Asus A7A266 motherboard Hard disk failure

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I recently set up a system with an Asus A7A266 motherboard. I installed
windows ME and all was fine, then the next day i started the machine up and
got a boot disk failure message.

I used a different power connector and a different 80 wire IDE ribbon cable.
All seemed ok for a few days till I got another boot disk failure message
when i booted up. I switched off and on a couple of times and the message
went away and the computer loaded without problems.

I got anothe error message a few days later so i did a full surface scan on
the 20GB disc but no problems were found. I changed the hard disk for
another 20GB one, so now I had changed the drive, the power cable and the
ribbon cable and still I get intermittent boot disk failures messages at
boot up. Both drives show no problems at all when scanned.

I am assuming that the motherboard IDE is knackered or could this be caused
by something else? Wrong master slave designation, incorrect bios setting,
drive connected via wrong cable connector (grey instead of black)?????

Everything else seems fine and there are no problems when the machine has
booted up.

Any bofins out there who thow what's causing this?



Re: Asus A7A266 motherboard Hard disk failure

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Forgot to say, here's a link to the motherboard FAQ

Here's the manual

Re: Asus A7A266 motherboard Hard disk failure

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Ive had experience with a couple of these boards and both were a bit 'flaky'
when left on auto detect settings. Choose specific jumper settings on the
board and specific values in the Bios for CPU and RAM timings in particular.
Otherwise I found I would get regular error messages on bootup about a
variety of things.

Re: Asus A7A266 motherboard Hard disk failure


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Have you ran any stress tests while the system is running
(seemingly ok) ?

Does it only fail to boot from a cold/off start, or does it
do the same if you reset, restart the computer from an on
state?  If only when off, the temp difference could cause an
intermittent connection from a bad solder joint or crack in
the board, or a bad PSU can prevent the drive from spinning
up fast enough.

It could be a bad jumper connection,  even an instable CPU
can cause it and an instable CPU could come from
overheating, overclocking, bad capacitors, etc.  I'd
definitely examine the capacitors for signs of venting,
though one picture I saw of that board suggested it had some
Fuji polymer capacitors (short yellow jacketed) which due to
being solid, may just slightly bulge at the top, not as
visible a sign of failure as some of the electrolytics show.
Those polymer caps are pretty reliable though unless they're
running quite hot, the next time you get your system up &
running for awhile, you might touch-test the tops of those
caps to see if they feel excessively warm->hot.

I would think it least likely that only the motherboard IDE
"went out", unless it happened to be a physical damage to
the board, perhaps something old like a trace with the
lacquer scraped off and it took years for the copper to
oxidize away, or if it was moved out of a case then later
handling, or flexing the board to cause cold solder joints
or  hairline crack(s).

If the system otherwise tests stable you might try using a
PCI IDE card.

Re: Asus A7A266 motherboard Hard disk failure

Pete wrote:
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Smells like a memory problem.  You can ignore this possibility if
you have ECC memory, and have enabled ECC correction in the bios.
Memtest86 might well show it up.

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