How to test pci/AGP cards with a multimeter?

Hi All,

Perhaps I'm asking the wrong question in the thread title - but the scenario is this: I live in Sri Lanka and as such cannot afford standard PC equipment (my recent upgrade has been to a Pentium III w/ 320MB RAM / 20GB hdd). However, after roaming the streets here I've found pavement vendors who sell computer parts on an "as is" basis.

These are usually parts that have been discarded by users from developed countries nearly a decade ago. The problem I run into is that more than half of these peripherals don't work, and there's no way for me to know this until I take the device back home, hook it up to my PC, and discover that it's dead.

That's why I ask: Is there a way (any way) that I can test these devices on the spot? The Thread title is just a guess of mine.

I've been looking to move away from the in-built sound card and to a better VGA (I'm running a RivaTNT2 atm - looking to move upto a GeForce2) and of course more RAM is ALWAYS a good thing too!

Things to keep in mind:
-These are Street Vendors basically they've laid down a plastic sheet on the side of the road and dumped a mountain of computer parts in no order , usually everything at one fixed price whether they work or not - So Please dont ask to get the device tested before buying - there isnt any way to, and there aren't any computer stores nearby where I could go and test (neither would they be willing)

- I do not have RadioShacks and/or Arduinos (the latter I can't afford) to bring back to life dead hardware via the magic of soldering irons and technical schematics (I'm a n00b at best)

Other than that this is my first post here even though I've been a constant visitor since 2001 and I want to Thank all of you guy for keep this place fresh and interesting (also for the usually good grammar which is what I mooched off of and learnt from!)

Hope you guys enjoy your days/weeks ahead !
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More about test cards multimeter
  1. The only thing you can look out for is physical damage, you can't really test a board with a test meter any more, the only components you can test are the discrete types like resistors, capacitors , diodes & transistor, maybe the odd fueses and coils aswell.
  2. Well this is dissappointing...I was thinking perhaps someone had made something like this:

    Except using old salvaged computer parts which I could attempt making (I've been told I'm okay with a soldering iron - just that I'm clueless without a tutorial) Guess it must be too complex.

    Thanks for the reply though Hairystuff didn't think anyone would be up at my time! At least now I know how far I can test with that Multimeter!

    I'm still open to ideas though - not just on how to test PCI cards and the ilk, but stuff like what to look out for when buying these "second hand" cards (apart from what Hairystuff has said)
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