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Thread: Computer dead

  1. #1
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    Computer dead

    Hi

    Weird thing happened to me on Saturday. Playing Delta Force 2 and my computer just died. Absolutely nothing.
    Checked the power. There was power at the cord. OK I thought, power supply. Bought a new one and installed it. Same result.

    Can anyone me any ideas as to what may have happened and how I could fix the problem?
    cheers

    Phil Carter

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    Re: Computer dead

    Sudden death eh? I have to wonder if the motherboard decided to go belly up.
    -Mark

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    Re: Computer dead

    Thanks Mark

    I was hoping something a little less serious but this is highly likely as the machine is 3+ years old
    cheers

    Phil Carter

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    Re: Computer dead

    Mark thanks again.

    I had one of our techos look at it and I was right but I needed to reset the CMOS.

    All up and running again and surprisingly it appears to be significantly faster! Bonus
    cheers

    Phil Carter

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    Re: Computer dead

    When you say you were right...do you mean it was just a dead power supply? Or was it something else?
    -Mark

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    Re: Computer dead

    Mark

    The power supply just died. No painful stuttering or loud explosions, just kaput.
    cheers

    Phil Carter

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    Re: Computer dead

    Invest in a good one - don't replace that power supply with some generic budget model. All power supplies deliver power. Good PSs deliver clean steady power, with oomph in reserve as needed. Antec and Enermax come to mind. No less than 350Watts, 400 to 450 is better - greater flexibility for future upgrades.

    The cleaner the power delivered to your motherboard and drives, the less work the mobo's regulation circuits have to do - less work equals less heat - always good.

    That said, something blew out your old PS. Hopefully, it was just a faulty component in the PS itself. Note that store bought PCs and many PC cases come with cheap generic PSs, just to make the sale. I have even bought Antec and Enermax cases where the vendor threw in generic PSs! I immediately replaced them with Antec TruePower 380s (no, don't own Antec stock -just a trustworthy brand - and the True Power line is pretty quiet too - important as PC fan noise is becoming unpopular - especially when used in home theater environments) - the generics are now strapped to test benches.

    Hopefully, when the PS blew, it did not take out a drive, video card, or the motherboard.

    If you are not using an UPS, why not? Get one. Period.

    Note to everyone reading - If you are not using an UPS, you are at least, foolish! Power strips/Surge protectors do not cut it! They are not much more than fancy, expensive, extension cords. MOVs, the primary "clamping" components in surge protectors, wearout - a little bit with every hit - like every time the refrigerator cycles! Or the air conditioner, oven, washing machine, ad nauseam.

    Surge protectors do nothing for sags or drops in voltage (brownouts) - again whenever a major device places a sudden demand on the local service. Grid brownouts can last seconds or longer - only an UPS can compensate for that.

    Only an UPS will "regulate" the power, even under normal power conditions. When the UPS delivers cleaner power to the Power Supply, the PS's regulator circuits deliver cleaner power to the motherboard.

    Of course, in the case of a blackout, only an UPS can provide battery backup. 500Watts (~840VA, ~$130US) will support a high-end PC, 19 Inch LCD Monitor, cable modem, cable router, WAP, and even a small speaker set for at least 15 minutes - then included software gracefully saves data, closes apps, and shutsdown PC - show me a power strip that can do that? (If using a CRT monitor and wish it to be protected - really nice if you are using the PC at the time), I recommend at least a 1000VA (~600W). Plug the strip into if UPS for power blocks/transformers.

    Sorry, but I have heard "but I used a surge protector" (the same one for 5 years!) too many times. It have become a thing with me.

    Do you have a big screen TV? Are you using an UPS with it? Why not?....

    Got a lot of money tied up in your stereo/home theater system? Is your amp plugged into an UPS (thereby protecting speakers too!)? Why not?

    okay - you're sick of me - you get the message - later...
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
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    Heat is the bane of all electronics!

    ─────────────────────

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    Re: Computer dead

    Phil-I'm curious about your need to 'reset' the CMOS. I've had many PS's die on me & while I've sometimes lost the CMOS settings when they did so that never left the PC dead (after replacing the PS). Not working right, yes, but never not working at all. Do you know what setting in the CMOS did this?

    Bill-Overall I agree with you about surge protectors. I think surge protectors work fine-when they're new. For those customers who refuse to get a UPS I always advise them to replace their surge protectors annually, just like they do (or should) their smoke detector batteries. I suspect I'm wasting my breath but it does make me feel better.

    The idea of surge protectors continuing to deliver power after they wear out is a long-standing pet peeve of mine. IMO that's negligence on the part of the manufacturers-at a minimum they should provide an audible alarm when the surge protection fails. (The visible 'alarm' most provide isn't enough. Most surge protectors I've seen are tucked either underneath or behind desks-so who sees the light? It should be either an audible alarm or complete failure IMO.)

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    Re: Computer dead

    CalvinCrumrune said:
    <hr>For those customers who refuse to get a UPS I always advise them to replace their surge protectors annually, just like they do (or should) their smoke detector batteries. <hr>

    Excellent suggestion! And actually, they should be replaced after a heavy hit too. Once they have protected your system, they did their job and time for a new one.

    As far as CMOS settings, ATX form factor power supplies power up only after a momentary short is placed on the two power pins of the Front Panel I/O connector located on ATX motherboards. Some BIOSs allow you to change the behavior of the power button (4 second delays, instant off, reset) It is possible for something to corrupt that setting - but outside of damaging over-current, I would think a BIOS/CMOS reset would fix that - as it sounds like it did.

    And in this case, since we were talking about a blown power supply, there could have been excessive current that actually fried and destroyed a part of the CMOS memory - rendering the motherboard dead, dead, and dead. Luckily, that did not happen - instead, it seems to have just corrupted it.

    I missed where you already bought a new PS - hope it was a nice one - but to make life easier on it - get an UPS! <img src=/S/bash.gif border=0 alt=bash width=35 height=39>
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
    Freedom is NOT Free!
    Heat is the bane of all electronics!

    ─────────────────────

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    Re: Computer dead

    > Note to everyone reading - If you are not using an UPS, you are at least, foolish!

    Personally, I prefer laptop computers. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

    I'm always surprised by how quickly the software that comes with a UPS wants to shut down the computer. Often much faster than *I* would like, since there might be open files to be saved, etc. It's tempting to not enable the software and handle the shutdown manually, but during many hours of the day, that would be a disaster. Someday they'll figure it out... (For home use, the software is fine, since few people have critical files open on another machine.)

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    Re: Computer dead

    I thought about that on/off behavior control-but can't see how that could be corrupted to keep the machine from booting without requiring that the BIOS be replaced rather than simply reset. Probably a failure of my imagination though-it's certainly the most likely place for symptoms like these to originate.

    BTW, I do include the advice about replacing surge protectors after they take a good hit but it's an 'if you realize it' bit of advice. The problem is that if the protector works properly then it blocks the very symptoms that would tell the user that it's taking a hit. There's gotta be a better way! (And IMO a UPS is it.)

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    Re: Computer dead

    JSCHER said
    <hr>I'm always surprised by how quickly the software that comes with a UPS wants to shut down the computer.<hr>
    Hmmm, the programs I use allow you to adjust the time to, for example, 5 minutes of battery power left - after which, it actually saves all open docs, and then shutsdown. Now, I admit, I never tested to see if it really only had 5 minutes left - but it has always been long enough to actually perform a graceful save/shutdown - but of course that depends entirely on the load and the batteries. The version of PowerChute that came with an APC 1100 UPS I have will actually keep power off, even after house current is restored, until after the batteries have recharged enough to manage another "graceful" shutdown should the power go up and down again - unless you manually override.

    You make a valid point about your laptop - basically has its own UPS - except you can't plug in any extras, such as network equipment.

    Calvin - I think it would depend on how big the hit if the CMOS is destroyed or just corrupted. I don't know how easy it would be to "replace" the BIOS, however - swapping out chips on multilayered boards is not fun, takes special tools and skills - probably cheaper to replace the whole motherboard.
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
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    Heat is the bane of all electronics!

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    Re: Computer dead

    By replacement I was thinking of flashing it but if it isn't a flash BIOS then you're right that it's probably easier to replace the whole mobo. At least for the average person.

    I wonder what the differences are between the versions of shutdown software. My first UPS was a '500 watt' unit from CyberPower. Their shutdown software (for Win9x) defaulted to 30 minutes-but the UPS would only keep the PC up for about 6. (fairly full PC with 17" monitor) No option for shutdown/restart based on battery level.

    At work we've had several sets of APC UPS's on our servers. I don't work with the software but I participate in the policy discussions so I know that the software with those UPS's include the battery level options.

    At home my latest UPS is also APC. (1KW rating, actually pretty close for a change-about 970 watts IIRC.) Don't recall the options on it, but I believe that I did lengthen the shutdown time. I'd swapped the 17" monitor for an LCD & that plus the increased wattage lengthened the measured run time to over 40 minutes.

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    Re: Computer dead

    I will heartily sing the praises of Antec's power supplies. <img src=/S/music.gif border=0 alt=music width=97 height=29> Aside from the fact that they consistently deliver their rated output, I am enamoured of the noise level they produce: almost none. I recently replaced a PSU in a once-noisy tower with an Antec SmartPower 350, and now the loudest thing in the room is the hard drive. Amazing!
    -Mark

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    Re: Computer dead

    Seen the new Antec Neopower PS? It is sweet!

    http://www.tomshardware.com/firstloo...720/index.html


    Flashing I'll go along with - but again - but if the CMOS is physically damaged, new mobo time.

    Of course, the run time on the UPS is heavily dependant on the load - and the batteries weaken in time too - If you UPS has a strength indicator, I'd put more trust in that, at least to the point if it indicated it was about to run out, I would believe it.

    I'm sure moving to LCD made a big difference.
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
    Freedom is NOT Free!
    Heat is the bane of all electronics!

    ─────────────────────

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