first time building pc, need help

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I put together a AMD 64 athlon CPU with a biostar motherboard N4SLI-A9
chipset/NVIDIA nForce4 CK8-04 SLI. I have the Radeon 9200 video card
with a Maxtor hard drive Diamond10. I have 2- 512MB DDR memory sticks.
I was using and old CD drive  and CDRW drive from old computer. I was
able to load windows me with the XP upgrade. While loading drivers
however my older cd player was going out. I went and purchased a 16X
DVD writer from Toshiba. After installing the new DVD-RW/CD-RW player
plus keeping my CDRW along with it is when my problem started. Upon
trying to Boot I now have a blank screen (flat screen) that is
recieving power (checked cables, pins ect.). my fans and floppy have
power but both DVD and CRW DO NOT get power(no lights or do not run).
Lights all work on tower but shut off button in front now doesn't work,

must turn off tower from back. I have the jumpers in the correct
positions, checked all cables and plugs are in properly. Thought maybe
it was the new DVD player so went and exchanged for another new one but

am having same problem. My Rosewill tower came with it's own 400watt
power supply installed in it. I'm thinking maybe it is a power supply
problem????? Does anyone have a clue what's going on here? This is the
first time ever doing this and really could use some help... Thanks

Re: first time building pc, need help

On 24 Nov 2005 20:43:33 -0800, wrote:

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Did you install ME then upgrade it to XP?
I ask because that's a poor way of doing it, leaves a lot of
junk and potential ME wierdness behind.  IIRC, some XP
upgrades allow just inserting the old CD then it'll do so
clean.  This might not apply to your posted problem, though.

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I suppose this is a silly question but are you sure you
plugged the power cables into the drives?

It might be good to unplug both opticals from both the
system and PSU just to see if system runs without them

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I'd expect the Rosewill PSU to be junk and generally
unsuitable for the system, but it could be more of a
lifespan issue than immediate failure.  How long has it been
in use?  Do you have a multimeter you might use to check
voltage levels?

I suggest the first step is unplugging both drives to see if
system runs at all without them and if not, another
re-examination of the internals: cards, other cables, etc.

Also while you have the multimeter out you might check the
battery voltage and if all else fails, clear the CMOS (use
the jumper referenced in motherboard manual or pull battery
for 10 minutes while AC power remains disconnected).

It would be quite a coincidence, but just maybe your power
supply decided to start failing during the OS installations
and the old CDROM drive was just the first part to suffer.
If none of the above helps you might see if you can get
ahold of another PSU, preferribly a decent name-brand rated
for at least 18A on 12V rail, but 12A or so would probably
suffice if necessary.

Re: first time building pc, need help

I just un plugged the optical drives and I get zero still ! blank
sceen. nada.... what do you think?

Re: first time building pc, need help

On 24 Nov 2005 23:02:36 -0800, wrote:

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... that you should try the other things mentioned.

Re: first time building pc, need help

By the way yeah, guess I screwed up and put ME on first then upgraded.

Re: first time building pc, need help writes:

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Install a fresh copy of XP directly; don't bother with Windows ME,
which is garbage that you don't need.

Transpose mxsmanic and gmail to reach me by e-mail.

Re: first time building pc, need help

Just butting in on your problem so heres my tupenth worth.

When you power up do you get ANYTHING on your screen during the boot
process, memory cheackin, BIOS Log in prompt etc if not you may find the
following helpful.

Fault finding will only work when done in logical steps.
And ensure you follow some basic safety precautions.

1. Unplug from mains, before delving into your system case.

2. If you suspect a faulty PSU, DO NOT TAKE IT APART, all you'll end up
doing is frying yourself on on of the high voltage Capacitors (Yep they hold
a charge even when unplug, big enough to KILL). All you will find out is
that it's broken and needs replacing.

3. Always ensure you carry out Electro Static Discharge precautions, earth
yoursel prior to fiddling, use an anti static wrist strap or touch a
radiator pipe, not painted.

4. Once unplugged strip the thing down and start from scratch, dismantle
your system, less CPU and MOBO, remove all peripherals, all drives and PCI
cards, check all connections are clean, remove RAM as well and check the RAM
is clean and seated correctly (Actually had that cause a similiar problem,
no POST Beep to suggest a RAM error but took it out cleaned it and hey
presto Monitor came back to life.

5. Now start from the beginning, reconnect RAM, PSU to MOBO only + any Fan
Power, connect Video Card and power up.

6. Do you get anything on the screen at all, BOOT screen I.E. visual of the
computer booting up memory checking etc, if not I would suggest that you
toasted your Video Card maybe, do you have an old one that you can use for
diagnostics, as when these thing happen you can all to quickly rush out and
buy loads of extra bits in an effort to find the problem wasting loads of
valuable cash.

7. If you do have a spare or can borrow another Video Card try booting up
the basic system as above and see if you have any screen activity at
startup, if so theres your FIRST problem.

As you mentioned in your first post that's not your only problem but in
order to fault find you have to follow a logical sequence to rule out all
problems, as it could a mix of several.

If you do get something at BOOT from your old Video Card then your system
should stop when it can't find a Keyboard if the BIOS is set to halt on
certain errors at least it will stop when it can't find a Hard Drive.

8. Power off, unplug, connect Hard Drive DATA cable and Power Cable and
switch on again, now does your system BOOT? if not never fear.

9. Power off, unplug, connect Floppy Drive, Power on enter BIOS and set
system to Boot from Floppy if not set and you could try the following.

10.    Attempt to Boot from a System Boot Floppy, What you mean you don't
have one, ask someone to create one for you, any Win OS will do its just to
get your system to Boot into DOS. This will check to see if your Floppy is
OK. From within DOS you could try a few DOS commands to see if your HD is
working OK. Try typing FDISK, don't change anything its just to check, this
will also tell us wether your HD is recieving power and is operating OK If
your floppy fails to power up or you HD fails to spin yes I would suggest
that some of your PSU outputs have failed = NEW PSU. Again before rushing of
to buy one try an old one just to be sure its not you Floppy or HD. Try
another Floppy Drive and another HD as well.

11. If all is OK power off and go back into BIOS and change the BOOT options
to BOOT from CD Rom this may allow you to BOOT from the Win XP CD Rom this
should give you the option to Format and Partition your HD during the Boot
Process, as suggested a clean install of XP is the best option.

A lot of info and I've probably missed something, however feel free to come



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Re: first time building pc, need help

On Fri, 25 Nov 2005 11:07:34 +0000 (UTC), "Skavenger"

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If someone isn't adept at PSU repair, you're probably right
that they won't be able to fix it, though they might spot a
problem visually.

So long as AC power is disconnected, it is not at all likely
that you would "fry yourself".  They do NOT hold a charge
even when unplugged, in fact they do drain by powering the
5VSB circuit and through the bleeder/balancing resistor.  I
have dismantled PSU and verified this after noting the above
details of the subcircuit.  In other words, you're probably
find to rub your hands all over every single millimeter in
it by the time you've unscrewed the cover but if you want to
be extra safe, wait 10 minutes longer.

Re: first time building pc, need help

In my post, seeing that the initiator was probably not an expert, I thought
I would air on the side of caution and offer some basic warnings just to be
on the safe side, duty of care and all that.
I am studying for Comp TIA A+ and have just started to read Mike Myer A+
Passport. The maintenance and Safety sections state the following:

"Even unplugging PC power supplies does not make them safe enough to work
on. The capacitors inside can hold a lethal charge even when unplugged,
making them extremely risky to open".

I am not an extpert in electronics however being a one time hobby robotist
and DIY computer builder I am aware of safety precaution when handling
electrical components both in view of electrical and ESD precautions.

I have dismantled many PSU's myself especially after they have failed or
fried, all I could probably repair would be the fuse. With the fried
versions I would take them apart and reuse some of the components in some of
my projects.

Can you confirm the following:

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Do they self drain?
For them to do so do they need to remain connected to the devices they are
powering, as I normally remove the PSU prior to dismantling it if so once
removed do I have to drain the charge myself if so how?

Many thanks

Re: first time building pc, need help

On Sat, 26 Nov 2005 11:31:28 +0000 (UTC), "Skavenger"

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You are correct. Unless a capacitor has a "drain resister" across the
terminals it can hold a charge for a long time. Since you are not
likely to have circuit diagram treat the capacitors with respect.

Lethal? Not likely as you probably won't have the discharge from one
hand to the other. Dangerous? You bet they are.

If you must. Connect a high resistance (several megohms) across the
terminals (very carefully). This will slowly (note SLOWLY) discharge
the capacitor. If you discharge the capacitor with a screwdriver (low
resistance) the massive current can destroy parts.

A PS is not the place for untrained hands.

Re: first time building pc, need help

On Sat, 26 Nov 2005 07:22:47 -0600, Unknown

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While that is true, it is even more valid to write:

You are incorrect, Unless a capacitor does NOT have a "drain
resister" across the terminals it will not hold a charge for
a long time.

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Switching power supply is a relatively simple device, one
would have to already know enough to be able to identify the
circuit topology in lieu of a diagram else there was little
point it handing the internal parts to begin with.  I had
not suggested anyone repair a PSU if they lack this ability,
the primary subtopic was merely opening it, unplugged, not
poking around inside.

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Actually it is fairly easy to discharge from one hand to the
other, "IF" there was the possiblity that they held charge.
Casing is often ground and the primary-side heatsink is
around 340V, give or take, so all one would have to do is
hold the casing with one hand and touch the 'sink with the
other, which would be pretty easy since both 'sinks tend to
be fair size and taller than anything else.  It would still
be in a different context though, one where there was a
different circuit involved and so the caps didn't drain.

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yes,no, maybe.   Specific things like disconnecting AC from
an ATX PSU, then opening it, is fine.  Running it while open
or poking around is not.  Clear details of specifics can be
important.  Remember that some would even argue it's not
safe to poke around inside a computer case at all, failing
ot metion the specfics of what, where, why... while most of
us know that in general it's just a matter of exactly what's
being done or isn't.

Re: first time building pc, need help

On Sat, 26 Nov 2005 11:31:28 +0000 (UTC), "Skavenger"

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Beware of experts that purport to know all, the field is far
too large for that.  Rather, take everything read with a
grain of salt.  All it really takes to be a Textbook author
is the willingness to write and an editor less knowledgeable
about the subject than the author.  All due respect to Mike
Myer, there's bound to be many errors.  Likewise you will
find instructors occasionally wrong.  

Even so, it is certainly better to err on the side of

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It certainly depends on what's wrong.  Common faults are
failed diodes, burst caps, or perhaps worst is a fan failure
that bakes everything so you have a unit that might be made
operational by replacing completely failed parts but there
are other remaining parts subject to early failure too, that
merely hadn't failed yet.

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Yes, very slowly.  That's not what I wrote about though,
read it again.  There's a circuit and the resistor(s).
Unplugging a PSU from AC does not "tell" it to shut off, it
runs until the caps have drained to a certain level just the
same as if it were plugged in.

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Untrue.  I highly recommend not jumping to such conclusions
without understanding the circuits.  

I already gave two specific reasons why yet still you are in
error.  How can this be?

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No you do not have to manually drain it.  As I've already
written, there are at least two separate mechanisms causing
drain far faster than the caps' self-discharge rate alone.

If it were a different situation and there were caps holding
charge, in theory you would connect a high ohm resistance
between the AC-side heatsink (or if it is isolated, another
point local to the caps) and any ground point, like the
chassis if it's grounded, or another accessible ground
point.    By understanding the circuit you would be able to
look at the PCB and see where these points are, which are
accessible (if any) above the PCB since (on std PSU) PCB is
typically fastened down limiting access to the bottom.

OR, if the charge were isolated you'd have to already know
where the appropriate voltage differential points were and
provide the resistive  shunt between those points.  That is
insufficient information for doing it safely in some
different circuit not applicable here, it would be a
different component/situation and different voltage
potential.  Further you'd have to have an idea of voltage to
size the resistor and take appropriate electrical isolation

In other words, IF there were a situation where there was a
charge remaining and you had hopes of repairing the unit,
you should already know beforehand where it needs drained
and not proceed otherwise.

Moving backwards towards original issue, while one may not
be able to diagnose a PSU to the point of proper repair,
some problems are visually manifested and can indicate a
failure as justification to replace the PSU.   This is
especially true of the PSU failure were not a random
component failure but rather indicative of a poor quality,
overloaded or undercooled PSU.  That is, some simply aren't
worth repair and even then, either way the repaired PSU may
not be suitable for the system... was why it failed in the
first place.

Re: first time building pc, need help

I recently had an Enermax 350Watt PSU blow on me, it had been working fine
for about two years, I have been running it off of a Micromaster UPS, bought
the UPS in Kenya (power up and down like a preverbial) as it was bought in
Kenya the quality maybe dubious.

It had been running in UK for a couple of months OK then one morning on
switching on the Computer the PSU blew, could it have been an overload from
the UPS?

Bought a replacement PSU and removed the UPS now running straight from the

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Re: first time building pc, need help

On Sun, 27 Nov 2005 16:11:48 +0000 (UTC), "Skavenger"

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hard to say, if the UPS was designed properly it should've
shut off if overloaded and the PSU should've ran from it.
On the other hand Enermax are overrated for only peak
momentary output, their specs indicate a max 70% load
contrasted to the labeled wattage.  In some cases that could
mean a rail amperage wasn't sufficient for long term use on
a given system.  If it was overloaded on a rail, two years
isn't an unexpected lifespan, it could easily run that long
before failing.

You'd have to know what failed to get a better idea of why.

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