Pakard bell problems.

I acquired an older Packard bell 2 or more years ago and has worked seamlessly for my parents until yesterday.

The specs are as follows:
A64 3400+ (also tested with 3200+)
1gb ram (tested with 512 as well)
Onboard ATI graphics (ixp400)
Msi MS-7168
250W power supply (FSP)

When the pc powers on the fans are turned on (full power) and the hard drive moves but there is no video output (tested on 2 monitors).
The most likely explanation i can think of is that the integrated graphics chip has failed. I have a 7800GT in my main pc but as it is only a 250W power supply i wouldn't like to try it (agreed?).

any ideas or suggestions? i could strip down my main pc and test parts but is there an easier way.

Thanks everyone
16 answers Last reply
More about pakard bell problems
  1. Agreed with the video card. But you could start by removing ram and then try getting a pci video card to work with it.
  2. just tried reseating the ram and the computer worked again, half way through loading it crashed and rebooted, i'm thinking power supply?
    I have an old 350W PSU i may try out if you think its still likely.

    also found an old pci video card but havent connected as i was able to see the bios out of the onboard video card.

    thanks for the help
  3. it keeps on booting, runs post, loads a "windows crashed what would you like to do" then crashes and reboots
  4. MichaelAbbott said:
    it keeps on booting, runs post, loads a "windows crashed what would you like to do" then crashes and reboots

    So it seems to boot ok but windows crashes?

    If so, I'd run 'memtest' off a floppy or CD and if it passes memtest you likely have a corrupted windows installation and simply need to repair/reinstall. Have you tried 'safe mode'?

    If it fails memtest or crashes while running it you could have bad memory or bad motherboard, even a bad PSU. I'd try switching out parts to narrow it down.

    It's probably not the video chip. Video aleays gets blamed when there is no video but it's usually something else very basic which is keeping the system from posting at all.

    Any error beeps?
  5. ram i have tested 4 different chips with each socket and no difference.

    the video seems fine now and there is no error beeps.

    so its either the psu or mobo, i'll test psu tomoz and i'll get back to you.
  6. running memtest off a floppy is also a good way to test the your entire system by taking the OS out of the equation. If you can pass memtest then you likely have a problem with your OS install.
  7. ok here goes.
    I'm going to be very precise at the problems i am having as they are always changing, i will do mem test as soon as i can but as of yet i'm stuck on situation 1. To explain the three things that can happen:

    Situation 1; Fans start on high speed, hard drive powers and cd drive too, video never displays but onboard chip does get hot (usually does anyway)

    Situation 2: same as Sit 1 but fans then switch to low speed (randomly occurs lol) bios loads onscreen and displays cpu info and Dram speed of 400mhz, Amd northbridge rev E3, nothing else and hangs on that screen.

    Situation 3: bios loads, windows loads (on a diff HDD tho this one has no OS) crashes and reboots, i had been able to get windows CD to load but didn't want to reinstall the HDD in there.

    Swapping parts, especially ram seems to change which situation happens but i have not been able to get a stable situation 3, one sec it'll work next it doesn't.

    On the whole i reckon the PSU is the most likely culprit but does anyone have any other ideas before i start stripping down my main PC to test parts?
  8. PS also i have a load of different Ram chips 3x 1GB, a 512 and a 256, i've tested all so i dont think its ram.
  9. When testing use 1 RAM chip only and put it in a new/different slot.

    Since you have tried multiple RAM chips it's sounding like either MOBO or PSU.

    But to narrow this thing down you are going to need to go to bare bones. CPU, 1 stick of RAM, PSU, monitor and NOTHING else. No hard drives or CD\DVD drives or any other peripherals hooked up. Sometimes a faulty drive or card can cause you to hang like this. I doubt that's it, honestly, but I have seen it before. You don't want to go buying a new MOBO only to find out it was something else, so play it safe.

    If bare bones fails you will know it's likely something on MOBO or else the PSU. Your'e on the right track buy testing PSU first since it's much easier than swapping out a MOBO.

    CPUs rarely go bad but they can overheat. Is CPU fan is spinning ? If not you could be overheating. I'd check both the CPU fan and the contact between heatsink and cpu, perhaps it got knocked askew. This does sound a bit like an overhearting problem the way you always get stopped after a short period.

    If bare bones works then add a floppy or CD drive back in and run memtest off it.

    If that works add back a hard drive and see if you can boot to windows or do an install off the windows disk.
  10. yeah just tried that, i think i've definately killed the PSU, i'll just power down my pc and swap over it.
  11. check the mobo for bad caps, mobos that packard bell used to used wre extremely pron to leaking caps
  12. i've looked at all the caps there seems no issues ans far as i can see.


    i stripped down the whole pc.

    Started the bare bones set-up and eventually got it going with all the original parts. added a cdrom drive and booted into bart PE (couldnt find the memtest disk but it seemed to work fine. Then added a 160GB Hdd and installed windows. All went fine and it all ran ok.

    Then re assembled the pc and placed in its original hdd which contains another xp installation but it keeps doing situation 3 BUT i did get it to boot fine in safe mode.

    should i repair the xp installation by using the xp disc?
  13. you could run 'system restore' first, in safe mode, if you have any restore points, if that fails then you could try a 'repair install' off the CD. But actually you should also run chkdsk /r at the command prompt after booting off the CD before trying anything else, you could just have some corruption that chkdsk might fix.
  14. kk i'll try that
  15. thats got it, took a while to find a stick of ram the computer liked but it seems to work ok now.

    i just did a system restore (saved my skin more times than i care to admit) an it seemed to boot ok. Tested the stick of ram by running a virus check (not mem test but does basically test the ram if the pc doesn't crash) and i'll run mem test asap.

    thanks for the help
  16. glad you got it
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