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Home Built - won't post

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January 30, 2012 11:44:18 PM

This is an older system that suddenly went dead 2 nights ago. The problem is that it won't POST at all. When you turn on the power you hear the hard disks spin up, lights on MB light up, and fans spin but the keyboard doesn't blink on initial boot. Since it wouldn't even POST at all I figured the MB was dead. I ordered another one and installed it. Same problem, system won't post and USB keyboard doesn't blink on initial boot. I also noticed that the fan on the GPU wasn't spinning. I swapped out the video card for another one to make sure it wasn't an odd video card problem but still nothing appear on the monitor and the keyboard/mouse doesn't seem to get power. My next guess is that it's the PSU so I am waiting for a replacement of that. The spec is:

Asus P6T Motherboard
EVGA GTX 260 GPU
Intel i7 920 2.66 CPU
OCZ 600W PSU
3x 2GB Corsair DDR3 RAM

Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks.

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a c 122 B Homebuilt system
January 30, 2012 11:47:27 PM

The following is an expansion of my troubleshooting tips in the breadboarding link in the "Cannot boot" thread.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261145-31-read-postin...

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.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/262730-31-breadboardi...

Breadboard with just motherboard, CPU & HSF, case speaker, and PSU. Breadboard with just motherboard, CPU & HSF, case speaker, and PSU. At this point, if you do not have a system (internal case) speaker, you really need one.


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, LED's, or fan activity:

Check for line power at the PSU input. Extension cords, power strips, and power cords do fail.

If you have power and no beeps, suspect components in likely order are PSU, motherboard, and CPU.

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.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FWXgQSokF4&feature=yout...

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.
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January 31, 2012 12:12:51 AM

Thanks for the thorough walk through! This should help me isolate it.
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February 6, 2012 11:54:52 PM

This turned out to be a bad power supply. Thanks again for the help.
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February 16, 2012 11:47:10 PM

Best answer selected by Loehmann.
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