dell dimension 4700 wont start

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  #1  
Old 02-13-13, 10:58 PM
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dell dimension 4700 wont start

this was sisters old computer. she said it ran when she put it in unconditioned garge for storage about 2 years ago. I recently tried to revive it and get her pictures off of it. I pulled hard drive and got it working and copied the photos she wanted. put drive back in, cleaned it all up and tried to start it but get error code in the lights ABCD--orange, orange, green,green- which according to manual is problem with memory. tried RAM in different computer and it is fine (original RAM). video card swapped into another computer and it is fine. cleaned RAM slots. tried different RAM. tried filling all 4 slots. same error. think motherboard is shot? it was not started at all while in storage so not sure what effect condensation would have.
 
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Old 02-14-13, 09:02 AM
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The only thing I can think of is if water condensed it caused some oxidation on parts that aren't gold plated (which are few in a computer).. Condensation would not cause part burnout in a computer that is sitting unplugged in storage, because there's no power to short anything out... Unless of course you brought it from the 20 degree garage into the 70 degree house and turned it on immediately...

Strip the board down completely and pull it out of the case. Check very carefully for signs of oxidation. Insert and remove everything - including the processor - several times to refresh the connections. If it still doesn't work, unfortunately unless you have access to a "POSTcard" which can nail down the exact point the BIOS is hitting the error, there's not much else you can do to diagnose it.

That's the point where you have to decide if a new motherboard is worth it or should you just buy a whole new computer.
 
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Old 02-14-13, 11:36 AM
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think the battery in motherboard, with condensation, could cause short? I worked on it in room with hardwood floors where I don't usually have static issues but I did not have grounding strap. I also used a small artist type paint brush to remove some of the packed in dust that wouldn't come off with just air. think that could have caused static and zapped something? I have had ram in and out multiple times. video card twice. other cards once. all power cords, ide connector have also been unplugged. I just yesterday had cpu out and back in-no diffence. I should have fired it up before I did anything as baseline.
 
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Old 02-14-13, 12:24 PM
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The battery could just be bad. Try another battery and clean the contacts before installing.
 
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Old 02-14-13, 12:27 PM
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Looks like the 4700 came out in 2004, I would not be putting any effort into this.

That said, it's not my call.
 
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Old 02-14-13, 01:19 PM
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So far what you said about cleaning the computer sounds o.k. and probably what I would do too. You did say though that you used air. Did you use canned air or air from a compressor? I myself use air from a compressor as the compressor is just handier to use than having to have to buy canned air. You have to be careful when doing that though as you can damage components with too hard an air stream and water can get in the line. When I use my compressor I have it at the lowest setting I can set it for and I also purge the tank by letting air run through it for a while. Could be that just cleaning it could have caused some moisture to get to the components. Mitch17 though is right that is an old computer. If you get it going again great but if you can't then I suggest donating it without the hard drive to a charity as maybe someone can use at least some components out of it. Power supplies made just for that case could be one example as it is for an old Dell Dimension I have.
 
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Old 02-14-13, 02:49 PM
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is the battery necessary for the computer to run? I guess I just thought it kept time when the computer was unplugged?
 
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Old 02-14-13, 03:12 PM
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I guess I just thought it kept time when the computer was unplugged?
The bios settings in older computers are maintained by constant power to the CMOS chip. If you loose power it resets to default which may not work for the computer as it is currently configured. That would mean going into Bios and resetting certain things after you put in a new battery.
 
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Old 02-14-13, 06:00 PM
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A bad battery will not cause it to fail POST with a blank screen. It will simply give an error along the lines of "CMOS Battery state low - Press <F1> to continue or <F10> to enter setup". Also there are very few if any BIOS settings that would cause such a condition by reverting to defaults.. In fact the first step in differential diagnosis for finding BIOS/Hardware conflicts that result in no-boot is to reset the BIOS to defaults. The root of this problem is SOMETHING failing POST before the video card is initialized (which is actually among the last things to happen)

I would call some computer repair places (NOT geek squad/staples/etc, call a local one-man operation because he will actually know what he's doing) and see if any of them have a POSTcard that they'd be willing to stick in the machine real quick and give you the error code. That's something I'd charge you like $15-20 for if you asked me (and you brought the machine in with the cover off and a PCI slot free), YMMV based on prevailing labor rates in your area.
 
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