Breadboarding, stripping it down to the basics for troubleshooting

Tags:
Power Supplies RAM Components Motherboards CPUs
damric
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If you have to read this, something is very wrong with your PC such that you need to fully troubleshoot your system at the most basic hardware level, Breadboarding.

A little background: breadboards were what we called our lab equipment in electronics school. I don't know why they started calling this breadboarding. It doesn't even smell like bread. But anyways, the US Navy taught me the half-split method of troubleshooting, and this sort of follows in line with that basic approach where you start with the output and input, then half-split until you find the broken component. This saves time compared to Easter Egging: when someone randomly checks various test points. But I digress...

First, a warning from MSI:


(mod edit: the reason for this is that anti-static bags have conductive material interwoven around the outside of the bag. This allows static electricity to redistribute evenly around the surface of the bag while protecting the components stored inside. If you wish to have an anti-static surface to work on, invest in an anti-static mat instead)

What I consider a breadboard, is

- Motherboard out of the case, resting on a non-conductive surface like a piece of cardboard.

- 1 stick of RAM

- CPU and CPU cooler with fan plugged in.

- PSU plugged into motherboard 24 pin connector and CPU 12V connector.

- Motherboard speaker.

- No Video Card, even if there are no integrated graphics.

- Nothing else, no SATA devices or anything else connected to the motherboard and nothing else plugged into the PSU.


Turn it on by shorting the On/Off Power Switch header on the motherboard with a screwdriver. Some models will have a push button.

Listen to the beeps, and report them (or lack of beeps) to the person that told you to breadboard.

The person helping you troubleshoot will tell you what to do next. He might tell you to install your video card and plug it to a monitor. Or he might have you change the RAM around. Regardless, report your findings to the person helping you. If all goes right, you will add components in until you find the faulty one. Simple?