This is a tricky one. I'm trying to find the least expensive route of fixing this system! Though it's looking like I may need to by a new MoBo (+ new DDR Ram)...

A week ago, artifacts started appearing on the screen during normal operation of the PC (i.e. not heavy gaming, just IE or Word etc... They were really Blocky artifacts and I noticed they appeared on the BIOS set-up screen too (I wanted to be sure it wasn't a windows XP thing). After a few days the PC wouldn't boot. Fans would come on and the requisite one "beep" and the drives would start (+disk light activity) but no POST.

I've replaced the graphics card and now it will at least start the POST as far as the screen prior to windows XP start and all I see is "Boot CD:", i.e. it can't see my drives and boot from them.

The strange thing is the On board Promise (370) controller BIOS is no longer shown on bootup, so I think it may have died and therefore my drives won't be seen... Next I will try and boot by connecting the drives to the "normal" IDE ports (i.e. non-UDMA and non-RAID card controlled).

I've stripped the system down of all cards and remounted the Athlon h/s and replaced all the cards (starting with the min. i.e. just graphics to ensure none of the PCI cards - LAN + extra USBs - were not malfunctioning.

What I did notice though was that the ATX Power socket on the MoBo had brown (burn-like) marks around two of the pins - is this normal? any ideas? The power supply "appears" to be functioning correctly, in that the fans all spin up and I can view the voltage levels on the MoBo in the (useful) EPoX Bios config screen - though the 5v level was a little low.

Sorry about the essay, I know an easy route here is to throw away the PS, the MoBo and start with new kit, but I'm just trying to put that cost off for a few months!

Any thoughts (especially on the burnt ATX socket pins and on the lack of the Promise Bios showing up) greatly appreciated.
EPoX 8KTA3+ MoBo (with onboard RAID)
Athlon 1.33GHz @266MHz bus
512Mb CAS 2 ram (2 x 256mb)
Maxtor 40gb drive
IBM 40Gb deskstar drive
ATi 9600 Graphics card (brand new!)
Enermax 430W power supply
Soundblaster live PCI
USB x 4 PCI card
Netgear 10/100 PCI nic
Lian Li PC60 case

Environment: Typically the CPU runs around 36/39C and the MoBo shows a system temp of 28-30.
Thanks in advance of any (positive!) feedback! bsk
6 answers Last reply
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  1. Never heard of the ATX socket being burnt as "normal".

    Looks like <b> at least </b> either the Mobo or PSU.

    I'd be afraid of frying other components. Did you check the capacitor and coils?
    <A HREF="http://www.motherboardrepair.com/index.php?sec=images" target="_new">pics of bad stuff argh! </A>

    The loving are the daring!
  2. Flinx, thanks for the quick response... and horror of horrors, I see some Caps in your pic that look exactly like one of the Caps on my MoBo :-( (bulging at the top with a small amount of discharge)

    So the question is... did the PSU fry the MoBo (and I need to replace both) or did the MoBo just fry of its own accord and the chances are my PSU is ok? What do you think?
  3. Insufficient experience here. Wait for someone else to answer that question.

    Enermax are supposed to be good PSU's though. I would have thought they'd have power cutout that would stop u frying the PSU. Hope none of ur other components, like video/memory/etc got fried.

    Good Luck!

    The loving are the daring!
  4. I have some words...

    Out of experience i know that if you do alot of plugging and unplugging of atx and molex connectors...the connection starts getting very bad...my theory is...

    somehow you raid controllor got grounded...or a cap somhow shorted something out....possibly the electrolyte "juice" contacting a part of your mobo?....anyhow...this still does not to me explain why your powersupply did not cut out...unless it was not a bad enough short to load the psu enough to cut out....

    either way you do need a new mobo...is it still under warantee? I think your powersupply is just fine...

    The reason you see burnt plastic is because of electrical arching/heat do to a bad connection and too much load (caused by a short)...just out of curiosity what color wires seem toasty...yellow and red?

    If i put my k6 in a Ferrari it would be faster than your your pentium 4 or Athlon XP :tongue:
  5. HHmm Mr Piii_man your explanation does sound very plausable.. There is only one capacitor that is blown on the MoBo and sure enough it is all the red wires in the ATX connector that are "toasty" ;-) The weather here in the UK has been amazingly hot recently... so just maybe the electrolyte _did_ leak out and somehow grounded the raid controller.. not great news, but then it's good to at least understand what happened rather than put it down to "a mystery"!

    I'm glad you think it's not the power supply as Enermax are one of the better brands and I was hoping not to have to replace that as well! The MoBo is 2 years old and I will research the warranty with EPoX...

    Thanks very much for the info and wise words!

  6. [Replying to myself here, but wanted to close this thread off with a happy (ish) ending!]

    Piii_man was right, it seems something (maybe leaking cap eletrolyte) had shorted the MoBo and killed it. I have just purchased a new MSI Delta IL MoBo and all is well! Thanks for the help guys!

    ..incidentally, the new MSI board is VERY fast... but the layout is VERY bad... agp slot too close to PCI slot 1, Audio backplate badly designed... oh well... it works!

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