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  1. #1
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    Acer Aspire - Black Screen, won't Boot

    I am troubleshooting a Desktop PC.

    Specs:
    Model#: Acer M1640 (AM1640-U1401A)
    Mfg Date: 2008/03/17
    Op Sys: Windows Vista Home Premium
    Processor: Intel Pentium E2160 Dual-Core
    RAM: 1 GB DDR2 (2 x 512 MB)
    Hard Drive Capacity: 250GB


    The machine was brought to me for fixing by a friend.

    In its current state, when the power button is pressed, it will light up blue.
    The fans inside the box are all spinning (and are very clean).
    The CPU does not have any audible beeps when powered on.

    However, the monitor remains black, it does not even come out of a suspended state. (i.e. When you plug it in and turn this monitor on, it has an orange LED. It stays orange, never turns green and never displays anything even when the CPU power button is pressed). I have tried using a different working monitor, same results.

    Also, when you boot a machine up, you can usually hear it chugging a little, doing processing. It does not do this. The fans run very quiet but I can tell it isn't loading anything.

    Some things I have tried from reading forums online (NONE have worked):
    1) Re-seeding RAM sticks.
    2) Tried booting with only 1 RAM stick. Switched and tried with the other.
    3) Removed C-MOS battery for 30 minutes. Re-inserted.
    4) Replaced C-MOS battery with a brand new battery.
    5) Unplugged everything I could see. Hard drive, CD/ROM, Power supply on Mother board. Made sure everything was firm/secure.
    i) I want to note here that this machine is clean as a whistle. She had told me she had just bought it and only used it for 6 months. According to her, one night when she went to boot up it just started doing exactly what it does now. I noticed a date on the PSU of 2008/03. The fans are spotless. Everything looks brand new inside the box.
    6) Removed hard drive and replaced with a known working hard drive.
    i.) I did have issues extracting the data off of the hard drive. First of all it has a password. Contacted friend and we figured it out. Even once in I was unable to read the files on the drive. I was using a PC with Win 7 and she had Win Vista Home Premium installed on her drive. Drive showed that it was full but only simple things like "My Docs" showed up. User didn't care about data so we decided to reformat.
    7) Reformatted the hard drive with a fresh copy of Windows 7.
    i) Tested on a working machine. Good. Didn't have any effect on Acer in question.
    8) There is no PCI graphics card. It is using integrated graphics. The VGA connector is literally mounted right on the motherboard.
    9) Tried using an old TI 4200 GForce4 graphics card inside the machine which I had lying around.
    i) I will note here that the TI4200 is old school. I have another machine that it refused to work on, but an older machine that it works just perfectly on. It is not conclusive evidence for me.
    10) Tried a different power cord that works on another machine.
    11) Slammed my head into a wall.


    Here's where I'm at:
    I don't have a fluke meter to test any voltages.
    I'm thinking of purchasing a new PSU or, and perhaps a better option, a new PCI graphics card for a different machine in my home (which I could first try out on the Acer).

    Any suggestions or simple things I may have missed?

  2. #2
    Super Stealthy Moderator RicheemxX's Avatar
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    To start you could've skipped the hdd/os testing as that has nothing to do with the board booting or not. You can remove the HDD and other drives completely and the board should still at least get to the post screen.

    Second, and I say this to everyone. I always troubleshoot outside the case with the bare min. installed. This eliminates several possibilities such as grounding, which is very often a cause of similar issues. Removing everything also gives you a chance to look the board over for any burn marks or any other issues.

    From there it really sounds like you've gone through most the basic steps. I'd re-check a few things. If you didn't the first time around make sure you unplugged the PC from the outlet when clearing the CMOS. Double check that the CPU hasn't been unseated somehow maybe test with a known working PSU? Other than that testing with known good parts is about all you can do.
    Be a Liberal, blame everyone else!!

  3. #3
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    Moving forward

    Thanks for the reply Richeem.

    When resetting the CMOS, I did have the computer unplugged.

    I found a quote on another site and I was looking for some input on whether its a true statement or not:

    "Motherboard and processor can be isolated,first is to remove the rest of the devices such as hard disk and cards and memory. Beep sound means your board is still doing fine"
    Quoted from: Aces Aspire M1640 desktop-pc starts but the monitor says NO...

    I did try disconnecting all drives and booting up the machine. Still no beeps, same results. Quiet as can be, fans running fine. Still no beeps, so I'm thinking the board is a good suspect.

    Did some more searching on-line, found some bad news. There appears to be a common issue with the motherboards on the Acer M1640 and M1641's. The symptoms described are to a tee of what I'm dealing with here.
    Site found: Acer Aspire M1640 PC monitor 'no signal', tower non-responsive. - FixYa

    At this point I decided to remove the motherboard and examine as recommended here. I've actually never removed a motherboard and always have preferred not to believing I'll open up the door to creating more problems. Can't make it any worse though.

    It went well and I had it out in about 10-15 moving slowly and being careful not to break anything. I was disappointed to not see any signs of burns or broken contacts upon examining the board.

    At this point I'm going to move forward and go ahead and search for a replacement. I will most likely place it back in, reconnect everything, and try again. I'm no expert in boards, but it looks well seated in the case, properly grounded and supported.

    What number do I need to use to search for a replacement? The larger number in the center? 001D92A5D06E?

    I have a gut feeling this is going to be difficult board to find a replacement for based on some of the forums I'm reading.

    Please feel free to post on anything. If there is a board or site you recommend for finding a replacement for this machine do share. I have zero experience in replacing boards.

  4. #4
    Super Stealthy Moderator RicheemxX's Avatar
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    Hmm yeah reading some of those posts it looks like it might be a product defect. Have you considered contacting Acer? Is it still under warranty?

    What number do I need to use to search for a replacement? The larger number in the center? 001D92A5D06E?

    I have a gut feeling this is going to be difficult board to find a replacement for based on some of the forums I'm reading.
    Since its an OEM board I'm not sure what number it would be but reading one of those posts suggested it was an MSI board and looking a little more said part number MB.S7109.001. Since its suspected that this is a board defect I'd suggest staying away from a replacement and just getting a new board. It uses a mATX socket 775 board so look for one that has support for your CPU and RAM and you should be fine. The one area you might have issues is with the old OEM OS key working with the new board tho.
    Be a Liberal, blame everyone else!!

  5. #5
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    Naw no warranty unfortunately. Unless they go by time that it worked.

    I did find that the board has the model N1996 Micro-star, written on it, but that still seems generic when I search it.

    I hadn't taken off the Heat sink w/attached fan, so I just did that. I removed the CPU chip, checked it out, placed it back in and made sure it was seeding properly. Tried her again, same results.

    I don't know if all boards are the same, but I found it odd that the chip just sits in a compressed chamber to make contact. Seems that over time the metal chamber would bend and just loosen its grip on the chip.

    I noticed when I removed the sink the bottom had some glued felt that appears to have one time stuck right on the top of the chip. Though there is pressure, I know it didn't peal off when I just removed it now so I'm thinking someone else has gone down this road. The sink and fan were spotless underneath with very little dust.

    I want to say that i agree 100% with your post Richeem. It looks to me like the cheapest price I'll find on this board is around $90 and possibly with waiting time. For a board known to have issues I just can't see the point.

    If I'm understanding you correctly, I must now find a board that allows for DDR2 (RAM) and is compatible with a E2160 Dual-Core processor.... and fits in my manufactured Acer AM1640-U1401A box.

    The square processor chip can just be released and placed right onto the new board that I order as long as its compatible, is this correct?

    For my first time looking at boards, I don't feel very sure of myself, those possibilities seem endless. Based on this post, could anyone link me some recommendations. What would you pick? I do know that I would prefer to keep it under 100, as the machine itself is only worth 200-300 tops (in my view). I think I'm doing it more for the experience of replacing it. I'd sure like to see it working again.

    Thanks again for reply/suggestions!

  6. #6
    Super Stealthy Moderator RicheemxX's Avatar
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    Just about any of these socket 775 boards should work, just make sure the one you get takes DDR2.
    Be a Liberal, blame everyone else!!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by RicheemxX View Post
    Just about any of these socket 775 boards should work, just make sure the one you get takes DDR2.
    Alright, I looked through all 5 pages, seeing what each of these boards had to offer. I eventually settled on a BIOSTAR G41-M7..found at below address:
    Newegg.com - BIOSTAR G41M7 LGA 775 Intel G41 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

    Just got it Friday, looked at the board and compared it to the board I'm replacing. Though I immediately noticed the board was a little smaller, everything looked alright to me at first glace. The right connectors, the proper CPU (it fits at least), screw holes in the motherboard which matched my manufactured case (though I didn't need 2 of the screws since the board is nearly 2/3 the size of the original.

    1st issue:
    To my dismay, I've hit a little bit of a snag.
    The front panel connector doesn't reach the input connector on the motherboard... the wires just aren't long enough. I took off the backside panel and the front panel to see if I could get some extra cord... no luck, its doing a straight line from the power toggle/leds to the mb. ONLY thing that MIGHT work is to remove the front and back side panel and move the front panel over to the side so that it can reach.

    2nd issue:
    The front panel connector doesn't match from this board to the one I had in the case. Over the next few days I plan on taking some pictures and linking them here. I understand you can repin these connectors. However, even if I can do this, I might need a whole new connector as well. My connector has a total of 13 holes (out of 14 spots). The blank one on the connector (with no hole for a pin) is not an empty one on the board. The board actually has 15 pins (out of 16 spots). The spot with no pin doesn't match up to the connectors spot with no hole. I hope that makes sense.

    Is this a common thing when replacing boards... to have to repin the front panel connector? Do they make extensions?.. perhaps one that may even go from the connector my old board used to the new layout?

  8. #8
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    Red face Making progess... I think.

    Alright,

    Though the front panel connector doesn't reach, I just bought a new connector, moved the pins to what I believe are the proper spots, and lo and behold it booted up.

    This is the first MB I've ever replaced, and I'm now having another issue, please respond if you have any suggestions.

    When I first booted the machine it acknowledged all the new devices, keyboard, mouse, USB ports.. yada yada. I noticed there were a lot of options I could choose to do.

    One was flash the BIOS, another was enter Setup, another was leave configuration without changes. I went into Setup but did not know what I need to change. The new MB only came with a driver CD that you insert once your OS is installed on the drive.

    I already have a working copy of Win 7 on the HDD, I created and tested it on another machine. Can I not do this?.... do I need to clear the partitions and do a fresh install of the O/S on this machine now that I've replaced the board?

    I didn't make any changes. Just exited the BIOS. The machine went ahead and began to boot Windows 7, but stopped within 5-10 seconds and shut down. I ran System Startup Repair as prompted but it was unable to fix anything.

    I've shutdown and tried booting up 2 to 3 times, no luck it always freezes at the same spot. It auto shuts and and auto restarts, asking if I want to try loading again in normal mode or run System Startup Repair. During the initial power on it does display a screen monitoring various items. The temps are recording as 19 degrees C and 24 degrees C (didn't notice where that temp is being recorded at). Because of this I don't believe its a heat issue.

    What might be causing this? With the old board I couldn't even get BIOS or anything on the screen to come up so at least I'm making progress and still hopeful.

  9. #9
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    Acer Aspire M1640 won't power monitor

    I am also working on an Acer M1640 tower for a friend. When you push the power button on the front, it lights up blue, the fan works and I can hear the hard drive humming, but the monitor doesn't budge - stays in "power save" mode. The motherboard never beeped once. I replaced the power supply, removed the two memory sticks, unplugged everything except the monitor, found the exact same motherboard guaranteed to be from a working unit and replaced it, replaced the CPU chip - no change at all.

    Is it possible that it is indeed the motherboard and the exact replacement had the very same problem? It is very frustrating.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the reply Richeem.
    It went well and I had it out in about 10-15 moving slowly and being careful not to break anything. I was disappointed to not see any signs of burns or broken contacts upon examining the board.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chatcat1226 View Post
    Is it possible that it is indeed the motherboard and the exact replacement had the very same problem? It is very frustrating.
    First off, WOW, I forgot to finish my post.

    The new board that I listed in the above posts worked!!!

    I'm really glad to see someone else going through the same frustration. I hope that in some ways my posts will help minimize the time you spend getting the machine working (or junking it).

    If you get a chance read some of the links that were in my previous posts. It's my personal opinion, based on those stories and my experience, that the original manufactured board has some serious flaws. I can assure you that you didn't get my old board, although it looked to be in perfect condition I trashed it. They were way overpriced too, I hope you're able to return it.

    To date I'm still using the Acer desktop and sadly, it one of my fastest machines. (No need for a good machine anymore, went and had a son and don't have time for gaming, daughter on the way.)

    I believe I installed a fresh copy of windows 7 on the hard drive and that got me over the windows freezing up issue upon load. At that point I had two issues.
    1) Power cable never did reach the front panel with the new board installed.... the front panel is laying along the side of the tower, who needs cosmetics I don't care... the thing works.
    2) The fan that I pulled out of the original motherboard and installed on the BIOSTAR board made a lot of noise. It was almost like someone was standing next to you with a small hand-held vacuum when you powered up....and it continued after Windows 7 has finished loading. This had me confused for over a month, I rarely used the box and had pretty much given up hope.

    A technician at the credit union I worked at told me about a device that you can attach to the fan to control its speed. I went home that night and for some reason decided to fool around in the BIOS, there was a setting plain as day for fan speed right in the BIOS...another reason I'm glad I got that board. I brought the speed down, quiet as ever. For about 2 weeks monitored my temps with freeware, had no clue what they should be so I looked at online forums like this one here, all good.

    Only real advice I can give... you've already done more than I did, replacing the power supply.... if you really want it working purchase the exact same board I did. Newegg.com - BIOSTAR G41M7 LGA 775 Intel G41 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
    Not only do I think it will work, but then I can help troubleshoot with you... FUN

    Love this site, and thanks for all the help, without it I don't think I would have had the determination to get it working. I just recently got into an engineering position and was able to discuss some of what I went through during an interview question... funny to me how life sometimes returns a favor for time spent on something you thought (or started to think) was pointless and insignificant.

  12. #12
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    Has anyone repaired an Acer Aspire M1640 desktop that wouldn't power the screen or boot up. Was there an ongoing issue with the motherboards for this desktop model? Is it possible that the motherboard I purchased on ebay as "working" had the same issue since it was the exact same board?

  13. #13
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    I posted my last post before seeing the reply from Todd - thanks a bunch Todd for all the details. The kind folks who sold me the used motherboard graciously took it back. I am at the point of either looking for another exact replacement (I just don't want to go through all the adjustments you had to make with the Newegg replacement) or returning the desktop to my friend and give up. I really appreciate all your help.

  14. #14
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    Acer M1640 motherboard problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Chatcat1226 View Post
    I am also working on an Acer M1640 tower for a friend. When you push the power button on the front, it lights up blue, the fan works and I can hear the hard drive humming, but the monitor doesn't budge - stays in "power save" mode. The motherboard never beeped once. I replaced the power supply, removed the two memory sticks, unplugged everything except the monitor, found the exact same motherboard guaranteed to be from a working unit and replaced it, replaced the CPU chip - no change at all.

    Is it possible that it is indeed the motherboard and the exact replacement had the very same problem? It is very frustrating.
    I've had the same problem, It looks like a common fault and just like yourself have replaced motherboard after eliminating all other possible causes. but to no avail. Does anyone have a solution?

  15. #15
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    Thumbs up Dead Acer AM1640-U1401a

    It sounds kind of crazy, but the replacement MB must be bad, unless it is the Intel processor, the E2160.
    Was the MB new in a box or was it cannibalized from an existing machine?

    I have the exact same problem on my Acer that was manufactured 3/17/2008.

    Blue power light, fan running, drives running and the machine is dead.

    I would appreciate any help on getting a replacement MB, but not the OEM one because I don't want another one to go bad.

  16. #16
    Super Stealthy Moderator RicheemxX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DinoD View Post
    I would appreciate any help on getting a replacement MB, but not the OEM one because I don't want another one to go bad.
    As posted above

    Quote Originally Posted by RicheemxX View Post
    Just about any of these socket 775 boards should work, just make sure the one you get takes DDR2 RAM.
    Be a Liberal, blame everyone else!!

  17. #17
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    Dead Acer A1640 part 2

    I just had another thought. On replacing the MB with a different one.
    It would probably work better to buy a new case that matches up to the new MB and use the parts from the dead Acer in the new case.
    I am waiting on getting the free Vista tools CD from Acer based on a class action lawsuit. I am hoping with this disk I can save my HD data and not have to reload the OS.

    The class action lawsuit deadline is coming up on March 14th.

    Maybe if enough people complain about the bad mother boards (MB) we can get Acer to tell us which other MB will work. Or better yet, get them to gives us a free MB.

  18. #18
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    Do you have a link to that class action?

  19. #19
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    Acer aspire black screen won't boot

    I have now bought a replacement processor thinking it may be a CPU problem (clutching at straws) fitted it yesterday switched on the machine but still nothing,

    I've tested power supply tested memory replaced motherboard replaced CPU reset CMOS took battery out of motherboard and replaced it, I've now drawn a blank with this machine does anyone have a hammer? :-)

    But seriously I'm no novice when it comes to fixing PC's but by the looks of it this one has me beat any other suggestions on a fix will be greatly appreciated HELP !!!

  20. #20
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    Dead Acer Aspire

    The link for the class action suit is:


    https://acerrecoverysettlement.com/

    Acer Computer Class Action Settlement

    I hope this helps a few people. Time is running out this week though.

    I sent away for my disk about 2 weeks ago. Still waiting...


    Thank you for the link to 775 socket motherboards that use DDR2 RAM.

    I was at a Microcenter store today and they only had DDR3 775 sockets MBs.

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