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Help with a 95% dead pc

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February 20, 2012 12:20:16 PM

Hello,
A neighbour brought her PC to me to look at as it started smelling of smoke. When I connected it, it was completely dead ie nothing on screen , no beeps on start-up and only psu fan was going.
By removing various components, clearing the bios, replacing the battery, I have now got it to a state where it beeps once on boot , processor fan is going and there is something on the screen. Unfortunately it is just repeated columns of characters that make no sense.

I have checked the psu voltages which seem correct and swapped the psu for another (used) unit.

Does anyone have any ideas of what I can try now ?

PC is an Packard Bell Imedia 2095

TIA

Steve

More about : dead

February 20, 2012 12:37:27 PM

Sounds like the onboard video card is fried. Try to find a jumper on the motherboard to disable the onboard video card. If there is one. If you find one, disable the video card and see if that helps. Also, if there are expansion slots, try putting in a second video card and see if that helps too.

February 20, 2012 12:38:59 PM

Also, is the beep just one short beep?
If it is, that means the computer passed its post check and the weird characters are from a fried video card...
Which means the rest of the computer is ok, but the video card is not.
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February 20, 2012 12:45:07 PM

I agree with memadmax. I would try a video card. Does the computer have a pci-e agp or pci slot? Many newer boards dont have a jumper to enable or disable the video, it happens automaticly when a gpu is plugged in.
February 20, 2012 1:12:40 PM

@memadmax

It is just one short beep.

I have a question on video cards. The connector on the motherboard is I presume an AGP (I haven't managed to find details of the gigabyte motherboard yet). It has two sets of contacts, however both the spare cards I have found have 3 sets of connectors although the overall length is the same as the connector on the board. Can I presume the cards are compatible ? Any idea why the contacts on the cards are divided into 3 sets and not 2 ?

Thank you both for your help so far

Steve

memadmax said:
Also, is the beep just one short beep?
If it is, that means the computer passed its post check and the weird characters are from a fried video card...
Which means the rest of the computer is ok, but the video card is not.

February 20, 2012 1:26:50 PM

Packard Bell- donate to a history musuem

or as much as i dont like killing things, i think the computer is suffering, just get the shotgun and make it quick...
February 20, 2012 1:30:45 PM

I can't find any information on your system.
But however, it seems pretty new enough to be a PCI-E system.
If you grab a pci-e card and it doesn't fit in any of the slots then it isn't a pci-e system lol.
Also, both AGP and PCI-E 16x connectors are divided into 2 sets.
Even though I can't see what exactly is on your motherboard, I'm willing to bet you are looking at a PCI-E slot.
Also, a PCI-E x16 card slot length is about 89mm or 3.5 inches =D
February 20, 2012 1:33:40 PM

There are mutliple differnt versions of AGP cards. If the AGP card only has one "break" in the connector and it is on on the half of the connector that is further from the io panel that would be an older 1.5 volt card. If it has 1 "break" in the connector and it is closer to the io panel it is a newer 3.3 volt card. If the AGP card has 2 breaks in the connector then it is compatible with either and will work in most any mother board.

The mother board is the same way. If the key is closer to the io panel it can do 3.3 or 1.5 volt. If it the key is further from the io panel then it can only do 1.5 volt and a newer card wont fit.

The keys in the mother board and agp cards, prevent you from physically plugging in a card that is not compatible. Basically if it will fit it should be compatible.
February 20, 2012 2:06:53 PM

I plugged a video card in and Packard Bell screen came up a treat. Problem is that it doesn't go any further. Screen gives various menu choices but keyboard doesn't seem to respond (although keyboard lights do come on as power is applied/removed). I have tried both PS2 and USB keyboards (front and rear connectors)

I guess whatever killed the onboard video has done more damage to the motherboard. Is there anything else I can try or do I report it as dead (can't see it's worth changing a motherboard)

Thanks again

Steve
February 20, 2012 2:11:47 PM

What type of choices? Are you in a windows screen, or in the mother board loading screen or bios?
February 20, 2012 2:18:35 PM

Try different ports. I've had systems where all of the back ports were fried and only the front ports using the USB header worked.
February 20, 2012 2:21:26 PM

Wow, at this point I would toss the motherboard/computer.
February 20, 2012 2:23:02 PM

@bucknutty. It's a Packard Bell screen, choices are ESC for "Switch scree", F2 for BIOS or F8 for Boot device.

@supermunche I have tried USB connectors on the rear (motherboard) and front (separate panel)
February 20, 2012 2:29:00 PM

Yeah it probably is a goner but I assume it's more about data recovery than getting the system completely back up again.

Open the case again and check if there is another USB header that is unused, and swap the front panel connectors to the unused one if there is another.
February 20, 2012 2:58:17 PM

It sounds like the computer is freezing during post or just after post. That is why the key board seems to not respond. My bet is the keyboard and ports work fine but the computer is frozen. I would try taking the ram out and cleaning it then installing only 1 stick. See if it behaves differently.

Is packard bell still a brand in Europe or someting? Here in the US the brand turned to HP about 15 years ago.

February 20, 2012 3:01:39 PM

I tried swapping the USB headers w/o any effect. I also put in a PCI card with 5 USB ports and again no effect.

February 20, 2012 3:24:45 PM

@bucknutty. P-B still sell PCs here in France for home use, don't think they go after any business users

By removing RAM and resetting BIOS, I have actually seen a change. First time a LED on the front turned yellow rather than blue and by pressing ESC I got into a BIOS screen but it halted during a memory test. 2nd time I got a "entering setup" message but again it halted. I presume whatever test happens after POST is failing. Faulty RAM perhaps ?
February 20, 2012 3:40:33 PM

bad ram is a possibility, and you cant really run memtest with out a computer that can at least post. If the computer has 2 sticks of ram try the other stick. It is unlikely that both sticks went bad.
February 20, 2012 3:56:11 PM


PC only has 1 stick of RAM and unfortunately I don't have a spare. Will see if my neighbour wants to invest in some

Steve

bucknutty said:
bad ram is a possibility, and you cant really run memtest with out a computer that can at least post. If the computer has 2 sticks of ram try the other stick. It is unlikely that both sticks went bad.

February 20, 2012 3:59:01 PM

Clean the stick again with a little alcohol and then blow out both ram slots with copressed air. Put the ram in the other slot.

Got nothing to lose but a few minutes.
February 20, 2012 4:22:34 PM


Try a PS2 KB/M -- it might be hanging on the USB variety.



February 20, 2012 4:38:40 PM

Cleaned the RAM, no change. Put it in the other slot and PC was dead.

Think I am going to call it a day on this one

Thanks bucknutty and everyone else for your contributions/suggestions
!