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Desktop in a restart loop - power supply explosion


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#1
explosion

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My configuration is or rather was Motherboard MSI 848P
Neo-V, CPU Intel P4 3.24 GHz, Ram 1.0 GB, Nvidia GE Force
6600 GT, 1 Maxtor PATA 160 GB, 1 Maxtor SATA 200 GB. Three
days ago the following happened: In the morning I turned on
the machine the usual system beeps sounded, then windows did
not start and the system froze. I tried to restart and the
same thing occurred. This was the beginning of an 8 hour
infernal loop of restarts and debugging. I tried ultimate
boot CD with utilities for memory, harddisc, file
management, fdisc, partition managers, maxtor harddisc
utilities, ntfs4dos, you name it. Nothing worked. Always the
same scenario the system restarted and the moment a utility
wanted to do something there was a little noise and the
action was interrupted and a reboot operation commenced. I
tried to reinstall XP the result was the same. The
installation was simply aborted. This happened many times.
Towards the end of 8 hours there was a small explosion at
the rear side of the PC propulsing smoke. I disconnected the
machine. Now I wish to know what can be recovered from the
PC and how. I am not worried about the data on the hard
discs since I have a regular backup procedure using an
external disc. I have allready took the PC apart. How can I
test the mobo, the CPU and the power supply separately so
that I can find which element was faulty and which elements
I can use for a future PC. Help will be highly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
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#2
SRX660

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Unfortunately you do not have a shop full of spare hardware to test with. SO, first a new power supply. I prefer good ones that are quiet.

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16817151032

I would install the PS and see if the computer will boot up. If the computer boots at all i would try a repair install.

http://www.geekstogo...ws-XP-t138.html

If you cannot do a repair install i would next think about replacing the Hard Drive. You probably have the OS on the PATA drive so i would take the drive out of that computer, then slave it in another computer and see if you can access the drive. You should be able to access all files except ones in the documents and settings folder. If you can access the drive with no problems, then i would tend to think you have a motherboard problem. I do wonder what would cause the power supply to get hot enough to fry itself. This makes me think of a short somewhere. You can try having only 1 stick of memory, one hard drive, the graphics card, 1 cdrom drive, the keyboard,and the mouse, hooked up and see if the computer boots. If you have a floppy drive use a boot floppy to see if you can boot at all. Slowly adding other hardware you can see if one piece of hardware causes a problem. This also goes for memory if you have more than one stick. Try each one, one at a time, then both or more later to see if a stick has gone bad. Trial and error is your only choice. Lets see what happens.

SRX660
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#3
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Yesterday I took the PC apart and installed the motherboard in another case with a brand new Zalman 400 W powersupply. Then I added the CPU, graphics card GE Force 6600 Nvidia and the memory rams. With only a floppy drive I tried to start the machine. The CPU fan and the case fans turned but that was all. No beeps nothing on the screen. I tried to start the system many times. Checking all the connections again and again. I added the SATA drive and DVD and tried again and again. Alas no action on the screen no beeps just the fans whirling that is all. Does this mean that the mobo or the CPU or both are dead? I do not dare to test the powersupply fearing that it will produce the same explosion which was really dangerous. Also I am ready to throw it away. But I wish to know whether the mobo or cpu canbe used without any risk.
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#4
SRX660

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No post BEEP says the motherboard is not passing the hardware test. Check the CPU with another system if possible, or try a different cpu in what you have to tell you what is bad.

SRX660
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#5
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As you say I also concluded that the mobo is dead. Now remains the CPU which is a powerful Intel 3.24 GHz. Unfortunately I do not have any spare hardware to test it, but it needs to be checked. So I decided to get professional help from a computer repair service and I handed over the case with the defect PS, mobo and CPU to them. Now they will report back to me before the end of the week and we'll see which of the three components can be reused. In the meantime I am preparing to mount the SATA HD in my second desktop to examine it. I'll report back as things progress.
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#6
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Further to the message of this morning, I have installed the PATA Maxtor 160 GB HD in my second machine as a secondary slave. There is no problem in accessing it. The first partition contained the system, I have deleted the folders and formatted the partition. Second and third partitions contained my data, they are all intact. This in fact confirms the assumption that the trouble was not with the HDs. Now I am intending to install the SATA Maxtor 200 GB HD in the second PC. But this requires a SATA controller card. What is more troublesome is that the XP OS will probably require revalidation thinking that it is a different computer. Is there a way to go around that problem. Advice is welcome.
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#7
SRX660

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From my experience, if you used a retail XP CD to install on your system, Microsoft will let you reactivate the system it is now on. I have even done this with OEM CD's that you buy from various internet company's (contrary to what some people say). On an Upgrade CD you are out of luck. The best you can do is use a older windows Cd to use as a info(previous OS) source when you install the upgrade on the computer.

All the newest motherboards have Sata connections and many do not even have a second Pata connection where you can have both Pata hard drives and Pata cdrom drives in the computer. If needed i would use a Promise Sata card for connecting sata drives up to a NON-Sata motherboard.

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16816102061

Not cheap at $45 but still cheaper than another new motherboard.

SRX660
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#8
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My second machine has an Asus P4S8X-X mobo and a relatively old case. It has no SATA port. So I used an old SATA controller card, but this time I found out that the case has no power supply cable for SATA drives. Perhaps I have to buy an adapter, if it exists. So for the moment I stopped the work on SATA drive. In any case, since the PATA HD with the OS has no problems it is unlikely that the SATA HD containing only data would have any problems. Lets see what the computer service will come up with. Do they exist I don't know.
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#9
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The computer service reported back saying that the motherboard and the powersupply are dead and can not be used any more. They could not test the CPU by itself, but they think the CPU is OK. They do not know what caused all this trouble. Suggestions and advice is highly welcome.
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#10
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Thanks. Your help was quite useful and encouraging. Finally I had to get a new mobo, a CPU, a graphics card and a SATA hd. I reused the case, the existing SATA hd, the firewire card, my spare powersupply and all the other external equipment. Now I have got a quiet machine, which is much more powerful than its burned predecesser. The computer service says that it is the powersupply that failed and thereby killed the mobo. But they can not spot why the PS after 2.5 years of usage failed like this. In any case I have allready a utility running monitoring temperature, voltage, clock speed and fan speed. Of course this is no garanty that nothing will burn, because during the incident I could not get the system to start so such a utility would not be of much use either.
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