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Third motherbaord, second CPU and still no boot!

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Mar 1, 2002
It all started a month ago when I turned on my PC and POOF sparks flew out of the power supply. I went down to Best Buy and bought a 300W Antech and put it in my case. When I turned on the power, it wouldn't boot. The hard drive would spin up and the CD-ROM light would come on but the floopy wouldn't seek and I couldn't even get into the BIOS although the fans worked.

So, I took it to Best Buy and had them diagnose it. A bad motherboard and/or CPU was all they could GUESS ($60 for a guess..grrrr). I tested my CPU and it was OK so I ordered a new MB. Well when I installed it, the same IDENTICAL symptoms occured. Not boot, but the hard drive would spin up, the fans would turn, etc.

I thought that I must have just gotten a bad MB, but since the CPU was a little old I thought I might as well upgrade the whole thing. So, I buy a new motherboard (the new Soltek) a new CPU (AMD 1600+ retail), new memory (PC2700 Kingmax) and even a new case (just on the oddball chance that the wires were bad). I hook everything up and guess what? The exact same thing occurs. No boot, just my hard drive spinning up, the CD-ROM light coming on and the fans turning. The floppy still doesn't seek and this time the mouse sometimes does and sometimes does not work.

I have replaced EVERYTHING that could prevent the system from booting at least to the point whe I can get into the BIOS and have tried both AGP and PCI based video cards but nothing helps.

Does anyone have a clue as to what it might be? The only thing I thought is maybe I have a bad power unit and the 12V is working but not the 5.

Please help! I've spent so much time and money on this thing that I'm about to go crazy. :(
Check that all connections are secure etc. Try setting up a system on a bench or something with just the PSU, mobo, CPU and Vcard and RAM. Will that Boot?

Check the mobo - is there any visible damage? Is the CPU seated properly. Try using the other DIMM slot(s). Does that work? Is the clear CMOS jumper in the correct Position.

Assuming you have tried the above, try a different PSU.

Try a different power lead and/or socket.

Good Luck!
I've done what you suggest. Checked every setting on all three motherboards. Tried clearing the CMOS, seated and reseated every card, pulled everything out except the CPU and memory, tried different memory slots, etc.

You name it, I've tried it.
darrin said:
I've done what you suggest. Checked every setting on all three motherboards. Tried clearing the CMOS, seated and reseated every card, pulled everything out except the CPU and memory, tried different memory slots, etc.

You name it, I've tried it.

Yikes :eek:
Have you tried a different socket?
I think the motherboard is OK, perhaps the BIOS is broken. Have you tried a different CPU and different RAM that is KNOWN to work?
Have you tried checking the reset switch in the case. A shorted reset switch could be causing trouble and is not something obvious. If you have a VOM handy, check for continuity across the contacts. It should have infinite resistance when not pressed and low to nonexistent resistance when pressed.
Like I always say "Whip the handy-dany-voltage tester" then check your house for Poltergeist. also my friend over here said to try a different outlet, make sure ya didn't screw that up; but its very unlikely.
Well the first CPU in the first two motherboards was good because I checked it out in my computer at work. The memory was also checked in the first two (brand new memory for the third) and it was fine.

I can't say for sure my new AMD retail chip and new memory are good (brand new) since i don't have another computer to test them in but I would think it would be. Besides, these are the SAME EXACT symtoms I've had since the PSU blew.

Funny thing about the reset switch on my latest MB. It won't work. I tried flipping it around just in case the pin was mislabled but still nothing. I pulled it off just and tried that but no good.

Now the other two motherbaords the reset worked. I think it might be a button problem with the new case.

And yes, I tried different recepticals (one of the first things I did actually).

Anyway, I'm at my breaking point with this thing. My wife is in a frenzy after all of the time and money I've spent on it and I'm about an inch away from using the thing for target practice.
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Since it's not reset and about everything else has been tested, try a loose power test on the psu. Take it out of the case and jumper the green wire Power On connector (pin 14 of the ATX plug) to a black ground wire connector, with a fan or other device hooked to the 12V supply and a hard drive for load. Power on using the switch on the back of the supply and test the 5V and 3.3V supplies. 3.3V on pins 1, 2 and 11. Five volts on pins 4, 6, 19, 20 and possibly 9(since it's standby). 5 volts should be between 4.9 to 5.2 volts. 12 volts should be between 11.5 to 12.5 volts.
I would but I do not have a volt meter (and have used one only on rare occasions).

I'm thinking about taking ti back to Best Buy since they gave me the original diagnosis which was wrong and ended up costing my several hundred dollars and nearly a nonth of time waitng on parts.

The way i figure it, either they tell me what is wrong or give me my $60 back which i will use to buy another power supply since I lost the receipt of my new one that i bought from there a few days before I took it in to get diagnosed.
yes i would think that u somehow messed up your psu when you plugged it into your then shorted MB,

also make sure that u did not somehow bend out a pin on your floppy drive and that the floppy cable is going into the floppy drive correctly

also didnt read but have you tried just booting with only vid card, cpu and ram and seeing if you get a bios?

they can look up your purchase and give u a dup receipt, if you have your box, just bring it in for a swap, have them test the psu you bought there, insist on free of charge, or just get them to exchange it

go easy, dont **** off the wife, try flowers and some dinner and a movie and some thanks:)
Yes I tried just the CPU, memory and video card on a couple of occasions.

Same thing.
I'd take the PS back first and explain the situation to the counter staff first and try to get an exchange. If you don't have any luck, ask for the manager and explain that the system was in for diagnosis and that the diagnosis was incorrect and has cost you both time and money. The manager may be able to simply exchange the PSU and hopefully all will be well. At this point the PSU looks to be the problem, even without further verification.
I just got back from Best Buy.

It was the power supply all right.

Replaced it with an Antec 350.

Now I have the dreaded blue screen from XP, but I can handle that now that it boots!
Congratulations. I'm planning on upgrading my power supply soon, but I plan on keeping the one I have, for diagnostics. It's such a wonderful feeling when you finally solve the problem!

Glad to hear it works now :)

$60 for a GUESS? :eek:

Yikes, I thought that £40 for a defrag and scandisk was steep :D
Yes, $60 for a guess is a lot, but they were pretty nice to deal with on the return though.

The guy hooked it up while I was there to make sure the new one would work and she booted all the way until I got the blue screen (too far away from the PC to see what it was....but I can deal with that this evening). Of course, if they would have known about it to begin with I wouldn't have bought the new motherboard, CPU and RAM. Looking back though it was a way to get the OK to upgrade! !:D

Man, what an ordeal ($300 in parts, almost a month in time), but at least now maybe some other folks will be able to use this knowledge:

If everything on the 12V side seems good (fans turn, ect.) but you can't even get into your BIOS, and you know your CPU and motherboard are OK, you might want to check out your power supply!

BTW, thanks to everyone for their input!
awesome bro, glad to hear you found the problem. i kinda
figured it was the PSU. i wish i could come up with an excuse
to buy new parts.... maybe my PSU will fry something *wink* ;)
Glad it worked out for you eventually. Looks like I'll be building tomorrow. Primary IDE controller just died on my home workstation. Hows that for an excuse?