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Help! PC fell on its side, won't boot

By nikz ยท 9 replies
Feb 26, 2006
  1. Need some expert guidance on hardware troubleshooting so that I can isolate what the problem is. I accept that one or some of the components may have been damaged but don't wan't to buy a whole new PC and would like to know what component to replace.

    Problem statement and Symptoms :
    PC fell on it's side. Now when I switch on the main power, the CPU and video fans turn on but PC won't POST and nothing is displayed on my LCD monitor. No error code beeps. The PC had been running perfectly and I was happily gaming on CS:S and DoD before disaster struck :(

    My PC specs (DIY):
    Pentium 4 560 3.6GHz/800MHz
    Gigabyte G-Power cooler
    Gigabyte GA-8I915P Duo Pro mobo
    Corsair XMS PC3200 512MBx2
    Gigabyte GeForce 6800GT 256MB
    Maxtor DiamondMax 200GB 7200 RPM Serial ATA150
    Liteon 16x DVD+/-R/RW
    OEM 16x DVD-ROM
    Ultra 600W ATX Power supply
    Samsung 204-B 20" LCD monitor
    Windows Media Center Edition 2005

    Investigation that I have done and observations:
    1. Changed out the P/S to a different type (Raidmax 420W new spare I had just bought) but still won't boot. Checked my Ultra 600W P/S on a different PC and there is no problem - other PC boots OK.
    2. Corsair XMS RAM tested on other PC - works OK
    3. Checked DC with voltmeter on unused power connector of Ultra P/S when turned on - reads OK at 5 and 12 volts. But when I tried to open the DVD-ROM or DVD RW drive, tray would not eject.
    4. Checked my LCD monitor on my other PC - LCD works fine.
    5. Disassembled entire PC, dismounted the mobo from case, took out the cooler and CPU, removed the drive cables etc. Visually checked both mobo and video card for physical damage, could not find any (at least visually). Reassembled PC, turned on P/S - same deal (power on, fans turning but PC will not POST and there is nothing displayed on my LCD).

    Unfortunately I cannot test the video card on my other PC as it is a PCI-Express 16x board and my other PC has an AGP port.

    Would appreciate any advise on what else I can do to isolate the problem. Is there any else I can check before I spend $$ on a new mobo and video card.


  2. FOX-

    FOX- TS Rookie

    Do you hear anything loose in your case? If the CPU fan runs then it doesn't sound like the MoBo, but that would be my first guess. I will get back to you if I think of anything. Does the HDD spin up? Chances are you knocked a very small part loose and will not be able to visually see the damage. I wish you the best of luck.

    Keep us posted,
  3. nikz

    nikz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I did flip my PC over to see if anything fell out but nothing did. I was also afraid there was a loose screw that may have wedged itself and shorted the mobo somehow but didn't find any. The HDD sounded like it spun but i will check again.

    Oh, one thing I forgot to mention, I did short the two terminals to reset the CMOS but no joy.

    Thanks for the reply. Let me know if you think of anything else.
  4. FOX-

    FOX- TS Rookie

    Was the system powered during and after the flip? The impact itself could have possibly destroyed anypart of the PC. Do you have a working computer and mobo of the same socket to check the CPU? Hope it isn't the CPU, that's not a cheap fix.
  5. hewybo

    hewybo TS Maniac Posts: 435


    A sudden impact like that can can damage the hard drives. Even if they spin up (do they?) the read/write implements may have been hurt. :suspiciou
  6. nikz

    nikz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Quite possible but it shouldn't prevent the PC from POSTing I imagine. The drives come up later in the sequence. I'm not even getting the graphics chipset information displayed when you first power up.

  7. nikz

    nikz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    No, it was off and all the external cables were disconnected (LCD, mouse, keyboard etc.). I was cleaning up my office area and moving stuff around when it fell.

    I have another PC but it has an 848P mobo so I cannot check the CPU or video card (s478 and AGP 8x). I did check the P/S and RAM and both were OK.

    I'm getting close to buying a new 915P mobo...
  8. hewybo

    hewybo TS Maniac Posts: 435

    tried this?

    Have you tried powering up with the mobo out of the case on a non conductive surface? Perhaps with only one stick of RAM, HDD, and vid card? To eliminate shorting as culprit? Maybe even without vid card to see if you get the POST beep without it?

    Otherwise, it's sounding like an internal mobo thing. If the HSF doesn't show any signs of having moved about, I doubt it would be the processor. Between the chip locking mechanism and the pressure of the HSF, I don't see how it would be damaged. :suspiciou
  9. CrossFire851

    CrossFire851 TS Rookie Posts: 766

    All the replys on here sound great, but I was getting the same thing with one of my comps(3.2ghz iny p4)(yes I like saying iny),and what I did was unconnected the optical drives(dvd) and left my hdd pluged in.and bam it worked after i rested cmos something you can do by clicking the cmos jummper button, or or removing the battery on the motherboard. make sure the psu is not plug in when doing this, or in many cases won't work.

    Best of luck...
  10. nikz

    nikz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    It was the CPU - problem fixed

    Looks like it was the CPU. Before that I actually tested my set up on a new mobo (MSI Neo-F 915P). The new mobo didn't solve the problem but it helped my isolate the root cause to the CPU. When I tried booting up on the new mobo with the old CPU, the fans would twitch but would not turn on. When I took out the CPU and turned the power on, the fans activated. Somehow it behaved differently on my old mobo.

    Anyway, I bought an Intel P4 506 from Newegg, popped it in and voila! Here I am, typing this on my old PC (with new CPU). This was an expensive experience but hey I got my old rig going again. Now I have an extra mobo. Probably will return that back.

    Anyway, thanks for the inputs.

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