Dead BIOS? Dead Chipset? What?

Hot-swapping and Boot-Block flash & Boot block flash and floppy support
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Rickajho
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:50 am

Sun Oct 21, 2012 4:08 am

This happened to me today. :(

This is (was) a daily use BEK-V429S VLB system with an Award BIOS. Came back to a system that looked like it went into DPMS mode, except it wouldn't "wake up" via normal mouse movement or hitting something on the keyboard. The thing was locked up.

Had to perform a hard reset and... it wouldn't reboot. The system is stuck on no video, no POST and no boot.

I have stripped it down to practically a bare system: minimal memory, cpu and video card - no change. Reseated the cpu, memory and cache RAM. I have confirmed that the motherboard is getting correct voltage, both with a DMM testing at the motherboard connectors and with one of those cheap ISA/PCI diagnostic cards.

The only thing I can tell you is when I power it on all three LED's on the keyboard come on in unison, go out and... that's it. No video display and no POST beeps. The cheap diagnostic card won't even display any numeric BIOS codes. (But it could just be a crappy diagnostic card too.)

This isn't the first time I have seen a vintage mobo go dead like this. Yeah - I visually checked the capacitors around the cpu and there is nothing obviously wrong with them.

So... Power on, and I'm getting some indication that at least the keyboard BIOS is checking in with the keyboard LED's coming on and going out, and then nothing after that. Is this a chipset failure? How would you rule in or out if it's a BIOS problem if you don't have a similar mobo to swap the BIOS into?

Any insight appreciated.
edwin
The Hardware Archivist
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Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:54 am

Better check the NiCd CMOS battery, if that is at 0V it will show behaviour like this too. Next thing would be swapping the bios chip out. You checked your board for bad capacitors, did you also check your power supply? A DMM will only show DC, not excessive AC ripple...
edwin/evasive

Do not assume anything

System error, strike any user to continue...
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