Black Screen of Death

By hpum ·
My win XP SP2 will not boot up. PC just shut off by itself while using it. When attempting to boot, nothing happens just a black screen. There's no black startup screen, no motherboard beep, and therefore OS will not start. I resat the memory modules, Power fan is working and motherboard lights up but that's it. How do I fix?

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Well if this is a desktop computer

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Black Screen of Death

Replace the Power Supply with one sufficient to power this system.

Your description points to a Failure of one of the circuits in the Power Supply probably the 5 Volt Rail which powers the CPU and RAM. With this no longer working the system will not boot.

But in case that isn't the problem clean out the case of all the dust & other rubbish that has been sucked in to it but Do Not use a duster which is one of the Dust Attractors as they rely on a Static Charge to pickup the dust. Low Pressure Compressed Air is the best thing to use to clean out the case with and preferably Canned Air as this can not push any particles into places where they can cause damage or Short Circuits. Remember to blow out the Power Supply while you are at it as this gets a lot of dust & other gunk sucked into it.

Remove the RAM and clean the contact edges with a soft rubber/eraser and refit them. Remove any plug-in Daughter Cards from the M'Board and clean their contact edges the same way before refitting them and make sure that the CPU's Heat Sink isn't clogged with dirt and is completely blocked. If you have a Plug In Video Card check the GPU's Heat Sink as well for the same thing.

Make sure that all the fans inside the case spin freely but don't spin them while they are connected as they can generate electricity and damage the M'Board it is sufficient to check that they turn freely without resistance.


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Black Screen of Death on my desktop

by hpum In reply to Well if this is a desktop ...

Thanks OH, but I've taken it to the shop where they went through checking the PSU,by connecting another working one. To check for beeps,before powering on, they removed the memory modules first,.no beep; then the CMOS battery but that made no beep as well. After leaving it at the shop overnight for analysis, they called to inform me about a faulty capacitor beside the CPU. Is this probable or or am I being encouraged to buy a replacement? Do you have any comment or info regarding faulty capacitor, how it got toasted? and what options do I have now?

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How old is your system?

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Black Screen of Death on ...

I've seen blown capacitors. It's not common on a new system but the likelihood goes up as your system ages. Also, who's the motherboard manufacturer?

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Before I sped a lot of time

by dmt411 In reply to How old is your system?

I would consider how long it would take to retrieve data needed from the HD then replace MB and/or processor. Usually more than two hours is worth now thinking about replacing.

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by ---TK--- In reply to Black Screen of Death on ...

A blown Cap. is possible, and could cause that issue... But I agree with the post above, it doesn't happen with a lot of the new Mombo's. I would ask them if you could look at it. If the Cap. is "popped" you will see it bulging upward, v.s. flat across.

A second thought... Most of the time when you get a popped cap. your system will complain about a thermal error... regardless of the location of the cap... I have seen about 100 PC's with popped caps, and every single one of them complained of a thermal error...

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At one stage faulty Electrolytic Capacitors that Filtered the

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Black Screen of Death on ...

Power for the CPU & RAM where a common occurrence. Depending on who made the M'Board it is quite possible but these are easy to see and only require a Look See to see if they are bad.

Personally I would expect the unit to complain with a series of Beeps if it was something as simple as a Blown Capacitor and the description being offered here isn't consistent with a Blown Capacitor but it could also have happened.

I would want to see the PS that they tested with working on a different computer it wouldn't be the first time that a Faulty PS has been picked up by mistake and used to test hardware with. I would at least want the Test PS to be a decent one like a Antec as apposed to a No Name Brand that is at best marginal to begin with as well.

I still think that the original description was synonymous with a Bad Power Supply but if it's one of the cheap nasty ones it may have allowed what killed it off into the case damaging other components. To check the M'Board properly the Attached HDD/s and Optical Drive/s should be disconnected from the computer and power applied. Without any RAM Fitted the M'Boards speaker should emit a series of Beeps and when you look up the Beep Code for this BIOS it will be saying No RAM Present or Faulty RAM Present.

While it's always possible that the M'Board and or CPU has died and gone to Silicon Heaven with Intel CPU at least this isn't all that common. Dead M'Boards certainly but the CPU dieing isn't something I have ever seen previously unless the unit was overclocked or had something else happen to it.


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Yep! bulging caps ...all right

by hpum In reply to At one stage faulty Elect ...

There is a cluster of six capacitors all 3300 hf(6.3v) beside the CPU. I saw two bulging capacitors that had like rust residue that oozed out. If I had to replace mobo, than I would have to upgrade on memory modules and retire my AGP display card. So I opt to just relace the two capacitors. The shop who was going to attempt to save the mother gave me a 50/50 chance for survival. What is your opinion on me changing the capacitors? What are my real chances if I do replace them?

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If you are good with a soldering iron, the chances are very good.

As long as you get the right capacitors you will have a very good chance of saving the motherboard, if that is what you want.
Happy soldering. :)

Please post back if you have any more problems or questions.
If this information is useful, please mark as helpful. Thanks.

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A copuple of things you should know about these capacators

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Yep! bulging caps ...all ...

These have failed because they where from a faulty batch and where not to Spec. You should replace these with High End Capacitors preferably of Japanese Manufacture instead of the cheap ones available in many Electronic Shops.

Also don?t just replace the 2 affected ones now replace them all as the others will go at some point in time. These are the easy things to replace but you need the right Soldering Iron it has to be a small Low Power Electronic Soldering Iron. Once upon a Time I told a tech to replace 2 resistors on a circuit board and he used a Gas Fired Soldering Iron that was used by Plumbers. This had a big copper Tip and a massive Heat Reserve which allowed the Circuit Board to catch fire. The only good thing was this wasn?t an electric Iron or it would have had a Earthed Tip and placed the Mains Voltage into the Circuit Board.

Anyway provided you have a Small Soldering Iron with a small File Tip and thin solder preferably a high Silver Content Solder suitable for Electronics repair work it shouldn?t be a big job. The trick here is not to overheat the Circuit Board as the Track will lift off the Fibreglass substrate and that will cause problems.

Earthed Tip Soldering Irons are not a very good idea for this type of work either if you have access to a low voltage Temp Controlled Soldering Iron you will find it easier to replace these without doing any damage.

Just remember that these are Electrolytic Capacitors so they are polarised that means they have a Positive & Negative and they have to be put on the correct way or the CPU will be damaged as these Filter the CPU?s Power. Look at the new Capacitors as they may have the Negative Side Marked while the old ones should have the Positive Side marked. It all depends on the Caps as the Positive Side should be marked on all of them but some are designed for Electron Flow Schematics and are marked differently to the standard.


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