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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I built a computer and I was taking it apart to clean it (like I always do around two times a month) and when I hooked everything back up, I got a black screen with the HDD led staying lit and a weird smell.

Now as far as what I did when I cleaned it; I did the following.
1. Took the CPU heatsink out, cleaned it with compressed air and applied new thermal paste.
2. Took the video card out and cleaned it's heatsink.
3. Took the PSU apart and cleaned all the dust that was inside of it.

I get no activity from the PC at all. I just get a black screen with no keyboard leds and a HDD led that stays on. My HDD is spinning up and it sounds like it's trying to find something, and I have this burning scent that is spread throughout my case.

I figured it was a ram problem or the video card, so I took my ram out and tried each one temperately with no success. I took the video card out and used another cheap PCI one with no success. (each of these cards was on separate slots; one was AGP the other was PCI).

I unplugged the HDD and tried with my media HDD (which has it's own OS if I run into a problem) and vice versa, with no success.

I reset the CMOS and had no success.

I'm starting to narrow it down to a problem on the mobo or the CPU, or PSU. With the HDD led staying lit; I assume that my ram is not getting the recommended power to boot.

This build is far from up to date and it's about a medium on the dx9 gaming, yet I seem to be experiencing nostalgia with it's breakdown.

I would really appreciate if anyone could help me narrow it down to a single piece of hardware so I could save some money. :laugh:
 

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First i would try a new PSU, a lil cheaper than a CPU.

Sadly I can't help any more, you've done some good diagnostic work, all I can say is keep trying.

Hope everything turns out okay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your reply JiB410!

I am going to obtain a PSU when I get the funds and try that first. I feel as if it might be the culprit.

As seen in the evidence above: I did take the PSU casing apart and used compressed air directly in it. I feel as if I was careful with the equipment but I could have messed something up.
 

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opening the psu is not recommended they hold enough power to kill weeks after being unplugged
cleaning once or maybe twice a year is usually adequate
see if you can borrow a psu to test with
what
video card
cpu
m/board
power supply
brand
wattage
are you running
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thanks for your concern dai. I did know that information and I was careful to not touch anything at all. I did take a couple of years of electrical classes and I felt as if it was adequate enough to keep my self and others out of harms way. If you would have seen the amount of dust in this thing you would have not objected.

Here is my information you requested.
Nvidia 6600 AGP 256MB - Video
Pentium 4 HT Socket 478 - CPU
Abit VT7 - Mobo
Mad Dog 600W - PSU

Like I said before it's far from todays standards but it is a wonderful machine in it's own unique way.

Ask if you need anymore information.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have this old compaq like a 94.. I'm not sure what the wattage is on the PSU in it. The PCI video card I tested didn't work in another machine so I would have to have something to power my 6600 AGP.

I checked the power connections and reseated them. I have checked the voltage selector and switched it to Europe and back to US, still no luck.

After my discovery of the pci video card being a dud; I'm kind of debating that it could have been the 6600 that has blown or something.
 

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Took the CPU heatsink out, cleaned it with compressed air and applied new thermal paste.
Most compressed air canissters contain flamable substances, so did you allow time for the solvents to dry before applying new thermal paste? Because that could be what the burning smell is!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
lol no I did not power it up on the European setting dai, not like I think it would matter much though. ;)

I was just saying that I switched it back and fourth to make sure that it was on the US setting. I'm just taking everything into context here; don't mind me! :)

Thebof1993 that could be it. I do allow some time before I turn the machine on after using the compressed air I also use a lint free cloth after. How long would the substance stay on the heatsink?

I'm going to take some money and buy me a PSU.. I just want to know for sure that you all know without a doubt that it's not the CPU with the evidence at hand.

If you need more information to come to this conclusion; all you have to do is ask.

edit: You know I keep aiming for the video card. I did have trouble seating it after I cleaned. I checked the pins and seen no damage but you can never know. :4-dontkno

It wasn't like a hammer it in trouble just a little trouble that required me to pop the AGP switch and back it out and move a usb cord and reseat it.

It could be the video card with a pin messed up; therefore it would be draining the power from my PSU and not letting enough power get to the RAM and therefore causing the HDD light to stay lit.

I would love to get my hands on a working PCI card.. I used to have one but I traded it for some expensive tanning lotion for my girl :heartlove

edit2: Would there be anyway I could take a voltage meter and test points on the mobo and rails to see if it's the PSU? I have a bunch laying around from when I was doing electrical work on houses. :eek:

If there is I would like to get the information from one of you all. As in where exactly and what exactly I should test.
 

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My money is on the motherboard. I had a rather identical problem only mine happened after a Windows update restart.I did everything to solve the problem that you have done and then some. Remove and bench test the motherboard, I found very good instructions in the signature of one of the mods here in the forum.
 

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Hello Starchaos! Did you ever solve this problem? If not, have you tried only plugging in the bare essentials to boot to the BIOS? (Video, Keyboard, PSU, MB, CPU, RAM)? If it can boot to the BIOS that way, start adding devices one at a time to see if you can narrow down which device keeps the system from booting. If it is the power supply, it might boot to the BIOS if you don't have any drives plugged into power(the motors can use a decent amount of power, and if the PSU is not producing enough power, it could cause this same issue). With the HDD LED staying on, another thing to check would be the HDD ribbon cable, making sure it's plugged in the correct direction(most are keyed to only allow them to be plugged in one way, but not all are). The red stripe goes to pin 1. Well, good luck with this issue if it's not resolved already.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hello Starchaos! Did you ever solve this problem? If not, have you tried only plugging in the bare essentials to boot to the BIOS? (Video, Keyboard, PSU, MB, CPU, RAM)? If it can boot to the BIOS that way, start adding devices one at a time to see if you can narrow down which device keeps the system from booting. If it is the power supply, it might boot to the BIOS if you don't have any drives plugged into power(the motors can use a decent amount of power, and if the PSU is not producing enough power, it could cause this same issue). With the HDD LED staying on, another thing to check would be the HDD ribbon cable, making sure it's plugged in the correct direction(most are keyed to only allow them to be plugged in one way, but not all are). The red stripe goes to pin 1. Well, good luck with this issue if it's not resolved already.
No it's still not resolved yet but I I'm waiting around for some disposable income to fix it. I'm going to try the things you said to make sure because I would really love to find out it's just something simply and requires no money to fix! :laugh:
 
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