How to troubleshoot motherboard - repair guide and tips
Know about computer motherboard first
The motherboard or sometimes called mainboard, is the physical arrangement in a computer that contains the computer's basic circuitry and components, each of which talks to each other via motherboard, either by directly plugging into it or by talking through one of the motherboards ports. It creates a platform for all the other components and peripherals in computer to talk with each other.
The CPU of your computer decides the type of motherboards. The motherboard can be categoried according to the socket type they have. Because of the CPU factor, it is very important to know what kind of motherboard you are going to buy. When buying a motherboard, it will always tell you what socket type it has.
Motherboards are one of the components to measure the speed of. Performance can only be measured by benchmarking using the same components in several motherboards of the same type. You can often find that motherboards with the same chipset have roughly the same performance in real world tests. The minor differences that do exist are the quality of the materials used by different manufacturers.
A motherboard chipset controls all the data that goes through the data channels or buses of the motherboard. The primary function of the motherboard chipset is to send the data to the correct area's of the motherboard and then to the correct components.
The motherboard has many connections to all type of components. Motherboards have expansion slots such as the ISA, PCI, AGP, and DIMM sockets. It also has external connections for your onboard sound card, USB ports, Serial and Parallel ports, PS/2 ports for your keyboard and mouse as well as network and firewire connections.
You should also know that AGP and PCIe are connected to the motherboard's northbridge (with a fast bus) and all the others are connected to pc's southbridge (with a slow bus).
In a word, the motherboard plays an important role in the workings of your PC because components that you buy all rely on the motherboard. It is wise to buy a good motherboard if you plan to add more components in the future.
Troubleshooting computer motherboard
With the basics of motherboard in the above, now let's have a look at how to troubleshoot the motherboard in the following:
1. Ensure that the power supply is set to the correct voltage for your country. You can toggle the switch between 110 volts and 220 volts.
2. Check if the computer fan is working by feeling if the air coming out of the pc. If not, troubleshoot the power supply and replace it if necessary.
3. Ensure that you do not have a motherboard standout in the wrong position and shorting out the bottom of the motherboard.
4. Check the loose metallic objects (loose screws) on top of or under the motherboard and in expansion board slots.
5. Check ISA, PCI slots and other components to make sure they are not got bent, broken, burnt and also make sure they are seated firmly.
6. Ensure that the speaker is plugged into the motherboard so that you can hear beeps. Check our other section for error beep code troubleshooting.
7. Ensure that the voltage CPU is set correctly.
8. Check the CMOS battery with a multi-meter. Should be around 3 volts (2.8 is ok). Make sure the CMOS battery jumper is in the correct position. You can also clear the CMOS by putting it into the clear position for a few minutes, put it back in the normal position, and plug in the power cord and push the power-on button. Warning: If you apply power to the motherboard with the jumper in the clear position you may damage the motherboard.
9. Pull all boards except video and disconnect all the cables going to drives, pull all the cables except power, power on, and speaker. If everything is ok at this moment, that is, no error beeping, you can add one deveice after another.
10. Check the monitor plug for bent or pushed-in pins and also the power cable and connect only the monitor.
11. Reseat the memory.
12. Check the CPU to see if there is some bent pins.
13. Finally, you can pull the motherboard out of the case and install video, memory, CPU, power, and power on to see if it boots.
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