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Random Shut Down, Replaced Fan, Shoot Me


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#1
MissLee

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HP Pavillion 513W running XP. The system is a blend of several PC's and had been working fine for about a week. There is an extra ethernet card in place (why? because my genius teenage son has yet to remove it.)

Had been using the system for about a week without incident. Then these random shut downs began. At first, once per day or so, then more frequently. There is no trigger and it does seem truly random.

'It's the fan' he says, 'one of the contacts is dead'. 'Ok', I say...'let's replace the fan.'

So we do. No dice.

Now, I can barely get it to load windows before it dies again. And we're not talking die & restart, it just dies and stays dead (more of a coma, really), but the power light stays on. Normal 'wake-up' methods do not rouse the sleeping beast.

In order to restart, I must hold the power button until the system actually shuts down.

Attempted to do a system restore but cannot stay on long enough to complete the task, nor can I stay on long enough to check recent events or perform even the most cursory diagnostic.

I have not downloaded any software and I do run current AVS.

Power supply issue? Or something more ominous?

Any suggestions would be most welcome.
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#2
admin

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Well if you want a guess, and it's just that only a guess, I'd say it's the power supply. It could be any of a number of other hardware related problems, but I doubt it's software.
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#3
Idle-Brain

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And that extra Ethernet card, you don't use... just get it out of there, that isn't such a problem. It still takes some power even though it is not used. Click it out and you MIGHT get passed the booting screen. If you don't feel comfortable with removing hardware, let your brilliant son do it. And the fan got replaced by a new one? Maybe one that eats more power? Try some older one maybe? (Yeah, I know, it's expensive.)
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#4
Chronos0001

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Hi, sorry about the problems with your system..

I too have a hybrid. nothing wrong with that, and do not blame yourself.

Based on your description of the problem and its gradual decline, I do not beleive the software has anything to do with it. (Only exception is a virus which has been building up and finally crashed your system)

I do beleive this very common sense approach with a little detective reasoning.


You (or your son) put components of several systems together to make your current system. That is great, and a feat not many can accomplish at the drop of a hat.
However, since you are combining several system, that MAY imply that the systems and their components may have been slightly used.

From there, it is not a far stretch to see that the stress of power on the power supply may have a effect that has drastically shortened it's life span.

Plus if you look at the symptoms, the crashes started slow and you were able to recover. Now they are so frequent, that you can no longer even use your system.

All that to explain that your power supply is worn out.

When and if you decide to get a new one, make sure it can handle the requirements of the hardware you have in the case. Usually a 350 watt power supply can handle the average system now adays.

An average system may include any or all of the following:
1 hard drive c:
2 CD-Roms (one either being a burning ROM, the other being a DVD ROM)
1 (or in your case 2 ) network cards
Modem
Sound card
High power graphics card.
USB devices (average up to 3 devices, mouse, keyboard, and camera)

All the options above, do not include the power requirements for the CPU or it's fan, the memory, the power for the serial ports or parallel ports, IR ports and so forth.

Heat in such systems is a KILLER. If your power supply fan is not operating properly, the heat will accelerate the decay of the components, causing at first small power interuptions, then later total failure.

KEEP IT COOL.

I hope this information helps you.
Good luck.
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#5
MissLee

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Ok, everything thus far has made sense. So I look in the case today and check all the connections to make sure everything is seated correctly and there is no visible damage.

I'm going to preface the next part by stating the obvious...I know NOTHING about the guts of a PC.

I see that the new fan has been hooked up at the back and airflow has been redirected to the old, non working fan. I wonder why the old fan has not been removed. Hmmm, different footprint, ok. As I'm looking, I also wonder if having that old fan in place and still connected wouldn't be creating a power issue, so I remove it (and the attached heatsink), intending to put the new fan with it's redirected airflow back in place and give it a shot.

Then I notice that next to the old fan location, 6 of the 8 transistors are fried. And by fried I mean that the tops are all blown out and chipped & cracked and...well, fried.

So.....what do you all recommend? Am I a lost cause?
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#6
Chronos0001

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By the fan at the back, I am guessing that you mean in the back of the power supply? Unless you have addition cooling fans set in the case to direct air flow?...

So lets put it together...

Dead fan, blown capacitors (the ones with the tops blown off) cracked chips... I am guessing that your power supply is fried.

Unless of course you are talking about components on your motherboard. If that is the case. welll UH-OH (which means new motherboard time)

In all likelyhood, your system operated until that final component blew, then it said "enough!"

If it is your power supply, see if you can use one of the other cases the components came out of, or you can get a used power supply from just about any retail dealer.

Good luck
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#7
dsenette

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by the description your motherboard is toast....and not the good kind with butter...TOAST..sorry
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#8
MissLee

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Yep, toasty. Ah well, at least I didn't kick out a few bucks for an power supply I didn't need.

Thanks for all your help, you've all been terrific. :tazz:
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#9
admin

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About a year ago a problem cropped up where a number of manufacturers were shipped a bad bunch of capacitors. They would leak and burst as you described. It may worth your effort to contact the mfg with the model number and see if they'll warranty it. :tazz:
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