Birthday Disaster

It sounded so easy. Tom's how-to build your own PC guide would enable me to afford a new system for my son for his birthday which is Sunday. All I had to do was pull the assembly off by myself.

After I read as much as I could about components and vendors over the past few weeks, I took the plunge and got the following to install in a full tower that I had an old crappy system working in.

Mobo MSI KT4VL (VIA KT400)
CPU AMD|1900+/266 ATHLON 1.6GXP

Very methodically, maybe even timidly, I started through the process. Since I bought the retail AMD 1900+ package, I simply placed the CPU in and pulled the lever, pulled the tape off the heatsink/fan and strapped it down and plugged it in. Then, I inserted the two 256M RAMs on the board and mounted the whole thing to the full-tower case. I put the modem, AGP card, and USB2 bracket into their slots and put two harddrives on IDE1 and a burner and third harddrive on IDE2 (random parts I had lying around).

After I hooked up the power and the case LEDs, I thought I was ready for liftoff.

Well, how wrong I was. I fired up the power supply and hit the power button on the case and NOTHING! I tried again and the CPU fan sputtered for a split second and NOTHING!

I think I checked everything and according to the guide, this shouldn't be rocket science. Why doesn't it work?

Needless to say, I'm more then a little disappointed and feel like a moron but I don't know where to even begin to figure out how I screwed up or if one of the components is dead.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
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  1. Firstly, don't be discouraged. It's your first shot at building a PC and you deserve credit for taking the initiative to do so.

    The first switch-on, even for an experienced PC builder, is always a 'hold-your-breath' situation. You never quite know what might or might not happen.

    I know you've checked it, but you need to go through everything again systematically. But first I'd remove anything that is not needed immediately for your first boot-up, such as modems, sound cards, network cards, etc. All you need is a CD/DVD, RAM, hard drive, graphics card and CPU with HSF.

    The first thing I'd check is that the PSU is switched on (sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised). Then check that the power connector from the PSU to the motherboard is properly seated, and that the motherboard to front panel connecters are in the right order and are properly seated.

    Obviously take a look at your RAM, graphics card and IDE connectors too. Sometimes it's hard to see if there's not sitting right.

    You will get there. We all have. So keep at it and don't worry.

    :eek: Wingding - proof of the need for genetic screening :eek:
  2. It may be also useful to check the RAMs as well... since it sounds like a ram problem.

    If possible... borrow RAM from your friends to test it out. Try to eliminate the possible problems one-by-one.

    And yes, you should make sure the system runs with the very basic components first. Before u add it others... like Sound Cards and stuff.
  3. I think I figured it out.

    It couldn't be too many things, so a googled my a!@ off and found an article about troubleshooting power supplys. I 'shorted' the power supply by sticking a paper clip between the green and black wires on a power supply that I knew worked and presto!, the fan started up. Then I checked the new one I just bought and it didn't.

    So I put the old one into the system and we're golden. I did have a little problem for a few hours until I realized that the floppy cable was on backwards, but now I'm into the OS and should be fine.

    Thanks for your encouragement and suggestions. I now feel a little more comfortable about building new PCs.

    Thanks Tom for the excellent forum.

    BTW, the power supply was from An Allied 450 watt for $50. Their service was great so far. Now I'll see how they are with returns.
  4. They should be fine. I'd go for an Enermax PSU if possible, they're very reliable and quiet.

    :eek: Wingding - proof of the need for genetic screening :eek:
  5. Congrats on ur first system!! To be honest, u seem to have experienced less problems than most:) Now for step two- take a fridge and make it into a heatsink, and oc the living hell outta it:)

    What if you had admin rights to life?
  6. What you just went through is normal. Hopefully you think it's worth the bit of aggravation. I know I do (my aggravation though, not yours :) )

    <font color=red>God</font color=red> <font color=blue>Bless</font color=blue> <font color=red>America</font color=red>
  7. Heh. A powersupply dying on startup. Talk about quality.

    <b>Cogposto tomsa, ergo sum - <i>Descartes</i>
    </b>Translation:<b> I post at Toms Hardware, Therefor I am. :smile: </b>
  8. the biggest reason I shop at stores near my home is return or any other problem that might come up. Why bother with the mail and people over the phone? Not worth the 10$ diff for me to bother, even if it's 20$

    <font color=red>Got a silent setup, now I can hear myself thinking.... great silence</font color=red>
  9. In any case you should go for a quality branded PSU, no matter where you buy it. I'm sure your local store could get a good Antec or Enermax PSU for you. Might cost a little more than online stores though, but as you say this is not your main consideration.

    :eek: Wingding - sugar and spice and all things vice :eek:
  10. Good troubleshooting. You're on the right track. Building computers is a hobby. You'll always run into a few glitches no matter what brand of components you chose. There's loads of info here to help you thru it. Get your son involved in any and all future builds/upgrades. The skills he'll learn (problem solving, patience, attention to detail) will be invaluable to him in the future.

    The Men Behind the GUNS!

    <A HREF="" target="_new"><b>MY SYSTEM</b></A>
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