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Random Rebooting and Lock Ups


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#16
Samm

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Hi

Ok, lets deal with these issues one at a time. Can you continue to use the borrowed PSU for a little while to make sure that the reboot problem has been resolved? Don't worry about the hard drives just yet, I want to make sure that the original problem is resolved first.

Out of interest though, what is the max output power rating of the borrowed PSU? This will be written on the label on the side of the PSU & stated in watts.

We will deal with the drive issue asap but I need to make sure that there's no power issues first as a dodgy PSU can damage other components.
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#17
JessCC

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Hi Samm,

First off, I just want to say thank you so much for taking the time to help me step by step. You don't know how much that helps around here as I am such a n00b with this.

Right now, I've left it on overnight, doing what I do, and it's still working fine. Haven't rebooted. Gonna leave it on for a couple of days to see how.

Err... I'm using an ATX-500W. I'll post whatever info that's on the box.

AC Input
Voltage: 230V
Current: 5A
Frequency: 50HZ

DC Output Max
Voltage
Orange: +3.3V, 24A
Red: +5V, 30A

Current
Yellow: +12V, 20A
White: -5V, 0.5A

Frequency
Blue: -12V, 0.5A
Purple: 5Vsb, 2A
Grey: P/G, OK

Hope this helps.

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#18
JessCC

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Day 1 and a half of leaving my computer on and doing what I normally do.... And, no reboots! Unfortunately, still can't get my other HDDs up. Will have to wait for my friend to take a look. Maybe he didn't set it correctly. But, I thought I'd update on the no reboot news.
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#19
Samm

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Hi

I'm glad to hear you've still had no reboots. The PSU you are currently using seems fine in terms of power output, so that's unlikely to be responsible for the problem with the hard drives.

I suggest when you go to buy a replacement PSU, you make sure you get something in the region of 450W or more. If you can afford to buy a decent brand of PSU, then even better. Examples of good brands are: Antec, Hiper, Thermaltake, Enermax, Silverstone, Tagan etc.

Re. the hard drive problem...
If you've got someone coming round who knows what they're doing, then this is probably your best bet. The chances are, it's something quite simple which will be easy enough to spot when looking at it but difficult to diagnose online like this.
I will make a couple of suggestions for testing though:

- With the IDE drive, I'd recommend you either disconnect the current IDE drive first or connect the non-working IDE drive to the secondary controller on it's own (i.e without any optical drives connected). This should help eliminate any issues with incorrect jumper (master/slave) configuration.

- With the sata drive, make sure that the sata controller hasn't been disabled in the bios & that it is set to normal operation (not raid). Also check that the sata cable is securely connected at both ends. These cables often have slightly dubious connectors that easily work loose.


Let me know how you get on
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#20
JessCC

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Sigh, sad update. Yesterday, my friend hooked up the PSU to my HDDs, both the SATA and the IDE and they worked perfectly! I took it home with me, used it for 4 hours last night, no problem also. I was rather excited but also a bit reserved, just in case the PC might reboot. It didn't. I transferred my files between HDDs, no problem.. I shut down my PC and called it a night.

Early this morning, I tried to boot up and it wouldn't start up at all. The green light would turn on, same for the HDD orange light, my CD ROM burner's green light also blinked, as well as the DVD ROM light, but all this happened for just a second or two, and then, no life in my CPU. I tried a couple of times and they came back the same result, it cannot start up.

I know I will build a new CPU in the very near future, but not until I get the budget sorted out, so, I still need my current CPU to sustain for a month or so. ARGH… I'm confused, and doubly worried.

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#21
Samm

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Ok, don't panic! (Well, not yet anyway...)

Can you try these things in the following order please:

1) Disconnect the power cord from the back of the computer. Also disconnect any USB devices you may have. (If you have a USB keyboard, then leave this plugged in)

2) Open up the computer - wherever you position the computer, please make sure it's not on a carpeted surface. Discharge your own static by touching a metal surface with one hand (a radiator is good).

3) Disconnect the main power cable that connects the PSU to the motherboard. This will be the big white plastic 20 pin plug.

4) Disconnect the hard drive cabling from the motherboard (IDE & SATA). Disconnect the cdrom cabling from the motherboard (note you can leave the ribbon cable plugged into the drives themselves, just disconnect the motherboard end). Disconnect the power from all hard drive but leave power connected to the cdrom drive. Leave the floppy drive connected up as usual.

5) Remove any PCI cards you may have. Leave only the AGP video card in place. Make sure the AGP card is securely in it's slot.

6) Locate the round silver battery on the motherboard (looks like a coin). The bunch of wires that plug into the board nearest this battery are the front panel connectors. You should see something like this (make sure you are looking at the board so that these wires are to the right of the battery, as shown below)
----- - - ----o [o o][o o]
(BATTERY) [o o][o o]

[o o] represents a single connector with 2 wires. The pair in blue are for the front power switch. Make sure this connector is securely connected. (It makes no difference which way round it goes providing it's covering the 2 pins shown in the diagram.

7) Next reconnect the main PSU (internal) power cable to the motherboard. Also check to ensure that the 4 wire (2 yellow, 2 white) square connector is connected to the board. This connector is close to the processor. NB Both of these 2 power cables are keyed so they only fit one way round so don't force them!

8) Make sure you have the monitor cable plugged in to the back of the computer, then reconnect the mains power lead to the rear of the PSU & power the system on. Make a note of any beeps you hear & of what happens (i.e is there a picture on the screen etc). If the computer stays powered up for long enough to check, then make sure that the fan on top of the CPU is spinning.

Power the system off when you're ready & let me know what happened.

Edited by Samm, 20 November 2007 - 05:37 PM.

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#22
JessCC

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Hi Samm,

I did according to what you've asked me to do, following as closely as I can and here are the results:

When I power on, the screen shows my graphics card specs (NVIDIA 64MB GE Force…), then, it shows the Intel Processor screen (I think it shows me that I’m running on Pentium 4…). Finally, it shows a black screen with the words below:

"Reboot and select proper Boot device or insert Boot device in selected boot drive"

And, there were no beeps or sounds coming from the CPU. The fan remained spinning up until I manually shut down the PC. I actually CTRL + ALT + DEL the first time, and it booted up the same, so, does this mean my motherboard is not "dead"?

What shall I do next? I dare not try to boot up with everything connected, fearing that it might harm my HDDs.

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#23
Samm

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Everything you've reported is perfectly normal & indicates that the motherboard is fine. The next step is to connect up one of the hard drives i.e. the one that contains the Windows installation. I'm assuming that this will be the IDE drive that you originally had working (ie not either of the 2 drives that your friend connected up last time).

Disconnect the external power cable & open up the case.
I'm assuming that the ribbon cables is still connected to the drive & only disconnected from the motherboard but in case it's disconnected both ends, I'll give the complete instructions for connecting up both ends:

You should notice that the ribbon cable has different coloured plugs on it, one of these plugs should be blue. The blue plug must be the one that connects to the motherboard.

You'll see that there are 2 identical connectors on the motherboard for the IDE cables. They should be marked either 0 & 1, or 1 & 2, or PRI & SEC. (Eg IDE 0, IDE 1). If they're numbered, then you need to connect the cable to the one with the lowest number. If they're marked PRI & SEC, then connect it to PRI.

NB The cable will be keyed & will only fit one way round so don't force it!

The plug on the other end of the cable must be connected to the hard drive (if it's not already). Again this is probably keyed but as a guide, connect the cable so that the striped edge is nearest the power connector on the drive.

The cable will probably also have a 3rd plug in the middle of the cable. If you have a second drive currently connected to this middle plug, then disconnect it.

------¦¦---------------¦¦-----------¦¦
------¦¦---------------¦¦-----------¦¦
------
¦¦---------------¦¦-----------¦¦
motherboard---------nothing--------hard drive

Next, connect up the power to the hard drive.

Reconnect the mains power lead & power the system on. This time, after the info on screen about the video card & processor, you should see the hard drive listed. Providing you've connected up the correct drive, it should boot up into windows.

So long as you don't force any of the connectors etc, then there's very little chance of damaging the drive. I also strongly recommend that you use a torch (flash light if you happen to be American!) or a desk lamp that you can angle, when you do all this. I can be quite fiddly & poor lighting just makes it harder.

Let me know what happens

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#24
JessCC

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Hi Samm,

Actually, my SATA is the master drive and my IDE is the slave drive, I think that's how you call it. (n00b here!). Anyways, my friend's brother fiddled with the computer last night and it could start up. The only thing is, it is very inconsistent. Like earlier, I tried to start up, it won't. And after two tries, the third try, I booted up and it worked, except, it had a siren sound (beep boop beep boop) like an ambulance and then it booted up normally.

Now, what I did was to fidget around with the USB ports because that seems to be the one giving problems. I took out the webcam USB and changed the USB port of my optical mouse to another port and voila, that was the third time boot up I was talking about above.

Is it the power output? I'm actually getting an "upgrade" in terms of wattage as the first PSU I had had a 350W max output, while this one is 500W. I'm CONFUSED... again. :)

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#25
Samm

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Glad to hear you've managed to get it to work even if it is somewhat random about it.

Re. the hard drives: for some reason I thought you had 3 - 2 IDE, 1 SATA. When you say the sata is the master, do you mean that it contains the windows installation? NB sata drives are not configured as master/slave as such so if (for example) you have 1 sata + 1 IDE drive, with the sata drive as your boot drive, the IDE drive could still be configured to be a master drive even though it's effectively acting as a slave to the sata.

Re the problems you are having with it booting up... when it refuses boot, do you still get a display on the screen or does the monitor stay off? In other words, does the monitor's power LED turn from amber to green?

The siren noise you described is slightly worrying. Often this alarm indicates that the system is overheating, but depending on the motherboard it could mean something different such as a fan failure for example. It may worth checking on the temperatures again with Speedfan. I seem to remember your hard drive temperature was quite high before

Re the PSU. The type of symptoms you described could be caused by an underpowered PSU but like you said yourself, 500W should be more than sufficient. This doesn't however rule out the possibility that the output voltages are fluctuating too much or that one of the power rails is failing to provide adequate power for some reason. When you next check Speedfan, make a note of the voltages also. These are given on the 'Readings' page in Speedfan (Vcore, +12V, AVcc). Also check to see if any of these are fluctuating. (As a guide, a fluctuation of up to 0.1V for the 12V reading, and up to 0.01V for the other two is fine).

Re. the USB devices - my old system would always refuse to boot if I'd left a USB flash stick plugged in to it. A USB mouse, keyboard or printer shouldn't cause any problems but next time it refuses to boot, just check to see if any other USB devices are connected & if so, unplug them.
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#26
JessCC

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Oops.. I didn't know the Master and Slave term was just for the IDEs. hehe... Anyway, yeah, the SATA is the one with the Windows installation and boy is it hot. It's at a steady 50C - 54C at times. Maybe I'm overworking it. :)

I DO admit, though, that the room I put my computer in, is not very conducive as it can get stuffy, even with the doors opened. I have no AC in that room. :)

When it refuses to boot, the LED on the monitor remains as amber, (or is it orange-y?) meaning, it doesn't even turn to green.

Well, the siren usually comes only when the computer fails to boot up a couple of times and the green LED on the CPU remains lit until I manually shut it down. (That's when the CPU won't boot, the fan doesn't spin after pressing the start up button)

I only have a few USB devices connected to the computer every time: mouse, webcam and ADSL modem. Right now, my webcam is left unplugged.

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#27
Samm

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Ok, let's get a better idea of what the other temperatures are currently doing...

Can you try this please:

1. power the system on. As soon as the monitor LED turns green, press the F2 key 3 or 4 times (leave a one second gap between each key press). This should get you into the bios setup.

2. In the bios, go to the 'Advanced' menu, then select the 'Hardware Monitoring' option

3. In there make a note of the following:
Any temperatures that are listed
The processor fan speed
All of the voltages (this will be a more reliable reading than using Speedfan)

4. Next, go back a level & select the 'Fan Control' option. If Fan control is enabled, then change this setting to Disabled

5. Go back to the main menu & save the changes, then exit the bios.

6. If you changed the fan control setting, then you must now power the system off, remove the external power lead & leave for at least 30 seconds. After 30 secs the power can be reconnected.


Let me know what the voltage, temperature & fan speed readings in the bios were
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#28
JessCC

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Hi Samm,

Report Time. OK, I did exactly what you told me to do in the previous post, so here are the readings:

Processor Zone Temperature: Fluctuates between 51C/123F & 52C/125F
System Zone 1 Temperature: Fluctuates between 37C/98F & 38C/100F
System Zone 2 Temperature: Fluctuates between 42C/107F, 43C/109F & 44C/111F

Processor Fan Speed: Increases up to it fluctuates between 5383RPM to 5405RPM, occasionally reaching 5410RPM

Voltage:
+1.5Vin - 1.493V
Vccp - 1.329V & 1.341V (interchanges between these two readings more constantly)
+3.3Vin - 3.362V & 3.379V (interchanges between these two readings more constantly)
+5Vin - 5.263V
+12Vin - 12.062V & 12.125V (interchanges only ONCE in a long while, but most times, it stays at 12.062V

I had to disable fan control and after shutting down, unplugged the A/C cords out for about a minute then I booted up to give you this report. Disabling fan control does what, exactly? Just curious... Am learning every day from you. Thanks!

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#29
Samm

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Fan control allows the system to vary the cpu fan speed depending on the temperature - ie, the fan only kicks in or speeds up when the temperature reaches a certain threshold. Disabling the fan control should result in the fan spinning at full speed the whole time. Just in case however, keep an eye on the cpu temperature - if it seems to be hotter than before, then re-enable the fan control.

The voltages are fine so we can probably rule that one out.

How are often are you experiencing the problem of the system not booting?
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#30
JessCC

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I've only started experiencing the problem ever since the computer came back with a new PSU. If I shut down for a day, and boot up the next day, it wouldn't boot up. And I would have to switch the USB devices around, slotting it in a different USB port and then, start up and it would boot up as normal. Sometimes, though, it might have the siren like beep boop and then a black screen with words. The top only states the specs, the bottom states this:

"CPU was previously shut down due to a thermal event (overheating)
Service the unit right away to resolve this.

Press F4 to continue, F2 to enter into BIOS....."

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