/ Sign-up
Your question

Black screen and other problems

  • Prebuilt
  • Power
  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
November 7, 2010 1:59:14 PM

I'm helping my cousin fix his prebuilt pc. Its been unused for a few years, and when we try to turn it on it would power on, then off, then on...until eventually we got lucky and it powered on. wouldnt load windows, so i try to install windows xp. no luck as it hangs during the installation (tried several times).

I tried popping out the CMOS, then something strange happened: the pc would power on without me having to press the power button. Also, would get nothing on the screen (tried two monitors).

I proceeded to remove the HDD, the floppy disc drive, the cd drive, and unplug all the extra fans along with the sound card and onboard modem. only things left connected are the graphics card, cpu + fan and the ram and power supply.

no luck so i decided to connect some of the things that looked not connected correctly. one of those was the connector pins for the LED and power/reset buttons. as luck would have it the stickers that told me what each was for fell off of ALL of them.

i connected them back and got to a point that it wouldn't beep, but honestly sometimes it wouldn't beep anyway. I know the mobo is OK as there's a green light that shines when the power is on (hope that means its ok).

to sum up, my main problems are that i get NOTHING on screen, and that the pc turns on without me having to touch a button. and i guess the LED things too.

any ideas?

More about : black screen problems

November 10, 2010 10:18:59 PM

Work through our standard checklist and troubleshooting thread:
I mean work through, not just read over it. We spent a lot of time on this. It should find most of the problems.

If not, continue.

I have tested the following beeps patterns on Gigabyte, eVGA, and ECS motherboards. Other BIOS' may be different.

Breadboard - that will help isolate any kind of case problem you might have.

Breadboard with just motherboard, CPU & HSF, case speaker, and PSU. You do have a case speaker installed, right? If not, you really, really need one. If your case or motherboard didn't come with a system speaker, you can buy one here:

You can turn on the PC by momentarily shorting the two pins that the case power switch goes to. You should hear a series of long, single beeps indicating memory problems. Silence indicates a problem with (in most likely order) the PSU, motherboard, or CPU.

Motherboard LED's mean very little. When on, all they are telling you is that the computer os plugged into a live power socket and the PSU is switched.

Remember, at this time, you do not have a graphics card installed so the load on your PSU will be reduced.

If no beeps:
At this point, you can sort of check the PSU. Try to borrow a known good PSU of around 550 - 600 watts. That will power just about any system with a single GPU. If you cannot do that, use a DMM to measure the voltages. Measure between the colored wires and either chassis ground or the black wires. Yellow wires should be 12 volts. Red wires: +5 volts, orange wires: +3.3 volts, blue wire : -12 volts, violet wire: 5 volts always on. Tolerances are +/- 5% except for the -12 volts which is +/- 10%.

The gray wire is really important. It should go from 0 to +5 volts when you turn the PSU on with the case switch. CPU needs this signal to boot.

You can turn on the PSU by completely disconnecting the PSU and using a paperclip or jumper wire to short the green wire to one of the neighboring black wires.

This checks the PSU under no load conditions, so it is not completely reliable. But if it can not pass this, it is dead. Then repeat the checks with the PSU plugged into the computer to put a load on the PSU.

If the system beeps:
If it looks like the PSU is good, install a memory stick. Boot. Beep pattern should change to one long and several short beeps indicating a missing graphics card. Silence or long single beeps indicate a problem with the memory.

Insert the video card and connect any necessary PCIe power connectors. Boot. At this point, the system should POST successfully (a single short beep). Notice that you do not need keyboard, mouse, monitor, or drives to successfully POST.

Now start connecting the rest of the devices starting with the monitor, then keyboard and mouse, then the rest of the devices, testing after each step. It's possible that you can pass the POST with a defective video card. The POST routines can only check the video interface. It cannot check the internal parts of the video card.