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Motherboard worth fixing??

roadrash

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
Messages
128
Location
Huntingdon, U.K
I have a pc here with that had a microstar MS4145 motherboard in it. Last year its was working fine but now when turned on it gave 3 beeps and no booting up. I understand this is somethong to do with first 64kb of ram or something like that. Ive tested the ram sticks and they are good although this board does have a bad 3rd ram slot but 1st and 2nd are ok as far as i know.
I was wondering if it is worth trying to repair this as ive had quite a few from this era fail and with lots of SMD components, I am not sure if its even possible or worth fixing it. Ive had to dump a few with worse problems than this one and it was impossible to fix them.
Other than a ram slot does anyone have any idea what else can cause this error.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/6xffqvx7hzkl05w/AADWer1-dR-tahopC7QccKxPa?dl=0
 

T-R-A

Veteran Member
Joined
May 17, 2009
Messages
525
Location
Western NC
This is with proper RAM installed? What is the issue with the one slot you have marked with a note/tape?
 

roadrash

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
Messages
128
Location
Huntingdon, U.K
This is with proper RAM installed? What is the issue with the one slot you have marked with a note/tape?
5

The slot had a bent pin and I could not straighten it.
I had checked all the slots after the ram error and noticed the continuous 3 beeps would stop sometimes if I applied a bit of pressure to a ran stick so thougt maybe it was a back contact which it still might be, so i carefully made sure all legs in the sockets were making good contact but noticed slot 3 had a twist/bend in one contact which might have been my fault after pushing out a few legs a tiny bit to make better contact. After putting in a stick of r into that slot oe pin had been twisted a bit so dont know why it did that but might have been my error. Luckily there are 2 other good slots and if I get it working I will replace the bad one.
 

T-R-A

Veteran Member
Joined
May 17, 2009
Messages
525
Location
Western NC
Luckily there are 2 other good slots and if I get it working I will replace the bad one.

It may be (depending on the motherboard) that the "bad" slot has to be populated before the system will boot and/or any other RAM would be recognized.
 

roadrash

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
Messages
128
Location
Huntingdon, U.K
It may be (depending on the motherboard) that the "bad" slot has to be populated before the system will boot and/or any other RAM would be recognized.

Thanks for that info. I have got the jumper settings oif the motherbard and I can set the jumpers to how many slots are populated. It originally had all 3 slots fitted with 16mb simms. Now it has just 2 16mb sims in slots1&2 and ive set the jumpers acordingly.
Cant understand what could have failed and its so hard to tell when there is so few components but tiny smd bits and Ic's. Its not as easy as fixing a old IBM XT or 286 etc. Its a shame if I cant get it fixed as it was a pretty decent old system for many years. If the fault is in one of these tiny smd chips ive had it.
 

T-R-A

Veteran Member
Joined
May 17, 2009
Messages
525
Location
Western NC
I repair SMD stuff on a daily basis. While it takes some soldering expertise and careful attention to detail, it's not impossible.
 

roadrash

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
Messages
128
Location
Huntingdon, U.K
I repair SMD stuff on a daily basis. While it takes some soldering expertise and careful attention to detail, it's not impossible.

You are very skilled to be able to do that. Ive had to dump quite a few early pentium pc's because they had faults i could not repair. A lot of these were old Dell desktops usually with flashing lights that dont boot and nothing can fix them even replacing the psu etc. Cost me more than they were worth. Thanks for your help but looks like this is another lost cause.
 

roadrash

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
Messages
128
Location
Huntingdon, U.K
Well I gave it one last try today and changed the processor and ram out of another working pc of the same type and it still gives 3 beeps on startup.
Does anyone have any idea what could be causing the 3 beeps memory error if the ram & processor are good. Is there a memory controller chip that can be changed?
 

GiGaBiTe

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2015
Messages
2,725
Location
Austin, Texas
The memory controller is integrated into the North Bridge (the large PQFP ALI M1489 ASIC behind the PCI slots.) and is unlikely to be the problem.

I'd say the most likely issues are tarnished contacts in the PCI/ISA slots where you're plugging the video card into, damaged SIMM slots, tarnished contacts on the SIMM modules or bad RAM.

If you can get a can of Deoxit Gold G5, you might try hosing down all of the slots on the board. I've had more than a few motherboards, expansion cards and RAM stop working due to tarnished connectors.
 

Timo W.

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2014
Messages
1,356
Location
Germany
Thanks for that info. I have got the jumper settings oif the motherbard and I can set the jumpers to how many slots are populated. It originally had all 3 slots fitted with 16mb simms. Now it has just 2 16mb sims in slots1&2 and ive set the jumpers acordingly.
Something is wrong here. You don't set jumpers to tell the boards which slots are used. And to make sure, I've checked the manual for that board. There are no such jumpers. What jumpers did you change???

Also, bank 0 (the innermost slot) MUST be filled with RAM. Otherwise, you get 3 beeps...

Moreover, make sure you are not using EDO modules, as these normally don't work with a 486. The manual indicates that the board even requires DRAM with parity!
 

oldpcguy

Experienced Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2021
Messages
147
FYI, the last post in this thread (before Friday) was February 7, 2021.
 
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