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Alright, so I'm trying to build a computer with some old parts I had lying around here. (which used to be a single computer already so they must be compatible if they were before)

At first I tried to install the hardware piece by piece so I'm sure they all work...

I start by laying out the motherboard on a non-conducting surface so I don't get any shorts, plug in the PSU, plug in the CPU power cable/ Mobo power cable. I also insert the cpu (making sure it is secured with the little handle next to the socket), including the cpu cooler (with some cooling paste in between).

So this is my minimal setup, there is no need to install a GPU because that's something which was built in already.

Next, I start up the "computer" and the CPU fans start to spin, also the ones on the PSU..

After a while I'm starting to smell something weird from the CPU so I reseat the cooler and start whole over. This time everything runs but it still won't give me a single POST beep while when I tested it before it would beep allot and fast in a few sequences.

Now you all got a view of my situation, how am I able to troubleshoot a dysfunctional rig and how do I know which parts are definatly broken and useless? (any other suggestions are welcome too)

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You didn't mention you put a RAM stick so just to be sure, without one, the computer won't start. The fan will be working but you won't get any beep or screen. –  laurent Oct 19 '12 at 0:00
    
@laurent Typically, faulty or missing RAM will trigger a POST error sequence (beeps). From what I understand of the situation, on the first attempt there was a POST error sequence, probably due to missing RAM. Then, magic smoke. After that, no more error sequence - even the POST won't run. –  Bob Oct 19 '12 at 0:35
    
@JensAckou How long did you run it the first time? –  Bob Oct 19 '12 at 0:36
    
@Bob Well thats my point, even without any ram it would beep like hell but that's where I'm stuck because I'm trying this approach because my full rig booted but shutted down imediatly after a few seconds. Now I'm trying to look for the hardware that's causing it. –  Jens Ackou Oct 19 '12 at 0:39
    
@Bob My old motherboard doesn't beep at all without RAM or with RAM badly fitted but beeps with faulty RAM. Anyways, you are right, the smoke is not very good... :) but if it was a small overheat (due to bad cooling probably) and didn't last long there is still a chance I think... –  laurent Oct 19 '12 at 2:39
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2 Answers

I had a similar problem and it was the PSU. Can you try with another PSU?

Mine had the similar situation, no POST and quick succession of beeping. Originally thought it was vid card, turned out to be the PSU.

Also try clearing the CMOS to see if you can post?

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I already switched the jumper to clear the CMOS. My other PSU's are outdated and don't have the neccesary connection to even power the MOBO. Would there be a method to be sure this is caused by the PSU? But I guess if the CPU was the problem it would send me a beep message, I'm not sure. –  Jens Ackou Oct 19 '12 at 0:34
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It's possible that the first attempt at booting killed either the motherboard or the beeper-port.

You may also have the bad luck of having a motherboard that NEEDS a CPU to drive the beeper (these can't give a 'CPU absent/dead' warning).

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It could be possible because the MoBo is very old. I might hand the rigg over in a local IT store and ask if they could find and replace any broken parts. I know this has been a while since I posted but I'll post the process if at least the MoBo is still operational. Otherwise I'm simply ordering new parts for a complete new rigg. I simply hate waste of electronics tho. –  Jens Ackou Nov 26 '13 at 20:26
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