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IDE Ports Kill HDD Power

By TxTopgun ·
After 22 years working on these things, I have just ran into something I have never seen before. I have an emachine that one day was working fine and after shutting down it wouldn't come back up. I first thought it was the hard drive because it wouldn't spin up. Then I noticed the CD drive wouldn't open either (I was going to try to boot from it for diagnostics). Since it would be extremely unlikely for the CD and hard drives to be go bad at the same time, and they were connected to the same power lead, I thought it must be the power supply...no such luck. I decided to try a known good drive and it wouldn't spin up either...power supply good and drive good. Well then I decided for some reason to see if the drives would spin up if not connected to the IDE cable...they both did. Note: One is connected as the primary master and the other as secondary master. Has anyone ever seen this before? What could cause it? It just seems strange to me that both the IDE connector circuits would short out at the same time. Every drive I have tried worked fine until I connected it to either one of the IDE ports (changed cables too). I am confused.


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Is that the only problem you are seeing?

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to IDE Ports Kill HDD Power

I know it's hard but can you get into the BIOS?

Do you get any form of image on the monitor?

Strictly speaking this is a Q & A thing but I'm interested and would like to know more so you can either post here or contact me through the Peer Listings and we'll see if we can get anywhere.


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The problem

by TxTopgun In reply to Is that the only problem ...

Yes and no...I don't get any image at all on the monitor so I assume it isn't getting power to the onboard video either. Come to think of it, I did put a PCI IDE controller in and it still wouldn't come up. With that in mind, I guess there is a short somewhere else on the board that is also shorting out the PCI slots.

Like I said, in my 22 years of working on these things I have never seen anything like this before. One other thing I did try was resetting the BIOS but naturally that didn't do anything either.


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Well I suspose you tried the obvious

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to The problem

So now it's time to start looking for the far less obvious.

I'd start by pulling the M'Board just to make sure that there isn't something caught between it and the chassis which is causing the short. I once found a M'Board mounting screw between a M'Board and the chassis but it wasn't doing any harm but I think I got to it before it created any problems.

Also while it's out have a good look at both sides of the board to check for any scars that it may have I suspose it's always possible that a power surge came through and damaged the thing particularly if the Power Supply was not one of the better ones.

As you've said that you are not getting any images on the screen I'd also check the BIOS Chip just to make sure that it hasn't worked its way out of its socket that could be causing part of the problems.

Failing that there is always the extremely sharp knife to slash your wrists with {part of the reason I'm no longer allowed sharp knives.}

But post back and let me know how you get along.


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Been there, done that

by TxTopgun In reply to Well I suspose you tried ...

I have taken the board out of the case and can't find anything wrong with it...in fact it is one of the cleanest I have seen. Everything looks perfect...even swapped out the DDR chip.

I am about ready to just pitch it. One more thing I plan to do, just to check, is take the CPU out and try it in another board to make sure it is good. If so, I will probably just chalk the board up as experience and pitch it in the trash.

The on really strange thing about it is the fact that it was running fine one night and when they turned it on the next morning (hadn't been moved), it wouldn't work.


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I think you've just answered your own question

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Been there, done that

The fact that it was working properly one night and not the next morning points to a power surge that got past the PS and degraded the IC's on the M'Board to such an extent that they no longer work with each other or at all.

By all means test the CPU but I'll bet that it has gone the way of th M'Board as well. Maybe a different CPU just might alter the tolerance's enough to allow it to temporally work but I would imagine if this was the case it would be a short term fix.


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by TxTopgun In reply to I think you've just answe ...

I believe you are right...I was just hoping to find someone else that had seen it before. Just seems really strange to me. Thanks for the interest.


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Doesn't it give you that nice sinking feeling deep in your guts

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Thanks

When you run across something like this?

I've seen a couple previously and all occurred after severe storms where trees where brought down onto power lines or the overhead power lines came into contact with each other. Generally they are easy to pick as the M'Board has the hell blown out of every VLSI IC.

But I had the occasional one where everything appears to be normal and it's actually totally trashed and what makes it so hard is the fact that you just can not point out the damage as it is deep inside the IC's particularly the CMOS type which are very prone to electrical damage once the voltages get beyond normal operating levels.

The funny thing is that I've only seen this happen on the ATX Boards as they have constant power applied while plugged in and rely on a ripple from the on switch to activate everything.

Anyway I hope that isn't the problem but it sounds from you description it very well might be the problem. I've seen quite a lot like that but in every case they had poor quality power supplies which allowed the damage to occur. When something like an Antec PS is used I've never seen this happen but with the no name brands it is very common. Unless you have a CRO and some idea of what each IC is supposed to be doing it is impossible to trace any problems.

Just another thought is the CPU fan working? I've seen a couple of these fail and allow the CPU to cook itself. A new CPU and heat sink/Fan cures this but if it is an old piece of hardware it just might prove far more expensive to get th bits second hand that to do a proper upgrade and make it as reliable as possible.

I've also seen one occurrence where a Heat sink has come adrift and the CPU has been fried but of course when I got the repair the Heat sink had been replaced and it wasn't until I pulled the CPU that the damage was obvious.


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Re: Sinking Feeling

by TxTopgun In reply to Thanks

Yep...I trashed the board. The CPU is fine (I put it in another board and it works flawlessly. The CPU fan running is what initially through me...that said the board was getting power since the fan is plugged onto the board.

Thanks again

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A Little Late

by BruceAnd In reply to Thanks

Since you pitched the MB this is a little late, but one thing that is not obvious is leaking electrolytic capacitors which will kill one or more voltages. These usually show a yellowish white "gunk" on top of or around the bottom of the cap.
Just had to replace a Gigabyte board that had almost the exact symptoms yours had. Would boot sometimes but wouldn't other times. Once while was running, it lost keyboard and mouse control.
Don't touch this leaking gunk, as it is acid and can burn you.

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Generic - eMachine

by AT Computers In reply to IDE Ports Kill HDD Power

90% Of My Business Brings In An eMachine Bought From Walmart. I Found The Reason Why eMachine Offers It's Computers To The Consumers At Mass Sales At Walmart For A Low Cost Of $399.00, eMachines Are Built From Generic Computer Parts, Second Hand And Refurbished Parts From Companies Who Sell There Refurbished Parts To The Makers Of eMachines. The Problem You Are Having Deals With The Motherboard. eMachine Uses Several Different Companies To Purchase There Motherboards, These Companies Give The Makers Of eMachine A Really Good Deal On A Mass Order Of There Motherboards That These Companies Do Not Warranty! Cause There Poorly Made Or Refurbished As Second Hand Parts. That's The Reason Why eMachine Makers Carry A 1 Year Warranty With There Machines! Why? They Know Their Machines Are Not Guaranteed To Last More Than A Year, So They Offer An Upgrade To The Purchaser Of An eMachine Along With The 1 Year Warranty In The Amount Of $99.00 Upgrade. Why? If You Have A Problem With Your eMachine Within The 1 Year Warranty, You Send Them Your Machine And $99.00 Upgrade Cost To Get Your Machine Upgraded. Upgrade Cost: $99.00 Why? You Are Paying The eMachine Maker For Another Refurbished Part That Is Not Guaranteed To Last By The Makers Of This Part. In Other Words It's Worthless! A Worthless Machine. I Tell My Customers This And They Go Nuts, They Will Never Buy Another eMachine. Please Note: eMachine Is A Generic Piece Of Junk! It's A Fast Way To Get A Computer, But 90% Of The Time You Will Be Forced To Replace The Machine Within A Year! I Have Seen Some eMachines Last 2 Years And Maybe One At 3 Years! But 90% Of Them Fail Within 1 Year. I Hope This Helps With Your Descision, The Motherboard Is Your Problem! Buy An Intel Board Or Equivelent, Do Not Pay The $99.00 Upgrade Cost, You May Get The Same Problem!

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