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Frequently Asked Questions for Tech Support

Frequently Asked Questions for Tech Support

Having a burning question? Chances are someone might have asked the same question before. Here is a collection of frequently asked questions to our tech support through e-mail and phone calls. Of course, if you don't see your question answered here, please send us a note or call our tech support hotline, 713-773-9696.

The power supply in my new ATX case does not seem to work. After I plugged the power supply and turned on the switch, the fan did not turn. I did not detect any voltage coming out of the power supply, either. Is this a defected power supply?

We sell very affordable PSU testers in: Click here to see our selection. With these testers it is possible to test a power supply without a motherboard connected.

ATX power supplies require a working motherboard with a working CPU, memory, and video card to function properly. ATX power supplies switched on only through a motherboard connector. In other words, it needs to be connected to a functioning computer before the fan inside the power supply will turn on and the voltage from the connectors can be measured. That's how ATX is designed.

It would be useful to connect a speaker properly to a motherboard, almost every motherboard sends coded beeps if something is amiss. Not having a speaker connected will severely limit your troubleshooting attempts. The meaning of beeping codes should be described in the motherboard manual. Some motherboards also have LEDs that help to determine the error states.

If your motherboards requires a special power to be hooked up to a plug near the CPU (it is 2x2 or 2x4 plug), do not forget to do so or CPU might not have power to run the motherboard. It is especially true for the motherboards that can run double core CPUs.

Check the voltage selection switch on the back of the power supply. Make sure it is set for 115V, the Northern American voltage, a very common mistake. If it is set for 220V, it will act as a dead PSU. All it requires is a flip of the voltage selection switch. Switch it back and forth to make sure it is switch all the way to a correct selection.

Now, find a description in the manual how to clear the CMOS - BIOS through a jumper or other means. A BIOS with corrupted data can prevent a motherboard to power on. What this step does is returning memory of BIOS to the factory settings. Do not forget to place the jumper back before attempting to boot again! (see motherboard manual for correct jumper position)

Make sure that the processor, memory and video card are properly inserted, re-sit them to be sure, do so even if the hardware seems to be sitted well. More often than not it is a memory module not sitted all the way. Reposition a video card, sometimes when you tighten it to the case, the video card slides out some from the slot. If all fails try remove and install once again a CPU. The next step would be to dismount a motherboard, the connectors from the bottom or the case itself can short parts of the motherboard. When running tests, do not connect power supply to any extra hardware like case fans or hard drives, the PSU should power only the motherboard and a video card if one is present. Remove motherboard from the case, place it on non-conductive surface, remove every component, re-install CPU without installing memory or video card. If it works then put in memory, test, if works, then put in video card and test again. This way you may find a components that is refusing to "cooperate."

If the system still does not power up, see if the new power supply in question would work in another working computer or see if another working power supply would power up the new system you are building.

At times the manufacturer's phone support or forums can have a valuable information about your hardware. One may never know that the simple things like a defective power cable, turned off power surge protector, incorrectly hooked up power switch to the motherboard can be causes of misfunction.

If the power supply is confirmed defective, file an online RMA request and ship back only the power supply but not the entire case for exchange.

After installing the hardware, my bare-bone system does not seem to boot

According to your manual, make sure you have the RAM module seated properly in Bank 1. Also, the motherboard for the system is shipped with the CMOS Jumper set to CLEAR from the manufacturer. Make sure you set the CMOS Jumper to NORMAL for proper operation.

My ATX case will not shut off using the power button

The ATX case and power supply receive a signal from the motherboard to shut down and are not directly connected to the power button (unlike the older AT styled cases). The motherboard "waits" for a signal from the operating system to insure proper shut down. If it is necessary to shut down the system with the power button, just press and hold it for approximately 5-10 seconds.

My translucent case won't post or boot

Check to insure that the voltage selector on the power supply is set to 115V. Occasionally but rarely, the manufacturers leave the power selector to 220V instead.

My new Western Digital drive is not being properly auto-detected

Check the jumper setting on the back of the hard drive. Western Digital ships the drive with the Jumper set to SINGLE DRIVE as default. There is no need to change the setting to MASTER. Even in a MASTER-SLAVE environment, the drive will automatically set itself to MASTER with this setting left to default. The drive should properly auto-detect.

During boot up, my system continuously beeps

The system board has two distinctive beep codes. A continuous, non-stop beep with intervals indicates a memory (RAM) problem. A one-time beep with 3 quick beeps indicates a video problem. Check these components accordingly.

After installing my new floppy drive, the activity light stays on continuously

Check to insure the floppy cable is connected properly. The end with a twisted cable must be connected to DRIVE A instead of the motherboard. The RED STRIP on the cable must face towards Pin 1 of the floppy drive connector, which is often close to the power connector. In some situations, the cable may be keyed, allowing it to connect only one way. However, a keyed cable may not guarantee a proper connection. You may have to manipulate the floppy connector to allow proper connection of the keyed cable.

My Pentium III 600B is being detected as a Pentium III 450

Pentium III processors are multiplier locked. For example, the Pentium III 600B is locked at 4.5x with the 133MHz BUS. If your motherboard does not support the 133MHz BUS then it will run at 100MHz causing the processor to run at 450MHz. Some motherboards state that the BUS will run at 133MHz, but this is not supported by the manufacturer and may interfere with the AGP and PCI BUS speeds causing problems. Unless your motherboard supports the 133MHz BUS and processors from the manufacturer, your supported speed will only be 100MHz.

My PCChips motherboard will not boot

The PCChips motherboard utilizes shared memory for the onboard VGA video adapter. . According to your manual, make sure you have the RAM module seated properly in Bank 1. Also, the motherboard for the system is shipped with the CMOS Jumper set to CLEAR from the manufacturer. Make sure you set the CMOS Jumper to NORMAL for proper operation.

The LED on my new case is stuck on 178. How do I reset it to match 350MHz of my processor?

To set the LED to the proper MHz speed reading, simply hold in the reset button on the face plate of the case until it reads "350" In some cases you will have to set the jumpers on the back of the LED to read, "350." The LED is really for decoration purpose only. We do not like using them. Newer cases tend not have them any more.

When I try to use the Power Button on my ATX case to turn off my computer it will not turn off.

ATX and AT form factor have a few big differences, One is the physical design of the motherboard and the other is the power handling of the two different factors. AT uses "hard" on-off switch that directly controls the dc voltage from the power supply independently from the motherboard. The ATX uses a "soft" switch to control the supply of voltage to the motherboard. In order to get the power to shut off your ATX computer you must hold in the power button for 3 to 5 seconds. To get around this, you can go into the system BIOS and change the Power-Button feature to Instant Off rather than 4 seconds.

Please tell me how to make a bootable floppy with the correct files to Fdisk and Format this new hard drive?

In order to create a bootable floppy you must first format a floppy diskette with system files. Then copy the following files to the diskette. Fdisk.exe, Format.com, Mscdex.exe, and Himem.sys. After you have copied these files to the diskette label it, "Bootable floppy diskette" You have now all the files needed to prep a hard drive for installation of an operating system.

I recently purchased a new motherboard, memory and K6-2/400 from Directron.com. When I tried to boot up into Windows95 I got, "Windows Protection" errors. Is there something wrong with the new parts I have purchased?

A patch is needed to run Windows 95 with an AMD K6-2/350 and above. The patch can be found at http://www.microsoft.com or http://www.amd.com. The patch should take care of the problem.

I Just received my new AT motherboard and AT case. After I installed the new motherboard and the rest of my parts in my case, I was not able to get the computer to power up. What could cause this?

If the system is not posting, check to be sure the video card is properly seated and well in the PCI or AGP expansion slot. Also check to make sure that the motherboard is not grounding out on a motherboard mount or the case chassis. Makes sure that the AT Power connecter are plugged into where the black cables are in the middle on the AT power connector.

When I try to install a new modem in Windows, it does not detect the modem.

Most modems will install to COM1-4, depending on the modem. If you have a modem that requires COM1 or COM2, you must disable that COM port then try to detect the modem.

The 13GB hard drive I ordered turns out to be a 8GB.

Check out the model number on the hard drive. If it is consistent with what was ordered and corresponding model number on manufacturer's web site, you most likely have received the right hard drive. It's very rare that we ship a wrong sized hard drive. If we did, you can return it for an exchange or refund.

This problem often occurs because of older operating systems and motherboard BIOS. Some operating systems and BIOS are limited to certain sizes of hard drives. For instance, DOS can only recognize up to 2GB. The BIOS limitation depends on the brand, model, and BIOS version of the motherboard. Check the motherboard manual and/or manufacturer's web site to see if it is possible to download the latest BIOS upgrade.

If the problem persists, call our tech support hotline 713-773-9696.

The 32MB memory I received turns out to be 8MB.

This is often caused by compatibility issues between your computer motherboard and the new memory module. Some older computers allow only certain maximum memory capacity. Adding another 32MB memory may have exceeded that limit. Some proprietary computers may not take standard memory at all.

We suggest you do a few tests. First determine how much memory your computer reads before inserting the new module. Then, remove all the memory modules and insert only the new one to see how much memory the computer registers. You may change the slot the new memory is inserted to see if it makes any difference.

If none of the tests helps, call our tech support hotline 713-773-9696. You are welcome to return it in exchange for another piece or for a refund. However, you must report such problems within 7 days after receiving your memory modules.

The new system I received does not boot at all.

70% of all problems with a system is due to cables and connections. Cable connections inside a system could often become loose during transportation. Please open the system cover, and do a visual checking to ensure all cables are properly connected. Pay special attention to IDE cables, floppy cables, power cables, and all the other cables that are connected to the motherboard.

If the problem persists, call our tech support hotline, 713-773-9696.

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