I've been troubleshooting what appears to be a power supply unit (PSU) problem in an E-Machine computer I bought a few years back for my son. He was about 3 at the time so the fact it lasted this long kind of amazes me. Anyway, with the help of this site and a few others I saw a pattern developing where users complaining of the same symptoms mine was having turned out to all be related to the PSU. As background info, here is what was happening... it started with a few intermittent lockups that are kind of typical (I think) for a kids computer, so I didn't really put much thought into it then. Then, after a couple other weird starts and some more ominous lockups, the monitor all of a sudden wasn't getting a signal. The computer would start (or sound like it) but no signal. So today when I went to troubleshoot it I expected to just be able to use the restore CD and wipe it clean. But, it wouldn't turn over at all. No clicks, whirs, or anything.
So I pop the cover, start making the usual connection checks... make sure it has power (at least to the PSU).. check for switches that might have been flipped by my son...etc... Everything seemed fine except it wouldn't start. Checking the switch, I hot wired it... nothing. I wanted to check the power supply but there is no external switch. I suppose it is electronically switched by the motherboard that the front panel switch is routed to. It seems to me though that on these systems where the PSU switch is routed through the MB that when you plug in the power cable it makes a brief noise. This isn't doing that. So trying to find a way to hot wire the PSU (some of you cringed... I know... not a good idea but had to at least entertain the thought), I disconnected the multipin connector. Well, here's where I noticed what I think is the Bios chip that was sort of hidden behind that connector. Its got a little burn on it about the size of a pencil eraser.
Here's two pics of it ... one close up the other back a bit to get you perspective.
Without any luck on my own I set out to find some info on this issue. Its then I see that this PSU is linked to more than a few other issues very similar to my own... most of which ended up with a dead MB. So right now, I'm thinking that my MB is dead. I was just about to start scavenging the machine for parts but thought I might post here first to see if anyone has any thoughts on the matter. It would be nice to be able to troubleshoot the PSU but I don't know how.
Aside from the PSU issue or what might be the root cause, I'm really curious to know if that chip is burnt out or not. I've seen burnt or browning spots before on working systems and for all I know that might have been part of the installation of the chip. It just really looks fried though. I don't think the pic shows it good enough but the burn is more than sticker deep. It looks and feels like the plastic part of the chip has actually boiled up. Does that look normal?
I don't plan on putting any significant time or $ into this problem since the initial investment was sub $300 anyway. Its now just mainly a matter of satisfying curiousity. Thanks for your help.
ps.. just noticed I could attach files to this post so I'll upload one of the pics locally so it'll be available after I remove them from the remote site.