Computer hardware errors and malfunctions are quite common. Recently, I’ve had my own share of computer problems and this time, it’s my motherboard. The problem I had was that my computer won’t start at all and it won’t even reach POST or Power On Self Test. So basically, when I hit the power switch, nothing happens. The LEDs are working fine but the computer isn’t responding at all. What happened to my computer was what we call “Motherboard Blackout”.
Based on how I experienced it, it was a bit difficult to diagnose. There are several other computer parts that are installed and connected to the motherboard and there is a possibility that these parts or devices can cause the Motherboard Blackout symptom.
The best way to go around this problem is to perform tests. You can try a different processor, a different memory, video card, hard drive or a motherboard. You can easily determine which one is causing the problem. If you replaced something and it works, that could be the troublemaker.
Now back to my motherboard. I tried to diagnose the problem using the POST. Computer motherboards emit beeps if it encounters any problem with your hardware. What made it much worse was that when I turn my computer on, there are no beeps. So, I removed the memory module and as expected, the motherboard beeped. After I put it back on, nothing happened again. I removed the video card then the hard drive and still, nothing happened and there was no beep. I immediately thought, “Hey, it’s the memory module. The motherboard seems fine if I take it out.”
Things got more complicated afterwards. Intermittently, the computer started to completely power up. I was shocked since it booted up flawlessly like nothing was wrong. It went to Windows just fine and I can do everything that I usually do. So I turned off my computer and the next day, it won’t turn on again. To my surprise, after a few tries, the computer powered up again. Thus, I have to keep turning it off and on until it worked. It sounded like a motherboard issue.
I have been diagnosing computer problems for years but the dilemma I had at that time was I didn’t have enough spare computer parts to test which among the computer’s internal hardware is giving me problems. But based from what I did, my primary suspects are my memory module and the motherboard itself. I must test it so I brought my computer to a nearby computer shop for repair and testing.
I told them what I did so we immediately tested it with a new memory module. It didn’t work so the remaining suspect is the motherboard. Rey, the technician at PC Express, brought a shiny new motherboard and it worked. It was the motherboard after all. It’s probably busted or of really low quality. The new motherboard worked flawlessly and even after several reboots, it was still fine. I had to pay a small service fee since they used some of their parts to test the PC plus labor. I had to buy the new motherboard or else I would have had to bear with turning the computer off and on, again and again, hoping that it will power up completely.
So if your computer doesn’t seem to power on, try deductive testing. Try out different computer parts and see if it will work. This is probably the most effective way of diagnosing computer hardware problems. But as Rey told me, the most common computer problem that exhibits this symptom is a faulty motherboard.
Come to think of it, the motherboard is the backbone of the PC and if it gets busted, your computer is as good as dead. Now everything is up and running flawlessly again. Too bad, that old motherboard must have been of very low quality to be that faulty. It only lasted for a year. It was a cheap motherboard anyway but now, I have a much better board.