2 coms down w/ same problem.

By eddy05
Dec 4, 2002
  1. My friend's and my PCs failed on us. This is what happened:

    My Friend:
    He wanted to clear all the dust in his PC so he disassemble everything, including the Heatsink, the fan and the CPU. Then he clears the dust away on the heatsink and the Socket using a vacuum cleaner. But when he assembles everything back, it just won't work. No display. The HDD LED flashes periodically. We couldn't get the PC to work again. Athlon XP 1700+, K7S5A.

    Happens when I found a Pentium III Slot-1 450mhz at the bulk refuge area. I then tried to switch it with my Pentium II 400mhz. The CPU was not detected. Then I install back my old PII again. The PII is not detected now!

    In both cases, both CPUs are taken out, then put back again, and both PCs couldn't detect the CPUs anymore.

    Any solutions? (If you need more details, plz ask me. I was there when both events happened)
  2. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Posts: 2,244

    Well, your friend's problem seems pretty obvious, Electromagnetic Fields. It is very likely that the field of the vacuum has disrupted the field of the ICs(RAM and ROM are most vulnerable to this)

    As for your problem, I'm unsure, unless the CPU you tried was shorted, this may cause damage to the mobo. This is just a guess however, there could be other reasons, like your CPU may not be properly seated.

    Of course, since you were there when both machines died....there is the possibility that you are just a jinx :p
  3. eddy05

    eddy05 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 152

    I've got a bad week. The bad omens proved correct. This week is my "You-think-you-can-do-it-so-does-your-friend-but-both-of-you-are-wrong" week. bad.

    My friend merely cleaned the CPU area. Of course for K7S5A the RAM is near the CPU... but he didn't clean other areas other then the CPU, CPU fan and heatsink. And we couldn't work out what the periodic hdd led flashing mean.

    I feel there could a possiblity that the CPU not seated properly... just like the experience I had with my Sega Genesis :blackeye:... however I may be just too optimistic...
  4. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Posts: 2,244

    Most likely if the RAM was damaged, you would receive a memory error at POST. There are a number of components that can be damaged by the vacuum's electromagnetic field, not to mention the static created(I forgot to mention that before, static is always present when there is an electromagnetic field) He would not necessarily have to actually clean an area with the vacuum for it to be damaged. If he was using a micro-vacuum, then just getting the unit close to those chips could cause damage(in theory)

    I may be going down the wrong path about the vacuum causing that problem, but it is highly possible and I've seen it many times before. Your friend may want to check that his CPU is seated properly as well.
  5. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,172

    I'm not sure if this will help or not, but you might try clearing your CMOS. I had a problem like this when I first built my computer, and after fooling around for a bit I cleared the CMOS and started over, after reseating the Proc a few times, and it worked.

    Just a suggestion, but it surely can't hurt anything.

    And as far as the vacuum goes, would it matter if it probably had a 4 foot hose on it? I'm sure he didn't get the motor part of it right up next to the PC. I would think that keeping the vac away and just using the hose to get to the PC would be enough. Just another thought.
  6. Greeno

    Greeno TS Rookie Posts: 281

    Have you taken out the G'card and RAM ? and seen if you can get it to beep at you ?

    if it doesn't POST beep, then i'd say you've had ur grubby mitt's on the mobo and static'd it :] thus killing it ;)

    were you static discharged before you messed with anything ?
  7. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    Athlon system...

    Does it power on at all? How about the PSU - Does the fan turn on for the power supply?

    If the PSU doesn't power on, there are a few things you might want to double check...
    Is the power-on header is connected, power cable is connected, power on switch is set to 1 not 0? Also, check that the clear CMOS jumper is not set to clear CMOS. This will keep your computer from powering on usually.

    Or.... Are there any beeps or signs of system power on? You might want to clear the CMOS or disconnect absolutely everything and try to see what parts work and what parts don't. In many instances I've dealt with, boards with bad memory will power on, but have no video signal and will not turn off using the power switch (You have to unplug the cable). If it is the CPU or the video card, you'll get the same probelms, but the system should power off with a single push of the button power button.

    Another idea is that you may want to consider that one of your DIMMs could be damaged and use a different a memory DIMM than the one your RAM currently occupies.

    Lastly, I would double check to make sure you have all of your motherboard spacers put in properly and there are no loose screws shorting out the bottom of the board. Make sure the ATX power is firmly connected.. You may even want to use a different power supply if you get desperate enough.

    P2 system
    "I then tried to switch it with my Pentium II 400mhz. The CPU was not detected"

    Many boards from this era were not jumperless and require you set the jumpers and or dip switches properly. If you have not, I recommend clearing the CMOS and referring the board manual on how to set the CPU core voltage, CPU multiplier, FSB/CPU frequency and DRAM voltage. Your P2 is probably 4x multiplier, 100 FSB, 2.2v cpu core and 3.3v DRAM, but I suggest you get the specs from a reliable source if these things need to be changed - Especially the voltages.

    For any other tips, I recommend taking a look at the previous suggestions for the Athlon system.

    Any more information on what happens when you press the power button will be helpful. Whether or not the fan on the PSU comes on or not can make a big difference in what the possible causes are.
  8. eddy05

    eddy05 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 152

    Athlon System.
    Yes it can be powered on. All the fans in the PC spinned. When we tried to boot the computer, there is no display. We turned the computer off by holding the power button for a few seconds. We aren't sure whether is it the memory, though I thought it's impossible cause we only took it out and didn't mess around with the stick. We tried different DIMM slot but to no avail. I couldn't comment the progress yet cause the PC is at my friend's house now and i've passed the suggestion to him. Will inform you if he calls me back.

    P2 System.
    I tried all sorts of funny stuff. I shake shake the PC... pray for the PC... took out the RAM and insert them back... Took out the graphic card and put it back... praise the PC... pray for miracle... Clear the CMOS... and voila! It worked again! Oh man I'm relieved. It was my sis' PC. I didn't know wad actually fixed it though. I disable the PC speaker 'cause the beep everytime i boot is very disturbing :D In any case, I thank all of you guys. At the very least you gave me alot of suggestion and boosted my morale :p Now raised another question...

    - Is it worth to take another try in installing the PIII? Firstly, the PIII may or may not be working. Secondly, there's a risk that this thing happens again. Thirdly, Sandra couldn't detect my motherboard type, but it's a motherboard made by PC100 and its chipset's SiS5595. My PII is indeed the one which Rick thinks is. 100mhz x 4 and so on. This is the string on the PIII -- 450/512/100/2.0V S1. Will it be worth it?
  9. Greeno

    Greeno TS Rookie Posts: 281

    PII 400MHz --> PIII 450MHz worth it ?

    Hell yeah :]

    firstly tho, b4 u bugger it up again ;-) search around the web, make a note of your BIOS release and try to find the latest BIOS for your mobo, look to see in any version history whether or not the BIOS updates add support for PIII's.

    in which case, should you need to flash it and try the PIII, you know your PC is fine, but make deadly sure your free of any static b4 you do anything :p sorry to preach but ya know.
    Its a simple enough thing to prevent, and doesn't cost alot, i normally leave my power cable in and leave it connected to the wall still, touch the bare metal on the case to ensure i'm discharged.
  10. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    A 2.0v P-III should run safely IF the board is not capable of 2.0 and delivers 2.2v current. This may cuase your CPU to run a wee bit hotter than it should though. If you get any lockups, I recommend reverting to your Pentium II again.

    There's always a good chance your board supports the proper voltage for the P-III - Especially if it is jumperless (That means it is probably a BX chipset and not something old like an LX). A BIOS flash can sometimes add support for new multipliers and voltages, so you may want to look into updating your BIOS if it doesn't work.

    The peformance gain will be substantial, but not overwhelming. The early P-IIIs (Which is yours because it is 2.0v) offer slightly better performance than comparably clocked P-II CPUs. The extra 50MHz will also be nice for many things... And just because you can is another good reason. ;)

    Try clearing the CMOS if the P-III does not work right off the bat.
  11. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Posts: 2,244

    The difference in having the unit right there and having a long hose, would be the amount of chance that it might cause damage. It is still possible because of the static but not as likely if the unit is not in the case. From what I understand, you can cause damage from the field from quite a few inches away, depending on the field strength. I'm not sure about the specifics on this theory, I just know it is a good possibility that you'll kill something when you vacuum inside the PC case.

    One of the first rules of PC repair is not to use a vacuum inside a computer case.
  12. eddy05

    eddy05 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 152

    I was just wondering if SiS5595 chipset supports Pentium III. I've heard of 440BX being able to support PIII, but I don't know about mine. I couldn't find my mobo model and brand anywhere, not even in sandra, thus a BIOS update is impossible. This mobo is jumperless and it supports 4.5 multiplying factory.
  13. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    I just recently clean out a machine with a vacuum cleaner and all was cool....
  14. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Posts: 2,244

    You were either very lucky, or very careful.

    I have seen several machines that mysteriously died and later found out that the owner had used a vacuum just prior to it.

    I also saw a demonstration of this in a PC repair class once. The Instructor erased several ROM chips and destroyed a couple of RAM modules, just by holding a running micro-vacuum about 6" away from them. The HDD is another device which can be damaged by these fields.

    Magnetic fields and computers do NOT mix.
  15. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    perhaps you could write a guide about it.... if its good we will post it.... how its safe and not safe to clean a machine with a vacuum cleaner.... pictures would be nice....
  16. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,172

    I personally would have never guessed that a vacuum would damage any part of a PC. I guess that is one of the MANY things that people take advantage of in their life.
    I would actually like to see what sorts of things people take advantage of, as far as their wives(girlfriends), jobs, schoolwork, shortcuts to anything, etc.
  17. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    EM fields aren't cool around electronics, but maybe I am just getting REALLY lucky. But my computer is sitting case off on the floor (carpeted) and I run my Eureka 12amp "The Boss" on my carpet. Now no I'm not ramming the thing into my computer when I'm running it, but I do clean my carpet within at most 2 feet of it. I've been doing this with all my computers since as long as I can remember - NEVER had anythign die on me. Static Sparks are real bad I'm sure - hence the reason for wrist straps, but an upright vaccuum with a hose attachment cleaning dust off a motherboard I'm sure has a VERY small chance of messing something up.
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