General Hardware Tips

Don't see a specific place for your hardware question? This is the forum for you!

Moderators: mac_h8r1, Nemesis

General Hardware Tips

Postposted on Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:10 am

I figure I'll go Jeopardy style and give out some answers to common problems before I get the questions. Some of these can probably go in other forums, but what the heck! I'll update it frequently, so PM me if you have additions.

General Tips
+Check your cables
-Check to see that cables and cards are plugged in properly.
-Always try unplugging and plugging it back in, to ensure proper seating.
-Look for dust contamination. When unplugging a card, inspect for dust that can lodge in slots [frequent with PCI/AGP cards].

+Check your jumpers
-Sometimes when swapping devices or doing major overhauls, jumpers can be neglected, either from being temporarily removed or from not being repositioned correctly [e.g. master to slave].
-Some motherboards have jumper settings that you haven't encountered before [such as +5v USB or PS/2 standbys].

+Check your manual
-Yes, it's always worth a shot.

+Check for grounding problems
+Motherboards
-Some solder jobs leave longer leads than others. Take some electrical tape and put it a) Between the standoffs of your case and your motherboard and/or b) on the backplate of your case [NOT on back of the motherboard, as it can insulate heat].

+Boards and Cards
-Make sure no wire leads are touching your circuitboard [this goes to you modders that forget to connect or insulate your wire leads].
-Make sure they are seated correctly. This is especially true of RAM and PCI cards, where one side can be slightly off, either not contacting at all or contacting the wrong contacts on the board, leading to shorts.

+Drives
-Hard drives in particular, which aren't electrically insulated on the bottom, can occasionally short against the bottom of the case, bottom of the drive cage, or top of another drive. This also holds true for rheostats, system monitors, and fan controllers.

Floppy Drives-The most common issue is the little metal slider snapping off. Using a standard 12-piece toolkit, use the small screwdriver to prop the door open. Depending on ambient light, use a flashlight to find the offender. Use tweezers to gently remove the metal scrap from the drive.

Optical Drives
-Most problems stem from dust contamination. Don't use compressed air, as it can push the dust further INTO the drive. Try to get a mini vacuum cleaner, it will come in handy with the rest of your system as well.

More to come on other hardware.
mac_h8r1.postCount++;
Chaos reigns within. Reflect, repent, and reboot. Order shall return.
Slivovitz owns you.
mac_h8r1
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
 
Posts: 2962
Joined: Tue Sep 24, 2002 6:57 pm
Location: Alpha Epsilon Pi for life

Postposted on Thu Aug 11, 2005 11:53 pm

I think this just has to be mentioned but:

WEAR AN ESD WRIST STRAP!
Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe, AMD64 Winchester 3200+, 2GB Kingston DDR400, 2 6600GTs in SLI, 2 WD 80GB SATA HDDs in RAID0, Aspire 550W PSU, Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Thermaltake XaserV V7000A Case
Hoodieboy711
Gerbil
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2005 10:05 pm
Location: CoMo, USA

Postposted on Fri Aug 12, 2005 12:11 am

Hoodieboy711 wrote:I think this just has to be mentioned but:

WEAR AN ESD WRIST STRAP!


Yeah, and be sure to put your Depends on when you go to bed. :wink:
x--x--x--x
Spyder22446688
Gerbil Jedi
 
Posts: 1850
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2003 12:28 pm
Location: Seattle, Washington

Postposted on Sun Apr 23, 2006 2:16 am

have band aids handy, now it my just be me... but i ALWAYS end up cutting myself somewhere durring the installation of some peice of hardware on some part of the case...? anyone else see a pattern?....

but on a serious note, rushing a computer build is always a bad idea. im not going to lie, i am guilty of it... and because i was rushing and not paying attention ive killed a poor old AMD Skt754 3700+ (clawhammer) and that was back when they were not as cheep as they are now. building a computer may feel as though its like your 10 and playing with legos but just remeber.... that little lego you are playing with now is alittle more valuble....

now if i could just listen to my own advice....

botttom line... use your head, use a static band, dont eat while building, no pets allowed.... you get the idea, its always a bad day when you lose a proc.
icto0389
Gerbil
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2006 1:08 pm

Postposted on Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:28 am

icto0389 wrote:have band aids handy, now it my just be me... but i ALWAYS end up cutting myself somewhere durring the installation of some peice of hardware on some part of the case...? anyone else see a pattern?....


It's not a REAL build if you don't bleed for it.

[I always get myself somehow. Usually the bottom of the motherboard or some part of the case is the reason. When i moved from my old pos case to my new one i managed to get cut on my motherboard AND my old case]
My Dreamcast PC thread
Main Rig: FX-6100 / Radeon 6950 / Velociraptor HD because old school rotations
pikaporeon
Graphmaster Gerbil
 
Posts: 1312
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:42 pm
Location: Mississauga, ON, Canada.

Re: General Hardware Tips

Postposted on Fri Jan 04, 2008 10:05 am

mac_h8r1 wrote:Some solder jobs leave longer leads than others. Take some electrical tape and put it a) Between the standoffs of your case and your motherboard and/or b) on the backplate of your case [NOT on back of the motherboard, as it can insulate heat].


Though it would be worth doing in specific areas if you have problems with solder as in this tip, the standoffs are designed to earth the motherboard and probably shouldn't generally be insulated? That's not to say that lacking the earth ground will prevent the board working, but it's not the optimum situation.
Mithent
Gerbil
 
Posts: 82
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2006 6:22 am
Location: UK

Re: General Hardware Tips

Postposted on Fri May 02, 2008 12:49 pm

Mithent wrote:
mac_h8r1 wrote:Some solder jobs leave longer leads than others. Take some electrical tape and put it a) Between the standoffs of your case and your motherboard and/or b) on the backplate of your case [NOT on back of the motherboard, as it can insulate heat].


Though it would be worth doing in specific areas if you have problems with solder as in this tip, the standoffs are designed to earth the motherboard and probably shouldn't generally be insulated? That's not to say that lacking the earth ground will prevent the board working, but it's not the optimum situation.

Yah, putting yape between the standoff and the motherboard is not only misguided, it's pointless. The screw that anchors the motherboard to the standoff and the standoff's threads into case the provide a solid current path - just as they were intended to do.

Notice the copious ground pads surrounding the screw holes on the top side of the motherboard? They're there for a reason. The flanges on the screw heads dig into those solder pads when you fasten the board to the case. These distributed grounds reduce ground bounce in the various circuits on the mobo.
This problem was caused by Windows, which was created by Microsoft Corporation.
sluggo
Gerbil Jedi
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1542
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2005 8:44 pm
Location: under the table and dreaming

Re: General Hardware Tips

Postposted on Fri Sep 28, 2012 5:59 pm

I think ESD wrist bands are overrated - unless you're wearing a polyster jumpsuit and moonwalking your way across the carpet just touching the chassi every now and then is perfectly fine IMHO.

My best and favorite troubleshooting technique for hardware is to always go back to the basics.

If you're having problems getting something to work always go back to the minium working configuration (motherboard, cpu, ram) and make sure it posts and complains about missing harddrive and so on. While you're at it you might want to replace the CMOS battery if it's an old computer and also scan the motherboard and mounting points for damages and/or short circuits. Also check the PSU and make sure it looks in fighting order. Sometimes if it's an old computer it's not a bad idea to re-seat the RAM and CPU and re-plug all the connectors. Make sure there is no dust anywhere.

Then add harddrive / keyboard / mouse load up windows/linux and run memtest and prime95 (or similar) to make sure everything is as it should.

If you have that working you know have a stable base system! Congratulations!

Feel free to add soundcards / GPUs / CD-drives / more hard drives / NAS / Networking etc etc and you'll be able to see when the problems start.

Sometimes strange hardware problems can also come from insufficient power or inadequate cooling. You may think you have a mega-PSU but one rail on it might be working at it's maximum if you have several things connected to it.

And sometimes your cpu and motherboard will report low temperatures but some part of the motherboard that isn't being monitered is still overheating - I've seen it happen.
TwoEars
Gerbil
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:57 am

Re: General Hardware Tips

Postposted on Sat Jun 08, 2013 6:34 am

The main tip should be:

Just because it says "Compatible" on the box does not mean that it will work.
CoolerMaster HAF X, i7-990x, Gigabyte X58A-UD3R, 24GB Corsair XMS, Sapphire 7950 Vapor-X, Corsair Neutron 128GB, 3*Seagate HD (3TB), Seagate HD (1.5TB), Hitachi HD (2TB), Plextor DVD + BluRay, StorageWorks DAT 72, 29160 SCSI Adapter, Corsair H80
Nec_V20
Gerbil First Class
 
Posts: 169
Joined: Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:06 am


Return to General Hardware

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 4 guests