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Breadboarding

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a c 122 B Homebuilt system
March 14, 2009 2:32:08 PM

As those who have been following my posts in the Homebuilt System forums, I have been a proponent of breadboarding for a long time because it lets me test components before I install them in a case. I am in a better position than most to do this because I am generally running 2 or 3 systems off a 4 port KVM switch. I always reserve one set of cables for testing (I am real popular with friends with computer problems).

The following picture is an old 680i system I am trying to get running with a Q6600. (Yes I know all about the problems of 680i motherboards with quad core CPU's.)



As you can see from the connected drives, I basically have a caseless system. The cables in back go to my KVM switch. This is more elaborate than necessary. All you really need is a system speaker to hear the BIOS beeps and a way to turn the computer on. The simplest way is to use a small screwdriver on the appropriate pins. In this case, I do not have a problem. The eVGA 680i motherboard has built in power and reset switches and a built in beeper.

Then for testing, I build the PC in stages. I start off with only the CPU and HSF installed, boot, and listen for the long single, "no memory" beeps - also make it easier to check that the HSF is properly installed. Then I add memory, boot, and listen for the one long and two or three short "no video card beeps". Then add the video card and monitor and I should hear the short beep and see the boot messages on the screen. And then, like this example, I usually add the keyboard, mouse, and connect the drives to install the OS. And I know that when I install parts in the case, they work.

I included the old Dysan floppy disk box to show what I normally use. I salvaged case wiring from an old case and replaced the switches with a couple of Rat Shack push button switches. I had problems mounting the original switches in the box. And when I tried to glue them in, I got superglue in the switches. I also have a system speaker in the box. About the only thing out of the ordinary I did was to separate the Power LED leads so I could use them with any motherboard.

I am working in Saudi Arabia right now and my house is known as "The Elephant Graveyard of Computers". And in addition to helping friends, I salvage parts from old computers and build "giveaway" systems.

More about : breadboarding

March 16, 2009 12:18:24 AM

I had my rig set up like this before.. freaks everyone out when you tell them it's your computer.. the only difference is I did it when I was 14 years old.. haha.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 16, 2009 12:29:13 AM

Yup, same thing here. Saves much more time in the long run. I even install OS on this kind of set up (has dedicated 15" CRT for this use). Only thing I don't do is OCing it, as temps change when inside the case.
Related resources
a c 122 B Homebuilt system
March 16, 2009 12:54:11 AM

Shadow, with the KVM switch, I don't need a dedicated monitor to install the OS. I also do not need to breakdown a working system to use the keyboard, monitor and mouse. And I do not OC the giveaway systems that I build.
May 9, 2009 8:03:01 PM

is that wood you use under the motherboard?
a c 122 B Homebuilt system
May 11, 2009 3:08:08 PM

It's an old cutting board. I have a nylon cutting board I have used. Also used a padded anti-static motherboard bag and I have used my Oblivion hint book. It's on a wooden table, but I like something at least an inch thick so I can let the back edge of the motherboard with the tab for the video card hang over the edge.
May 11, 2009 3:18:40 PM

I also do a lot of bread boarding. My setup is very much similar to yours other than, I like shadow, also use a crt to read my bios and check to make sure I can get ram timings and various voltages to manufacture specs. I also prop my motherboard up a little bit so its not directly on the wood - I really don't need to do this though.

I will admit your breadboard setup in general is much nicer than mine. Thanks for the pictures and tips. This type of setup makes it so much easier to quickly swap parts when I'm working on a machine that is having hardware problems.
May 11, 2009 3:21:28 PM

Nothing wrong with a naked PC...LOL. Just don't get shocked...

What Mobo is that?
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
May 11, 2009 9:01:13 PM

Using only my psychic mind powers I have been able to discern that the OP doesnt own a cat
a c 122 B Homebuilt system
May 13, 2009 3:17:36 PM

You psychic mind powers need a slight tuneup.

kubes: Notice the color coded KVM and power cable. :)  They also match my color coded ethernet cables.

Kill@dor: it's my old eVGA 680i board. The one eVGA said was going to be compatible with all the 2nd gen C2's. :( 
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
May 13, 2009 8:13:56 PM

jsc said:
You psychic mind powers need a slight tuneup.

:( 



Using only my psychic mind powers I have been able to discern that the OP doesnt own a cat like mine
a c 122 B Homebuilt system
May 14, 2009 9:44:29 AM

There you go. One slight psychic mind power tuneup delivered on time and (hopefully) under budget.

Max_the_cat seems to have some meercat genes from a long distant ancestor.
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
May 14, 2009 9:56:02 AM

I "lost" a perfectly good quaddro gfx card and a stick of ram about 5 months ago while I was testing hard drives

I dont blame Spider the cat .
But it was her fault . Honest .
May 14, 2009 12:05:18 PM

jsc said:
You psychic mind powers need a slight tuneup.

kubes: Notice the color coded KVM and power cable. :)  They also match my color coded ethernet cables.

Kill@dor: it's my old eVGA 680i board. The one eVGA said was going to be compatible with all the 2nd gen C2's. :( 



That's actually not a bad idea to cut up an old rj-45 cable and just use that. Maybee this weekend I'll see what i can't put together. I do like the switch idea. (the last few boards i've been breadboarding with have switches on them though so it has't been as big of a concern...e.g. evga x58 sli)


I've noticed there's been a large increase in pictures of cats as people's avatars. Gosh now i'm gonna have to get one.... What about dogs?
May 14, 2009 5:59:26 PM

by boot.. do you mean plug in the power supply and flip the switch to turn it on(turning on the MoBo light)? I don't hear any beeps if that is booting..

(sorry, mega newb)
May 14, 2009 6:35:57 PM

There is an led on most motherboard saying power from a psu is currently reaching the board. It however does not actually turn on the board. There a bunch of pins used to plug your case led's and power/reset switches into. These pins are what will actually turn on the board. (some boards actually have a power switch actually built on them for example the evga x58 sli). So to turn on the motherboard you have to short the power pins. In otherwords you have to touch them together with something conductive such as a screw driver to actually turn the board on. What jsc has done is created a box that you pug into the power button and a switch will make the connection for you instead of having to do it with a screwdriver or paper clip or something...
June 17, 2009 3:41:48 PM

kubes said:
There is an led on most motherboard saying power from a psu is currently reaching the board. It however does not actually turn on the board. There a bunch of pins used to plug your case led's and power/reset switches into. These pins are what will actually turn on the board. (some boards actually have a power switch actually built on them for example the evga x58 sli). So to turn on the motherboard you have to short the power pins. In otherwords you have to touch them together with something conductive such as a screw driver to actually turn the board on. What jsc has done is created a box that you pug into the power button and a switch will make the connection for you instead of having to do it with a screwdriver or paper clip or something...

if u test the switch with screwdriver..touch both pins ..and it still doesn't start..is that an indication that the mobo is out...my system turned on one day..( have my post "psu won't start"} was reading some solutions and came across yours..
a c 122 B Homebuilt system
June 18, 2009 7:00:26 AM

Unfortunately, no. It could be the power supply. You can strip the system down to the minimal - motherboard, CPU, and PSU. If it's breadboarded and you do not hear long beeps (missing memory), at least one of those three components is bad. You can look for something obvious with the PSU using a multimeter, but the only sure way to test is by substituting a known good component.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 18, 2009 8:43:59 PM

I'm having a similar problem but I don't know what to do. I don't have my comp breaded haha, but I do know that everything worked yesterday. I took my gaming computer and put it in a new case. Everything was working perfectly when I took it apart, but now it just fails. I turn on the power, everything starts for a moment (LEDs and fans), then it all stops working, spinning, etc. I've been told it may be a short, but other than that, I'm pretty much out of ideas. My next plan is to do the breadboarding idea, but I was hoping it wouldn't have to come to that. Like I said though, I didn't swap out any components. I simply put everything in a new case and hooked it back up. When I found out it was failing to boot, I started unhooking everything one by one. At this point, there are only a few components hooked up - 1) MoBo screwed to case, 2) PSU to MoBo, and 3) Case power button to MoBo. Are there any ideas you guys might have where I could have gone wrong? Thanks for all/any help in advance.

To rule out a few things -

I've tried hooking up the power button to reverse +/- ports.
I've tried hooking the old case power button back up to the MoBo to see if it was the new case's power button circuit was shorted.
I've tried unhooking nearly every fan and even the processor and RAM, also to no avail.

I believe it's a problem with the PSU or MoBo, but I can't understand why since it was all working just fine in my old case yesterday. Once again, thanks for any help or questioning you guys may give me.
a c 122 B Homebuilt system
July 19, 2009 5:24:29 PM

Treat it like a new build with known components. And look here:
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/page-261145_13_0.ht...

You may have made a mistake in the reassembly process. And keep in mind that something could have died in the transplant process.

You may need to pull your system apart and breadboard it just to make sure that nothing did die.
July 25, 2009 10:41:15 PM

Hi, may I ask how do I turn the computer on outside of the case? Do i still need to put in cable from the case? I dont have any switch like you do, or anything like that.
July 26, 2009 10:52:52 AM

jsc, I'm planning to build a tech station :) 

I have a sheet of approx. 2-3.5mm thick aluminum, can I use that as my base for the motherboard? I'll still use standoffs tho. Then it'll go on top of a piece of wood....so on.

I plan to test this out with a stupid BTX dell (bad airflow) and add fans and such....think the aluminum will work?
a c 122 B Homebuilt system
July 26, 2009 8:10:06 PM

sheira said:
Hi, may I ask how do I turn the computer on outside of the case? Do i still need to put in cable from the case? I dont have any switch like you do, or anything like that.

sheira, you can turn it on by (carefully, carefully :non:  ) by using a screwdriver to momentarily short the two terminals that the power switch connects to.

N890, the aluminum would work, by I'd be very careful. The holes for the standoffs will be hard to place. Another idea would be to find an old case with a removeable motherboard tray and use that.

Nothing wrong with running a caseless computer either permanently, or semipermanently - as long as your cat is trained to stay off the tabletops. :) 
a b B Homebuilt system
July 26, 2009 8:27:59 PM

jsc said:

Nothing wrong with running a caseless computer either permanently, or semipermanently - as long as your cat is trained to stay off the tabletops. :) 

:lol: 
July 26, 2009 10:41:44 PM

Sorry, but what exactly do you mean by hard to place?
August 8, 2009 5:46:04 PM

Jsc, one more question lol.

I'm not using the aluminum, I decided to go straight wood. I've seen some people do this, however my question is can I run the motherboard without the standoffs on MDF wood? Will it cause static electricity?

I will try to get some ;) 
a c 122 B Homebuilt system
August 8, 2009 6:13:03 PM

Late getting back to this thread. Had an unusually grim work schedule the past two weeks.

"Sorry, but what exactly do you mean by hard to place?"

If you are going to use aluminum, the holes in the aluminum have to exactly match the motherboard.

Wood is fine. I've used and old wooden cutting board, a nylon cutting board, and my Oblivion hint book. The main requirement is an insulating surface thick enough so the video card bracket hanging off the edge does not touch the tabletop.
August 8, 2009 7:40:43 PM

So the wood won't cause static electricity? I can just screw it to the wood?
August 9, 2009 2:35:10 AM

Well techonically wood could but its so low that for your purposes there's pretty much no way it ever would.
a c 122 B Homebuilt system
August 9, 2009 7:31:41 PM

N890 said:
So the wood won't cause static electricity? I can just screw it to the wood?

Well, if you are worried about static electricity, lay the antistatic bag that the motherboard came in on top of the wooden board. Don't worry. The antistatic bag is not conductive enough to matter.

There's no need to screw the motherboard to the wooden board.
August 13, 2009 4:06:55 AM

I have the MSI 790FX MoBo & the AMD Phenom II X4 945 Deneb CPU. I powered everything up when I had everything together before I read you post & all LED lights were lit up per the User Guide, but the GPU (SAPPHIRE Vapor-X Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP), on the card itself LED light show up red below failure.
Then I read your post & remove everything but the CPU, HSF & MoBo from the case to do your test, but not the CPU & HSF. When I boot I am receiving 3 long beeps & not 1 long beep. Does this mean something got those 3 long beeps?
I do not have the cables for the monitor, the key board or a drive to down the the O.S, I should have everything by Friday.
My set up is;

CPU-
AMD Phenom II X4 945 Deneb 3.0GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor

RAM-
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-4GBPI

PSU-
COOLER MASTER RS-700-AMBA-D3 700W ATX12V V2.3 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

Case-
COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP

GPU-
SAPPHIRE Vapor-X Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card

HD-
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
August 13, 2009 5:53:32 PM

You might want to start your own thread so you don't hijack this one. But quickly reading about it seems like you need to read the doucmentation for your motherboard that describes what the beep codes mean. Also the graphics card documentation should also tell you what the red LED means. Maybe that's good/ Maybe that's bad (aka not getting enough power i'd assume)...but non the less it seems like you need to read some of the docoumentation that came with your parts a bit more theroughly
October 1, 2009 6:48:08 AM

kubes said:
These pins are what will actually turn on the board. (some boards actually have a power switch actually built on them for example the evga x58 sli). So to turn on the motherboard you have to short the power pins. In otherwords you have to touch them together with something conductive such as a screw driver to actually turn the board on.

Another super newbie here. Do you touch the pins on the power connector once and remove the screwdriver OR you keep the screwdriver on shorting out the pins while the PC is running? I'm not sure that if i stop touching the pins, the computer would turn off - like on a bulb and its lightswitch. Sorry for the stupid question ;) 

kubes said:
What jsc has done is created a box that you pug into the power button and a switch will make the connection...

I would be very interested to learn how to make this. Any step by step procedure and what materials would i need?
a c 122 B Homebuilt system
October 24, 2009 7:29:35 AM

swordsman,
Really late getting back. You touch the posts just for a moment - just like when you press the case power switch. If you stay on the pins too long, the PC will shut down.

The little box...
Like I said above, I used wiring and a speaker salvage from an old case, replaced the two switches with real push button switches, and found a box to put them in.
November 10, 2009 2:20:27 PM

:o  You can do that, if you do, running MAINBOARD for SEVERAL Weeks on Bread board table to Start Burn In. If You Light IT Up & then Move Mess to case, probably IT Won't Every Start Again. Just How Sensitive This Stuff IS.

Swtch stuff Is from OLD Days & NO Ordinary switch works, just snap on or snap off, not continuous. Old Stuff Won't even Snap Off & if you unplug Main, Never
Start Up Again. THATS WAY IT WAS. PS NoBody told AnyOne then, So $10,000 waste was Simple.

Signed:p HYSICIAN THOMAS STEWART von DRASHEK M.D.
a c 122 B Homebuilt system
November 11, 2009 6:00:54 AM

Let's see if I can figure out what you are trying to say.

thomasxstewart said:
You can do that, if you do, running MAINBOARD for SEVERAL Weeks on Bread board table to Start Burn In. If You Light IT Up & then Move Mess to case, probably IT Won't Every Start Again. Just How Sensitive This Stuff IS.

I breadboard everything. Then I will install the OS and drivers. Then I move it to the case. Anything breadboarded has always worked once I move it to the case.

thomasxstewart said:
Swtch stuff Is from OLD Days & NO Ordinary switch works, just snap on or snap off, not continuous. Old Stuff Won't even Snap Off & if you unplug Main, Never Start Up Again.

They are just simple momentary contact push button switches, just like the ones in the case. Two for $3.00 at the local Rat Shack.

thomasxstewart said:
THATS WAY IT WAS. PS NoBody told AnyOne then, So $10,000 waste was Simple.

???
November 11, 2009 2:05:02 PM

Push Button Switches Are easy enought to get or use oLD Case front end. Installing O/S is minimal, installing every partition IS Better. Give it some time BEFORE Lousy DSL Provider Software Hangs , Get Updates, Go Slow. NO Complex software till its Well seated. AS Newnwess means everything needs bit 'o running before starting hacking. If You already are familar with Mainboard, Risk IS Much LESS.

$10,000 replacement free system, Broke Free system, yet maybe only halfie thou lost, due to one switch.

drashek
November 11, 2009 11:25:18 PM

Another example of Total OFF Was Debbie tripp, Whom Attended Elementary School with. tripps Moved to chicago & Started TRIPP Lite, Had Brought Them to CONTROL DATA & Saw extensive Power Back Up Systems & Start Tripp Lite Power backup Uits for Home Server. Now Days You Usually Can turn Server mainboard off, yet in 1960s' if power outage happened, NO WAY. & Outages happen at least yearly. Now people think Tripp Lite is Scam, Well, you might lose Data, yet save systemBoard, Was reason. Strange How Callous Server Mains Are in that respect. EveryOne Needs backUp 'puter just to keep stable Home base.

Signed:p HYSICIAN THOMAS STEWART von Drashek M.D.
November 30, 2009 1:01:49 PM

:sol:  Try using Foam that came with mainboard, underneath main & between wood board. due to metals being present in wood, its poor choice for anythingelectric. when mount in casem use plastic case was wrapped in to insulate between case & mainboard.

drashek
a b B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2009 6:20:49 PM

jsc said:
Let's see if I can figure out what you are trying to say.


I breadboard everything. Then I will install the OS and drivers. Then I move it to the case. Anything breadboarded has always worked once I move it to the case.


They are just simple momentary contact push button switches, just like the ones in the case. Two for $3.00 at the local Rat Shack.


???

He comments frequently on the Inquirer as von Drashek or Drashek, I've read, or tried to read his posts - they make sense for a while, then I find myself saying w--h--a--t--? He's probably a genius.
December 21, 2009 8:11:00 PM

:bounce:  Hi-TreeFrog. Have You ever Noticed breadBoard OFTEN Seems wet. Ahso, that small nut or item can get caught between main & Case. thats reasoning. yet before move main, run it for hours if not days, its lot more likely to restart. Also once drivers are in, just leave it be untill some burn in has occurred.-=7=- IS BETTER.

Ps Lil' 'Ole Drashek quiting Business of commentos', on 31Dec2009. started When 1996 Welfare reform Act made getting homeBound back into active life. Mike Magee Was& Is very Helpful/ About only editor whom had any feeling outside most immediate. Credit good line up of writers whom can almost edit themselves for more advanced humane viewpoint.

Recieved My first Ok good to go year ago locally, I have arthritis. Second came about June'9 & was about to leave, yet informed best to stick entire year out, as evaluation takes place in Kansas & locally & perhaps Hollywood, where started with commentos in 1999 & this funded mandate.

a b B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2009 10:32:25 PM

I wasn't flaming you. You probably are a genius, or maybe you have some software that randomly grabs clumps of text from the www and joins the clumps into a post. Your posts are unique. You have your own style and grammar, which often makes me say "w--h--a--t--?" Quit "Business of commentos', " if you must. Good luck with your "evaluation." whether it "takes place in Kansas & locally & perhaps Hollywood."

Stay warm and dry.
November 5, 2010 1:46:38 AM

Quote:
I start off with only the CPU and HSF installed, boot, and listen for the long single, "no memory" beeps - also make it easier to check that the HSF is properly installed.


what is the HSF? new to the hardware world
a b B Homebuilt system
November 5, 2010 2:21:01 AM

HSF: Heatsink and fan for the CPU. Intel and AMD include HSFs in their boxed processors (but not with OEM processors). Many buy after-market HSFs to improve CPU heat dissipation while overclocking or using CPU-intensive software. After-market HSFs are available from CoolerMaster, Noctua, Thermalright, etc. Here's newegg's page on various makes and models.
November 25, 2010 3:12:11 AM

Hey all, I found this thread very interesting and I thought I would give it a try for my first time build as due to the circumstances I will have to build it, and then very promptly pack it all up and get on a plane with it.

I figured it would be very much easier if I dont actually put any of the pieces in the case beforehand, and just use all the anti static bags from the boxes to transport all the gear.

Now to my question:
Do all motherboards have a system speaker / beep mechanism?
I'm getting the ASUS P7P55D-E Pro, and I've been looking on the manufacturer's webiste for a few quarter hours now and can't seem to find the info.

If the motherboard didn't have a system speaker, what would you recommend I purchase?

Again, thanks for the help.. I'm very excited to be doing this first build but also kinda scared about assembling and dissassembling the computer in such a short time frame (about 4 days). I've already bought and paid for all the pieces so I gotta see it through now hehe.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 25, 2010 3:06:59 PM

According to your manual, your board has a connection for, but does not have speaker to beep out the POST codes. The only chassis speaker I could find at newegg is here ~$7.00 shipped. You attach it to your Front Panel Speaker connector pins in the lower right-hand corner of the board - refer to your manual.
You shouldn't have any trouble putting your rig together. Follow the manual on installing the cpu, RAM, etc. If your are using an aftermarket cpu cooler that requires bolting through the motherboard, do that right after you install the cpu.
September 27, 2011 3:21:46 AM

So there is no way to test that the motherboard and power supply alone are working? Using a board with Award BIOS and I was expecting some sort of beep code for no CPU connected, but apparently silence is the expected response from the PC speaker?

The reason I ask is I'm trying to build a "new" machine while retaining as many parts as I can from the old build, and at the same time I'll be installing an aftermarket HSF for the first time. I was hoping to verify that the new mobo + PSU combo works before plunking in the old CPU and going through the process of mounting a large heatsink.
January 12, 2012 10:46:53 PM

jsc said:
Well, if you are worried about static electricity, lay the antistatic bag that the motherboard came in on top of the wooden board. Don't worry. The antistatic bag is not conductive enough to matter.

There's no need to screw the motherboard to the wooden board.

i know this post is really old, but isnt it a BAD idea to put your mobo on the bag it came in? i remember reading or something that said that only the INSIDE of the bag was anti static coated, the outside usually isnt, or are you saying to turn the bag inside out first? plastic is usually a good conductor or static electricity in most cases.
January 28, 2012 10:34:30 PM

mildgamer001 said:
i know this post is really old, but isnt it a BAD idea to put your mobo on the bag it came in? i remember reading or something that said that only the INSIDE of the bag was anti static coated, the outside usually isnt, or are you saying to turn the bag inside out first? plastic is usually a good conductor or static electricity in most cases.



Bump to get a answer from pros to the above questions.

(My parts are all arriving early next week. I'm reading around how-to-built threads and how to do dry-runs in order to identify possible DOAs prior to installing everything in the case. Are anti-static wrist band and anti-static pads are worth it ?)
January 29, 2012 1:59:45 AM

FFM said:
Bump to get a answer from pros to the above questions.

(My parts are all arriving early next week. I'm reading around how-to-built threads and how to do dry-runs in order to identify possible DOAs prior to installing everything in the case. Are anti-static wrist band and anti-static pads are worth it ?)


they are (in my opinion) only really worth buying if you plan to use and re-use them, like if you do a lot of repair and building for other people or are wealthy enought to build a new computer every time new crap comes out. but like say if you are the go-to-guy for all your family and nieghbors computer help, it is probably a good idea to get one, that or if you just want to be super safe.
!