Monitor and computer not responding to peripheral input

  1. I apologize beforehand if this isn't the correct area for this post, or if something quite similar has already been posted. Alas, my hour long foray into these forums has turned up nothing that has aided me in solving my issue. I GREATLY AND ENTHUSIASTICALLY appreciate any and all assistance I receive. On to the point:

    (Please scroll to the bottom for my system specifications.) I recently put a machine together using nothing but trashed computers I recently found and dismantled, all after much cleaning, testing, bread-boarding, resetting CMOS jumpers and the like. This particular computer worked fine for a week or so, but I asserted that it wasn't exactly stable. For one, the on-board graphics seemed to produce no response in any monitor, the on-board sound produced naught but a slight crackle in my speakers and only when the metal end of the male piece made contact, and the PS/2 ports do not seem functional. Now I am not so sure what works and what doesn't!

    With a USB keyboard and mouse, and with an external graphics card, I was able to make this unit work, but one day the monitor ceased to respond, as though the computer was not recognizing the USB keyboard or mouse. I cut the power, disconnected the graphics card, powered it on, shut it down, reconnected the graphics card, and the problem disappeared.

    Now the same issue has returned. Of course I tried to remedy the situation via the same, aforementioned method--to no avail. I have since disconnected everything except the PSU and CPU, and I have also reset the CMOS. I have tried alternating hardware to the point that I suspect the issue lies either with the MB itself, or with the BIOS or drivers. I should also note that I have since reverted to trying the on-board graphics again.

    Now, all of these parts were working for over a week, and I haven't made any serious software changes recently. When I first got this computer going, I immediately updated all drivers manually. All of the parts being used were thoroughly and carefully cleaned and tested with other components that are not even a part of this build; All of them worked fine. I have looked over the system configuration and have myself determined there are no existing compatibility issues.

    Again, I believe the issue lies with the motherboard. While I am doubtful that the on-board graphics do not work, I do worry that the PS/2 ports do not function. I somewhat regret resetting the CMOS, since I had the BIOS configured in such a way that would likely have been helpful to my situation.

    Currently, the machine powers on without so much as a beep, though I do not believe the MB has a speaker itself--the case does and it was hooked up and working before the current issue became predominant. The monitor seems to "know" that it is plugged in to the computer. All fans whir, and the wheel on the HDD is audible. I wonder if the ports are malfunctioning, both those on the board such as the PCI slots, and those on the back of the board like the VGA. I am confounded that this system would work fine, and then suddenly stop after a week without any user interference whatsoever.

    What is this madness? What could be the cause of this issue, and what can I do to solve it? I am at my wits end. Is there something I can try with a flash/jump/USB drive that may help? I have never flashed a set of BIOS, but would that be something to consider? I am uncertain of what that entails. Thank you in advance for reading this, and hopefully for attempting to help me.

    System Specifications:

    * 450W Power Supply
    * MSI MS-7142 Motherboard
    * AMD Sempron 3000+ 1.8GHz Socket 754 128KB Cache Processor
    * RADEON 9200 PCI Video Card
    * Rocketfish 5.1 PCI Sound Card
    * FireWire 1394 PCI Net Adapter
    * Realtek Wireless PCI LAN Adapter
    * 1GB DDR RAM (2 x 2 512MB)
    * 120GB Hard Drive
    * DVD+RW
    * CD-RW
  2. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,258

    I would certainly look at making sure you have up-to-date chipset drivers for the board, and it might be an idea to flash the BIOS if the one it is using is an early version (Sempron compatibility from 2005 doesn't say a lot).

    BIOS flashing is quite straightforward, and should be outlined in the manual.

    As a matter of course I would ask whether you were sure the board is capable of being stable. You mention that the system was "put...together using nothing but trashed computers". This, as you probably realise, isn't a glowing recommendation for effecting a quick fix. As "plan B" I would consider scouring eBay (or similar hell-on-earth) for a supposedly working board. I figure that postage could cost more than the board itself.
  3. Igneus the Bold

    Igneus the Bold Topic Starter

    Thank you for your response (and for the warm welcome in the introduction area). After looking through the manual more thoroughly than before, I noticed it says it only supports "3700+ and higher CPU". Now, I looked through MSI's MB chipset updates and didn't see anything that would lead me to think their support for the AMD 3000+ CPU has been included since the creation of this manual. I am puzzled that this CPU worked in the first place, unless I am misinterpreting the text.

    It is fascinating to think that this CPU was already seated within this MB when I dug it up from the garbage. All I did was re-seat it. Maybe it caused the former owner's issues that lead him/her to tossing it out.

    I maintain my sincere belief that it is capable of being stable. It was one of the newest, cleanest, and least tarnished motherboards I was able to salvage, though I must admit I found five or so others in relatively decent shape, that had similar problems as this one with video. Essentially, I am the most baffled because of the fact that it worked so well for over a week--perhaps longer. It actually worked very well for a simple browsing and downloading computer. I was, until recently, using it to help diagnose the other machinery I located on that fateful day. Now, I am stuck using a very old and slow Pentium II computer by Dell that my mother discarded (and it took a great deal of work just to get IT working so that I could get online and find help.

    Thanks again, and please let me know if anything new comes to mind. I didn't see any instructions regarding the flashing of the BIOS in the manual. Can I do this without a screen to interact with? I was thinking that disconnecting the HDD and inserting a USB drive with the information may work, but I have strong doubts for several reasons. I wonder if the on-board battery could be causing any of these issues as well.

    I am attaching some images of the working computer in its case. I will try to get a picture of the MB itself later. When looking at those images please bear in mind that everything you see there was discarded in the trash! I had it all working smoothly until yesterday morning, when the monitor stopped loading imagery from the seemingly fine computer upon start-up.

    Attached Files:

  4. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,258

    Well done MSI (golf clap). No BIOS flashing instructions, and having to resort to an (presumeably) on disc utility. Here's the BIOS flashing utility (it's use and download link), though without a screen I'd say that the flashing could be problematic. You could try flashing by making a bootable USB drive or CD, inserting the media and then rebooting with USB or CD/DVD drive as first boot.

    As for isolating the fault (or faults), I fear this will come under the heading "labour of love". The problem could be CPU or socket related, failing motherboard traces or voltage regulation, chipset or southbridge failure...or combination of two or more if the initial reason the board was dumped was because of electrical short. Careful examination with a good magnifying glass might show up dry/cracked solder joints or damaged traces but there isn't much in the way of diagnostics available for CPU, chipset or I/O with the limited resources you're saddled with.
    You are probably going to need to start from square one, with the most basic input/output ( PS/2 for kb and mouse -which you say are non-functional, CRT monitor) and begin a laborious troubleshooting regime ( testing CPU in another known working board for long term stability, testing a known working CPU in the present board, etc., etc.) Anything short of this and I don't think you could be 100% confident of trusting the setup- component damage/data corruption- long term.
    One consolation is that it sounds as though you haven't invested any great quantity of money in the project. Maybe keep an eye out for similar windfalls for testing both this system and future projects?
  5. Igneus the Bold

    Igneus the Bold Topic Starter

    I am in computer Hell, or so it feels to me. I think it is time to get out the baseball bat and have a temper tantrum in the street. (Just kidding, though that would feel great about now.) I tried a different MB, CPU, and several variations of GPU's and RAM, only to run into the exact same issue. All of this is equipment I've had working fine until now, so I am flabbergasted. I think my temper may be making it hard for me to work. Considering the amount of hours I spent originally cleaning and testing parts--getting them working and the like--it is difficult for me to fathom beginning again and repeating the entire process. Damn I hate this mundane old technology. I miss SATA so badly right now.

    Thanks for all of your help, Divide, I appreciate it very much.

    7/8/11 EDIT: I feel really, REALLY stupid now, because it turned out to be the PSU (power supply), the ONE thing I forgot to double-check. Apparently it worked fine until a few days ago, when it suddenly ceased providing power to the GPU and possibly other components as well. So, for all future amateurs such as myself, CHECK YOUR POWER SUPPLY! (Thanks again for the assistance.)

    7/17/11 EDIT: It is still running as smooth as ever. I have been working on several other, AHEM, economy builds recently too, and every problem I have run into thus far has been solved by replacing an existing power supply! I find it hilarious, and I hope this thread helps someone besides myself. Maybe someday soon I can return the favor in these hallowed halls.


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