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Need help with Upgrade/Rebuild after lighting strike


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#1
KarmaQ

KarmaQ

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I'm starting from scratch, on a crash course on learning hardware, but I'm always a quick study and if I don't understand something I stay on it until I do. My PC was victim to the wrath of god and I was planning on upgrading anyway so this forced me to go ahead and do it. I have tested the power supply and it works perfectly. It's weird because when I take it out, the fan works but when it is plugged back into the PC it won't work. I'm assuming it's because of some fail-safe or something. I don't know if that's actually relevant to a diagnosis. The only thing that works on the whole thing is the green light on the back of the power supply while plugged in. Before I go any further here are the specs (BTW, I don't know what all is needed so this is what is posted on the front of the case):

  • Model: Gateway 556GE
  • Intel Pentium 4 Processor 630 (supporting hyper-threading technology)
  • Processor speed 3 GHz, 800 MHz FSB, 2 MB L2 Cache
  • 200 GB SATA HD (7200 RPM with 8 MB Cache
  • 512 MB DDR/Dual Channel Memory
  • 16x Double Layer Multi-Format DVD+/-RW Drive
  • 3 FireWire, 7 USB Ports
  • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900 (PCI-Express slot available
  • Intel PRO 10/100 LAN
  • Digital Memory Card Reader 8 in 1
  • Original OS was XP, upgraded to Vista

The RAM has been upgraded but I can't remember what it was upgraded to. Probably the max or close to it?

I don't have access to another PC to see if the other parts are working but, is there a way to take each component out and test it the way I did the power supply in order to narrow it down? If not, I was planning to upgrade anyway, so what components are most likely to have been damaged?

Is it possible that (and forgive me for not know if there are any or not) there is some kind of a fuse that just needs to be replaced or something? I really doubt that's the case, but I had to ask just in case. I didn't see anything burnt, melted, black or any smells inside the case.

If I need to replace anything, I know that there are certain parts that are compatible but I don't know what specs of what needs to be compatible with what... if that makes sense. In other words, what aspects of components have to match and what do I look for to be compatible with the case and other parts?

Before the long arm of god reached out to smite thy computer, I was having issues with it freezing on occasion when I had multiple programs running and while running games. That's the main reason I wanted to upgrade. I honestly don't know what some of those specs mean but I'm learning. Do those specs say what kind of mother board I have? I would like to replace the CPU with an Intel Core 2 Quad. Is there a specific model I would have to use to go with what I already have or is it only necessary to make sure the CPU and motherboard are compatible?

I may also want to get a sound card too because whatever is in it now sucks, so what would work with this PC? It sounds good with movies and playing music, but when I record or if I do a live video chat, no one can hear me.

If there are any questions or if I need to look at anything on/in it, it is opened and ready for me to dive in. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Karma Q.

Edited by KarmaQ, 25 July 2010 - 04:15 AM.

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#2
phillpower2

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What tests have you done on the psu & what equipment did you use?
You cannot test a psu by simply shorting the pins out & getting the
fan to spin it is not conclusive, the unit has various voltage/amps
output & any one or more may be bad.
I would recommend getting the psu tested correctly or loaning a spare
to test the other hardware, your computer specs show it only has a
300W fitted as stock so you would swap this out for a more powerful
one should you upgrade, here is a link to the MB that is listed as in
your system http://www.ascendtec...SBURGFW&eq=&Tp=
You will notice that there is very little room if any for upgrading
the MB such as no pci-e 16 or agp gfx card slots + limited Ram slots.
Below is the canned text of Digerati explaining testing a psu safely & correctly;

To properly and conclusively test a power supply unit (PSU), it must be tested under various realistic "loads" then analyzed for excessive ripple and other anomalies. This is done by a qualified technician using an oscilloscope or power analyzer - sophisticated (and expensive) electronic test equipment requiring special training to operate, and a basic knowledge of electronics theory to understand the results. Therefore, conclusively testing a power supply is done in properly equipped electronic repair facilities.

Fortunately, there are other options that are almost as good. I keep a FrozenCPU Ultimate PSU Tester in my tool bag when I am "in the field" and don't have a good spare power supply to swap in. While not a certain test, they are better than nothing. The advantage of this model is that it has an LCD readout of the voltage. With an actual voltage readout, you have a better chance of detecting a "failing" PSU, or one barely within specified ATX Form Factor Standard tolerances. Lesser models use LEDs to indicate the voltage is just within some "range". These are less informative, considerably cheaper, but still useful for detecting PSUs that have already "failed". Newegg has several testers to choose from. All these testers contain a "dummy load" to fool the PSU into thinking it is connected to a motherboard, and therefore allows the PSU to power on, if able, without being attached to a motherboard - great for testing fans, but again, it is not a true load or suitable for conclusive testing.

Swapping in a known good supply is a tried and trued method of troubleshooting, used for years even by pros. If you have access to a suitably sized, spare power supply, carefully remove the suspect supply and replace it with a known good one and see if the problem goes away.

I do not recommend using a multimeter to test power supplies. To do it properly, that is, under a realistic load, the voltages on all the pins must be measured while the PSU is attached to the motherboard and the computer powered on. This requires poking (with some considerable force) two hard and sharp, highly conductive meter probes into the main power connector, deep in the heart of the computer. One tiny slip can destroy the motherboard, and everything plugged into it. It is not worth the risk considering most multimeters, like plug-in testers, do not measure, or reveal any unwanted and potentially disruptive AC components to the DC voltages.

Note the required voltage tolerance ranges:

And remember, anything that plugs into the wall can kill. Do not open the power supply's case unless you are a qualified electronics technician. There are NO user serviceable parts inside a power supply.

Thanks to Digerati for the psu testing recommendations.
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#3
KarmaQ

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Thanks for your response. I did test all the PCU pins with the multimeter and each one read the correct voltage as I found (online) for each pin in each plug. I was just saying that the fan ran when i was doing this but it didn't when everything was plugged back into the computer. I tested it with several different components running off of it so that it would carry a load to see if there were any difference. I only noticed the fan not running when I plugged the psu back into everything. Is it still possible that it is the psu? I'm probably just going to put it all aside and build a new one but I just wanted to try salvage some parts if possible, if I can't save it. However, it's a little outdated and I guess I should just let go and eventually I can figure out how to get my info off of the hard drive. If I pay someone to do this then I won't have what I need to build another. I have just enough budgeted while I'm trying to set up a web business. I just don't know which way to go. If a psu is not damaged from a power surge, what would be the most likely component(s) to bite the dust? I know the whole thing could be shot, but is there a most likely candidate? What puzzles me is that everything looks perfect in there. No burnt wires, nothing. There is just nothing going on when I turn it on except for the green light on the back of the power supply.
Thanks,
Karma


What tests have you done on the psu & what equipment did you use?
You cannot test a psu by simply shorting the pins out & getting the
fan to spin it is not conclusive, the unit has various voltage/amps
output & any one or more may be bad.
I would recommend getting the psu tested correctly or loaning a spare
to test the other hardware, your computer specs show it only has a
300W fitted as stock so you would swap this out for a more powerful
one should you upgrade, here is a link to the MB that is listed as in
your system http://www.ascendtec...SBURGFW&eq=&Tp=
You will notice that there is very little room if any for upgrading
the MB such as no pci-e 16 or agp gfx card slots + limited Ram slots.
Below is the canned text of Digerati explaining testing a psu safely & correctly;

To properly and conclusively test a power supply unit (PSU), it must be tested under various realistic "loads" then analyzed for excessive ripple and other anomalies. This is done by a qualified technician using an oscilloscope or power analyzer - sophisticated (and expensive) electronic test equipment requiring special training to operate, and a basic knowledge of electronics theory to understand the results. Therefore, conclusively testing a power supply is done in properly equipped electronic repair facilities.

Fortunately, there are other options that are almost as good. I keep a FrozenCPU Ultimate PSU Tester in my tool bag when I am "in the field" and don't have a good spare power supply to swap in. While not a certain test, they are better than nothing. The advantage of this model is that it has an LCD readout of the voltage. With an actual voltage readout, you have a better chance of detecting a "failing" PSU, or one barely within specified ATX Form Factor Standard tolerances. Lesser models use LEDs to indicate the voltage is just within some "range". These are less informative, considerably cheaper, but still useful for detecting PSUs that have already "failed". Newegg has several testers to choose from. All these testers contain a "dummy load" to fool the PSU into thinking it is connected to a motherboard, and therefore allows the PSU to power on, if able, without being attached to a motherboard - great for testing fans, but again, it is not a true load or suitable for conclusive testing.

Swapping in a known good supply is a tried and trued method of troubleshooting, used for years even by pros. If you have access to a suitably sized, spare power supply, carefully remove the suspect supply and replace it with a known good one and see if the problem goes away.

I do not recommend using a multimeter to test power supplies. To do it properly, that is, under a realistic load, the voltages on all the pins must be measured while the PSU is attached to the motherboard and the computer powered on. This requires poking (with some considerable force) two hard and sharp, highly conductive meter probes into the main power connector, deep in the heart of the computer. One tiny slip can destroy the motherboard, and everything plugged into it. It is not worth the risk considering most multimeters, like plug-in testers, do not measure, or reveal any unwanted and potentially disruptive AC components to the DC voltages.

Note the required voltage tolerance ranges:

And remember, anything that plugs into the wall can kill. Do not open the power supply's case unless you are a qualified electronics technician. There are NO user serviceable parts inside a power supply.

Thanks to Digerati for the psu testing recommendations.


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#4
phillpower2

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1st try booting your computer up without the memory stick and see
if you get any error beeps, unfortunately power spikes can not only
take the psu out but also anything that is attached to it such as
the MB,CPU & Ram etc, as you are looking to upgrade anyway I would
recommend taking the MB out of the case and doing a barebone setup
on a piece of cardboard, just attach the MB, Monitor & one stick of
Ram, the idea is to try and get the MB to POST (power on self test)
if this is successful add one component at a time and boot up, add
the HDD 1st then the CD/DVD drive etc, if the MB fails to POST after
you add a component this would suggest it to be the bad element.
I always like to be optimistic but sadly there is a strong possibility
that the MB, CPU or Ram are bad, even worse all three.
If you require any further assistance with the above please ask I will
be happy to help.
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#5
KarmaQ

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Thank you. I will work on it in a few days. I will probably take you up on that...lol
Karma
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