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Computer Will Not Power Up


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#1
cynthia-baker

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I've had this computer 4 years and use it primarily for work. It won't power up. No lights, no sound at all. I tried plugging in another cord. Still nothing. Should I purchase a power supply? From Gateway or maybe another supplier? I have never attempted to solve a hardware problem -- Is this a simple task? Help please! Thanks.
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#2
makai

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Hello,

-- Is this a simple task?

Hmmm... depends. It could be a bad power supply, it could be something deeper.

Were there any symptoms of anything going on before you last shut down the computer? Did you install any software prior to the problem showing up? Anything at all.

Gateway is infamous for not having on-line documentation for their products... especially older ones. Finding relevant information about your computer may be tough, however, we can at least give it a go! Can you please post the full model number of your computer so I can try to look up some info on it.

EDITED... sorry, I was thinking the 3200s was just the base model. If there are any additional digits, please post them.
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#3
cynthia-baker

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Hi, thanks for your timely response. Well I don't know what really happened before it shut off. My 11 year old nephew said he was not do anything unusual. He was watching music videos and it died. When I tried unplugging and starting up, nothing.

The Model is Gateway 3200S. S/No 00345285745 P/No 1008289

Hope this information helps.
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#4
makai

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Well, as suspected, I couldn't locate your computer maintenance manual (but I'll keep searching!). This being the case won't stop us from working your issue though.

Whenever a computer "just dies", its normally related to heat. The heat is normally related to insufficient air moving through the computer case. And this is caused primarily because of dust. Besides that, most OEM manufactures (Dell, Gateway,HP, etc), use minimal design components in their computers to save revenue. Unfortunately for the consumer, this relates to hardware malfunctions. Videos are process intensive, so if the computer died due to heat, I'm not suprised it did it at this time.

When was the last time you opened up and cleaned the inside of this computer? Don't be afraid to say "never", as most people don't really do this maintenance even though it is really an "unwritten requirement.

In any case, since we don't have the manual, I'll need to do some research to help guide you along. Please keep in mind that since this is a post-wait-post-wait situation on a forum, the repair can run the course of several (many) days. However, I'll be here to help you and I don't give up unless the OP (original poster) chooses to do so.

I'll be back!
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#5
makai

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Well Gateway isn't making things easy... the SN you posted (00345285745) has 11 digits. The Gateway site needs a SN with 10, 13, 16,17,18,19,22 digits. I also still cannot locate the manual.

What do you wish to do?
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#6
cynthia-baker

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HI, I verified. It was the slip of a finger, I typed the wrong S/N. (Sorry!)

Here is correct: S/N 0034528575 P/No 1008289

Well I did notice a lot of dust inside! I guess I should begin by cleaning it.
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#7
makai

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Thanks for the corrected serial. With it, I was able to find more information on your computer, although there is still no maintenance manual. However, your computer uses a 250watt power supply which in my opinion is probably just the bare minimum to get by with. The thing that concerned me was if Gateway used "proprietary" power supplies like the old Dell machines. Looking at the power supply information, it doesn't appear to be the case, which means basically any power supply with a 20 pin main connector will work. It also has to have the Pentium4 +12 connector, which most newer ones have.

I'm still not sure what the problem is with your computer, but from your description, the age, and the rated power of the power supply, it's almost a given the power supply just gave out. The best actual thing you could do is to ask someone (a friend) who has electronic/electrical experience to measure the power supply outputs. While this may be difficult to do if the power supply doesn't even turn on, it would be worth someone at least looking at it before purchasing a new power supply. HERE's the page with the specifications for your computer. You can look down the list for the power supply or anything else you wish to know about the computer. If you intend on purchasing a new PS right away, I would at least go to 300-350 watts minimum. I'll help you locate a decent one if you need help doing this.
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#8
cynthia-baker

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Yes, I am going to purchase a new power supply. (Don't have anyone to check outputs.) If you can locate the right one for me, I would appreciate it! Thanks.
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#9
makai

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Ok... I'll do some research for a PS, but I need to know where you're located... USA, Europe, etc, so I can recommend a website.
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#10
cynthia-baker

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I'm in the USA.
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#11
makai

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I'm in the USA.

Ok, that makes it much easeir since I'm also in the US!

I've been building computers for many years now, and have experience with many different vendors of power supplies. There are always choices of expensive, less expensive, cheap, and way too cheap to even consider! I tend to try to find some midway between expensive and less expensive... or medium priced.

However, for your machine, since the manufacture has only specified 250 watts, it means the demand on the power supply isn't that great. Still, there are expensive and way too cheap to consider choices.

I just recently built 2 computers for relatives, and am currently on a 3rd one for my nephew in Hawaii. I've been using this fairly new vendor which appears to be up and coming. The vendor is actually a subsidiary for a very excellent memory manufacture... OCZ memory. The power supplies are working fine for me and so I'm going to recommend you purchase one from this vendor. There are cheaper ones out there, but for me, I wouldn't go with them... well, just because I'm me! :)

In any case, I think you'll be fine with THIS power supply. It's a higher rated power supply than what you currently have, but given the power rating to price factor, its as good a choice as any. Newegg is a very reputable online supplier. Many computer enthusiasts know them well, and it's really the only place I shop for computer components. Their prices are very good, and their customer support is top notch... not to mention that right now, they have free shipping on this PS. I think you'll be happy with them. You can compare prices with Buy.com, Amazon.com, and Zipzoomfly.com and you can see why Newegg is a preferred site.

Of course there are many other choices at Newegg... HERE and HERE so if you don't want to go with the one I recommend, then you can choose one of these. If you have any questions regarding compatibility, or workings of the power supply, please let me know before you purchase.

After you purchase, we'll get into installing the power supply. For people who never worked on computer hardware, it can be quite daunting. However, it's not too difficult once you start going, and in fact you might enjoy working with something you never tried before! :)

By the way, I know you understand that the problem may be deeper than the power supply, so buying one may not fix your issue. As it stands, since you get no lights, no fans, etc, it certainly appears to be a power supply problem, and we won't know unless you can replace the PS. Just keep this in mind so the disappointment is lessened! In your case, this is something that must be done when troubleshooting.

Also, you mentioned you should clean the inside of the computer. Please do not use a vacuum cleaner and such. You need to purchase canned compressed air, and you need to remove the AC plug before doing anything. When you blow the air, try not to blast it. Go slow, and use less air so limited amount of static electricity is produced. Also, before you get close to touching anything in your computer, you need to ground both hands on a metal part of the computer chassis to eliminate any static charge your body is carrying.

Let me know what you want to do and we'll go from there.
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#12
cynthia-baker

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Hi, I'm going to check out the links you provided for PS, and get back to you as soon as I place the order. Thanks for your search time and recommendations.
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#13
makai

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You're welcome. There is much to be done after you get a power supply. :)
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#14
cynthia-baker

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Hi, please don't close this topic out. I just ordered the part today. I'll contact you the moment I receive it.
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#15
rshaffer61

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No worry as topics are not closed in this forum.
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