VOGONS


First post, by BoraxMan

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Attached is an image of a motherboard I have which will not start at all.

With a known good video card, power supply, monitor, pc speaker, keyboard, CPU and RAM attached, the following happens. Upon powerup the LEDs on the keyboard briefly flash on, then nothing. No image is obtained on the monitor. If I have an invalid RAM configuration (less than 4x30pin RAM sticks, no RAM), the motherboard emits repeated long beeps continuously, which is this BIOS's way of signalling invalid memory. Note that the picture depicts the motherboard with BOTH the 30pin and 72pin sticks,but I have tried without the 72pin stick and just the 4x30mm. If left on, the CPU warms up. The board is not completely dead.

I have tried switching jumpers around, and tried a different CPU. I know for a fact, through testing on a different motherboard, that the Video Card the RAM and the CPU works, as well as the monitor. The last time I used the board was nearly 20 years ago, where it did work, and it has been stored in a box since then. There appears to be no damage, no corrosion and the barrel battery appears intact. I have left the motherboard on for about an hour to try and charge the battery, but it made no difference.

The only thing I can do to make a difference is take the RAM out, or have anything other than the 4 x 30 RAM configure, where it beeps at me.

I suspect the problem may be the barrel battery powering the CMOS being flat or dead, which apparently can result in boards not booting at all? I don't have any POST diagnosis card and I would have thought a flat battery would just result in a loss of CMOS settings, not a failure to boot.

Also note that I don't have a manual for this board, and can't find one online either.

I'm seeking advice for what my next course of action should be. I'm guessing it would be to replace the battery, but I'm not quite sure how to do that. Would that involve attaching a battery pack to the 4 pins next to the barrel battery?

Any advice appreciated.

Any advice appreciated.

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Reply 1 of 12, by ykot

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I would start through close visual inspection first on both sides to see if there are no oxidation marks or damaged traces. Check the voltage of the battery, but I would desolder it anyway and instead add connection pins so that it can be connected from distance, or connect a battery back. The idea is - if battery leaks (and eventually most of these do), it will not damage the board. After that, if jumpers are set correctly and it doesn't POST with a working CPU/RAM configuration, I would try to reprogram its BIOS chip with a known working image.

Reply 2 of 12, by Intel486dx33

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Cut off the battery. I read that a bad battery can keep the motherboard from posting. Those barrel batteries should be replace asap anyways. When it starts to leak and it will the acid will destroy the motherboard. Best to replace with an inexpensive coin battery.

Reply 3 of 12, by BoraxMan

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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2020-06-17, 09:06:

Cut off the battery. I read that a bad battery can keep the motherboard from posting. Those barrel batteries should be replace asap anyways. When it starts to leak and it will the acid will destroy the motherboard. Best to replace with an inexpensive coin battery.

I'm reticent to remove the battery, but that seems my only option. It won't boot until a new battery is installed, correct?

Reply 4 of 12, by Intel486dx33

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Follow the process of elimination.
Remove all cards but the video card.
Remove all ram but the 2 Simms in bank 1
Double check jumper settings.
What is jumper # 1 ,2, and 3 ?

Reply 5 of 12, by BoraxMan

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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2020-06-17, 10:32:
Follow the process of elimination. Remove all cards but the video card. Remove all ram but the 2 Simms in bank 1 Double check ju […]
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Follow the process of elimination.
Remove all cards but the video card.
Remove all ram but the 2 Simms in bank 1
Double check jumper settings.
What is jumper # 1 ,2, and 3 ?

I don't know what the jumpers are, but I've tried all configurations. The video card not being there doesn't make a difference. It does work. I've tried all memory combinations, with the only difference is whether I get the 'memory error' beeps or not. I've tried a difference CPU, different video card, without a video card, with keyboard, without keyboards, all 4 30pin sims, 3 slots filled, 2, 1, from left and right.

Reply 6 of 12, by cyclone3d

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The jumper near the battery is most likely also the connection for an external battery pack. With it jumpered like that, it uses the barrel battery, if you remove the jumper and attach an external pack or battery holder (outside pins) then it will use the external battery. The polarity should be marked near the jumper. If not, it should be easy to trace from the barrel battery.

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Reply 7 of 12, by computerguy08

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BoraxMan wrote on 2020-06-17, 10:00:

I'm reticent to remove the battery, but that seems my only option. It won't boot until a new battery is installed, correct?

You should remove that battery regardless, they are known to leak and destroy traces around them.

Reply 8 of 12, by CoffeeOne

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BoraxMan wrote on 2020-06-17, 10:00:
Intel486dx33 wrote on 2020-06-17, 09:06:

Cut off the battery. I read that a bad battery can keep the motherboard from posting. Those barrel batteries should be replace asap anyways. When it starts to leak and it will the acid will destroy the motherboard. Best to replace with an inexpensive coin battery.

I'm reticent to remove the battery, but that seems my only option. It won't boot until a new battery is installed, correct?

I agree with the others, that you should remove the barrel battery in any case.

But did you measure the voltage (with mainboard powered off) from the barrel battery?
If it has still the full 3.6V, likely something else prevents the board from booting.

Reply 10 of 12, by BoraxMan

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CoffeeOne wrote on 2020-06-17, 18:14:
I agree with the others, that you should remove the barrel battery in any case. […]
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BoraxMan wrote on 2020-06-17, 10:00:
Intel486dx33 wrote on 2020-06-17, 09:06:

Cut off the battery. I read that a bad battery can keep the motherboard from posting. Those barrel batteries should be replace asap anyways. When it starts to leak and it will the acid will destroy the motherboard. Best to replace with an inexpensive coin battery.

I'm reticent to remove the battery, but that seems my only option. It won't boot until a new battery is installed, correct?

I agree with the others, that you should remove the barrel battery in any case.

But did you measure the voltage (with mainboard powered off) from the barrel battery?
If it has still the full 3.6V, likely something else prevents the board from booting.

I will try and get a voltage reading tomorrow, and see how that goes.

I did try and hook up (rather clumsily) a battery pack to the pins, but no change.

Reply 11 of 12, by TechieDude

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That's a weird board. It's new enough to have a 72-pin SIMM slot, yet it only has ISA, and nothing else.
Did you press Caps Lock or Num Lock to see if the LEDs on your KB respond? Another thing would be to check the Capacitors with a multimeter.

Reply 12 of 12, by Deksor

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Well according to this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPIM5nFvd_s
the POST string is 08/23/95-UMC-498GP-2C4X6U01-00 which means this is a 1995 board, so that means that was probably a very very cheap board.