TechSpot

I've been told my MOBO is dead. Does this sound right?

By Quik89Si
Aug 19, 2005
  1. To start off with, I'm a complete PC hardware newbie. The most work I've done to my eMachines is cleaned it out a bit, and installed a high-speed USB in the PCI port (?). I don't really know much about the specs, but I do know that it's got an Athlon processor - the whole system is just over 3 years old and worked perfectly aside from some overheating issues about 6 mos ago until the other night.

    It has given me trouble for a while now when I put it on "standby" - when I come back to wake it up, the PC light on the front of the case goes from orange back to green, as it should, but nothing comes up on the monitor. I end up shutting it down when this happens by holding down the power button.

    The other night, this (paragraph above) happened. When I powered it back on after letting it sit for a sec, nothing happened. I could hear the fans powering up, but the light on the front of the case did not come on at all, I couldn't open the CD or DVD drives, and the monitor didn't activate and showed nothing on the display.

    After it sat like that for about 3 minutes, still nothing - held down the power button, it shut off, and I powered off the power bar. Waited about a minute, turned the power bar and the PC back on, and it worked like normal (booted up and ran just fine!). Used it for probably 2 hours, shut it off as usual, went to bed.

    The next day, I got home from work and turned it on. Same deal - nothing except fan noise. No lights, monitor, CD drives, NOTHING. Tried to get it to go probably 15 times, all to no avail. When I opened up the case and tried it, all I see is one red LED and two fans going. Nothing else.

    Again, I don't know anything about this stuff, so I took it down to the local Best Buy. The guy there opened the case, told me the capacitors were OK (not puffy) and said that it must be the motherboard - I'd be better off to buy a new PC than to have it replaced.

    Am I missing anything here? Are there other possibilities that sound likely from the description I'm giving? Any help is greatly appreciated!

    Alex
     
  2. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,195

    A motherboard will be significantly less money than a new system. Many boards cost ~$40-100 usd, and you usually can't get a computer for that price. It may be the board, or it could be faulty memory I guess, or you could have issues with your windows install. If you're backed up, then you could reformat/install your OS again(everything will be erased, so back everything you may ever want, pics, emails, videos, etc), and see if it helps, if not, then at least it didn't cost you anything but time. It'd cost money to get a motherboard or ram, unless you can "borrow" from a friend temporarily to figure out the problem.
     
  3. Quik89Si

    Quik89Si TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I don't know that I have any way to re-install my OS (XP) again, as I can't get the computer to the point where I can even open the CD drive. I don't have anything backed up as of now, so I'm guessing that I'd have to remove the hard drive, and back up the contents to another PC.

    I had read around quite a bit and thought at first it might be the PSU (power supply unit, right?) but I think I can rule that out since then two fans come on and the red LED on the motherboard comes on.

    Is replacement of the motherboard something that a newbie like myself should attempt? Would replacing the mobo involve backing up my data, or would that not be necessary?

    Alex
     
  4. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,195

    That's odd that you can't open your cd drive, my pc's drive works as soon as it gets power(can go in/out).

    I've removed a hd from a pc and hooked it to another pc to back it up. You have to set the drive with the information to "slave" with the jumper and connect it to the middle of the ide cable with the other hd on in the new pc(the one your backing up to, with the pc off that is, you don't have to mount the drive in the case, if it'll reach, you can just set it on the case floor.)

    Then, you can boot, and copy stuff from the "slave drive" to the primary drive on the computer you're backing up to.

    I had a psu fail, and all the fans would work, the leds would work, but the pc wouldn't boot. I think one of the voltages must have stopped working, while the other voltages were still working. That one had me stumped for a while, because I assumed the psu was good since the fans spun. Maybe you can "borrow" a psu from someone to test if it's the problem. Make sure a borrowed one is at least as powerfull as the current one, and has the proper connections.

    I think you could change the board, it isn't terribly hard, but it takes a while, as it is the main part of the system(everything's connected to it). If you really don't want to/aren't comfortable, then don't, have someone else who can do it do it for you. Touch metal of the case before you touch components so you don't shock them with static, that can kill parts, if you shock them.

    You should back up your data, just in case something doesn't work out, and you lose everything.
     
  5. i_need_answers

    i_need_answers TS Rookie Posts: 144

    Hey,
    If you were to replace the Emachine motherboard make sure you get the exact same motherboard from Emachines online or phone. Most of the time if you try to swap motherboards from a system you'll end up haveing to buy Windows XP again unfortunately. A typical replacement motherboard from emachines can cost anywhere from $60 to $120 USD or more. What is the model of your emachines? What the Best Buy employee was maybe talking about was if you are about to spend maybe $100 dollars to fix your 3 year old machine. Then this would be the best time to get a new pc if your planning on buying one in the near future rather than fix your old pc.
    Also Best Buy has outragous Geek Squad prices so it might end up costing more if you had them install it ;)
    Hope this helps,
    Jonathan
    By the way.... The cd drives not opening makes me somewhat suspecious about the power supply......
     
  6. Ressurrector

    Ressurrector TS Rookie Posts: 45

    Addict eh??

    Yes a Mobo is much cheaper as is all do-it yourself pc jobs Now not to sound like a know it all but you are incorrect about the H.D.D effecting the pc booting cycle...... The H.D.D has NOTHING to do with the pc coming on.. He can pull it out and put the IDE cable on the shelf...........Bios will cycle through to the point it reads your OS ..........If no HDD or bad it will say something to the effect of "Invalid system disk press enter" IF you reach that point it is NOT your motherboard, your chip, your ram (though it could be corrupt) or your video card.

    NOW with that said I HAVE seen a pc do just as you suggest when a PCI card goes bad............ Pull out all ALL but them 4 things I told you. If a PCI card went out that will show you
     
  7. acidjrqmiq

    acidjrqmiq TS Rookie

    Typical troubleshooting... Like Ressurrector said - Remove everything from the motherboard except - PSU, CPU, Memory and Video, also unplug all peripherals except Keyboard and mouse (even then, you can take those off until you find what's making the system halt before post).
     
  8. mmarshall

    mmarshall TS Rookie Posts: 21

    I think if you are interested enough in troubleshooting your problems via forums, you may actualy enjoy changing the mobo out (if that proves to be the problem). I'm on my second computer built from scratch, but I still consider myself a novice... As far as replacing the mobo, if you shop retail (Fry's anyway) you'll find that the new mobo's cannot work with your existing chip, memory, video card..etc. There was one entry level board for $59 but I didn't want my replacement to be inferior to the one I was replacing.

    With my new mobo (Abit: AW9D-max), I had to get a new PSU (required 24 pin), my RAM (needed DDR2), new chip, video card (new board didn't have AGP slot.

    Alternatively, (again..assuming you've concluded it's the mobo), you can shop online and find something compatible with your existing rig.
     
  9. foozy

    foozy TS Rookie Posts: 267

    Sounds like your power supply is going out or gone. That'd explain the CD drives not opening, as well as the system failing to start up anything besides the fans. Fans are pretty low power users, so if the PSU has crapped out and is only putting out 20 or 30 watts the fans would probably be the only thing functional.

    eMachine power supplies and motherboards are both known for failure issues.

    If I were you I'd just build a new system. You can recycle a lot of the old parts, such as cd-drives, case, video card, and peripheral components. CPU, mobo, and RAM are all tied to each other in terms of compatible technology, so its difficult to replace/upgrade one without replacing/upgrading the other.

    Its not hard to get a quality CPU/Mobo/RAM set for less than 200USD that would be up to date with the latest technology. In the end its probably going to cost about that to fix your current rig, do you really want to deal with the headache?

    Also, changing out computer parts is simply as long as you pay attention and RTFM.
     
  10. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 10,074   +13

    Read the FAQs regarding E-crap machines. Your PSU probably has blown and has taken out the motherboard.
     
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