View Full Version : A little help for an idiot

13-03-2005, 10:39 AM
I'll start by saying I'm not new to pc's, I just don't have any formal training. I have done countless hardware changes to my computers in the past with acceptable results.

Today however I needed to install a new CD-RW and to do this I had to remove the "bay box" of my dell. I had to disconnect all of the ide and power supply leads. (I have two HD's and two CD drives). Once I had the new CD in I connected everything back and started up.

No video.

I changed a couple of cables around blindly and I got video. But it ask me if I wanted to boot to safe mode. I thought that it may have been because I had to power down because of the no video thing. I booted to safe mode and it atomatically restarted and ask me the same question again. it did this three times before I gave up. Now I have tried what I feel is every possible cable combination. I have even tried not connecting CD drives, a hard drive and still no solution.

Right now I do not have video again and I can't figure out what is wrong.

So I through myself humbly at your mercy.

13-03-2005, 10:47 AM
Welcome to PressF1 :)

What sort of cables were you blindly changing around? Is your video onboard or a AGP card? If it is the later, make sure the card is still firmly seated in the AGP slot as you may of knocked it loose.

13-03-2005, 11:07 AM
blindly changing the power leads( should make no difference, right) and the ide cables( should be HD's on one and CD's on the other right?) so pretty much changing the positions on the the cable.

Everything is seated I have checked that over and over. Like I say I had video when I had one configuration. But in trying to figure out why the power was cycling off and on( the rebooting and asking about safe mode) I lost it again.

Speedy Gonzales
13-03-2005, 11:13 AM
Yup, just as long as 2 power connections (from the power supply), are going to the 2 hdd's and 2 power connections are going to the 2 cd's.

It doesnt matter which go where. Have all the ide devices, got power going to them??

And are the connections in firmly?

The videocard doesnt have a slot in it for power does it?? That may have been knocked / come out??

Did u remember to jumper the cd's to master/slave??

13-03-2005, 11:22 AM
video doesn't have a power cable. I actuall had the CD's set to "cable select". Is that a problem? I have had them set to master/slave at a couple points. I have the HD's set Master/Slave.

dolby digital
13-03-2005, 11:34 AM
video doesn't have a power cable. I actuall had the CD's set to "cable select". Is that a problem? I have had them set to master/slave at a couple points. I have the HD's set Master/Slave.

Do you have an old pci video card to try? If you could get it to reliably boot with this card, then maybe the Dell video is on the way out???

13-03-2005, 11:41 AM
can the dell handle an extra cdrw with their small psu?

13-03-2005, 11:54 AM
Some boards won't boot if you reverse the IDE cable.

Graham L
13-03-2005, 01:36 PM
If you unplugged the cables from the drives, you might have disturbed the other end too. Make sure they are firmly plugged in at the motherboard end, too. It's amazing how easily things come undone when you don't want them to.

13-03-2005, 02:31 PM
Hmmm, right now I would say this...
Unplug everything from the motherboard/CPU except the keyboard, video card, monitor and Ram.
Make sure all connections are secure. If bootup is successful, add the harddrives (to IDE1), making sure they are jumpered correctly (master and slave, not cable select (unless you are usin cable select cable)) also ensuring power and IDE cable is secure. Bootup, making sure BIOS sees both harddrives then do the same with the cd drives (except make sure CD ROMs are on IDE2).
If theres a problem with any of the bootups let us know :)

13-03-2005, 02:32 PM
I've tried eliminating everything but a HD and a Cd and sstill cannot get it to display to the monitor. HD's go on ide 1 and the primary IDE on the mobo right?

Graham L
13-03-2005, 03:07 PM
You haven't got a disk problem yet. ;)

The disk drives are irrelevant at the moment. You have a video problem. It will be a great leap forwards when you see a BIOS screen saying there are no disks.

But it might not be a video problem. :)

I take it that the power switch causes some action. Fans start? LEDs on keyboard flash? If not, check the power connector to the motherboard.

Does the power LED on the monitor go to green? (That might not happen until the video card is woken up).

Do you get any beeps from the POST?

Etcetera. This is a case for looking at the simplest silliest things. And doing things one step at a time. (Is the monitor cable unpluggable at both ends? If so, check that the monitor end is fully plugged in.)

13-03-2005, 03:51 PM
Yeah when I push the button I get power, fans and lights. I am going to unhook everything again and start over and see what I can get. Any suggestions. I am going to see if I can find an old video card lying about.

13-03-2005, 11:42 PM
What exactly is your "dell" ? Does it have intergrated graphics or and AGP/ PCI video card ? how are the two HDD and optical drives jumpered ? What OS ? Did you find a spare video card ? To quote Graham L currently it looks most like a video problem ....

14-03-2005, 12:05 AM
Some mobo's have two power conectors. A large one and a small 4 pin, does yours have a small 4 pin as well? If so this must be plugged in as well.

Sounds as you have a loose graphics card or a failling one tho, I would tripple check that first. And do as others have mentioned, just boot with the graphics card, ram, cpu, keyboard, no disk drives.

14-03-2005, 03:43 AM
At current I now have graphics(dell splash screen).

Currently my dell is fairly mod'd out. The mobo/processor and PSU and floppy are about all that is left from the original.

I have a pci ATI graphics card. It is running windows XP.

I have the two hd's jumpered 1 and 2 in order of boot on ide 1. the cd's are jumpered the same way on ide 2.

I reallized last night that the PSU is only 200W? I'm obviously no pro but that sounds like it is a little low. Should I drop a 400W in. I don't have one at present but I could very shortly.

I still have the dell screen. at boot, it comes up I get TWO beeps and it just sits there running. 10 mins now. but I am incouraged by the dell screen.

14-03-2005, 04:36 AM
an update as to where I'm at. So maybe it will rattle someones memory.

It started giving me some beeps so I googled those and found that they could be a memory problem. So I took out sticks and moved them around to see if one was bad. It didn't change anything.

I also found that the lights on the back of the dell actually mean something. With D lit it means "other failure". Lots of help. So I tried unpluging different HDs and nothing. I swiched the cable from IDE 1 to IDE 2. and at least it changed that changed the light code to "ide failure". So I moved the ide back where it was supposed to be and unplugged one of the HD. NO OS FOUND. OK I can work with this. reconnected the HD and swiched the position on the ide ribbon. and it booted. it ask If I wanted to go to safe mode I thought that wise to see if everything was good. It got to a point and froze.

I just hit the reset button and entered setup...

14-03-2005, 07:25 AM
So I through myself humbly at your mercy.
Thats a pretty harsh spelling mistake...
Sorry, I had to note...

14-03-2005, 10:18 AM
power supply may be a problem , but for now - you have video and can see the POST screen / splash screen? Progress ... now if you attach the single HDD with the os on it into IDE1 on it's own , jumpered as master , do you then get the message re going to safe mode ? no other optical drives or the second HDD - have you thought about fixing the master boot record via a floppy [ if appropriate for your os ] ?

14-03-2005, 11:24 AM
For 2 CDROM and 2 harddrives, power is definately a problem.

Go to 400W... that might fix some of ya problem

Murray P
14-03-2005, 02:20 PM
I can't see lack of power being a problem unless some permanent damage was done (unlikely) because the thing still won't boot with devices removed. But to be sure, disconnect any unnecessary devices, printers, scanners, card readers, etc.

What are the post beeps you were getting the second time you mention them, same as the first 2 short or long, 3 long now, whatever?

What model Dell was it?

Can you boot to a CD, eg, the Dell rescue/software disc or Windows CD?

14-03-2005, 02:21 PM
You say you have two sticks of ram, try one only then the other one only.

A new PSU would be great as well.

14-03-2005, 04:56 PM
For 2 CDROM and 2 harddrives, power is definately a problem.

Go to 400W... that might fix some of ya problem

a 400W in a Dell case...... that wont happen, alot of branded pc's including Dell dont stick with the ATX specs, it might fit but it will involve a bit of modding..... which is where the fun starts but on a side note, i run 2hdd, 2 cdroms on a 250W shuttle psu

Graham L
14-03-2005, 05:02 PM
Look at the nameplates on the drives. Most CDs say 12V 1.5A (15W) and a fairly small current at 5V. Hard drives use similar amounts. CD's are not a problem anyway. You are not using them all the time, so they aren't pulling any current.