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Blinking Cursor before Bios


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#1
Mikal

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My old roommate sent me my Dell Precision 370 by mail stating Windows XP ready to go.

First Issue, upon bootup, I got a warning of low voltage and to Strike F1 to continue. Entering Windows, immediately went Blue Screen Reboot. I tried to put a Windows CD in for reboot, but was not able to achieve boot from CD because of the Voltage error I suppose. Inside Bios, my Sata HD was recognized, but couldn't find any listing of my IDE Rom. Roommate said Mobo battery was likely dead as he's had the computer sitting unplugged with his travels. Said I should replace the battery, reconfig Bios, and reload Windows.

This is where I complicated the issue, apparantly. With computer unplugged, pulled the battery out, after a couple hours (of searching for the apparantly popular 2032) I replaced the battery, tried to boot and get an immediate black screen blinking cursor (BSBC). I've tried to reasearch the problem, but it appears most others get the BSBC at or after Windows load, and are able to get into Bios. My BSBC comes up immediately at boot, and it appears no keyboard function. F2, F8, F12, nothing.

Can my motherboard be dead? If so how could it have happened?
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#2
Alzeimer

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Unplug your PC, remove battery and reset your CMOS setting by shorting the pins (pin 2-3) leave it like that and wait 5 minutes.

Put back the pin to original position (pin 1-2) reinsert battery, plug your computer and start it up.

Hopefully it will boot, if it does go directly in you setup to set the time/month/year and depending from what you want to boot from go to boot order menu and set it accordingly.

If this does not fix it, it is probably a low voltage from your power supply, only fix for that is to changeyour power supply.

Hope this will help

Edited by Alzeimer, 20 December 2010 - 11:42 AM.

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#3
Digerati

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You don't have to do both, remove the battery and short the pins. Both actions remove the holding voltage from the CMOS memory module, thus causing it to reset and lose its data. So remove the battery or short the pins. Shorting the pins is instantaneous as that also instantly discharges any capacitors in the circuit. If pulling the battery, waiting 10 to 15 seconds is long enough for any charge in the capacitors to degrade enough to cause the CMOS device to reset (dump all data). Understand resetting the CMOS is suppose to be easy. If not, they would use a different type of memory chip to hold the custom BIOS settings, such as an EEPROM instead of CMOS architecture.

I do agree that this looks like a PSU problem. Below is my canned text for testing PSUs. Note the tolerances in the table and make sure your voltages fall within those listed.

To properly and conclusively test a power supply unit (PSU), it must be tested under various realistic "loads" then analyzed for excessive ripple and other anomalies. This is done by a qualified technician using an oscilloscope or power analyzer - sophisticated (and expensive) electronic test equipment requiring special training to operate, and a basic knowledge of electronics theory to understand the results. Therefore, conclusively testing a power supply is done in properly equipped electronic repair facilities.

Fortunately, there are other options that are almost as good. I keep a FrozenCPU Ultimate PSU Tester in my tool bag when I am "in the field" and don't have a good spare power supply to swap in. While not a certain test, they are better than nothing. The advantage of this model is that it has an LCD readout of the voltage. With an actual voltage readout, you have a better chance of detecting a "failing" PSU, or one barely within specified ATX Form Factor Standard tolerances. Lesser models use LEDs to indicate the voltage is just within some "range". These are less informative, considerably cheaper, but still useful for detecting PSUs that have already "failed". Newegg has several testers to choose from. All these testers contain a "dummy load" to fool the PSU into thinking it is connected to a motherboard, and therefore allows the PSU to power on, if able, without being attached to a motherboard - great for testing fans, but again, it is not a true load or suitable for conclusive testing.

Note the required voltage tolerance ranges:

Posted Image
NOTE: Disregard the -5VDC reading. It is no longer used.


Swapping in a known good supply is a tried and true method of troubleshooting used for years, even by pros. If you have access to a suitably sized, spare power supply, carefully remove the suspect supply and replace it with the known good one, and see if the problem goes away.

I do not recommend using a multimeter to test power supplies. To do it properly, that is, under a realistic load, the voltages on all the pins must be measured while the PSU is attached to the motherboard and the computer powered on. This requires poking (with some considerable force) two hard and sharp, highly conductive meter probes into the main power connector, deep in the heart of the computer. One tiny slip can destroy the motherboard, and everything plugged into it. It is not worth the risk considering most multimeters, like plug-in testers, do not measure, or reveal any unwanted and potentially disruptive AC components to the DC voltages.

The voltages can be checked in the BIOS Setup Menus of most motherboards but they do not reveal ripple or other anomalies either. And the Setup Menu places very little demands on system resource so, like the temperature readings found in BIOS Setup Menus, they may not reflect values obtained when the computer is processing demanding tasks.

And remember, anything that plugs into the wall can kill. Do not open the power supply's case unless you are a qualified electronics technician. There are NO user serviceable parts inside a power supply. If you do not have a tester or a suitable spare to swap in, take the PSU to a qualified technician for testing.


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#4
Mikal

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Update: I completely disassembled the machine with exception of processor. Added 1 GB stick of RAM, Video Card, keyboard, boot and progress. Same Low Voltage Battery warning. Changed the battery, and the warning went away. Added CD-ROM and Sata Hard Drive back. Hard Drive is detected, but CD-ROM is not.

I've tried two different CD-ROM drives in both IDE positions under mode CS and Master, as well as both at the same time both in CS. IDE device is set to auto detect. I'm not real familiar with BIOS, but I'm reading a couple other things to try tonight. I'll keep posted.
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#5
Alzeimer

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Have you tried a different IDE cable?
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#6
Mikal

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That was going to be my next step, but (You're going to laugh at me) I didn't realize a PATA and IDE are the same thing. I was looking through my Bios, have drive select on auto. However after rebooting I had to turn my SATA HD on in the Bios. My suspision is that I need to turn my PATA slot on in BIOS as well. I overlooked this because I was looking for IDE. I'll try it out tonight when I get home, but I'm thinking (or more hoping I guess) that that will work. Otherwise I suppose I'll have to invest in a SATA CD-ROM.

Forgive my naiveness. I've got 4 computers that I'm rebuilding/reformatting, so I'm learning as I go.
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#7
Digerati

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I've tried two different CD-ROM drives in both IDE positions under mode CS and Master, as well as both at the same time both in CS. IDE device is set to auto detect. I'm not real familiar with BIOS, but I'm reading a couple other things to try tonight. I'll keep posted.

Just to ensure no confusion, If using CS, both drives on the same cable must use CS and the controller determines which is Master and which is Slave by the drive's position on the cable. If using Master, then the jumper on the second drive (if used) on the same cable must be set to Slave, and they must be attached to the correct positions on the cable. You cannot mix CS and MA/SL on the same cable.

For the cable, if not labeled, it is easy to determine the connections. The Master and System (board) connections are always on opposite ends of the cable. And the Slave is in the middle, but always offset, closer to the Master.
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#8
sanjiva78

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black screen with flashing with cursor.. Not getting to BIOS. Please help me.


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#9
sanjiva78

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I am Using Window Desktop, I am getting black screen with flashing with cursor blinking and not getting into BIOS, Removed and inserted RAM, CMOS battery, Processor and UnplugedHard disk and repluged, it works for sometime.

 

When I Shutdown again I will get repeat the same issue and it may not work if I do the same process of removing and inserting.

 

Please help me how to fix the issue.


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#10
sanjiva78

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I am Using Window Desktop, I am getting black screen with flashing with cursor blinking and not getting into BIOS, Removed and inserted RAM, CMOS battery, Processor and UnplugedHard disk and repluged, it works for sometime.

 

When I Shutdown again I will get repeat the same issue and it may not work if I do the same process of removing and inserting.

 

Please help me how to fix the issue.


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#11
Plastic Nev

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Hi Sanjiva78, this is an old thread from four years ago, please start a new thread of your own as this one may be ignored due to its age.

 

Nev.


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