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  • Catostrophic Cascading Failures

    Anyone ever have the super failure night with the carputer?

    All I tried to do tonight was add a USB port up front on the dash. I fabricated it into the dash and it looks really cool! Only it might be the last thing I do to my system as everything after that went to hell in a hand basket.

    I didn't even plug in the USB cable. I just added the port to the dash.

    When I went to start the system the colors of the boot screen were all off, had a green tint (should be blue).

    Then I got a blue screen of death with the Unmountable Boot Volume error.

    That was fun. I researched that and found the possible cure. So I got the XP disk out, hooked up the CD drive, and started the recovery. (All the while wondering what the hell was wrong with the colors being funky)

    Halfway through the recovery my liliput when haywire. Started showing the jungle screen then went completely nuts. It got stuck with only showing a picture on the tip half inch of the screen while there was flashing blicking badness everywhere else.

    Then the power light on the computer started blinking. I don't know what that's about, but I'm pretty sure it's not blinking to indicate that everything is good.

    Then I noticed a loose wire in the liliput's power cord. I figured that might be an issue so I tried to fix that. Since I was too lazy to unhook the car battery I somehow managed to cross the wires making a horrible spark that I'm pretty sure killed my Lili. But I might get lucky on that one if I just burned out the wire. I'll put a volt meter to the power line tomorrow. (At the rate I'm going though I'm not holding my breath)

    And then, as if my night was going bad enough, eventually the computer itself refused to turn on at all...I mean not even to the bios screen. And my power inverter's overload light goes on. But only when my carputer is plugged in. I brought a laptop out and plugged it in to check and nope...that runs fine.

    So basically I tried to do one simple addition and before I could even do that I had multiple system failures cascade into an all out disaster.

    My hope right now is that I fried the power cord of the monitor yet somehow managed to miss frying the circuit board behind the screen. That my computer's power supply is the problem with the system (it was REALLY hot..) and that at worst I can just replace the screen.

    All in all...what a lousy night.
    Here it is! My carputer install! 1997 BMW M3

  • #2
    Wow... that sucks.

    Sounds like your motherboard is crapping out. You have on-board video?
    Christmas Car Project 2008

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    • #3
      Yup. On board video. I was thinking MB on that one too, leading to the funky greenish video.

      On the plus die maybe that also means that my hard drive is just fine and the MB was just having a tough time communicating with it, causing the disk errors.

      I mean I can just get the same board and swap it out. Replacing the HD is a pain in the *** as I'd have to redo all the software installations and copy all the MP3's...oh that'd just be the pits.

      Of course all that's a moot point without a monitor. And with both the computer and the monitor broken it's REAL hard to truly diagnose anything.

      Sigh...
      Here it is! My carputer install! 1997 BMW M3

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      • #4
        I've had a bad power supply cause my mobo to burn out, which would cause your power issues as well.
        Christmas Car Project 2008

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Arrow View Post
          I've had a bad power supply cause my mobo to burn out, which would cause your power issues as well.
          It wouldn't cause the power issues with my monitor. It's run off a different line, independent of the computer. The only thing connecting the monitor and the computer is the monitor cable.

          So all the monitor problems were just horribly coincidental bad timing.
          Here it is! My carputer install! 1997 BMW M3

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          • #6
            Alright I fixed everything but the computer. Monitor is working great now.

            But I have no power from the computer at all. I tested the PSU by putting it on my desktop and it powered it up without a challenge. So the PSU works fine.

            But there appears to be no power to the motherboard. The LED on the board that basically just tells you it's plugged it doesn't light. The power button doesn't make anything happen at all. Nothing.

            Is the motherboard probably bad? And is there a way to confirm that before I buy another one?

            Oh, I should add that the day after I posted this thread with my initial problems, I got rear ended by some moron. The computer is in the trunk. It wasn't noticeably damaged, and the car's wounds are superficial at worst. But it was a pretty solid shake up. I've checked everything on the board to see if anything came loose, but I can't find anything.
            Here it is! My carputer install! 1997 BMW M3

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            • #7
              Well is the motherboard in a metal case? A shake up like that may have shorted it, or moved it so the grounding screws are over a trace.

              Other than that, it does indeed seem dead. What sort of computer is this? Embedded processor, or not? Since you are using an inverter, my guess is not. If so, that jolt may have also loosened your heatsink, and the cpu would run just fine for a while so you wouldnt notice, until it burns itself out. I know some motherboards, if there is no detected CPU, or no detected RAM, wont power on at all including the power light. Some will show the power light but absolutely nothing will happen when you push on. Also some motherboards get really creative and dont use beep codes, they use actual audio of some lady. Always an AMD in my experience. It comes out the onboard audio connectors, something like "System failed due to CPU overclocking" in a British lady voice like Laura Croft, but of course that needs some power.

              If you have the means to test individual components such as the CPU and RAM, then I would do so. Otherwise, I think a new mobo is in order.
              Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
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              15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
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              • #8
                You know, the idea that the heat sink got knocked out of whack is just crazy enough to be the culprit.

                That's a hell of an idea. I didn't even think of that.

                I'm going to pull the processor out and check that.

                If it does look to be all in order, is there a way to check the motherboard vs the processor?

                For the record, this is the board I'm dealing with...

                http://www.asus.com/products.aspx?l1...84&modelmenu=1
                Here it is! My carputer install! 1997 BMW M3

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                • #9
                  If the motherboard power light is not coming on, then I know no way of diagnosing the motherboard directly. If it was POSTing, then of course there are many ways to diagnose a motherboard. However, if it is not getting there, the only thing you can do is deduction via elimination. Take out everything so you have only CPU, RAM, and mobo. No HD, no PCI cards, no AGP/PCIe, no CNR, just CPU, RAM and mobo. Now you are down to 3 parts. So try the test RAM in a different computer. If it works, then not the RAM. Now you have 2 possibilities. CPU or mobo. Try the CPU in a different computer, if it works, then not the CPU, it must be the mobo. Of course there are more possibilities such as component incompatibility that exist with a new setup that has never worked, but your components are known to work together so you can eliminate that possibility.
                  Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
                  1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
                  30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
                  15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
                  Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Alright so here's what I did. I pulled the motherboard, dusted out the metal fram I have it bolted to, put it back in, and still nothing.

                    Then I took it back out and pulled the processor chip.

                    The heat sink was firmly seated to the motherboard (physically...it wasn't loose)

                    BUT!!! The grey heat transfer goo (whatever it's called) wasn't sticking to heat coil anymore. The big metal cooling piece that sits under the fan was just being pressed up against the processor.

                    It wasn't actuallyl stuck too it with the heat transfer goop.

                    (Pardon the lack of technical terminology. English is a primary language for me, but I'm just beginning to learn geek speak)

                    So since the PSU work fine inside to boot up my desktop, and before the car accident the bios screen was showing good voltage coming from the thing I've ruled out the PSU.

                    I also plugged the computer into the house using an extension cord to the car and still nothing. So I'm ruling out any kind of power problems from the car.

                    I'm left to think that it's either the processor or the motherboard. That's find with me as both are easily replaced.

                    But I need to figure out which one. (I'm too cheap to buy both just to cover my bets)

                    Keep in mind that the day before the accident I was already having problems. The monitor output was tinted green and I got a boot error message saying UNMOUNTABLE BOOT ERROR.

                    So either the processor or the mobo could have been dying already and the accident just put the final nail in the bad component's coffin. That seems reasonable.

                    But based on the problems before the accident (weird moniot output and boot error message) and then the complete system failure...what's the best guess?

                    Processor or mobo?

                    And if anyone has a third option, I'm happy to entertain it.
                    Here it is! My carputer install! 1997 BMW M3

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 2k1Toaster View Post
                      If the motherboard power light is not coming on, then I know no way of diagnosing the motherboard directly. If it was POSTing, then of course there are many ways to diagnose a motherboard. However, if it is not getting there, the only thing you can do is deduction via elimination. Take out everything so you have only CPU, RAM, and mobo. No HD, no PCI cards, no AGP/PCIe, no CNR, just CPU, RAM and mobo. Now you are down to 3 parts. So try the test RAM in a different computer. If it works, then not the RAM. Now you have 2 possibilities. CPU or mobo. Try the CPU in a different computer, if it works, then not the CPU, it must be the mobo. Of course there are more possibilities such as component incompatibility that exist with a new setup that has never worked, but your components are known to work together so you can eliminate that possibility.
                      Alright...that answers the questions I asked while you were responding! Thanks!
                      Here it is! My carputer install! 1997 BMW M3

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                      • #12
                        Well if these problems did exist before, then my money is on the motherboard. I also guess it is one of those cheap crystals on the motherboard, or a component by on those crystals. The errors on your IDE/SATA channel are probably timing errors, meaning those crystals are either not keeping their time, or a component in their path has failed and is not correctly transfering those pulses. It doesnt matter though because in the days of the $40 motherboard, it is not worth anybody's time to find the defective part. Also, every single Asus motherboard I have every had the displeasure of owning has failed. I actually am repairing a computer right now with you guessed it, a dead Asus board. So you may want to rethink your brand choice there. Usually for intel processors, intel makes good stable boards. They are by no means the best for gamers, or overclockers, or anything like that. But as far as plug-n-chug and no mess hassles later on, they are rock solid. I dont think you will be overclocking your chip in your car, so that shoudn't really matter. And Intel boards usually are only a bit more than regular new, and the open box on Newegg are usually the same price as a new one from another brand. And who needs all those useless cables they give anyways? I have a 2' square box full of these damn cables they ship with!
                        Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
                        1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
                        30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
                        15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
                        Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 2k1Toaster View Post
                          Well if these problems did exist before, then my money is on the motherboard. I also guess it is one of those cheap crystals on the motherboard, or a component by on those crystals. The errors on your IDE/SATA channel are probably timing errors, meaning those crystals are either not keeping their time, or a component in their path has failed and is not correctly transfering those pulses. It doesnt matter though because in the days of the $40 motherboard, it is not worth anybody's time to find the defective part. Also, every single Asus motherboard I have every had the displeasure of owning has failed. I actually am repairing a computer right now with you guessed it, a dead Asus board. So you may want to rethink your brand choice there. Usually for intel processors, intel makes good stable boards. They are by no means the best for gamers, or overclockers, or anything like that. But as far as plug-n-chug and no mess hassles later on, they are rock solid. I dont think you will be overclocking your chip in your car, so that shoudn't really matter. And Intel boards usually are only a bit more than regular new, and the open box on Newegg are usually the same price as a new one from another brand. And who needs all those useless cables they give anyways? I have a 2' square box full of these damn cables they ship with!
                          Alright I am 100% sold that it's the motherboard.

                          Here's the next question...

                          I was going to find the exact same board to replace it with because I don't want to go through hardware problems of having to reinstall windows and all that jazz again. It's taken me 3 years to get all my settings on the carputer the way I like them and I don't want to go through all that crap again.

                          I figured with a direct swap of the board everything would boot up just fine as there wouldn't be any recognizable hardware changes.

                          My first question is....am I right? Would replacing it with the same ASUS board make it boot up right away without problems (assuming of course that the MOBO was the only problem). It would take me a week to find all the installation disks for the various components I've got on this this. I do not want to do that again. I'd rather put another ASUS board in that will break and just replace it in a couple years than go through all the reinstalation crap.

                          My second question is, can I get another board like you recommend and find a way around Windows not recognizing all the hardware changes, thus forcing me to reinstall?
                          Here it is! My carputer install! 1997 BMW M3

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Skipjacks View Post
                            Alright I am 100% sold that it's the motherboard.

                            Here's the next question...

                            I was going to find the exact same board to replace it with because I don't want to go through hardware problems of having to reinstall windows and all that jazz again. It's taken me 3 years to get all my settings on the carputer the way I like them and I don't want to go through all that crap again.

                            I figured with a direct swap of the board everything would boot up just fine as there wouldn't be any recognizable hardware changes.

                            My first question is....am I right? Would replacing it with the same ASUS board make it boot up right away without problems (assuming of course that the MOBO was the only problem). It would take me a week to find all the installation disks for the various components I've got on this this. I do not want to do that again. I'd rather put another ASUS board in that will break and just replace it in a couple years than go through all the reinstalation crap.

                            My second question is, can I get another board like you recommend and find a way around Windows not recognizing all the hardware changes, thus forcing me to reinstall?
                            The computer has no way of knowing once in Windows (Well it does but doesnt care) what the vendor of the board is. I know that XP SP1 only cares about the chipsets. Also on the question of your plug it in and be done with it, again that is drivers.

                            Drivers are made for the chipsets. So you have the Intel 865G chipset on the north. So 865 or 875 should work with the current video drivers you have. I dont know what audio you have but if the board was cheap it is probably the ac97, so that should work. And if it doesn't XP will still boot, you will just have "found new hardware" then put in the disk and it will work.

                            If the new board is too different and you have SP2 or above, it will ask you to reactivate.

                            Also I see you have the old pinned 478. Well Intel doesnt support the 478s anymore, only 775. So maybe you would be best with a duplicate board.
                            Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
                            1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
                            30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
                            15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
                            Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Great. The mobo I have has been discontinued! This just keeps getting better and better.

                              Oh well...it does give me a chance to make some more major changes as well if I end up having to redo all the software.

                              One thing I was thinking of doing if I'd have to redo Windows anyway is reverting back from XP to Win2000 for no other reason than it boots up faster.

                              As I'm using my system for GPS, OBD-II stuff, WinAmp (yes I'm still using winamp, not a front end. I just like the interface better. It makes me happy.) and maybe a little Nintendo Simulator action on occasion, is there any reason why I'd regret regressing to Win2000?

                              Lord knows the installation would be 100 times easier because I've got a product code and Microsoft wasn't all anal retentive about piracy back in the day.

                              Is there any reason why I wouldn't want to do this?
                              Here it is! My carputer install! 1997 BMW M3

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