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Desktop PC will not boot up [Resolved]

maranello
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Registered: ‎11-01-2008

Desktop PC will not boot up [Resolved]

My 6 year old eMachines 370 (don't all laugh) decided it would not boot up this morning. The symptoms are a number of beeps from inside the casing (one followed by three, followed by another three and finally a single beep). The monitor indicates that there is no signal being received. I suspect there may be a problem with the graphics card, but the manual is not very helpful in its troubleshooting guide. I didn't have time to find out if the graphics card is integral with the motherboard, if so can I simply add another card to a spare slot? A replacement motherboard is probably not worth the cost compared with a replacement desktop. It may simply be a case of a loose monitor cable, but I didn't have the time to check this morning.
If anyone has any similar experience who can offer advice I would be most grateful.
My other car isn't a Ferrari
14 REPLIES
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Desktop PC will not boot up

IBM code
1 long, 2 short beeps Display adapter problem (MDA, CGA)
1 long, 3 short beeps Enhanced  Graphics Adapter (EGA)
3 long beeps 3270 keyboard card
Pheonix code
1-3-3 You'll need to replace the motherboard.
O dear
maranello
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Re: Desktop PC will not boot up

Thanks Pierre.
I'll try some more obvious checks of connections, etc. this evening, and a more thorough read of the manuals. Can you tell me where you got your info on the beep codes, and what is the significance of Phoenix code (which I've never heard of before).
If its the motherboard then rather than risk spending money on a replacement motherboard, given the age of the machine and my lack of experience I will probably go out and buy a new desktop. PSU failed a year ago and was replaced, memory upgrade was ordered last weekend and arrived in the post this morning (hopefully I can get a refund).
My other car isn't a Ferrari
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Desktop PC will not boot up

The beep codes are related to the BIOS manufacturer. The most common ones are phoenix and AMI with others like IBM doing their own, and each have their own beep code sequences.
I assume you can't get into the BIOS to find out what one you have. In which case just google for BIOS beep codes to see if you find any matches.
Try removing things like memory and graphics card (if it's not on-board) and see if the beep codes change - you should get a code saying no memory etc.
If the beep codes still stay the same with memory & graphics removed (and any other PCI/ISA cards removed) and nothing else connected to the mobo except the power connectors then it sounds like it's terminal
maranello
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Re: Desktop PC will not boot up

Thanks Peter.
A google on BIOS beep codes comes up with only one manufacturer (Phoenix) which matches the 1-3-3-1 code that my PC gives out. The explanation is simply given as "28 Autosize DRAM", and I haven't a clue what this means.
Sounds like I might have to open up the case and make sure memory module and graphics card (if present) is properly seated. I want to get the PC booted up before I add the new memory, since once the packaging is opened I won't be able to return it for a refund.
My other car isn't a Ferrari
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,850
Registered: ‎11-08-2007

Re: Desktop PC will not boot up

i don't suppose changing the battery on the motherboard will help?
maranello
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Re: Desktop PC will not boot up

Thanks, I'll add this to thelist of things to try. I didn't know motherboards had batteries! How long should they last, are they easily recognisable and readily available?
Busy night ahead.
My other car isn't a Ferrari
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Re: Desktop PC will not boot up

Yeah...usually a 2032 type 3v round flat shiny disc 20mm in diameter. Life is difficult to say as you never know how long they have been in the motherboard before you got it but it's years rather than months.

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Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Desktop PC will not boot up

A dead CMOS battery would not stop the system booting though.
The error refers to the BIOS trying to detect and size the DRAM so that could indicate a badly seated ram modules, a bad ram module or a bad mobo.
If you intend to remove any components, make sure you remove the power cable completely as there is still 5V standby power to the mobo when the system is switched off. Also make sure you earth yourself by touching the metal case before touching any ram modules.
maranello
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Re: Desktop PC will not boot up


Reports of my PC's demise appear to have been overstated.
I thought I would try to boot up the machine last night to confirm the number of beeps - guess what, it all worked normally. So I decided to do a full backup of personal data and full virus/spyware scan for good measure. By the time that was completed, I did a quick check of monitor connections, opened up the case and removed the memory module and put it back . Powered back up, everything worked fine, I was so pleased I went to the pub - forgetting to put in the extra memory I had bought!
Thanks to all for the helpful advice, if it happens again I know what to try and where to get further help if needed.
My other car isn't a Ferrari
StickyMick
Grafter
Posts: 325
Registered: ‎29-11-2008

Re: Desktop PC will not boot up

Chip creep, maybe?
My sister's e-machine will sometimes hang on the big 'e' splash screen when she powers that up. I've never been able to find out what causes it.
maranello
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Re: Desktop PC will not boot up

Quote from: StickyMick
Chip creep, maybe?

Never heard of this before, but from my engineering background I'm guessing this could be some sort of creep ratchetting effect due to temperature cycling, which affects connections between motherboard and installed components.
However, the same fault occured this morning, with the same 1-3-3-1 beep code. Manuals confirm the BIOS is Phoenix.
My other car isn't a Ferrari
StickyMick
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Posts: 325
Registered: ‎29-11-2008

Re: Desktop PC will not boot up

Yep, that's the one. Used to happen with my Amiga a lot until I removed the trap door.
Have you got the new RAM installed yet? If yes, try removing the old module and placing the new one in it's place on it's own. If you haven't already tried that.
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Re: Desktop PC will not boot up

We used to get this a lot in industry you would go out to a dead pc and fetch it back to base and it would work ok. To fix a dead pc take it for a ride in the car it often works. Very often if its dirty just moving it and tilting it about cure its. We used to put it down to the dust which may get damp and may just short something out but moving it warms it enough to stop the fault
maranello
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Re: Desktop PC will not boot up

PC booted up again with no problems yesterday evening. Removed original memory module (256MB), used a minivac to clean any dust from contacts in both slots, replaced original module and new 1GB added. PC booted up in a third of the time it normally takes, and again this morning with no problems. Fingers crossed that it's cured, if not sounds like a good excuse to replace the 256 module with a second 1GB (which will be the limit for the PC).
Edited by maranello - 15/01/09 15:00. Numerous power ups have passed with no problems since the last thorough clean of the memory slot and contacts on the 256MB module. I have learned a lot about BIOS codes thanks to the advice in this thread, and gained a bit more confidence at taking the cover off. Might think about installing an additional drive as a live backup device. Not so sure about taking the PC out for a drive in order to make it work better, although if there is a meal and a few drinks included this usually compensates for neglecting my wife whilst I take over the study and leave PC bits and tools all over the place.
My other car isn't a Ferrari