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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My advice to all of you approaching the age of 40... shoot yourself now and avoid the pain and embarassment of growing old (and as in my case... apparently infirm.) :)


Two weeks ago I decided to upgrade my main PC so I ran out to a local parts dealer and bought a Gigabyte GA-7VAXP... a nice AMD based motherboard. However, after putting it in my case I was perplexed to find that it wouldn't boot. I tried everything I could think of (a string of actions that I'll spare you the details of) but nothing seemed to work. Long story short (no pun intended) I discovered that I had left two aluminum standoffs underneath the board where there were no holes for screws.


The motherboard is toast... I can't even get a beep out of it... just clicks from the speaker. I've built about half a dozen systems prior to this. I have no excuse for such a lack of judgement. A second GA-7VAXP, now properly installed, is running just fine.


So now I have this great motherboard that is just sitting here, not being used for anything, smelling slightly of ozone. Is there anything I can do to repair it? Is there anything I can check that would have been likely to blow that would be easy to replace? Maybe some caps? Or a fuse of some kind?
 

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Try to RMA the board, some companies will take it back, just tell them it smells burnt and won't post, usually that would be enough for an RMA.


Just because your approaching 40 does not mean that is what caused it, when I was 27 I shorted a board (compgeeks took it back no problem), now that I am 36, I am a little bit wiser.


Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Actually, that's part of the string of actions that I spared you from. I actually toasted a total of 3 motherboards.


The first one that wouldn't come up (it was actually a cheaper Shuttle board) I figured was just doa, so I returned it for another.


The second board exhibited the same problem as the first so I returned it thinking that maybe something with the Shuttle board wasn't lining up with the back plane. I've never used a Shuttle board before... So I returned it for a more feature-laden Gigabyte board. My previous board was a Gigabyte and I had good luck with it.


Unfortunately, this one exhibited the same problem! So I returned the CPU thinking that had to be the problem, being the only common component.


Then, after installing the new CPU, and having the same issue I got a better look under the board and realized what had actually been happening.


Believe me, I've been pretty depressed about this. I used to run a helpdesk and would have nightmares about people like me! :) I'm supposed to be good at this stuff, and normally I am.


Now that I know the faulty part is between my ears I'm willing to eat the cost of the board I know I toasted. And God bless the company that I've been working with for being so patient! Their prices are a bit high but their return policy is more than fair.


I liked the GA-7VAXP so much that I went out and bought another one to replace the one I toasted. Hopefully somebody will have some advice about troubleshooting the electronics so I can end up with 2 of these nice boards. I'd gladly buy another processor to boost the performance of my HTPC.
 

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You likely fried the voltage regulators. They will look like black transistors soldered on their side, usually near the main ATX power connection on the board. I will take a look at Gigabytes web page and see if I can find a good picture and let you know if I can find more details.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think I see them. There looks like there are three of them. One has a number "APL1084/GF104". Three pins, right? All of these have had their center pins clipped. There's also a much bigger one located right next to the CMOS battery. Unfortunately, they are all surface mounted components. That'll make it a bit difficult for me, but it doesn't look impossible.
 

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I smoked an Abit BP6 dual cpu board years ago(self-inflicted).. Abit sent me a new one..


Last year I was upgrading an Abit VL-6 and smoked a 1ghz celeron cpu, returned the chip, received a new one under warranty and smoked that.. come to find out the VL-6 doesn't support 1ghz celerons(the Abit site was a lil' misleading about this).. experience is what we call our mistakes... :p
 

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Quote:
Actually, that's part of the string of actions that I spared you from. I actually toasted a total of 3 motherboards.
Lord forgive me for seeming heartless, but that was really funny (that is, of course, only because it didn't happen to me :D ).


Don't feel bad. We once had a customer that screwed down a motherboard right down to the case, no standoffs, completely toasted.
 

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It took me a couple of days to realize what was wrong with my two "dead" motherboards that I had just purchased to go along with two new cases. The only signs of life in them were that the CPU fans would spin up and they both had this same symptom. It turns out the power supplies were both preset to 220-240V rather than 110-120V. Flipped switch on them both and all was well. And this was after I had an RMA for them both after calling tech support.


Or the time when I upgraded an Abit BH6 firmware to the latest version only to discover that there were two different "revisions" of the BH6 which had incompatible firmware. I actually had to purchase a new chip to fix that one. Interestingly enough the website warned the user when downloading one file but not the other.


Lots of easy mistakes that can lead to horror stories when doing anything with the motherboard...
 

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OK, since we're airing our dirty laundry. I decided to vaccuum the dustout of my computer this weekend. I've been doing this for years, never a problem - always with the computer off, taking care to ground the vaccuum nozzle to the computer case before going near the boards. This time I left the computer running.


No smoke, but the hard drive and ATA controller card aren't working anymore. The HD makes loud clicks when installed in another computer, and the when I tried another HD in the spiffy clean Gateway, the computer couldn't find the HD.
 

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I have killed one or two MLB's with Bios updates gone wrong and ran into a few grounding problems because of oversights that fortunately didn't do me in. Nothing compared with some of the things that used to come in when I ran a repair shop for Tandy/Computer City. The most fun were the people who had cats or dogs that marked their territory a little too aggressively. I the tech who was bugging me the most that day knew they would be doing the work on those systems.. :D

It was also amazing what incorrect parts (or parts put in backwards) people could get to fit if they just pushed hard enough.. Didn't work but were in there..
 

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I've been quite happy with Abit's service. I cooked a board during my early fanless computer trials, and they replaced it and paid half the shipping costs. I had a power failure during a bios update, and they sent me a replacement chip free.


Most recently, I RMA'd a new nForce2 board that I assumed was DOA. I tried multiple psus, cpus, dimms, video cards, etc. When I got it back, same thing. A close inspection of the manual revealed the problem...the nf2 can't handle registered memory. All of the dimms I had used to test, while different brands and sizes, were registered. So, chances are high that I RMA'd a perfectly good board...so much for knowing what I'm doing :)
 

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I'm only 29, but I've killed a few components in my time. My favorite was when I plugged in a floppy drive while my server was running, but misaligned the connector by one pin. This shorted the 12V and ground pins, and my 400W power supply literally vaporized a corner of the floppy drive power header/PCB. Major sparks!


Wrong BIOS flash, killing the board - been there, done that. Forgetting to plug in the CPU heatsink/fan - been there, done that. The only thing I'm waiting to do is to drop a screw onto the motherboard of a running machine. I haven't done that yet, but my time is coming.


- Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ah great... now I don't know whether to feel better (because I'm in such good company) or to run screaming from anything remotely technical.


Seriously though, I'm keeping a good humor about this mistake. It's good to know that other technically competent people goof up once in awhile.


Although the Gigabyte site says that I should go to the vendor that sold me the unit (which I did), I suppose it couldn't hurt to send them a note to see if they would replace it under warrantee.
 

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I once RMA'd an ATX case & power supply because it wouldn't power up.


Did you know you have to attach the power lead from the case to the jumper on the mobo? Well, I didn't know that at the time.
 

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Now I'm feeling like I must be the stupidest of all. Over the past few years, I have RMA'd two motherboards, a top of the line graphics card, a CPU, a pricey power supply, and two sticks of RAM, and ended up throwing out two hard drives and another stick of RAM.


While it's possible that all these components stopped working on their own, chances are I did things to wreck them and I'm just too damn stupid to even figure out what it was that I had done.
 

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I've likely built more than 500 computers in my lifetime and I still do stupid stuff. A couple years ago building my bro's computer I for whatever reason plugged in his external USB cable (the one that goes to the back for an extra 2 ports) in backwards, I turned the computer on and the sickening smell of burning plastic filled the air. I glance inside the case quickly to see the wires glowing a very nice red and the plastic melting at an incredible rate. Quick thinking me pulls the power plug and lets it stop smouldering. :D


You can still see the burn mark on the bottom of the case where the cables were near. ;)
 

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Heh- here's an clip of some of the stupid stuff I've done. When I decided to build my first computer (it was a slot A 750 Athlon with a FIC SD-11 motherboard), I had no idea what I was doing. So, when I installed the motherboard into the case, I held my breath for the first boot up. Nothing. Like you I tried several things, and then my dad pointed out that....... Those things in the platic bag next to me were standoffs for the motherboard. I had actually screwed the board DIRECTLY onto the mobo tray.


Just recently, I got the opportunity to make a unique keychain after I crushed the corner of my 1900+ core. Another happy time.


Don't get too upset about it.
 

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Until I read about HTPC's! What a wondrous idea I thought, and hey, I do have the skills and knowledge to make this happen, That was my first mistake!


Well wouldn't you know, I had a perfectly good working PC, but really I needed to have DVI Video card to connect to the PJ, easy right, I bought the card, sent away for the cable and it all worked right out of the box...NOT! Maybe it's this, maybe it's that, even managed to upgrade the firmware in the PJ without blowing it up, still a picture full of sparkles:(


I know, I've got this other PC I can borrow parts from to eliminate some of the possibilitiesThat was my second mistake!


Well in the process of swapping parts, you know grounded and careful like I flipped the SW on the PS, what was that flash of light...naw just imagining things, but to be sure I'll turn the SW off then on again...see no flash this time. But, no boot either! But hey that second PC works so I'll just swap the mobo, easy enough...a few minutes later and that was done, but still no boot... oh OH! Now I'm getting worried!


And now for my last mistake! I'll just swap over the power supply, ya ya that's the ticket;)


In the end this little exercise KO'd: 2 Abit mobos, 2 WD HD's (80GB and 100GB), 2 DVDROM drives, 2 SBlive 5.1 sound cards, 1 CD-Bruner and of course the helpful little ATX PS that I figure did all of the damage!


Oh yeah, you know those sparkles that started it all, yes a poor quality DVI cable, that's all:mad:


So when you read my comments in other posts about 'cheap" DVI cables, I do mean the cable and not all of the greif that they can cause!


P.S. warcher1, I'm over 40 too!
 
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