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Old 05-22-2015, 08:13 AM   #41
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Yes, it supports up to 8GBs. One problem you have is you've got 3 essential components (PSU/MoBo/DIMMs) that can all fail together and are difficult to test without having a known working setup to put them in.

You mentioned using a PCI diagnostic card, you must be getting power to the mobo otherwise the card would get no power ( maybe PSU is working ). No power to CPU, most recent boards have CPU power cable that has to be plugged in, in addition to the main power connection. Is that plugged in ? ( I left those unplugged many times ). Does the diagnostic card show clock signal and voltages during startup ?

Does the PSU fan spin ? You can also "jump start" the ATX power supply without connecting it to the system to see if itruns, How do I manually turn on an ATX power supply? | techPowerUp
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Old 05-22-2015, 10:44 AM   #42
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Yes, it supports up to 8GBs. One problem you have is you've got 3 essential components (PSU/MoBo/DIMMs) that can all fail together and are difficult to test without having a known working setup to put them in.

You mentioned using a PCI diagnostic card, you must be getting power to the mobo otherwise the card would get no power ( maybe PSU is working ). No power to CPU, most recent boards have CPU power cable that has to be plugged in, in addition to the main power connection. Is that plugged in ? ( I left those unplugged many times ). Does the diagnostic card show clock signal and voltages during startup ?

Does the PSU fan spin ? You can also "jump start" the ATX power supply without connecting it to the system to see if itruns, How do I manually turn on an ATX power supply? | techPowerUp

Thanks for all the suggestions.

I see why folks decide to chuck it and just go to a store and pick up a new pc. I haven't gone that route... yet.

I'm starting from scratch sort of today or tomorrow. Using different parts and putting the questionable ones aside.

My main goal is to get my desktop running again, quickly, rather than figuring out what works, what doesn't with the problematic hardware. For example, while doing the "RAM sticks dance" (yes, there was power to the MB and the power connectors connected. The diagnostic card didn't show voltages, just codes), I'd put in one stick on each slot, boot with the bios, see the ram recognized. But then when I add, say the third RAM stick, the bios won't boot. Doing that for three hours

Unfortunately, I don't have a spare machine that I know works or a spare room to do side-by-side testing. My dining area and living room at the moment looks a bit like a computer parts store.
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Home Sweet Home Computer!
Old 05-22-2015, 04:11 PM   #43
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Home Sweet Home Computer!

My desktop computer is back

Things are easier when I use parts that aren't buggy!

I figured, no guts no glory, so with the new MB and CPU, installed them along with all my components, and after a couple of BIOS settings, my desktop is as good as gold

I reactivated Windows and all that's left is running to the store to get a new CMOS battery and add some cable ties, then.... done at last!
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Old 05-22-2015, 07:06 PM   #44
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Congrats!!!
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Old 05-22-2015, 07:31 PM   #45
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Congrats!!!
Thanks.

Well, I spoke a tiny bit too soon.

It looks like everything is okay except when I boot up, the bios brings a message of "'Alert! System battery voltage is low
Strike the F1 key to continue, F2 to run the setup utility'

I bought a brand new battery which is good, I've taken out the old battery, and I think I used the MB jumper to reset the cmos, but still the message appears.

Otherwises, thing seem fine.
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Old 05-22-2015, 08:22 PM   #46
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Thanks.

Well, I spoke a tiny bit too soon.

It looks like everything is okay except when I boot up, the bios brings a message of "'Alert! System battery voltage is low
Strike the F1 key to continue, F2 to run the setup utility'

I bought a brand new battery which is good, I've taken out the old battery, and I think I used the MB jumper to reset the cmos, but still the message appears.

Otherwises, thing seem fine.
Go to the maintenance menu in the BIOS, look at the event log. You can mark as read, or clear the log. That should make the message go away.
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Old 05-22-2015, 08:22 PM   #47
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Search the error code, and you'll find a YouTube video that shows how to reset defaults after new battery install.
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Old 05-22-2015, 09:32 PM   #48
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Go to the maintenance menu in the BIOS, look at the event log. You can mark as read, or clear the log. That should make the message go away.
I cleared the message on the event log, but all that does is clear the message until the next boot up, then the error happens again.

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Search the error code, and you'll find a YouTube video that shows how to reset defaults after new battery install.
I looked at one video where the guy on the BIOS selected to reset to defaults. That worked for that guy, but not for me when I tried that.

Upon searching the internet it looks like this is a pretty common situation with various suggested solutions. Such as plugging into the wall outlet instead of a surge surpressor. Turing the PC on/off 3 cycles. Both didn't work for me.

Another search result said, if it isn't the battery, then probably the battery sensor on the MB is bad. I don't that is just theory or not.
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Old 05-22-2015, 10:34 PM   #49
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So is this the new mobo/cpu/psu you are dealing with ?

One trick I have had success with in the past on Dells is to unplug from the wall, remove the battery, then depress and hold the power button for about 30 seconds. They said this discharges the mobo capacitors. It has cleared a few flaky problems like hung/non working USB ports for me.

I have not had a dell with this particular issue but I see a 10 year long thread in the supports forums for this issue ( different model )
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Old 05-22-2015, 11:42 PM   #50
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So is this the new mobo/cpu/psu you are dealing with ?

One trick I have had success with in the past on Dells is to unplug from the wall, remove the battery, then depress and hold the power button for about 30 seconds. They said this discharges the mobo capacitors. It has cleared a few flaky problems like hung/non working USB ports for me.

I have not had a dell with this particular issue but I see a 10 year long thread in the supports forums for this issue ( different model )
Yes. Well, the psu is completely new. The cpu I got from ebay, the mobo is refurbished.

Thanks for that suggestion about the capacitor discharging. I'm going to try now.

UPDATE: I tried the discharging method. Unfortunately that didn't work. I also went ahead and sent an email to where I bought the MBoad from. Since the place sells a lot of boards, perhaps they can point me in the right direction of many of their customers have the same situation. In the meantime, though not perfect, I can live with having to press the PF1 key with each reboot.
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Old 05-23-2015, 03:26 AM   #51
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How about trying a BIOS update? Probably needs a newer version.

Have you tried a meter on the battery?

Blow out the battery holder in case dirt is there.

Check conditions of contacts.
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Old 05-23-2015, 07:48 AM   #52
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Yes, check the battery socket, is the battery secure and not loose. Voltmeter the batteries to make sure they are good.

Seems like people on the Dell forums have tried all of these things and never got a resolution. And seems to come and go for many. All of the ones I have dealt with, changing the battery worked. Sounding more like a mobo defect. Look around the board at the capacitors, any look swollen or leak a little. Dell has been known in the past mobo issues. Surprised the refurber sold it with that issue without clearly stating it in the description. Ask for a replacement/refund.
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Old 05-23-2015, 09:09 AM   #53
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How about trying a BIOS update? Probably needs a newer version.

Have you tried a meter on the battery?

Blow out the battery holder in case dirt is there.

Check conditions of contacts.
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Yes, check the battery socket, is the battery secure and not loose. Voltmeter the batteries to make sure they are good.

Seems like people on the Dell forums have tried all of these things and never got a resolution. And seems to come and go for many. All of the ones I have dealt with, changing the battery worked. Sounding more like a mobo defect. Look around the board at the capacitors, any look swollen or leak a little. Dell has been known in the past mobo issues. Surprised the refurber sold it with that issue without clearly stating it in the description. Ask for a replacement/refund.
I don't have a voltmeter (probably should get one), did examine the battery socket and reseated the battery a few times, with no luck.

I'm leaning towards the replacement/refund too as come to think about it. With the mobo that had the problematic memory slots, upon initial setting up, when I first got that mobo to post, I got the low voltage error, when I switched put in a different battery, that message quickly went away.
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Old 05-23-2015, 01:24 PM   #54
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My new plan A and B and C if the others don't work).

Plan A - return recent Mobo and get a replacement. Then reinstalling components again.

Plan B - Use the mobo with the RAM slots that don't hold all the RAM sticks. (I just did a sanity check, and this mobo definitely doesn't have the battery voltage issue as put in a bad battery, saw the message, then put in a new battery and my working HD and the system booted fine).

Plan C - Swear I'll never get another Dell desktop and look for a new system.
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Old 05-23-2015, 02:40 PM   #55
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Plan F #Flash the BIOS.

Did you remove that jumper thingy I think I saw in a video?
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Old 05-23-2015, 04:31 PM   #56
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A-Okay!

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Plan F #Flash the BIOS.

Did you remove that jumper thingy I think I saw in a video?

Well, I'm back up and running.

I made the cardinal sin of not flashing the BIOS as the very first thing to do. A lesson learned.

I flashed the BIOS for the board with the low battery voltage message, but that didn't work. I'm gonna RMA that board to get some money back.

Then I figured, back to the board with the RAM slots. So, I flashed that board also, and that fixed the RAM slot issue. So, then I did the transplant of the various components the that box.

I just finished reactivating my copy Windows, so, all is good

It's a good thing I don't charge myself by the hour
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Old 05-23-2015, 05:06 PM   #57
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I call this "just keep changing stuff until it works."

Glad it worked out.

Don't bother backing up, it will never happen again.
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Old 05-23-2015, 06:00 PM   #58
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I call this "just keep changing stuff until it works."

Glad it worked out.

Don't bother backing up, it will never happen again.
Well, I don't feel so bad now about buying the extra unit from ebay as I did need that MB.

I actually like the Dell Optiplex case and am wondering if the case could be used for a computer build.

But not now as I'll be seeing computer cables in my sleep from over the past few days.
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Old 05-23-2015, 06:20 PM   #59
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You can of course fit Dell parts a lot easier than other manufacturers. For instance, another motherboard will not line up with the cutouts for various ports.
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Old 05-23-2015, 06:35 PM   #60
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I guess I lost track of what you were doing to what part....

I thought the ram issue and the battery issue were on the same mobo.

Reusing the OEM cases can be a pain, mainly getting the front panel ports to match the mobo connectors since most that is unique to specific model. And sometimes the i/o panel on the back can't be matched up. Both Dell and HP have some nice cases in their business line of PC/workstations.
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