PC on...but no life, please help

  MrDiddler 09:33 19 Dec 05

I have a problem at present that has me baffled.

I recently took the cover off the back of my Dell PC (ME O/s) to add extra RAM, however after adding it and realising it was not detected and having never done this before I decided to remove the additional RAM and leave to a professional to look at after Christmas. However when I removed the RAM and restarted my PC, it was coming on but the light at the front was not, and my monitor remained off, now the CD Drive is working fine and it sounds like it is working but something is amiss, any suggested help would be appreciated.


  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 09:50 19 Dec 05

1. Remove and reseat the memory

2. remove reseat the graphics card if fitted

3. check the IDE ribbon cables in the back of the hrad drives and CD drive is fully inserted also check this cable where it plugs onto the motherboard.

4. Check the power cables to the drives are also fully inserted (unlikely to have come loose)

  Gongoozler 09:53 19 Dec 05

Hi MrDiddler. This is a very unfortunate experience. Adding RAM is usually the lowest risk upgrade that you can make, and when it goes wrong like this it doesn't help build your confidence for more adventurous exercices.

As I said, adding RAM is usually very low risk, but on rare occasions it can go wong. If there is a physical weakness in the motherboard, the pressure required to insert the RAM can cause a connection in the board to fail, faulty RAM can also damage a motherboard component. The most frequent cause of a problem, however, is for a connector to be dislodged. The fact that you are getting no display at all suggests that either the graphics card has been partially or completely unplugged from the motherboard, or the monitor connector has been unplugged. When you switch on the computer, do you get the normal single beep that indicates that the motherboard has successfully completed it's self test?

  MrDiddler 10:43 19 Dec 05

Thanks so far Gents, no the beep does not come on but not sure if it ever did?!

The RAM is not faulty as I put it back into the PC I took it from and it is working fine. The Motherboard thing is quite possible.

  Gongoozler 16:34 19 Dec 05

Hi MrDiddler. Most computers give a beep a few seconds after switching on to indicate that the motherboard BIOS has completed it's self test, and the pattern of the beeps is very useful in diagnosing the cause of any failure. If you're not getting any beeps, and there is no display on the monitor, then I would guess that for some reason the motherboard just isn't starting up. The next stage in diagnosing the problem would involve partially dismantling the computer and possibly measuring some voltages. In case you want to try this, I will give some things you could do.

If you have, or can get hold of, a multimeter, then you could measure the voltages from the power supply on the ATX power connector.

The following is copied from a posting by Fruit Bat /\0/\ click here

(I hope the formatting survives, otherwise I'll re-post it)

Pin layout

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10.

1= +3.3vDC
2= +3.3vDC
3= com
4= +5vDC
5= com
6= +5vDC
7= com
9= =5vSB
10= +12vD

11= +3.3vDC
12= -12vDC
13= com
14= PS_ON
15= com
16= com
17= com
18= -5vDC
19= +5vDC
20= +5vDC

Normally I would suggest briefly checking for 5V and 12V on a drive connector, but from what you have described, I think it's more likely that it is the 3.3V that isn't working.

If the voltages are all correct, then I would suggest unplugging everything from the motherboard except the power supply, the processor with heatsink and the power-on switch, and seeing if there is then a POST beep (it should be a series of beeps indicating an error due to the absence of memory or graphics card).

If you don't feel comfortable doing these tests, then perhaps you will have to get your professional computer person to find what has failed.

  woodchip 16:37 19 Dec 05

if the ram is near cables check you have not pulled a plug part off

  woodchip 16:38 19 Dec 05

PS all the above as to be done with the Power plug removed from Wall socket

  MrDiddler 16:41 19 Dec 05

Thank you guys I will check all the said above out this evening and will report back if it solves the problem.

thank for your help so far.


  Gongoozler 16:50 19 Dec 05

MrDiddler, be very careful if you do measure volts from the power supply, a typical computer PSU can supply about 30A from each of the 5V and 3.3V lines. Although the volts won't do much harm, if you short the supply the amps can burn.

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