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BIOS meltdown

By rickydoo ·
Here's a dilemma:
I have an Emachine with an ECS L7VMM mobo w/Athlon 1600 CPU. The D686 Phoenix BIOS chip is burned, fried, cooked. I replaced the board w/ECS KM400-M2 which, after installing drivers and updating Windows did THE SAME THING. Same BIOS too.
I've checked the power supply before and since and tests good. Could the CPU cause the problem? Is this a Phoenix BIOS flaw?
I've never come across this problem before and I'm scared to try another board. Anyone seen this before?

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by TheChas In reply to BIOS meltdown

The BIOS chip is structurally a bit remote from almost everything. It is extremely unlikely to kill a BIOS chip without damaging other system components.

In order of what can burn up the BIOS chip:

Backwards CMOS battery.

Bad power supply. (voltages too high)
(Most power supply test boxes do NOT check for high voltages!)

Damaged CPU.

Personally, my suspect would be the power supply. Unless you have actually measured all of the output voltages at both minimum and maximum load with an oscilloscope, you don't know for sure that the power supply is good.
(A DMM only shows the DC voltage. A scope will show up AC ripple and other problems that you just can't see with a DMM.)

And, if the power supply is putting out too high a voltage, EVERY other device in the system may be damaged.

I would install your hard drive as a slave in another system, back up the data, then scrap the entire old system and start over.


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by rickydoo In reply to

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by rickydoo In reply to BIOS meltdown

Thanks Chas. That was my suspicion, but since I don't have a scope I'm limited to swap 'n check.
I'll pass on your advice and if she wants to do it on the cheap I'll throw in a new PS and eat the cost of another mobo. At least it's a cheap board :)

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to BIOS meltdown

I agree with Chas here I would be looking at the Power Supply as the culprit in this case.

On the up side if it's only the BIOS chip that gone By By you can always replace just the chip they are available from BIOSMAN BIOS at


You can order any BIOS chip from them and they do offer an excellent service.

One of my customers managed to mess up a BIOS update on a Dual P3 Tyan M'Board connected to a UPS I'm not sure how but I do know that the BIOS is now dead and will not recover as it's supposed to so I'm unwilling to try with their other servers as the person who did the update claimed that everything went well.

Again it's another Phoenix BIOS so maybe there's a problem with that brand. But the above URL comes up as an authorized supplier of replacement chips for Phoenix BIOS units so for around $30 US + postage it might be worth a try to replace the chip and see what happens. It's a lot cheaper than a M'Board even a Socket 7/A AMD one.

I've just ordered replacement BIOS chips for every one of these servers as I can not afford to have another update fail and the cost of 25 Chips is a lot less than 15 minutes of downtime on just one server.


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