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  1. #16
    Silver Lounger Banyarola's Avatar
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    I also once had a cracked motherboard that caused similar problems...
    "If You Are Reading This In English, Thank A VET"

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowjack View Post
    I had been monitoring the unit via Speed Fan for quite some time before with no unexpected readings shown. Quite the mystery.
    1) So what do system (event) logs report? Windows discovers problems, reports it in the logs, and then works around the problem so that you might not see it. Windows is a poor tool for finding problems - especially intermittents. But the logs are a source of hard facts - especially those that appear to make no sense.

    2) So the system just hangs and the monitor still displays as is? Or does the monitor blank out? Does the computer in the keyboard still work when the main CPU hangs? Do you really know the entire system crashed or just the video interface has frozen?

    3) Heat is often an excellent tool for finding intermittents. Ideal temperatures for all computer hardware is below 40 degrees F and above 100 degrees F. A hairdryer on high is a perfect tool for isolating an intermittent to one location. For example, heat the DRAM board for about two minutes. Does the system hang? Then move on to other suspects; until you find a semiconductor that is 100% defective because it becomes unstable at 100 degrees F.

    First hardware becomes intermittent at 70 degrees and will crash at 100 degrees. Eventually a semiconductor defect (created by a manufacturing defect) will start failing often even at 70 degrees. Heat is a diagnostic tool.

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    CLiNT (2014-02-15)

  4. #18
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    Another shot in the dark, applicable only for motherboard 4 years old, or over 5 years; 7 years definitely a candidate:
    Modern motherboard has on-board switching voltage regulators right near the cpu. It is to supply power to cpu at heavy transient current draw. Close-by decreases long wire/cable resistance (0.05 Ohmx20A=1V drop!). Transient loading from cpu could be quite high. Frequently these are multi-phase switching regulators to support transient loading.
    You can identify the on-board regulator by the bank of 'towering' electrolytic capacitors (frequently 10-12 of them) near the cpu socket.
    Because of high ripple current, these capacitors could heat up internally (not detectable from outside), and slowly losing capacitive efficiency. This will lower the regulator efficiency over time. At a critical point, the efficiency is simply not good enough to support transient overload. Overloading, even momentarily, will trigger a shutdown.
    Because regulator efficiency goes down slowly over time, the point of malfunction is highly irregular, and depends on external trigger (a heavy current spike). (And it has nothing to do with external PS, no matter how muscular it is).
    Fortunately, a way to verify it is to parallel-connect all the on-board capacitors with new capacitors. If it works, this is the cause. Of course, this is for quality control and failure analysis people.
    My 2 cents.
    Last edited by scaisson; 2013-12-05 at 03:53.

  5. #19
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    For Westom: The event logs seem to give no proper information about the problem. Anything around the crash time (before the problem started coming on so quickly) just showed the information sign. As to the processor hang, this was at bootup with the monitor showing nothing.

    For Scaisson: both of the mobos I have for/in the unit have been around a while so I would not be very surprised about bad ESR. Some of them do look slightly bulgy on top so I'll get some caps to put in the original board then install it and see what happens. The quick shutdowns now are during the loading phase where demands on the CPU are greater. Weeks ago, it would shut down occasionally after over a hour run with a browser doing radio streaming.

  6. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowjack View Post
    Some of them do look slightly bulgy on top so I'll get some caps to put in the original board then install it and see what happens.
    Not just any caps. Critical for those caps are other parameters that affect ESR including its temperature rating. Design of that adjacent power supply is found in Intel requirements for the original Pentium. A CPU must consume from well less than 1 amp to well over 10 amp - in microseconds. Another reason why just any electrolytics are insufficient for that location.

    Above discussed temperature test would have identified that problem. Heat is a powerful diagnostic tool. Any part that fails at 100 degrees is completely defective and will probably get worse with time.

    An intermittent failure does not necessary coincide with a timestamp on an error message. Reason for a crash may be due to a failure reported minutes or even an hour earlier. The error message may not identify the defect. But can be an important symptom that points to (with additional facts) to what is actually defective. Any error messages (flagged in red) should be included in a list of symptoms.

  7. #21
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    Granted, heat can be a problem, but with the quick powerdown AND the side of the box open, heat now is no problem. ESR sure seems to be the main culprit and I will try to get things back in order as time permits.

  8. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowjack View Post
    Granted, heat can be a problem, but with the quick powerdown AND the side of the box open, heat now is no problem.
    Nothing even suggested heat is a problem. "Heat is a powerful diagnostic tool." Use heat to find what is otherwise an intermittent defect. No facts currently exist to suspect ESR. That was only one suspect based only upon speculation.

  9. #23
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    Back on the air again. I had to obtain motherboard caps and put them in (oy, such a task!) this, on the original mobo, get back to my regular job of fixing audio equipment then putting in the original mobo. Interesting results, I found. (1) I still have the problem. (2) For some odd reason, if I run it in safe mode works, it does. No sign of overheating. I ran Malware Bytes full scan and removed 2 items. I am using a 650W Corsair P/S now. (3) I removed the driver for the Nvidia video card, rebooted into regular XP and within 5 minutes, bang! (4) A peculiarity occurred in that a mystery found hardware screen popped up and, of course, would not install. I did find "unknown device" in device manager and removed it. (5) Bios date was way off. That got resolved but the desktop, which has a wallpaper changer that has a calendar showing did not change at all (Groundhog Day!). Only on the last reboot did it change properly. I'm beginning to think of upgrading the OS to Windows 7 32-bit.

  10. #24
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    (2) For some odd reason, if I run it in safe mode works, it does.
    I'm beginning to think of upgrading the OS to Windows 7 32-bit.
    Do more testing in safemode if your system is not shutting down with it.
    If your thinking of upgrading to Windows 7, why not just try reinstalling XP clean?
    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.

  11. #25
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    I haven't done any more to the Systemax due to snow and the need to do my primary job. It seems there must be a basic software glitch that is available in standard boot that does not load in safe mode. This implies the need to do a clean install of either my XP or jump to Windows 7. I did the upgrade advisor and can do it fairly easily. At least I have a backup (which I might try first) if things go to pot (Macrium Reflect-yay!) or do the install. I also have other partitions that carry a number of my programs and data so I won't lose them. I just have to find the time.

  12. #26
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    UPDATE: I could not use Macrium Reflect to install the backup image; I got shut down in the middle of the restore, rendering the install inoperative-not bootable. I then tried to do the non-destructive OS install; the system did not give me the proper option to do so. I bit the bullet and did a partition format and new install. Since the new install is SP2, I put in my SP3 disc to install the update and the *%#) system shut down! I then tried a live Ubuntu disc to get into the system and fiddle with the partitioning system on the 3 HDDs I have reasoning the the HDD upon which I have C: partition (along with a data and a separate programs partition) might have sector problems. No luck: the Ubuntu was getting ready to get onto the desktop and bang! Twice! The peculiar thing is that I can sit in Safe Mode all day long. Any ideas, please?

  13. #27
    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    This may be way off in left field, but I wonder if there is some defective hardware device which draws as much power as it can, and it is the cause of your problems. In other words, the more powerful your power supply, the more power the device draws. Hence, the problem seems to occur quicker when you have a more powerful power supply. Also, perhaps it drawing as much power as it can is part of the problem -- it won't stop at the normal amount.

    A lot of functionality disappears when you go into Safe Mode, so maybe said device isn't operating when you are in Safe Mode.

    What about if you boot into VGA Mode? (I'm not sure if it is called VGA Mode in XP; that's what it was called in Windows 3.1.) Basically, it is low-grade video mode. If there is a video issue which is causing your troubles, then booting into VGA Mode might allow things to work. VGA Mode strips out most of the video functionality, so that if video is the culprit, you can still use Windows.

    You access VGA Mode from the same screen that you access Safe mode.
    Last edited by mrjimphelps; 2014-03-12 at 13:54.

  14. #28
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    Actually, I had removed the video card driver earlier to check for funky drivers and have not been able to reinstall it, so I should imagine that the default mode for the card with no driver would be VGA.

  15. #29
    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    I would still try rebooting into VGA mode. That will be the least resource-intensive video mode, with the least possibility of conflicts.

  16. #30
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    I'll try that next chance I get along with double checking the memory chips. Thanks.

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