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Help, completely unresponsive PC!

  • Homebuilt
  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
July 20, 2006 2:22:32 PM


Hey folks!

If anybody has ever experienced similar symptoms and has a good idea of what's wrong I'd be so grateful!

I'm stuck in a god-forsaken place with no specialized tools i.e. no spare M/B or PSU etc etc lying around.

I can only buy parts from store to test, but each item I buy then return because it doesn't solve problem I lose money on postage etc etc!

THUS I really need your past experience with similar or exact problem to identify and replace SMARTLY!

Night before everything was working fine.
Next morning the system was completely dead!
There were no blackouts, no lightning strikes etc basically nothing that would suggest some external factor responsible...other than evil elves.

Also no loud bangs came from the system, no smoke etc etc.

With PSU turned on the standby lights on M/B are present.
When attempting to power up system, NOTHING happens.
No fans no beeps basically ZIP!

POST-counter on M/B starts with:
8.3. - ATX Power Supply ready

(9.C. and 9.F. aren't described in the manual.)

What I've done so far...

Internal inspection of M/B does not reveal melted capacitors etc etc, everything looks fine albeit abit dusty.
RAM looks fine.
CPU looks fine.
PSU looks dusty.
VideoCard looks fine.

No burn marks etc anywhere. Nothing out of ordinary.

I have eliminated power switch button by shorting contacts to start system, same outcome as above.

I have bought new M/B and tested with a minimal setup (1 piece RAM, video-card, CPU). This board's standby lights came on when PSU was switched on but outcome was also same as above, no fans etc etc.
I now need to return M/B to store and get some money back hopefully :( 

1. My PSU isn't heavily branded but it isn't one of them bargain bin types either.
Can a PSU fail without smoke etc? But I'm still getting the M/B's standby lights.
Is this logical??

2. Is there any reason to suspect CPU?

3. Before this happened...very occasionally (once in 2 months perhaps?) I would get an Init Failure during bootup. I pressed RESET and the PC would then boot fine. This is the only unusual bad thing I can recall ever happening with my system.

Please advise oh kind souls!!

Desperate....and miserable w/o my PC.

General specs of my system:
AMD Athlon XP 2200
400W SkyHawk PSU (bout USD$45)
2 pcs 512Mb Kingston RAM
Geforce fx5800
2 HDDs 40GB & 4GB
ABIT KV8 Pro Mboard (RAM voltage adjusted to 2.8V)
TDK DVD writer
Vibra128 Creative SoundCard

More about : completely unresponsive

July 20, 2006 3:46:20 PM

did you try unplugging PSU from wall for a while and then trying again?

oops ignore that - sorry I missed that you got new MOBO :) 

man it must be the PSU, did you smell it, sometimes there is an slight burnt smell after dying PSU - in any event the PSU is likely culprit I think, easy enough to switch out and then return new one if that's not it,

not likely CPU, RAM video IMO - youd get beeps or fans coming on at least I think, so if not MOBO must be PSU
July 21, 2006 8:19:05 AM

Thanks but I still need opinions and help on this one!
Related resources
July 21, 2006 9:04:51 AM

Try using a different power supply in the pc, preferably a more powerful one. OOo, and make sure the connecters are firmly in place.
July 21, 2006 9:36:06 AM

I've had the exact same problem...I was sitting home and the following day my PC didn't turn on when I pressed the start button. I later found out that it was my PSU and the GPU Voltage thingy that was burned, at that time I had a very crappy PSU, so I bought a new one and "voila" it worked, so this has to be your problem.
July 21, 2006 9:41:06 AM

Yea, I've run into that a few times, recently too, on some new builds. We mostly overlook PSU's in troubleshooting also.
July 21, 2006 10:28:04 AM

Thank you for all your very helpful and somewhat reassuring posts!

Keep em coming!!!

In the meantime I've ordered a PSU, am expecting it today.
I can only hope that I won't lose yet more money on another wasted purchase....
July 21, 2006 11:24:22 AM

From what you've described, I'd say mobo or PSU also. Did your computer have any problems before it suddenly died? I had my PSU "suddenly" die on me, but it showed any symtoms before it did (like random rebooting, not powering on properly, etc) so I pretty much knew it was the PSU when I couldn't get my system to turn on.

Also, if it is a dead PSU, sometimes they take other components with it (like mobo). So, if replacing PSU doesn't work by itself, perhaps you should try replacing the mobo and PSU. Good luck.
July 21, 2006 12:28:18 PM

Since you said that the fans don't spin...

The easiest way to test is to pull everything out of the mainboard. I mean everything, ( RAM, VIDEO, MODEM, IDE, SATA ) and especially the front-panel connectors, (USB, FP-AUDIO, RESET, POWER, HDD LED, etc.)

The only things you need to test this theory is the power connectors, (ATX 24pin, ATX 4-pin, or whatever) and leave only the cpu fan connector inplace.

Turn on the pc by shorting-out the POWER-SW connectors on the mainboard. Thats where the power button wires normally go to. Use a screwdriver or something. If the cpu fan doesn't start spinning and it does the same with 2 mainboards then its the power supply.

If it does spin then you have learned something new... you now have a not-so-completely unresponsive PC.
July 21, 2006 12:52:17 PM

Hey Psuedo,
One other thing you can try since you did not mention it in your first post. Have you tested the MOBO battery????? If the battery is dying, THE PUTER WILL NOT POST. Now you mentioned that the standby lights are on but since they only use minimal power to start with. REmove the mobo battery (it;s usually near the PCI slots at bottom.. check manual) and get the model # of battery to get another one.

That might work, I have heard that when this little battery goes, your comp wont post.
Hope this helps dude, good luck.....and by the way.....what would posses anyone to go FAR AWAY FROM ANY COMPUTER SHOP IN THE FIRST PLACE 8O
YOu must be in the middle of nowhere :cry: 
Mike aka paybax
RIG specs
Antec P180 PerformanceSeries Mid-Tower Case
SeaSonic S12 600 watt power supply
Asus A8N32 SLI mobo AMD N-Force 4 SLIX16 (bios 1103 V02.58)
RealTek 97 onboard digital 5.1 Surround
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Toledo Core, 2 X 1mb L2 cache (AMD drivers w/MS hotfix)
2 gigs of Corsair TwinX3500LL Pro @ 437Mhz 2-3-2-6-1T
2- BFG Tech 7900 GT OC 256mb in SLI (nvidia driver 91.31)
Western Digital RAPTOR 74.3 gig 10-K rpm HDD for XP & Apps
Maxtor SATA II 250 G HDD for gaming, movies, MP3's
Maxtor SATA II 250 G HDD for document backup (unplugged)
Sony CD rom 52X
Plextor 708-A DVD/CD rom
Logitech Z-5500 digital 5.1 THX Surround 500watts
July 21, 2006 1:15:08 PM

Have you tested the MOBO battery????? If the battery is dying, THE PUTER WILL NOT POST.

I'm not saying that its not possible, but that is one thing that I have never seen personally. Have you seen this cause a computer not to post yourself. Typically a dying mobo battery will cause bios time loss or even a complete cmos clear, but I have in the past (and recently) booted mainboards without a bios battery at all.

I suppose that there could be particular motherboards for which this could be an issue and I have just never seen them, but I would be interested to know if you have witnessed this phenomenon.
July 21, 2006 2:40:56 PM

I too would say that the problem is the PSU, here is my logic on that:
the MOBO standby lights are probably driven by 5v while most fans need 12V to run. It is possible for a component in the PSU to fail without letting the smoke out(in most cases a short will let the smoke out but an open won't).

There are ways to check the PSU without fancy tools, I'd guess you could find that info (or a link to it) in these forums.
July 21, 2006 3:10:20 PM

I'm going to chime in with psu here but there is an easy test to check it.

Take it out of the case and plug in some fans to it. Make sure the switch at the back of the psu is "off" (if you have this function, if you don't then don't worry), then short the #14 pin (should be green on most psus) on the 20 or 24 pin psu to mb connector with a black ground, any black ground. While this won't give you that much information it will tell you if the 12v rail is working.

You can use a paper clip to do this.



Connect the green (power on) with any black (ground).
July 21, 2006 3:21:19 PM

Try unplugging PSU and holding the power button for 10 seconds resetting it.
July 21, 2006 10:23:01 PM

Hey B,
I have NOT personally seen this happen. A friends comp had that problem a while back and he mentioned something about the tech saying the cause was a dead mobo battery.

I thought I would mention it only because nobody knows everything about all mobo features and what makes em tick, and hey....I figured it was a simple thing that would take NO TIME to check out.
July 22, 2006 11:01:23 AM

cool, i will keep an eye out for it.