Pictures of lemons on a board from "Salt ... or no Salt ..." depicting the concept of my lemon motherboard.
Picture from “Salt … or no Salt …” from Project Gutenberg.

In July of 2011, I built a desktop computer for playing games and school work. Somehow, it sputters on to this day, having lost only its graphics card about four years ago. Nevertheless, it is definitely showing its age and, lacking a dedicated graphics card for games, is incapable of playing much of my game library.

Seeing that it is time for an upgrade, I began work on building a new desktop with modern parts last weekend. The idea was that I would complete the new computer and use my now-nine-year-old computer as a second one in another room.

Plans for Writing New Computer Article on New Computer Run Into a Problem

I hoped to write an article from my new computer about building the new computer.  Sadly, the new computer had one minor flaw upon being completed.  I first noted the problem when I tried to power it on and the computer did not power on.  Considering that it may be the start button, I unplugged the connector for the start button and tried jump-starting the motherboard with a screwdriver.  That did not work either.

Troublesome Troubleshooting

Although the computer would not start, it did show two tantalizing signs of life.  First, a light on the video card came on when I turned the power supply for the computer on – regardless of whether the power supply was plugged into the video card.  Second, the Flash BIOS button on my mother board seemed to work, as indicated by a red light.

In light of the foregoing, I decided to test the power supply independently of the motherboard.  To do this, I unplugged the main 24-pin connector for the motherboard and tested it with a paper clip.  Upon switching the power supply on, it did in fact turn on, and I was able to power a case fan.  With that, I confirmed that the power supply was not at fault.

Confirming that the Motherboard Is a Lemon

Before resorting to contacting the motherboard manufacturer, I had a friend come over to assess the computer.  Finding no fault with the set up and having exhausted all measures, I contacted the manufacturer through an online form.  I was informed that I could return the motherboard for manufacturer assistance.  Not finding that response entirely helpful, I called the manufacturer to review the situation.  On the call, the manufacturer recommended that I return the motherboard to the seller – Newegg in this case – for a replacement.

Executing a New Plan

After a day or two of foot-dragging, I decided to order the motherboard anew and prepare to return my current one for a refund rather than a replacement.  There were four reasons for undertaking this course.  First, the motherboard is now a bit cheaper than when I bought it.  Second, by ordering it now instead of waiting for a refund on the current one – something I can never be sure that I will receive – I can build a working computer sooner.  Third, by seeing the complete packaging for the new motherboard, I will be able to ensure that I do not forget anything when returning the non-functioning motherboard.  Fourth and finally, I do not have to deal with storing all the parts of my computer in separate anti-static bags while waiting for a replacement motherboard, since I will not take the faulty one out of the case until I am ready to install the new one.

Due for a Lemon; But Still Looking for Lemonade

The first two computers I built worked without a hitch.  I suppose I was due for a lemony motherboard.  Technical difficulties are bound to arise sooner or later. However, because the problem with attempt one seems to be a defective motherboard, I am cautiously optimistic that replacing that part will lead to a computer that actually turns on.  If so, I look forward to writing an article about my new computer, and my trusty 2011 workhorse computer, from the new computer.  Of course, having the computer turn on is not the only remaining challenge.  I am planning to use Linux (Manjaro) as my operating system instead of Windows.  I hope that it does not disagree with the working version of my motherboard.  Time will tell.