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What is a good place to learn how to repair a computer?

#1LostVoyagerPosted 12/2/2013 9:29:05 PM
My computer of like 6 years busted. I am thinking that if I can repair it myself I can save money.

It basically turns on but will not display anything on the monitor (which works fine with another PC).

The light in the front doesn't come on but it runs.

I know that some of you may not know the issue and I am not asking for a free diagnostic just a place to start.

Google results were very overwhelming... Any places that can teach me the basics on finding what is wrong?
#2arleasPosted 12/3/2013 1:27:22 AM
From: LostVoyager | #001
Any places that can teach me the basics on finding what is wrong?


With just the information that the machine turns on but doesn't display... well... it could be a lot of things...

You can hear the fans running so it's getting power, but it doesn't make any sounds to show it's booting up? That could mean your CPU or motherboard is dead... if everything sounds like it's booting up but you can't see anything, that could mean your video card is dead... You already tested the monitor out on another computer (that's good)... so you can rule that one out...

For the most part, if you just hear the fans come on but the hard drives don't spin up or anything else, I'd assume either the CPU or the motherboard is dead, but it could be a power supply issue maybe (If the whole thing isn't getting enough power).

If it IS the motherboard/CPU then you might as well just build a new/better one. It's really hard to test if it's the CPU or motherboard without having a spare to swap out, and really you probably don't want to buy a new motherboard to find out it was the CPU that fried, or a new CPU to find out the motherboard died instead...
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#3SlaynPosted 12/3/2013 1:32:54 AM
Solid info above. Really you are running in to an issue that is hard to just google. Forums are your best bet, like this one.

Do you get that POST beep? You know, the one that comes on with a successful boot? Or do you get another beep code? No beep code? Do you remember if it even normally beeped before once it started?

Maybe you should tell us what you did and we can go from there. Maybe you unplugged something.
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#4LostVoyager(Topic Creator)Posted 12/3/2013 3:16:55 AM
Beep code?

It made start up sounds. I think when I plugged my harddrive in it made the sound.

Would having the side off of my computer for months cause a problem?
#5SlaynPosted 12/3/2013 3:18:56 AM
Yes, when a computer starts up, it generally gives one quick beep. You said it makes start up sounds, you mean you can hear it go to Windows or what?

Having the side off will only cause issue if something gets in there and messed it up...

Need more info man. What did you do, what EXACTLY is happening?
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#6arleasPosted 12/3/2013 7:46:30 AM(edited)
From: LostVoyager | #004
Beep code?

http://www.computerhope.com/beep.htm

The meanings of the beeps varies between bios manufacturers but as long as you hear some kind of beep that at least means the CPU/motherboard are probably OK.

I'd say the next logical step would be to try another video card, or if you have integrated video, see if that one works... It could be a simple as your video card needs to be re-seated in the slot to make it work right (Generally it stays put but if you've moved it around recently there's a chance it jostled loose). Otherwise, remove the video card from the slot and try the integrated video if you have it, or see if you can try a video card from a different computer if you don't have integrated video.

Also make sure all the cables in there are properly connected...if your video card requires extra power (and most of the good cards do) and one of those came loose, it could cause problems.

Would having the side off of my computer for months cause a problem?


If you've got pets (or a pest problem) it could easily cause something to get clogged up, usually a fan or a heatsink....neither of those should prevent your video card from working unless it was the video card fan that died and you overheated without realizing it.
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#7LostVoyager(Topic Creator)Posted 12/4/2013 7:11:29 PM
It's just a continuous beeping sound.

All of the fans that I can see are running. There is a box in there that I can not get out. I was thinking maybe that is the issue? (not the PSU box)

The letters at the bottom light up still but not the one on the power button.
#8LostVoyager(Topic Creator)Posted 12/4/2013 7:26:39 PM
arleas posted...
From: LostVoyager | #004
Beep code?

http://www.computerhope.com/beep.htm

The meanings of the beeps varies between bios manufacturers but as long as you hear some kind of beep that at least means the CPU/motherboard are probably OK.

I'd say the next logical step would be to try another video card, or if you have integrated video, see if that one works... It could be a simple as your video card needs to be re-seated in the slot to make it work right (Generally it stays put but if you've moved it around recently there's a chance it jostled loose). Otherwise, remove the video card from the slot and try the integrated video if you have it, or see if you can try a video card from a different computer if you don't have integrated video.

Also make sure all the cables in there are properly connected...if your video card requires extra power (and most of the good cards do) and one of those came loose, it could cause problems.

Would having the side off of my computer for months cause a problem?


If you've got pets (or a pest problem) it could easily cause something to get clogged up, usually a fan or a heatsink....neither of those should prevent your video card from working unless it was the video card fan that died and you overheated without realizing it.

I do not think it is the my video card ATI HD 2400 pro (not the best but got the job done for games I liked (WC3 and Diablo 2).
My computer is old but if I can fix it... It could save me a lot of money.
#9Pako PakoPosted 12/4/2013 9:23:21 PM
Scientific method would have you test each component separately if you could. It is the most time-consuming, but it would get you clearer answers.

Also, please keep have good manners when opening and fiddling with the guts of your PC. Try to do shock the inner components with static electricity -- keep yourself grounded. Don't loose any screws -- diagram where each one goes and put them in a cup so they don't roll off. Have a lot of room to work with -- it's bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside.

General diagnostics shouldn't be complex -- no need for odd cables or multimeters -- though a recovery disk or a spare working computer nearby would be helpful.

First off, what are all the hardware components in your PC? One HDD or two? Have a DVD drive or two inside? How many sticks of RAM were installed? How many PCI card slots are taken, and what cards are in them? Video card? Sound card? Network Interface Card? Does the motherboard have any plugs built-in? If you remove the video card, the sound card, et al, does the motherboard still have video-out? An ethernet port?

Test what you can -- if you have another PC, you can test each component one-by-one on that machine. Start by running swapping a stick of RAM and running diagnostics. Swap HDDs to see if the drive still boots. Swap power supplies to see if your original is flaking out, etc.

If you only have the busted PC, try to strip down it down to a bare-bones system -- the frame, the motherboard, the PSU, the RAM, and a HDD (or a DVD drive if you have a recovery disc). This is, of course, only possible if the motherboard has video-out (to connect a monitor). If the system works with this set-up, it means one of the optional pieces is bad.
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#10arleasPosted 12/4/2013 10:27:26 PM
From: LostVoyager | #008
I do not think it is the my video card ATI HD 2400 pro (not the best but got the job done for games I liked (WC3 and Diablo 2).
My computer is old but if I can fix it... It could save me a lot of money.


You don't think it's the video card, and it might not be... if you had a spare card to try out, it would give you an easy way of ruling it out the same way you ruled out the monitor.

From: LostVoyager | #007
It's just a continuous beeping sound.


You haven't told me what kind of motherboard it is so I can't help you with this information, but even "one long continuous beep" is a beep code and can be used to quickly diagnose a problem. The last time I heard a single long beep was when I was installing new RAM and one stick of RAM wasn't firmly in the slot. I removed it and reseated it and the computer booted up. I could suggest you try the same thing but depending on your BIOS type, that one long beep could mean something different.

I'd look inside to see if something has somehow come loose. You can remove the RAM and re-seat it in the slots and also the video card and any other cards and that might fix the issue. You might also look to see if any cables came loose or if there's a frayed wire or anything else. I think the cards being loose would be more likely though.
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