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    Intermittent powerdown

    Do I have a good one! The computer in question is a desktop Systemax using XP3 fully patched. Earlier this year I had massive no power problems with the unit and to solve the problem, I obtained another motherboard, power supply, and CPU. I had replaced the mobo and supply (same type supply,)used the original cpu and it had worked fine for some time. Lately, at odd times and over a period of 2-3 weeks, the unit just shuts off. By turning off the power switch on the rear of the unit to let the supply reset (10-15 seconds) then powering it back up, it works. An app showing the various temperatures within the unit shows proper temps and looking at the event log gives no clues. The only apps really running is the Weather Channel and a browser streaming a local radio station outside of the usual background stuff: System Suite 14, various system items.
    Anyone have an idea about what may cause this or a program that may point this out? Thanks.

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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Give your system's memory a good workout with Memtest86 for no less than 6-8 hrs.
    If you've got an add-in GPU card you could also load test it and observe.
    Prime95 can be used to load test your processor but I doubt that it is the problem.

    It isn't beyond the realm of possibility that your new PSU could be at fault too, but that's a bit tougher to test.

    I wouldn't completely rule out a software driver issue too.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

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    1. If you have added extra devices (attached USB devices, PCI, PCIe cards, etc.) Disconnect one at a time.
    2. Brute force method: Try a higher Wattage Power Supply. Since you have already changed to new PS and had no effect, maybe higher Wattage PS is needed. No harm to try it. I would try 40% larger than your existing PS Watt rating, or larger even.
    3. I assume you did it already: Maybe this should be first to try: Virus scan.

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    That's what I did for the first powerdown problem but at least it was constant so was easy to check. My problem now can sometimes take a couple weeks to manifest and typically would occur within 1 to 1 1/2 hr of turnon (actually I would only use the machine mornings for about the same length of time.) Once it happened during bootup. The last time around I let it run into the afternoon with no problem then turned it off. The next day it was dead. Go figure.
    As for drivers, the only change recently has been drivers for the new graphics board; all else remained the same. I do have a somewhat heavier ATX supply (400 W) but for some reason it won't operate in the system. Wierd.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowjack View Post
    Do I have a good one! The computer in question is a desktop Systemax using XP3 fully patched. Earlier this year I had massive no power problems with the unit and to solve the problem, I obtained another motherboard, power supply, and CPU. I had replaced the mobo and supply (same type supply,)used the original cpu and it had worked fine for some time. Lately, at odd times and over a period of 2-3 weeks, the unit just shuts off. By turning off the power switch on the rear of the unit to let the supply reset (10-15 seconds) then powering it back up, it works. An app showing the various temperatures within the unit shows proper temps and looking at the event log gives no clues. The only apps really running is the Weather Channel and a browser streaming a local radio station outside of the usual background stuff: System Suite 14, various system items.
    Anyone have an idea about what may cause this or a program that may point this out? Thanks.
    What power supply are you using? What is your system setup? More information is needed.
    Did you use the same RAM from the old motherboard?

    Judging by your statement this is not happening under heavy load. So, it might not be the psu itself but rather another component from your old build.

    Environmental issues may be an issue as well, again more information is needed.

    Edit: You mention having a "heavier" psu of 400 watts. That itself is kinda low. Other specs to take into consideration are amperage on the 12v rails(especially if using a discrete GPU).

    Fill this out if you have time:

    Cpu:
    Mobo:
    psu:
    gpu(if discrete):
    hard disk/s and optical drive/s:
    cooling(if applicable):
    Last edited by haybis; 2013-11-19 at 20:16.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowjack View Post
    Lately, at odd times and over a period of 2-3 weeks, the unit just shuts off. By turning off the power switch on the rear of the unit to let the supply reset (10-15 seconds) then powering it back up, it works.
    What are settings for Power Configuration (can also be observed using the PowerCfg program)?

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    Just fishing around ...
    1. Take out and re-seat the video card on its slot. There could be a nearly short at the connections. Heat may cause the short while cold is just enough to unshort the short.
    2. If your motherboard has built-in video (such as svga). Set video to svga (so to use Windows default video driver). Go to Control Panel-System-Device and delete the plug-in video card. Hard power off. Remove the video card from the slot. Reboot and try it over night. Sometimes advanced or sophisticated video cards may present too much transient load (not a constant load).
    3.Quote: "... for some reason [400W PS] won't operate in the system." 400W and won't work. Hmm... If the 400W PS is good, it could be a hint. Try 1-3, then try a 600W-800W or higher PS.

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    BAck again. I had to get another supply, a 600-W. Corsair to try out with the unit. It is really getting snippy now in that it shuts down quickly. I first tried out the original supply which turns on and goes down in a couple seconds. The 400W supply does not turn on at all and the Corsair shut down before a complete bootup I did have the extra memory from the other mobo I bought (1.5 GB) installed with the original 2 GB but pulled them with no change. Gonna pull the new video card to check that out . . .oops, I need it to properly log in as I use a password and have another user to select from at log-in. Rats. I'd hate to have to get another card just to check out the computer.

    Oy, vey! I just tried to turn on the system and now it is locked up at the "loading personal preferences" stage. Will power down and try again. While I'm thinking on it, there is a lead on the 24-pin plug that changes from low to high if the PSU is shut down by the computer. Does anyone know from where that kind of error signal is generated? CPU? Mobo?

    Also, here is the list of what I have in the Systemax: MOBO K8N NEO 4, CPU- AMC Athlon 64 II 4400+, GPU EVGA GT520 card, 3-SATA HDD, 1-DVD burner IDE type, 1- CD burner, IDE type, 1-floppy drive, 1-multicard reader. Cooling for the CPU is by heatsink/fan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowjack View Post
    While I'm thinking on it, there is a lead on the 24-pin plug that changes from low to high if the PSU is shut down by the computer. Does anyone know from where that kind of error signal is generated? CPU? Mobo?
    Easiest and a definitive answer (no speculation) occurs by using a meter to measure wires as listed below. You are asking about the power controller - a circuit that determines when a PSU powers on or off and also when the CPU is permitted to execute. No faster and more definitive way exists to answer your question without below numbers using a 3.5 digit meter.

    With its black probe connected to the chassis. Set the meter to 20 VDC. Touch its red probe to the purple wire where it enters a nylon connector on the motherboard. That should read about 5 volts (when computer is not trying to power on). That number must be reported to three digits.

    Do same for the green and gray wires both before and when the power switch is pressed.

    And finally monitor any one red, orange, and yellow wires as the power switch is pressed. Report what those voltages attempt to do.

    Your question is about the green wire. Voltages on all above wires are relevant to your question AND define the operation of many components that define a supply system. The system is more than just a PSU. Those numbers mean the next post answers your question, defines or exonerates suspects, and provides answers you do not yet know to ask.

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    I think you have a short somewhere, or something you did before that created a short. PS shuts down right away because of shorts or overload. Not easy to overload a 600W PS. If the short is on the 12V rail, 600W/12V=50Amps, you can do spot welding!
    Westom shows the correct way. As an everyday Joe 'garage guy' we simply look for shortcuts and easier methods. I would pull the newly touched card/memory/hard drive/what have you (whatever you did before this happens). Then pull out add-in devices one at a time. At the end, if your PC has only motherboard and still shuts down a 600W supply ...
    Either you have a failed motherboard or something like metal piece fell on the motherboard creating a short.

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    With the Corsair supply in place, I got the following voltages: with the system in the dead/shutdown mode, Purple-5.04V, green- 3.83V, all others 0V. After a power supply reset and power up, purple-5.02V, green, 0V, gray-5.08V, red-5.09V, orange-3.36V, yellow-12.16V. All voltages were shown by a Fluke 105B scopemeter. Using the RECORD function, all voltages remained steady while running until shutdown with the green wire rising to 3.83V.

    Curiously, a couple of times the system hung at the processor initialization phase and stayed there for as long as I let it. I'm beginning to think I'll need to call Father Damien.

    I repair home theater equipment for a living and in those items, the CPU sends out the shutdown signal. Would the computer CPU do the same to the PS? Even so, what type(s) of protection lies in it's innards or does the processor do all the sensing? What's next?

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    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    I agree with the others that you very likely have a short somewhere.

    But here's something you can check, just to make sure -- download and run Speedfan, to see if some component in your system is overheating.

    In order to boot into Windows (so that you can run Speedfan), you probably will have to go into Safe Mode. See if you can successfully get into Safe Mode.

    Also, see if you can boot into VGA Mode.

    (Safe Mode and VGA Mode are accessed by hitting the F8 key several times when you first turn on the computer.)

    If you can successfully boot into VGA Mode, then your problem is video-related.

    If you can't successfully boot into VGA Mode, but you can successfully boot into Safe Mode, then at least you are making progress.
    Last edited by mrjimphelps; 2013-12-02 at 17:23.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowjack View Post
    With the Corsair supply in place, I got the following voltages: with the system in the dead/shutdown mode, Purple-5.04V, green- 3.83V, all others 0V. After a power supply reset and power up, purple-5.02V, green, 0V, gray-5.08V, red-5.09V, orange-3.36V, yellow-12.16V.
    OK. This is what you saw. The power controller needs 5 volts for operation. That 5.04 volts should be when the computer was powered off - only connected to AC mains. (And why the power cord must be removed from the wall receptacle before making any hardware changes.) Green wire is the power controller telling the PSU to power on. 3.83 is slightly low compared to most systems. But more than enough (above 2.0 volts) to tell a PSU to stay off.

    When the power button is pressed, then the power controller dropped the Green wire to less than 0.7 volts. The PSU then powers on. A voltage monitor in the PSU then monitors other DC voltages and should increase to more than 2.4 volts in less than 2 seconds.

    This part is troubling. That power good signal should not be same as the 5 volts. It is typically less. But many third party supplies 'forget' to include electronics for the Power Good (gray) wire. Instead connect that wire directly to the 5VDC (red) wire. Then unexpected power loss can cause data corruption. Your numbers for a gray wire should be slightly lower if the required power good semiconductors exist.

    So the gray wire remain above 2.4 volts and green wire remains below 0.7 when the CPU hung? If yes, then the power system is apparently good; reason for that hang resides elsewhere.

    Your red, orange, and yellow wires (when fully loaded by all computer components) are well above what would be problematic. For example, ATX specs say red wires should remain about 4.75 volts. That means any voltage below 4.83 indicates a failure. Obviously your voltages are quite robust, well above that problematic minimum, and do not even suggest a possible power system short. Move on to other suspects and don't even look back.

    CPU sends messages to the power controller for various shutdowns such as hibernate or restart. The power button also sends a message to that controller. But all power cycling is controlled by the power controller that is telling the PSU (via green wire) to stay on.
    Last edited by westom; 2013-12-03 at 00:27.

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    Silver Lounger Banyarola's Avatar
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    Check that the screws to mount the mother board are in the correct holes..

    I had a similar experience once replacing a mother board...
    "If You Are Reading This In English, Thank A VET"

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    Well, whatever the reason, the problem has been slowly creeping more and more to the fore, as in something slowly breaking down more and more often. This does not sound like misplaced mounting screws. I had been monitoring the unit via Speed Fan for quite some time before with no unexpected readings shown. Quite the mystery.

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