Erratic POST problem

Hello all,

My new computer has started to behave strangely upon startup: every once in a while, it decides not to even run the POST (as far as I can see.) There is no video. The cpu fan comes on, I can hear the hard drive spin up, and the access lights on the optical drives come on, etc. However, the hard drive access light does nothing (the one on the case).

The computer runs perfectly otherwise, and has been in operation for several weeks. This has happened twice. I noticed that the problem seemed remarkably similar to what will happen when a hard drive is plugged in backwards (even though the drives were functioning previously), so I tried unplugging the IDE1 cable and power to the hard drives, and turning the computer on. Nothing. Then I tried plugging the IDE1 cable and power back in. Success! Everything works. This has been the fix each time.

I have 2 hard drives on IDE1, and 2 optical drives on IDE2. None of the drives are using Cable Select (they’re all set to master or slave).

While I found something of a temporary fix, would anyone know why this might be happening? Broken IDE ribbon cable, perhaps? It’s annoying to pull the side off the case every so often!

Thank you for your help.

In case it helps, the CPU is a Sempron 64 2800, and the Motherboard is an ECS K8M800-M2 rev 1, with 512MB DDR400. I’m using the onboard video.

The ribbon cables are easy to replace - try with another set and make sure to use the 80-wire (Ultra ATA 66/100) variety, not the old 40-wire. The blue connector goes on the motherboard, master at the end and slave in the middle.

You can also run a diagnostic test on your hard drives with floppies that can be downloaded from the manufacturer’s website(s) - maybe they’re damaged from being plugged in backwards.