How to Check a Laptop Motherboard with a Multimeter

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The motherboard is normally referred to as the heart of your computer or laptop. It’s also considered the most critical part of your device. Almost all other parts are connected through the motherboard.

Hence, if the motherboard gets damaged, your laptop will not be able to function or perform any task. Bear in mind that your laptop’s motherboard could be damaged for many different reasons. 

It will help if you learn more about the motherboard damage signs so you can prevent further issues. 

What is a Motherboard? How Important Is It? 

A motherboard is considered the baseboard, system board, or mainboard. It’s seen in computers, laptops, and all other components such as:

  • hard drive
  • power supply
  • computer processor
  • random access memory (RAM)
  • and more 

All other computer parts communicate with one another with this component as they’re attached to the motherboard. 

The computer’s power supply is connected to the motherboard. It then provides the needed power to other parts. 

That implies the motherboard functions like a heart, similar to the human body’s heart. 

Hence, it can be damaged for many different reasons. Once it gets damaged, it produces some symptoms. 

What Are the Common Causes of a Damaged Motherboard? 

You typically damage the motherboard without being concerned at all. That’s why you should take necessary precautions to avoid damaging it. 

Please take note that it can be damaged for many reasons. Some of these reasons include the following:

  • bad hard drive
  • dust
  • bad RAM
  • bad video card
  • bad CPU
  • short circuits
  • bad power supply
  • overheating

What Are the Common Symptoms of a Damaged Motherboard? 

You will experience many problems if your laptop’s motherboard is damaged. Keep in mind that a malfunctioning motherboard won’t enable you to use your laptop at all. Here are common signs you need to pay attention to know if your motherboard is damaged and needs some checking.

  • Error messages 

Do you often get error messages from your laptop? If yes, your laptop may be showing signs of damage. 

  • Getting beep code

Does your laptop not boot at all? Then it would be best if you listened to it when it’s turned on. A series of beep sounds will be heard as a sign of a damaged hardware. Normally, the sound will be followed by three, four, or five and sign a damaged laptop motherboard. 

If you get four beeps tailed by two, three, or four beeps, it’s a sign that there are some parallel or serial port problems. 

  • Blue screen of death

Your laptop might display a blue screen for many different reasons. However, a blue screen is typically seen if there’s a problem with the hardware. If you experience this, make sure you troubleshoot right away by searching the error code.

You can do that on Microsoft or Google’s site. In case you’re still experiencing the same issue after troubleshooting, that suggests the motherboard is damaged.

How to Properly Test a Laptop Motherboard with a Multimeter?

Now that you finally understand the causes and symptoms of a damaged laptop motherboard, it’s time that you learn how you can check it. The good thing here is that you don’t need to be a techy person or an electrician to learn how to check a laptop motherboard. We’re here to help you. 

Keep reading so you learn how. 

Do you suspect your motherboard has a short circuit? Remember that these problems can result in a total failure of the motherboard itself, not to mention it can ruin other laptop components. 

Your motherboard can be fixed, but locating the major issue can save the laptop’s various components. Here’s how you can check the motherboard for potential short circuits. 

  • Unplug your laptop and remove the plug from the AC power. Give it some time to rest to drain all the residual charges in the laptop. Prepare now your digital multimeter.
  • Set the multimeter on the lowest Ohm setting and connect both probes to turn the reading to zero. 
  • Connect both probes, black and red, to the laptop’s chassis. The reading should stay the same. 
  • Remove the 21-pin ATX connector from the laptop motherboard. The meter’s black probe must stay on the chassis. You can utilize the red probe to see the black wire pins of the DC connector. The readings should be zero.
  • Keep the black probe on the chassis to check the readings for the colored wires of the DC connector. Probe the tinted wires. The highlighted cables should provide you a reading of 50 volts or above. 
  • Remove the CPU from the laptop motherboard. Once removed, keep the black probe on the chassis and utilize the red one to see the GND pins. Probe your pins 3, 5, 7, 13, 16, and 17 with the read lead of the digital multimeter. The connector is okay if the reading is returned as zero. Another reading is a sign that the connector has problems. 

Final Thoughts

There you have it! We discussed the important things you should know about a laptop motherboard, the causes, common signs of a damaged motherboard, and how to check it with a multimeter. How will you understand when to check the laptop motherboard like this?

Like an ill individual, a failing motherboard shows signs. Those symptoms show that the motherboard or some hardware is the culprit. The test with a digital multimeter can show if the laptop motherboard is the problem or not. 

Do you have a faulty motherboard? Then it would help if you replaced it right away because repairing the component is not a good option. Keep in mind that a faulty motherboard can destroy your whole laptop. Hence, getting the single part replaced is always smart rather than replacing the entire laptop itself. 

There you have it! We hope you find this article helpful and enlightening. We also hope we answered some of your questions about testing a motherboard with a multimeter. If you find this post helpful, please share your thoughts with us by leaving your comments below.

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