No POST, Fans on full, need advice

Hi I am having a weird problem with an old rig that I built. For sometime the computer has had problems booting most of the time failing to POST and giving no beeps or video output. Occasionally the computer will boot as normal after a short period of fan spinning (I'd say roughly 1 in 5 times of pushing the power button that it actually works).

The motherboard was recently replaced for a separate problem as well as the heatsink and I'm pretty sure both are seated properly (but the problem was there for the old motherboard too). It rarely boots again straight after shutdown so I guess it could have something to do with it overheating but this isn't always the case. Already tried booting with barebones and without video card or ram but no beeps are heard.


Intel Q6600 core 2 quad
ati radeon sapphire 4850 512Mb
2 x corsair CM2x2048-6400C5
OCZ 600W OCZ600sxs
Maxtor DiamondMax 22
Motherboard: Gigabyte P41-ES3G

Thanks in advance.
5 answers Last reply
More about post fans full advice
  1. Time to test your Power Supply, push button switch, and connectors (8-pin, 24-pin) seating on the motherboard.
  2. Work systematically 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 beep patterns on Gigabyte, eVGA, and ECS motherboards. Other BIOS' may be different, but they all use a single short beep for a successful POST.

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

    Breadboard with just motherboard, CPU & HSF, case speaker, and PSU.

    Make sure you plug the CPU power cable in. The system will not boot without it.

    I always breadboard a new build. It takes only a few minutes, and you know you are putting good parts in the case once you are finished.

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

    If no beeps:
    Running fans and drives and motherboard LED's do not necessarily indicate a good PSU. In the absence of a single short beep, they also do not indicate that the system is booting.

    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.

    A way that might be easier is to use the main power plug. Working from the back of the plug where the wires come out, use a bare paperclip to short between the green wire and one of the neighboring black wires. That will do the same thing with an installed PSU. It is also an easy way to bypass a questionable case power switch.

    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, long single beeps, or series of short beeps indicate a problem with the memory. If you get short beeps verify that the memory is in the appropriate motherboard slots.

    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.
    At this point, if the system doesn't work, it's either the video card or an inadequate PSU. Or rarely - the motherboard's PCIe interface.

    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.
  3. Thank you both for your replies. Just tried to barebones boot; got a sequence of beeps on the first boot but then the speaker failed to beep at all on subsequent boots after this (using a screwdriver edge on the pins to bypass the power button). Just tried the paperclip method to test if the power supply is at fault but it seems to turn itself on consistently with no load; am going to get a DMM for diagnosing the power supply further later.

    Unfortunately I don't have access to an alternative power supply of sufficient power so I can't really substitute that right now . Oh and I also checked through the list of bullet points you provided and they don't seem to be appplicable.
  4. What do you consider a "barebones boot"? What sequence of beeps?
  5. Sorry I should have said breadboard boot i.e. implying motherboard, cpu, psu and heatsink, booting by short circuiting the pins rather than using the power button. First time round I heard a continuous sequence of long beeps (about 10 long beeps in a row) but for successive boots after this no beeps were heard at all.

    Just tested the power supply with the dmm and it seems to be giving the correct voltages within the errors stated:

    Yellow: 12.16V
    Red: 5.13V
    Orange: 3.35V
    Blue: -12.14V
    Violet: 5.14V
    Grey: ~5.3V then back to 0.33V

    Guess I should see if I can swap the cpu for something else next or do you think I can be certain that it is the cause of the problem now?
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