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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 6th May, 2004, 06:48 PM
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Please help: 8RDAE - POST Error Code 41 ?

Hi there, I'm new to this forum. I've had an EPOX 8RDAE for the last 4 months and it's worked without many problems. This morning I received some new PC3200 DDR sticks (2x256) which I've bought to replace my single stick of 512MB PC2700 memory. I swapped them in and all seemed to boot up fine -- still running at 166MHz FSB (1:1 FSB/RAM ratio). I ran memtest and there were no errors. Then I rebooted, went into the BIOS menu and changed the FSB to 200MHz and brought down the multiplier setting to keep the resulting CPU speed the same (2GHz -- I have a 2400+ T-Bred). The system refused to boot. As I was back in the BIOS again, all of a sudden the screen turned a blank blue with some random characters on the screen -- this happened while I was in the BIOS menu!

I tried rebooting, went back into the BIOS and turned the FSB back down to 166MHz. Then when I tried to save settings it hung at the warning message "Please don't turn off or reboot your system. Saving BIOS" (or words to that effect).

Since then I can't boot the PC at all -- it just gives me error POST code 41, which the manual says is "Reserved".

Can anybody please help me? What's happened? What can I do to solve this problem? I tried resetting the CMOS using the jumper but that didn't help.

I know the RAM works because I've just installed it on my other machine (DFI NFII Ultra Infinity) and it's worked fine all day, tested using memtest, Prime95, etc.

Thanks in advance!

Cheers,
indotoonster
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Old 6th May, 2004, 07:21 PM
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Two thoughts, neither of them good.

1) PSU took a dump.

2) You've blown your BIOS flash.

Have you tried clearing the CMOS by removing the battery and setting the CMOS Clear jumper?

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Old 6th May, 2004, 07:35 PM
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You are correct on Point number 2 there Gizmo!

Sorry to hear about that indotoonster - welcome to the forums - sorry it has to be under such circumstance.
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Old 6th May, 2004, 08:57 PM
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From my limited experience of nForce 2 BIOS code, if you see 41, then it means the bootblock is still intact and has realised that the main BIOS code is damaged. It's then trying to reinitalise the BIOS from the floppy drive.

If you have another computer, and a bootable DOS floppy disk, then you might be able to recover the machine using that floppy.

The procedure is fairly simple. You need to place the correct BIOS file on the disk (download it from EPoX's web site and decompress it). You also need a version of AwdFlash, which you should also be able to download from EPoX. Place that on the disk too. Lastly, you need to create a file called autoexec.bat on the floppy.

You can create/edit that file with notepad. The contents should look something like

awdflash RDA33724.BIN /cc/cd/cp/py/sn/r

The BIOS file you download and decompressed onto the disk may not be called 'RDA33724.BIN', you'll have to change the text above to match the name of the BIOS you downloaded.

So, at the end of this, you should have a bootable floppy disk with awdflash, the BIOS file (something.bin) on it, and a file called autoexec.bat. If all is good, then you should be able to insert it into your poorly machine, and have the floppy reflash the BIOS. If it completes the reflash sucessfully, it should reboot the machine. At this point you can remove the floppy, as it's done it's job properly.

Now, all this is a little bit of clutching at straws, so it might not work.
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Old 7th May, 2004, 10:35 AM
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Thanks to all for your replies, and especially to Áedán -- your suggestion worked perfectly! Frankly I was amazed that it ended up looking to the floppy drive (I didn't have one connected previously... dug it out just for this purpose. Good thing I hadn't thrown it away!).

I prepared the floppy, inserted it into the drive and turned the PC on. The LED briefly paused at 41 and then before you know it, it's changing codes to something else and the awdflash program is running!

Is this a unique feature of EPOX boards or is it for all boards that use the same BIOS?

In any case, it's working fine now. Brilliant!

Thanks again for all your help.

Cheers,
indotoonster
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Old 7th May, 2004, 11:41 AM
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It seems to be a feature of the Award/Phoenix BIOS. I found it out the hard way with a machine that was forever corrupting it's BIOS. With that machine, I plugged in an external POST card, and got POST code 41 on the display whenever the BIOS was corrupt.

I did some research and found that POST code 41 used to be used to indicate an init for the floppy hardware. I figured I'd try connecting a floppy drive up to the machine, lo and behold, the floppy indicated it was being accessed. I knew that the Award/Phoenix nForce 2 BIOS wrote some data back to the FLASH when certain settings were changed, as I'd suffered from issues with that in the past. I was aware of how to recover a machine that still had it's bootblock intact via the floppy disk method, and thought it was worth a try on the machine I had.

The end result was that the machine reflashed itself, and I'd learnt what POST code 41 seemed to indicate. I'm glad it could be of use to someone other than myself!

The impression I get is that the bootblock code is actually very small, somewhere between 512bytes and 4Kbytes. The floppy disk hardware is actually fairly easy to communicate with, so it lends itself to being the device of last resort. USB is far more complex, as are CD/DVD ROM drives. It's probable that the code to drive these wouldn't fit in the restricted size of the bootblock. Hence, that old floppy can still be a life saver for a nearly dead machine. Long live the floppy!
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