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My computer died.

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by odie, Jan 24, 2004.

  1. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    It maybe the motherboard, but it may be the processor and power supply.


    Abit KX7-333
    Leadtek Geforce 4200ti
    Antec case and power supply. The one that slows the fan speed down when it is able.
    AMD 1800+
    It is about 2 years old.

    Our power is constantly browning out and blowing fusses. We have bugged our manager about this and he always says he will have someone look into it. I have replaced the power supply to the PC once before. Also the motherboard always would warn of a low V-bat short after a start up. I replaced the battery and it didnt matter, so I disabled the alarm for it.

    After the power went out this week the PC wouldnt boot up properly. I would get to the bios screen and then the monitor would go to standby because of a lack of signal.

    I opened the case and noticed the fan on my video card doesnt spin anymore. I tried another video card and it didnt help.

    Sometimes I will get some strange bios beeps too. One long one and then sometimes a pause(3 seconds or so) and a beep, that repeats with the pause and the beep. But most of the time nothing just a blank screen.

    I took out the hard drive and tried in my old Dell and it boots up but then freaks out because it doesnt recognise it properly(old Intel 450mhz).

    Anyway, what do you think it is?? Power supply, Motherboard(mainboard), processor??

    I was thinking it was motherboard, but was also thinking of just rebuilding a new machine(board and processor). Cant recall what kind of memory I have but it would be nice to keep it. 512 of it. What ever was the best matchup for a the motherboard. I think it was Pc2100 DDR.

    So my questions.

    Any idea what is wrong??

    If it is F.U.B.A.R.(busted!!) what should I get??

    Thanx TB'rs!!!
  2. When you replaced the power supply, did you get adequate watts? It doesnt sound like your system is using much juice, but worth asking anyway. I really doubt that's the case though, since it's basically a pass-fail thing...either it has enough or it doesnt.

    But the thing is, if your videocard fan is not spinning, it's usually a power issue. You could theoretically have nothing else working and still have the fans spin up. The only way it wouldnt was if the motherboard didn't even recognize the board being there, but in that case, the video card shouldn't even be recognized.

    So maybe it's a CMOS battery problem, because your BIOS settings will go if it's dead. But when a CMOS battery dies, you'll still get POST information.

    It's a really weird problem, and none of the symptoms seem to go together well. Unless the constant power interruptions has made the motherboard go crazy...electrical components can do weird, seemingly unrelated things when something fries. Just look at Spirit's weird messages it's broadcasting :)

    What I would do is grab the manual for your mobo and immediately check out those system codes. They're diagnostic information, and it might save some serious hair pulling.

    All in all, it sounds like a motherboard problem to me. There are possible power supply/CMOS battery issues, but I could see those things being explained by a mobo problem.

    Edit: Said volts when I meant watts
  3. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City

    You kinda have that Midas touch thing going, only in reverse. First your van starts spewing smoke. Then your pc craps out. You probably shouldn't pick up a bass any time soon or you'll get splinters or something. :bassist:

    And for God's sake, DON'T PET THE DOG!!!! ;)



    On the serious tip...hope this all works out for you.
  4. Next time get one with a manual 5 speed. They last longer than the automatics, althought they need a tad more maintanance:D :smug:
  5. k.
  6. odie

    odie Supporting Member


    James, I forgot to update. The van is fine. The garage did a workup and check the cooling system and did a pressure test. It was a pressure release valve for the overflow. Cost me $58 for the fix and the work up.

    But I know everything I touch goes to crap. I will make sure not to touch any important body parts!!!:eek:

    GoneFarAway- I looked in the manual and it sucked!! No explanation of beeps or anything. If I remember correctly it is an AWARD bios and they dont give watch explanation anyway.

    The power supply is a little over 300, maybe 330 watts. I tried the video card in my Dell that my Mom has now and it worked but the fan wasnt spinning. So it may be partialy the cards fault, but there is something else going on.

    Even after I replaced the battery(last year) it would still lose track of time and bios settings. So the board has always been weird.

    So should I slap another power supply in their and see what happens?? Or just get a new board?? Or get a new board and CPU??? Possibly a new video card.

    So what is the best bang for the buck out there if I need to rebuild?

    OH I hate this!!!
  7. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    We outlawed all words staring with that letter!
    Now it's *UBAR!

    Based on your analysis of the power situation, my
    first line of investigation would be:

    Swap out power strip. if any.
    Measure voltages and amps at computer power cord.
    Measure input to power supply.
    Measure power supply output.

    As you know, poorly conditioned line voltage, as
    evidenced by brownouts and spikes are the heck
    on transformers [ power supply ].

    That is the absolute first thing I would start looking at. In these kinds of electical failures,
    start at one end, determine where it is good, and work through step by step.

    A multitester, 12-20 bucks at Radio Shack is a
    must for any powerhead. If you can't measure it, you are just guessing.

    Good luck O
  8. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    sorry :D

  9. Mike Money

    Mike Money In Memoriam

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    Don't mind me... I'm stalking Timmy...
  10. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    Didnt think to many people would know the old 40's WWII saying!!

    Ok I follow on the power strip test etc. But how does one test the power supply on the PC?? Where do I/how do I plug it in?

  11. ...damn you Cole, you beat me to it! :mad: :mad:

  12. great movie
  13. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well, the first place to start is to verify
    power is available to the computer.

    Use a multitester to measure the line voltage
    at the female end of the power cord. It should
    be the same as the line voltage from the wall, in terms of volatage and amperage, e.g. 115 Volts and 15 amps.

    If you see a voltage drop, 100 volts for example, the probelem is with the power strip. I have had this happen, and it was driving me crazy. I ASSumed it was OK, it wasn't. Learn from my mistake and measure.

    The power supply has output lines with plug
    connectors. Disconnect the plugs from the board, or the on off switch depending on how you machine is wired, and measure the output voltage of the supply after you plug it in. The supply should have a sticker on it stating what the output voltage and amperages are that the supply produces.

    Don't drink beer while doing this, be careful with 115 volts.

    Note that the supply does not produce one output, but, a combination of outputs.
    See this page and read the output power link as well for background info.

    If you have a drastic variation in available output from the stated specifications, the power supply is your problem, these components can be had for 30 bucks or so. Note the caveats on the page.

    The multi tester should be set in the 12 volt range, and you should see output voltages between
    3 to 5 volts.

    A power supply changes AC line voltage to DC
    output voltage by use of a transformer, essentially wound wire coils, and a rectifier to
    flipt the AC to DC, and a capacitance type circuit
    to even out the output voltage. Strong brown outs can affect the transformer/s and other components and damage them.

    In order to proceed logically with electric, and electronic testing, you have to think linearly.
    Start at one end and work your way through to the
    other end, step by step, eliminating each component as the problem. You may decide you are
    not able to eliminate components down the line such as mother board from the equation, at which point you find the local PC repair guy and have a
    heart to heart.

    But at least you can eliminate the easy stuff.

  14. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    Thanx Thor. I eliminated the cord by trying a different one, along with another power strip.

    I will still check it with a multi tester.

    Now with testing the lines from the PC power supply. I can check any of the numerous power lines coming from it? Or is there a specific one.
    Example. One of the many ones that plug into the fan, drives etc, or the big one that plugs into the motherboard.

    More than likely I will just get a new power supply and new board and see if the processor still works.
  15. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Check them all.

    The fact that the fan is not running is
    a red flag. That one should be checked.

    If there is no power to the C:/drive
    the drive wont spin, and the computer can't
    access the software to boot up. So check those
    outputs as well.

    However, the original BIOS screen coming up
    leads me to believe the disk is spinning.
    It may not find the devices it is looking for
    if there is no power to them, and hangs as the
    bootup never gets completed.

    I am a big believer in multitesters. I like the
    dial ones, not the electronic ones. It is a
    very good investment and has lots of uses for
    the home warrior.

    Wanna know what lead goes where on a 4 way
    switch? That will tell you with the resistance
    function. Want to know if your wall outlet died.
    That will measure it for you. Great tool.

    By the way, you swapped out the cord, and still
    have power, but how MUCH power? You need to
    measure that to know.!! So you didn't really
    answer the question adequately. So, do it right!

    Good luck!
  16. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    I mucked around with trying to test the power. I get some weird results on the the smaller wires. So I decided to dismantle a friends computer and try his power supply.

    Wham-O, it works fine. Makes sense if the power supply was taking the brunt of the spikes and brownouts.

    Question(s) wonder if I should go with another Antec since it has burned two out. Also will a small APC UPS like the $30 ones take a care of the brown out and then spike hits?

    THOR man thanx for all the help. I was thinking others would be able to give advice but yours has been more than enough.
  17. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    OD, it is a pleasure to have posted my first
    post that was useful to someone ... :D

    Actually, I just went through a very similar
    situation that brought this to my attention, so
    my advice to you was already bought and paid for.

    My son has a Sony that had a weird problem. He
    would never turn it off, it just goes into a
    hibernate mode. If he turned it off, he could not
    turn it back on. This happened about a day before
    he had a major paper due at school, so I had to
    take a trip up to his college. I open it up,
    disconnect the power supply, reconnect it, and
    voila, it works.

    Over break I take it the the Chinese Eat-In-Take-
    Out computer guy, Kevin Wang. He says there is
    nothing wrong with it. We go back and forth, until
    he makes the ultimate pronouncement, IT'S YOUR

    YUP. It was the power strip. That Kevin sure is
    one clever wirehead. Never in my wildest
    dreams did I supect that, I thought it was the
    power supply. Of course, unlike what I told you,
    I didn't have the multimeter with me, so I never
    measured anything. That cost me $29.99 plus tax.

    I am not tech head enough to advise you on what
    supply to get. But I think you should definitely
    look at what you can do as far as conditioning
    the line voltage into your machine.

    I'm glad you were able to diagnose this without
    replacing boards, cards and drives.

    Moral of this Thread:
    Multitesters RULE !


    How about a one week free pr0no on the sig line? Say whatever you want ...

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