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red light on motherboard = good thing (??)

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#1 CosmoKramer   Members   


Posted 18 May 2005 - 04:57 AM

My other computer crashes all the time. Its running winXP pro, and crashes randomly and frequently. Everything just freezes and it no longer responds. No blue screens, no error messages, just everything freezes. Sometimes it freezes or restarts during the POST test, but if not, it will always freeze eventually once it gets to windows. I dont know if its related or not, but Ive noticed a red light on the motherboard thats always on as long as the machine is on. The machine didnt always crash like this, and unfortunetly I dont know if the red light used to be on or off before all the crashing started. Is there any way that a red light like that could be a good thing? We kind of suspect that the problem is the motherboard, but for no real good reason other than the red light. Im told it could just as easily be the ram, or the video card for example. I tried putting my ram into the other computer to see if that helped. But my ram is different and doesnt fit. Ditto for the video card. I guess it would help if I knew the name and model of the motherboard, but I couldnt find it written on it anywhere. Whats an easy way to find out? What should I do? I never was good at fixing hardware problems, because as far as I know, there is no way to be sure which piece hardware is the problem. Please help!

#2 Promit   Senior Moderators   

Posted 18 May 2005 - 05:05 AM

My motherboard has a green LED that is on as long as the power supply is providing juice, basically, as long as it's plugged into a wall socket.

What motherboard do you have? Do the docs mention anything? What about forum posts?

#3 Cosmic One   Members   


Posted 18 May 2005 - 05:11 AM

All lights should be documented in the motherboard manual, should you have it. Documentation would also be provided free on the internet if you don't have the manual anymore (or never did). I've never heard of any catastrophic system failure lights before though, so I doubt that will tell you anything.

When this happened to me the last time (it does every now and then) it turned out to be the CPU overheating. One of the connectors holding the heatsink/fan on was loose and so contact wasn't occuring like it should. Often it wouldn't get into booting more than 10 seconds before it shut down on its own. This could also be a problem if you're overclocking your system. High heat will definitely cause problems so check for it.

#4 Dave   Members   

Posted 18 May 2005 - 05:16 AM

Maybe it's a problem with your LED!!


#5 CosmoKramer   Members   


Posted 18 May 2005 - 05:20 AM

I dont think I have the paperwork for the computer(or motherboard) anymore. I could look the mobo up on google, if i knew its name and model number and stuff, but I cant find any such useful information anywhere on the motherboard itself.

The computer used to have a problem with cpu overheating, but we put some of that heat-sink glue stuff on that is supposed to help dissipate the heat faster, and that seemed to work. This was about 1.5 years ago.

How fast do CPUs get hot? Sometimes the computer is off all night long, and then we switch it on, and it starts exhibiting the crashing behavior within about 30 seconds or less, sometimes even during the POST(it will restart on its own), or right after the POST, before loading windows. Could the cpu really be overheating that quickly? Doesnt the cpu have to be doing heavy calculations for a long time in order to overheat?

Also, there is no overclocking going on here.

Thanks for the help so far. I guess the next step is to find out what mobo it is. Any ideas?

#6 Zanthos   Members   


Posted 18 May 2005 - 05:44 AM

Realistically, the problem could be caused by all manner of faults, take this one: I recently found out one of my case fans(slowly on it's way out fan-hell) was annoying my power-supply, and caused the system to restart randomly, but only when Steam was loaded into memory(?), confused me.

As for this red light you've noticed, IIRC, the light is a warning not to add/remove memory modules whilst it's on. Some motherboards have a green light, some don't have a motherboard power light at all.

Is it possible for you to switch power supplies over? that would at least enable you to cross one possible cause from the list.

#7 Cosmic One   Members   


Posted 18 May 2005 - 05:46 AM

No mine was overheating because the heatsink was actually not in contact with it anymore... if you run a modern processor without having any method of heat dissipation it doesn't matter how many calculations it is doing, it will fryyyyyyy. That's why I say check the connection, if that's fine and secure then it's probably not overheating.

Pity you don't know its model... there should be a serial number printed on it somewhere though, they are hard to find but I think it must be on there somewhere. Otherwise spend some time googling for specs you know it has (producer, socket, ram slots, pci slots, agp rating, year of manufacture, integrated audio/video type...) and hopefully you'll find it.

#8 Feral   Members   


Posted 18 May 2005 - 06:16 AM

For what little it is worth...
My MB has a red light when it is on, green when it is off.

General method to diagnose hardware problems:
1. Deduce/guess what piece it is
2. Remove and replace it
3. If not fixed goto 1.

#9 CosmoKramer   Members   


Posted 18 May 2005 - 07:00 AM

Original post by Feral
For what little it is worth...
My MB has a red light when it is on, green when it is off.

General method to diagnose hardware problems:
1. Deduce/guess what piece it is
2. Remove and replace it
3. If not fixed goto 1.

Step 2 is the killer. I dont have any spare ram/video/cpu/motherboards laying around to experiment with.

Maaaaaan, computers should be able to tell you exactly which piece isnt working. Im sure that must be possible. Why dont they do that? Whats with this guessing crap? Ive thought this since around 1998 when I first started attempting to diagnose and fix computer hardware problems. Ive been doing it as a hobby for myself and friends ever since, and Im still not really any better for exactly that reason - theres no real good way to do it, just a lot of guessing and testing.

#10 CosmoKramer   Members   


Posted 18 May 2005 - 08:05 AM

Ok I just carefully removed the heatsink fan, and the heatsink itself. The heatsink was full of dust and lint, so I cleaned that all out. I also removed the old heatsink thermal compound from the bottom of the heatsink and the top of the processor (amd). Then I put some more heatsink compound on, and replaced the heatsink and fan. I did this all very carefully, and it took me over an hour. So I plugged everything back in and started it up, hoping to see it crash less frequently, or even not at all.

But now the video doesnt work. At all. Nothing shows up on the screen and the monitor doesnt even acknowledge that it is even getting a signal. I tried re-seating the vid card about 10 times, restarted the computer, turned off the computer, tried a different monitor, everything. Video still doesnt work. MY GOD this is frustrating. I didnt even touch the video card, or anything else for that matter, while I was doing the heat sink stuff. What a great way to ruin my day :(

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