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Soft beep when BIOS detect my drives?

 
 
Ant
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      01-24-2011, 02:55 PM
Hello!

Is it normal to hear a soft beep from a 2+ years old MSI P43 NEO3-F
(MSI-7514) motherboard (latest BIOS) when it detects my two old PATA/IDE
HDDs and a SATA Pioneer DVD burner drive? I am not talking about that
normal PC speaker that when booting up a PC (heard that one before it).
The reason why I ask is because my motherboard seems to keep losing
connections to both of my old PATA/IDE HDDs since last night.

Specifications: Intel Core 2 Q8200 (quad-core; default clock speeds;
Socket 775 LGA) with a Scythe Andy Master 120mm CPU cooler (SCASM-1000),
Enlight 7237-ATX mid-tower case; two case 80mm case fans, MSI P43 NEO3-F
(MSI-7514) motherboard (latest BIOS), two 1 GB of Crucial RAM (Samsung
DDR2 800 (PC2-6400; 400 MHz), onboard RealTek RTL8168C(P)/8111C(P) PCI-E
Gigabit Ethernet NIC network and RealTek audio, 600 watts SeaSonic S12
PSU, ASUS TV Tuner Card 880 NTSC (cx23880), Pioneer CD/DVD Burner Black
SATA Model DVR-218LBK LabelFlash Support, 3.5" disk drive, Seagate
Barracuda 7200.7 (ST380011A; 7200 RPM; 80 GB) HDD, an IDE Quantum
Fireball Plus LM 15 GB, USB+memory card reader front panel, and an Intel
InBusiness 10/100 (82559) NIC (not connected). Running Debian (Linux;
kernel v2.6.32-...-686).

Thank you in advance.
--
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Paul
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      01-24-2011, 06:38 PM
Ant wrote:
> Hello!
>
> Is it normal to hear a soft beep from a 2+ years old MSI P43 NEO3-F
> (MSI-7514) motherboard (latest BIOS) when it detects my two old PATA/IDE
> HDDs and a SATA Pioneer DVD burner drive? I am not talking about that
> normal PC speaker that when booting up a PC (heard that one before it).
> The reason why I ask is because my motherboard seems to keep losing
> connections to both of my old PATA/IDE HDDs since last night.
>
> Specifications: Intel Core 2 Q8200 (quad-core; default clock speeds;
> Socket 775 LGA) with a Scythe Andy Master 120mm CPU cooler (SCASM-1000),
> Enlight 7237-ATX mid-tower case; two case 80mm case fans, MSI P43 NEO3-F
> (MSI-7514) motherboard (latest BIOS), two 1 GB of Crucial RAM (Samsung
> DDR2 800 (PC2-6400; 400 MHz), onboard RealTek RTL8168C(P)/8111C(P) PCI-E
> Gigabit Ethernet NIC network and RealTek audio, 600 watts SeaSonic S12
> PSU, ASUS TV Tuner Card 880 NTSC (cx23880), Pioneer CD/DVD Burner Black
> SATA Model DVR-218LBK LabelFlash Support, 3.5" disk drive, Seagate
> Barracuda 7200.7 (ST380011A; 7200 RPM; 80 GB) HDD, an IDE Quantum
> Fireball Plus LM 15 GB, USB+memory card reader front panel, and an Intel
> InBusiness 10/100 (82559) NIC (not connected). Running Debian (Linux;
> kernel v2.6.32-...-686).
>
> Thank you in advance.


There are many things to consider.

First off, what are the technical capabilities of "PC Beep" ? It's not
a pure analog channel, like a channel on your sound card. And more than
one chip on the PC, might have the capability to generate (or meet) the
PC Beep requirements.

As far as I know, the BIOS has the capability to change the frequency on
the fly, which is where the "European police siren" sound comes from,
if a voltage is out of spec or the PC is overheating when in the BIOS.

I'm not aware of any interest in adjusting the volume level of the
PC beep. The reason for that, is the speaker may be driven by a buffer
transistor, and the transistor works best (avoids overheating), if
driven into saturation. That means the waveform sent to the speaker,
tends to be a square wave, and the amplitude is likely to be constant,
as that keeps the buffer transistor saturated and avoids the buffer
transistor overheating. If the tiny buffer transistor was run in an
analog amplifier mode instead, it would likely have to be a much
bigger device - and even if it cost $1, the general manager at
the computer motherboard factory would have a fit. They worry about
pennies at such places, and any unneeded technical capabilities
would be removed in a design review. All that is really required
of the PC Beep, is that "it makes a noise", and "you can hear it".
There is a standard for it, but as far as the general manager at
the factory is concerned, that's what it is there for.

+5V ("VCC")
|
+------>
"SPKR"
+------<
|
34 ohms
|
Logic level ____|/ 2N3904
|\ silicon switching
> transistor

|
GND

*******

The hard drives themselves can make noises. Normally, you'd expect
the multi-phase spindle motor, to start from zero RPM, and any sound
produced would be proportional to the frequency of rotation.

But if the motor controller senses an overload (they monitor the
current fed to the coils), the motor controller may try to avoid
a situation where something gets damaged. At least one motor
controller chip, used to get so hot, it would actually burn out,
and I doubt any currently shipping drives would have similar failure
modes.

When the motor controller runs into a problem at startup, the frequency
fed to the coils changes radically. This can result in an audible
"tone" coming from the drive, the frequency of which may change once
a second. Beep-boop-beep-boop and so on. It could be, that a firmware
writer for the controller code, decided that was a good pattern
to try, or it could be a function entirely of the motor controller
chip. I haven't read any technical descriptions of what is happening
at that point. (Maybe Franc would know, if he sees this.)

So I'd say the soft tone is coming from a hard drive motor. Such a tone
may be evident on drives, for the first second of their operation,
but whether that means failure is imminent, I'm not sure. If the tone
stays there for any period of time, then the spindle is likely stuck.

Since your problem is associated with the hard drives disappearing,
I'd guess there is a power problem feeding the drive, such as
a slightly out of spec voltage. But the drive should refuse to
attempt to spin, if the voltage is even a bit low. So if the
voltage was +11V instead of +12V, it might not even make the tone.
If the spindle was stuck, then you'd hear a soft, modulated tone,
as long as +12V for the motor was available. I'd check the cabling
feeding the drive, to make sure you haven't got too many "extension
cords" in that path, or aren't feeding the Aux connector on a
video card, from the same cable bundle. Then, I'd take a
multimeter, and check the voltage on that cable, while the
PC is starting up. That's where I'd start. (Adding a "Y" cable
to the cabling, is how you get easy access to the pins, so you
can make multimeter readings on the end of the cabling.)

I'd also run the model numbers of the hard drives, through a
search engine, and see if there are reports of the spindles
getting stuck. Modern drives have switched to fluid bearing
motors, which are virtually frictionless as long as there
is lube in the sealed spindle area. But if high temperatures
force out the lube over time, the spindle can stick solid
(the "sticking solid" can even happen when the drive is
spinning, with a physical reaction to match - one poster
noted his external drive "made a hop" on the floor, when
the spindle jammed).

A ball bearing motor, one of the older noisier kinds, might
not have that as a failure mode. Perhaps with those, you'd
notice a gradual increase in noise level, as the bearing
reaches failure. I have some old drives here, that I had
to retire them, because the noise was getting to me. Those
9GB drives still work (I test them occasionally), so there isn't
an instantaneous failure there, merely an annoying increase
in noise as they get older.

Many years ago, drives had a "stiction" problem, when the
head would remain in contact with the platter. Apparently, the
lubricant was more of a bulk fluid, on the platter, and the
head would become "glued" to the platter. But those days
are probably over, as the lubricant scheme is different, and
even if a drive was using the contact method, the landing zone
is "patterned" to break stiction. The platter lubricant now, is
only a few molecules thick, and consists of a "bonded" layer, with
a layer a molecule or two thick over top of it, that might
be considered a "fluid" in some sense. So it's no longer
a "macroscopic" fluid, and looks more like a hard finish.

Summary:

1) A hard drive is making the tone.
2) It's OK for a hard drive to make the tone for one second
at startup.
3) If the tone is longer, either the drive is bad, or the
power feeding the drive is suspect. For example, if you
recently rewired the computer case, and connected a video
card Aux connector and two hard drives to the same cable,
that might be too much in terms of voltage drop. An older
video card, with Molex power input, works best with its
own separate cable. That protects the hard drives from
unnecessary voltage drop. Modern video cards, use PCI-Express
power connectors, so this is no longer a problem, in terms
of power distribution.

HTH,
Paul
 
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Ant
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      01-24-2011, 08:38 PM
It is only a second long. Now, people think my old HDD(s) is/are dying. See
http://groups.google.com/group/comp....f94dacc5ae9264
for the details.


> The hard drives themselves can make noises. Normally, you'd expect
> the multi-phase spindle motor, to start from zero RPM, and any sound
> produced would be proportional to the frequency of rotation.


> But if the motor controller senses an overload (they monitor the
> current fed to the coils), the motor controller may try to avoid
> a situation where something gets damaged. At least one motor
> controller chip, used to get so hot, it would actually burn out,
> and I doubt any currently shipping drives would have similar failure
> modes.


> When the motor controller runs into a problem at startup, the frequency
> fed to the coils changes radically. This can result in an audible
> "tone" coming from the drive, the frequency of which may change once
> a second. Beep-boop-beep-boop and so on. It could be, that a firmware
> writer for the controller code, decided that was a good pattern
> to try, or it could be a function entirely of the motor controller
> chip. I haven't read any technical descriptions of what is happening
> at that point. (Maybe Franc would know, if he sees this.)


> So I'd say the soft tone is coming from a hard drive motor. Such a tone
> may be evident on drives, for the first second of their operation,
> but whether that means failure is imminent, I'm not sure. If the tone
> stays there for any period of time, then the spindle is likely stuck.


> Since your problem is associated with the hard drives disappearing,
> I'd guess there is a power problem feeding the drive, such as
> a slightly out of spec voltage. But the drive should refuse to
> attempt to spin, if the voltage is even a bit low. So if the
> voltage was +11V instead of +12V, it might not even make the tone.
> If the spindle was stuck, then you'd hear a soft, modulated tone,
> as long as +12V for the motor was available. I'd check the cabling
> feeding the drive, to make sure you haven't got too many "extension
> cords" in that path, or aren't feeding the Aux connector on a
> video card, from the same cable bundle. Then, I'd take a
> multimeter, and check the voltage on that cable, while the
> PC is starting up. That's where I'd start. (Adding a "Y" cable
> to the cabling, is how you get easy access to the pins, so you
> can make multimeter readings on the end of the cabling.)


> I'd also run the model numbers of the hard drives, through a
> search engine, and see if there are reports of the spindles
> getting stuck. Modern drives have switched to fluid bearing
> motors, which are virtually frictionless as long as there
> is lube in the sealed spindle area. But if high temperatures
> force out the lube over time, the spindle can stick solid
> (the "sticking solid" can even happen when the drive is
> spinning, with a physical reaction to match - one poster
> noted his external drive "made a hop" on the floor, when
> the spindle jammed).


> A ball bearing motor, one of the older noisier kinds, might
> not have that as a failure mode. Perhaps with those, you'd
> notice a gradual increase in noise level, as the bearing
> reaches failure. I have some old drives here, that I had
> to retire them, because the noise was getting to me. Those
> 9GB drives still work (I test them occasionally), so there isn't
> an instantaneous failure there, merely an annoying increase
> in noise as they get older.


> Many years ago, drives had a "stiction" problem, when the
> head would remain in contact with the platter. Apparently, the
> lubricant was more of a bulk fluid, on the platter, and the
> head would become "glued" to the platter. But those days
> are probably over, as the lubricant scheme is different, and
> even if a drive was using the contact method, the landing zone
> is "patterned" to break stiction. The platter lubricant now, is
> only a few molecules thick, and consists of a "bonded" layer, with
> a layer a molecule or two thick over top of it, that might
> be considered a "fluid" in some sense. So it's no longer
> a "macroscopic" fluid, and looks more like a hard finish.


> Summary:


> 1) A hard drive is making the tone.
> 2) It's OK for a hard drive to make the tone for one second
> at startup.
> 3) If the tone is longer, either the drive is bad, or the
> power feeding the drive is suspect. For example, if you
> recently rewired the computer case, and connected a video
> card Aux connector and two hard drives to the same cable,
> that might be too much in terms of voltage drop. An older
> video card, with Molex power input, works best with its
> own separate cable. That protects the hard drives from
> unnecessary voltage drop. Modern video cards, use PCI-Express
> power connectors, so this is no longer a problem, in terms
> of power distribution.

--
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/\___/\ Ant @ http://antfarm.home.dhs.org (Personal Web Site)
/ /\ /\ \ Ant's Quality Foraged Links: http://aqfl.net
| |o o| |
\ _ / Please nuke ANT if replying by e-mail. If crediting,
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stan.birch@rogers.com
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      03-24-2011, 02:28 AM
rtest
 
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stan.birchy@spam.com
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      03-26-2011, 04:38 PM
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stan.birch@moththerboardpoint.com
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      03-26-2011, 04:40 PM
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