This is topic Computers in general (help me troubleshoot!) in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by WheatPuppet (Member # 5142) on :
should be stabbed in the neck!

I finally get my computer up and running after downloading XP Service Pack 2, the latest ATI drivers, .NET 1.1, and a menagarie of other bits of software, and now it's kinda not working.

About 45 minutes ago, whilst reading on my bed, my computer randomly shut off. I figured that maybe the sleep settings were kicking in and it had gone into hibernate, so I didn't really pay it much heed.

I finish my chapter and go take a shower. I come back looking to install Rome: Total War, and I find that the computer has not gone into hibernate at all--it has actually shut down. Worse, it won't start up again.

Specifically, I push the power button and it does nothing. I hold the power button, and it does nothing. If I unplug it (or hit the hard-kill switch on the back of my power supply), then plug it back on, and then turn it on, I get a momentary response: all the fans in the computer spin for about a fifth of a second. Holding the power button produces the same effect.

Judging by the symptoms, I can rule out the following things:

1. The power supply -- if it were dead, I probably wouldn't get any response at all. However, I am suspicious of it, since it has the most odor of all the computer components. Perhaps it uninstalled the magic blue smoke when I wasn't looking.
2. The power strip -- It's not the outlet on the power strip, since the same effect comes from the wall.
3. The hard drive, or other peripherals -- if any of these had failed, I would get a beep code or some digital behavior, rather than no response at all.
4. Heat -- all components feel quite cool.
5. Input devices -- All of the devices once connected to the computer have been removed. I know that certain Dell motherboards will freak if a parallel port is hotplugged into them.

Possible culprits:
1. Some sort of cascading RAM failure?
2. BIOS falure?
3. The motherboard (or some component of it) is being grounded. Perhaps by a melted wire?
4. The power button's debouncing circuit has kicked the bucket, so when I push the power button, it's rapidly being pushed again.

Any ideas? I just got this stupid thing working! [Wall Bash]

[ January 02, 2005, 10:52 PM: Message edited by: WheatPuppet ]
Posted by WheatPuppet (Member # 5142) on :
A thought I had was that maybe it would be worth it to disassemble the whole deal to look for worn or grounded wires. That and possibly swap out the power supply. [Frown]
Posted by WheatPuppet (Member # 5142) on :
Swapped out the motherboard with an older-ish Gateway mobo I had in my closet (yes, I'm that kind of computer geek). I got the exact same response.

Unless anyone has any other ideas, I'm going to go ahead and order a new power supply. [Mad]
Posted by Boris (Member # 6935) on :
Power supply seems like the most likely culprit. If it smells like ozone, it's probably bad. What probably happened is an excess of dust caused a voltage regulator or something in there to fry itself and it blew something inside the PSU. But in my experience, the only PSU's I've seen that smelled bad were either used by heavy smokers or dead/dying.
Posted by Tstorm (Member # 1871) on :
Cast my vote for the power-supply. Have you got a spare to plug in and try? One of the first rules of troubleshooting, when replacing components likely to have failed, replace the cheapest one first.
Posted by solo (Member # 3148) on :
My Father-in-Law's computer had this exact problem (not sure about the smell, but all other symptoms the same) a couple of months ago. It was the power supply.
Posted by Storm Saxon (Member # 3101) on :
If it was the power supply, you might be looking at replacing other parts and pieces that got flambeed.
Posted by ludosti (Member # 1772) on :
Sounds like the power supply. I hope that nothing else was damaged when it went out.

I was lucky that I caught mine before it fried anything - I respond really quickly whenever something sounds or smells funky.
Posted by WheatPuppet (Member # 5142) on :
If it did fry everything, then I'd have an excuse to build a brandy-new computer. Unfortunately, I don't have that kind of money. [Frown]

If my experimentation caused things to be cooked, it has now cooked two motherboards, a brand-new video card, 789 megs of ram, a sound card, two network cards, one hard drive, and two optical drives.

... oh yeah, and a partridge in a pear tree. [Wink]

Any reoccomendations on a good but quiet power supply?
Posted by Boris (Member # 6935) on :
Try this one

And I wouldn't worry too much about it having destroyed anything. Most modern PSU's have control circuits that keep spikes from blowing through anything. (Which is why your PSU will turn on for a fraction of a second then shut down. It's testing the circuit, finding a problem, and shutting off to prevent damage.) There is a slim chance, but not a big one.
Posted by WheatPuppet (Member # 5142) on :
Wow, thanks Boris! Perusing through Newegg shows that that's a particularly nice power supply.

Mad props for Boris for having Newegg-Fu [Hat]

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