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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger
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    P.C. Winter Blues

    My p.c. is in a room that's on the lower level of our split-level house. To conserve heat, we have the thermostat set at 65F most of the time. Needless to say, since hot air rises, the room doesn't get very warm in the winter (eg. today it was -7F outside when I went to work). During this time, when I turn on the p.c., I usually have to reboot it one or two times, because it "freezes" at a seemingly random point. At least once a week, I have to unplug the p.c. to get it to reboot. It's a P3 running Windows 98 SR2. If it froze at the same point all the time, I would be able to pinpoint what was going on. Sometimes it never even starts up (no noise at all after the initial "beep beep" and fan), sometimes it gets almost all the way to the end and then the mouse pointer dies. Since this only happens when it's cold, are there any suggestions on how to keep the little guy warm enough so it thinks it's summer? Space heaters are out. I can't move the p.c. upstairs where it's warmer, because I don't have a space to put it in. Short of knitting it a sweater, I don't know what to do. <img src=/S/scratch.gif border=0 alt=scratch width=25 height=29>
    Carpy Diem, it&#39;s .

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: P.C. Winter Blues

    I'd just leave it running and switch off the monitor when not in use.
    I can't think what could be the problem, unless it's cold enough to cause condensation. Electronics run better cooler as a rule. Unless you are talking real cold like -20C/0F?

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: P.C. Winter Blues

    > I can't think what could be the problem, unless it's cold enough to cause condensation
    A very likely cause is a "dry" solder connection that is being affected by expansion and contraction.

    StuartR

  4. #4
    3 Star Lounger
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    Re: P.C. Winter Blues

    Well, on rare occasions, I can see my breath when I'm at the p.c., but usually, the downstairs temperature is about 5 degrees lower than the upstairs temperature. (Of course outside this morning it was a brisk -2.7F with a wind chill factor of -13F <img src=/S/hmmn.gif border=0 alt=hmmn width=15 height=15> ) I'm thinking because there's so much moisture in the air all the time, that there's some sort of condensation. Maybe I should just try to rearrange the upstairs and abandon ship, as it were, when it starts getting colder outside. In the summer, the downstairs is the coolest room in the house, so that's where we usually end up on particularly hot days. I thought that maybe there would be some way to adjust the fan so it doesn't automatically turn on when the p.c. starts booting up. I mean, what could be getting hot that fast?
    Carpy Diem, it&#39;s .

  5. #5
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: P.C. Winter Blues

    Just to rule out the possibility that you have some other coincidental problem, Peggy, why don't you try Leif's suggestion and leave the PC turned on 24/7 for a week and see if there are any operational problems. At least you could narrow it down before you go to the trouble of rearranging you house!

  6. #6
    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: P.C. Winter Blues

    I would expect a dry joint to manifest itself on a more irregular basis than purely on a (fixed) temperature factor, but it is certainly possible.
    (Certainly the ones I have had to trace are as fickle as they come <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> )

    Peggy,
    I wouldn't even think about disconnecting any fan unless it is controlled by an internal thermostat that knows what it is doing! Some devices may heat up surprisingly fast and depend on the movement of air to keep them under control. If the pc is being switched once a day, I would say it would be better for you to leave it running, regardless of the temperature. I wouldn't expect it to draw more than the equivalent of a 10W-20W lightbulb in terms of power consumption.

  7. #7
    3 Star Lounger
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    Re: P.C. Winter Blues

    Thanks, Lief - I was wondering how a p.c. would affect the electric bill. At the times when the kid is home on vacation, the electric bill goes up <img src=/S/drop.gif border=0 alt=drop width=23 height=23> , and I always presumed it had something to do with the p.c. usage. So what I'll do is make sure that the UPS isn't hooked up to the outlet that goes off when I turn the overhead light off in the room, then I'll leave the p.c. on (sans scanner, cd/rw external drive and anything else that I can think of) and see how it goes. <img src=/S/groovin.gif border=0 alt=groovin width=21 height=21>
    Carpy Diem, it&#39;s .

  8. #8
    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: P.C. Winter Blues

    Bear in mind that anything (apart from the monitor) that is switched off may not be recognised when you switch them back on!
    (The subject of whether or not it is better to leave a pc running has been discussed several times (from memory) in the Lounge before and so I didn't really want to regurgitate it. I'm a firm believer that HD's last longer if not subjected to a daily cold boot (i.e. power up) because of the start-up surge on the motor.)

  9. #9
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    Re: P.C. Winter Blues

    That said, if I leave my system with a 350W PSU running day and night, am I actually using 350W? I have been worrying about the electricity bill recently, as it's not uncommon for me to leave a couple of base units running, along with a server with dual 500W PSU's and maybe a laptop on soak test.

  10. #10
    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: P.C. Winter Blues

    The PSU rating is what it is capable of supplying, not what it uses. (What it uses will always be slightly higher due to losses in the conversion from230VAC to 5VDC etc.) Think of it like a 13A outlet - its rating is its upper limit.

    Most pc's should be supplied with an over-rated PSU to allow you to add additional CD/HD drives, sound cards, modem cards, etc. More recently with USB, it also has to power any USB powered devices such as scanners and so on.

    Having made my claim about a pc not using much power when not in use, I probably ought to get some realistic figures. I'll see what I can find out.

  11. #11
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    Re: P.C. Winter Blues

    Okay, so last night, I switched off the monitor and (since I had to turn off the overhead light), the printer too. Since we need to turn the overhead light back on as it's dark by the time I get home, I'm hoping that the p.c. still recognizes the printer. Can't wait to get home tonight to see if test was successful.

    Havin' a heatwave - it's supposed to be 21F today! Break out the shorts! <img src=/S/groovin.gif border=0 alt=groovin width=21 height=21>
    Carpy Diem, it&#39;s .

  12. #12
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    Re: P.C. Winter Blues

    To my understanding what few dollars more you would be spending to leave it on would be cheaper then messing up something turning it on and off. I was told by a Tech. that turning on and off the machine can cause things to get loose on the system board from components swelling & shrinking from hot and cold. I always leave my Computers running.You can set your monitor to turn off at any amount of time passed you want. If you don't know how to do this let us know and we will run you through it.

  13. #13
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    Re: P.C. Winter Blues

    It depends on the electric rate in your area. In my area, the residential rate is about US$0.093 per KWH. If I turn on my PC 24-hour a day with full assuming 350w capacity running, it consumes 24x350/1000=8.4KWH energy which is equivalent to US$0.78 per day. In addition to this, you need to add the power consuming on your monitor, printer, scanner....

  14. #14
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    Re: P.C. Winter Blues

    Just an update - the p.c. has been running along for about a week except for two times - one time I thought it had frozen and I rebooted (turns out the scanner was taking its time warming up). The second time we had to reboot because we got an Explorer error when (gasp!) trying to watch a video clip with a 26.4 "speedy" internet connection we have (thanks to our squirrel-y population <img src=/S/hairout.gif border=0 alt=hairout width=31 height=23> ). I guess I need to call the phone company (again!) and get them to check the lines.
    Carpy Diem, it&#39;s .

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