Thursday, October 8, 2009

Troubleshooting Memory Failures With Beep Codes

One of the most case of failure among your pc is the memory failure. Power-on-self-test “POST” of the BIOS on your motherboard during power up is one way to determine if your pc memory is in trouble. Different manufacturers assign different beeping sounds that will identify the status of your memory. There are 3 basic BIOS developer today, the most popular BIOS is made by “American Mega-trend” - AMI, Award and Phoenix BIOS. I will provide you the beep code for the AMI & Award BIOS developer unfortunately I cant provide you the beep reference code for phoenix. I’m sorry.

Here are the Award BIOS Beep Codes:

1 Long Beep tone - Memory Problem
1 Long Beep and 2 Short Beeps - DRAM Parity failure
1 Long Beep and 3 Short Beeps - Video error
Continuous Beep tone - Memory or Video memory failures

AMI BIOS Beep Codes :

1 Beep tone - DRAM refresh failure
2 Beep tone - DRAM Parity failure
3 Beep tone - Base 64K RAM failure
4 Beep tone - System timer error
5 Beep tone - CPU failure
6 Beep tone - Keyboard controller error
7 Beep tone - Virtual mode error
8 Beep tone - Display memory read/write error
9 Beep tone - ROM BIOS checksum error
10 Beep tone - CMOS register read/write error
11 Beep tone - Cache memory error
Continuous Beep tone - Memory or Video memory failures

The normal procedure is to power up the PC system, watch for error message on the monitor screen and listen to the PC beep tone. A single beep during boot-up process is normal and does not indicate a failure if the system continues to boot-up.

Heres my prescription of the day.

Are you having this kind of problem? You have a regular memory sizing error during POST (bootup), how should you trouble shoot the failure ?
Ok, heres the step by step procedure to troubleshoot that problem. In most cases hardware failures are caused by the natural aging process of the memory components, defective memory module socket, dirty contacts, cold solder joints during assembly and memory module not seated properly in the socket due to vibration. It is important to pay attention to intermittent memory failure, before you make any expensive decision to replace the expensive memory - try cleaning the memory module contacts for both old and new ram to see if the problem can be fix:

Step – 1. Ensure environment is static safe by removing any unwanted plastic, bags from your workbench. Keep the computer system plugged into your AC unit but ensure that the power switch on the PC is turned off. Keeping the PC plugged in the AC will ensure that case is grounded thus reducing the possibility of damaging the module or system from ESD (Electro Static Discharge)

Step – 2. After removing the casing cover, ground yourself by touching any of the metal surfaces on your computer casing. Doing this step discharges any static built up on your body and clothing.

Step – 3. Visually locate the computer memory expansion slots. This is normal visible but if in doubt, refer to your operation manual instruction book.

Step – 4. The first thing to do is to remove the memory module and perform some visual inspection to check the memory socket which sits the memory module. Make sure all the pins are straight, no cracks or broken pins must be found.

A Wet the end of a cotton swab with the solvent, the swab should be wet but not dripping B Using a circular motion, clean the contacts on the memory module. C Allow the contact surface to dry thoroughly. D Replace the memory module into the socket. E Repeat steps B through D for each module you have. F Power on the computer to test the RAM. G If you see no memory errors, replace the PC's case and power-up away.

Additional Tips:

Step – 5. While contact cleaner is preferred, it is also a well-known trick that you can also clean contacts with a pencil eraser. 6. Continuing RAM errors are usually a sign of a bad memory module. If cleaning the contacts doesn't solve your problem, try to isolate the faulty module and replace it.


Bilal said...

Hi, it's Bilal from Blogger FAQs. Please see my comment here:

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