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help - troubleshooting a computer #2

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help - troubleshooting a computer #2

Postby dodecahedron on Mon Oct 06, 2003 4:56 am

thanks for your help in trouble-shooting my sister's computer
http://www.cdrlabs.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=12917

now i need your help in troubleshooting mine! :x :(

after installing an additional hard drive in my computer (see here: http://www.cdrlabs.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=12916 ) now my computer is dead.

the changes i've done to my system:
added another hard drive as primary slave.
left the previous drive as Master, set the new one as Slave.
powered up, BIOS recognizes both drives fine.
entered Windows, recognized the second drive just fine.
assigned to it drive letter G:

got a small balloon in the system tray notifying me that new hardware was discovered, the drivers for it installed.
then got a dialog saying i need to reboot.
OK rebooted.
(then unfortunately went away for a couple of minutes - the wife called me).
when i came back to the computer - it's absolutely dead! :( :cry: :x :evil:
and an upleasant whiff in the air... :o maybe from the PSU?

symptoms:
when powered up no response.
no LED on the front of the case.
no fan spinning: no case fans, no CPU/northbridge/videocard fan, not the fan(s?) in the power supply.
no video output to the monitor, including BIOS stuff.
no power to the HDDs, they're not spinning.
no power to the optical drives.
absolutely dead!

(i'm not 100% sure, but i think at first the case LED was working, but then that stopped too)

the only thing that is working, is the LED on the motherboard, which indicates that the motherboard is getting power! this LED is on as long as the computer is hooked to the electricity, even when the computer is off (a warning LED when messing with the computer to let you know that it's connected to the mains. this is working as it should).

at this point i'm pretty sure it's the PSU that's gone.
but this has me baffled, why is the mobo warning LED still on ???

also, first boot after installing the new HD it worked just fine!
the PSU is a 300W Codegen, which i'm sure is (chinese) crap.
however it should still be able to handle 2 hard drives, no? (plus 2 CDRW drives, but they weren't in use, just being powered up.)
could it be that the power drain on the PSU was too much, it worked fine for a couple of minutes (the first boot) and then died (upon the second boot)? doesn't make sense to me.


system specs:
Asus K7M266 mobo (southbridge - VIA 82C686B, northbridge AMD761)
CPU - AMD Athlon (Thundirbird core) 1.4GHz (yeah, power hungry).
memory: DDR266, 512MB, 2x256 sticks from Kingston.
heatsink - crappy model from Spire
Vidcard - Asus 7100Deluxe (Geforce 2 GTS, 32MB)

[sorry for the long post, want to put in all possibly relevant info]
thanks in advance for any suggestions/tips.
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Postby dodecahedron on Mon Oct 06, 2003 5:05 am

damn spot of bad luck, with my sister's computer going and now mine.

i'm back to the old computer (working on it now):
166 Pentium (I? II?)
Win95 (1st revision)
dialup modem at 33.6 baud

have to replace the CDROM in it with a newer one, it's so old (16x LG model) it won't read CDRs so i can't get some of my back up files onto it for work.

sigh.
and i really don't have any time to mess with computers now.
my mother's going into sugery tomorrow, to have her knee replaced. :(
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Postby aviationwiz on Mon Oct 06, 2003 10:23 am

Unfortunetly, I can't help you with your problem, but, I can clarify that the 166 is a Pentium, not a Pentium 2. I had a P166 in my first computer.
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Postby CDRecorder on Mon Oct 06, 2003 10:57 am

I would guess that its a power supply problem. Some cheap power supplies really can't handle the load that their rating says they can handle; maybe that extra HDD put enough of an extra load on it that it gave out. If you get a new PSU, I'd recommend Antec. My main computer (Athlon 1.2GHz Thunderbird, 1024 MB RAM, 3 optical drives, 1 7200RPM hard drive, various other components) is running fine on an Antec 300W power supply.
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Postby TheWizard on Mon Oct 06, 2003 2:54 pm

To verify the problem, take all the hardware out so you are down to the bare essentials: motherboard, CPU, CPU heatsink/fan, RAM, and video card. You don't need any optical or hard drives connected to at least make the computer POST. With just these bare essentials connected, when you power on the machine, does anything happen? Do any fans spin up? Do you hear any beeps from the motherboard (make sure the PC Speaker is connected)? If something, anything, powers up then the power supply seems to be OK. If something powers up, but the computer cannot POST then it could be the motherboard, CPU, RAM, or graphics card. If your PC Speaker is connected, listen to the amount of beeps and remember their sequence. These can be crucial in determining what hardware device is failing.

I definitely don't like the fact that you smelled something strange upon returning home. If you know the smell came from your computer then it could be either the power supply is fried, the CPU is fried, or the RAM is fried. To further diagnose the situation, don't be afraid to mix and match parts to determine what works and what does not. If you or a friend has a working Socket A motherboard then try putting your CPU on it. If it doesn't POST, there is your problem. Just to play it safe, try putting you or your friend's working CPU on your motherboard, and if that doesn't POST then you have two problems.
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Postby Dartman on Mon Oct 06, 2003 6:19 pm

If you smelled something you probably did lose the PS. Hooking a extra drive has never killed anything in any system I've ever built, even when it was hooked up wrong. I did kill one once by accidently plugging in the power cable backwards somehow once while it was powered up, that was expensive :evil:
Some of the real cheap ones juat barely make their ratings so the extra pull when it tried to power all the drives for a sec to check disks might have been enough. I also recommend Antec, I have about 10 ide and otherwise devices hooked to my old 300 and it still keeps up. Rob a PS out of something known good thats big enough and bench test it before you spend a bunch just in case it's something else that died, Lets hope not.
Some of those may have a fuse inside so you might want to check before you toss it.
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Postby CDRecorder on Mon Oct 06, 2003 6:23 pm

One time, I plugged a floppy drive into one of my Antec 300W PSUs incorrectly, and it refused to even turn on until I corrected the problem. Neither the drive nor the power supply were harmed. :D
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Postby Dartman on Mon Oct 06, 2003 6:30 pm

Some mother boards will refuse to post if things aren't hooked up properly too so first thing unhook that new drive and see if anything changes. However the fact tht it booted up and everything saw the new drive is not a good sign as far as that sort of thing goes. I'd follow wizards instructions but I'd try a diferent PS first then go down the list till it starts to work if not that.
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Postby dodecahedron on Fri Oct 10, 2003 9:43 pm

thanks for all your advice and help.

didn't have a spare PS for checking.
and anyway didn't have time to mess with the comp (most of my spare time at the hospital).
the computer was still under warrantee. so called up the service company, the guy came home ( :) ), replaced the PS and presto everything is OK! :D
less than 10 minutes of work :o
afterwards re-connected the 2nd hard drive and now that works too :D

incidentally the new PS is 350W (compared with 300W the previous one) and a P4 compatible (with the new square ATX2 plug) which the older one wasn't.
and, it seems, it is capable of handling the 2nd hard drive (if that indeed was the problem with the old PS).

but IMO it's even crappier than the old one, the voltage monitors of MBM5 started ringing, had to increase the tolerances of some of them to higher than they were before to stop the bells from going off.
had to increase the -5V tolerance to 12% !!! :x definitely not a good PS.
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One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
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Postby Dartman on Fri Oct 10, 2003 9:54 pm

Well you could just get a Antec or whatever is good quality and available where your at and install it yourself, that should tighten up the voltage spikes. Keep the old one just in case something dies and if it does reinstall it before you get a service call. Or just complain that the new one seems unstable and maybe they'll replace it with a better one for you. My Antec varies a couple of tenths on the heaviest loaded lines. The one I replaced it with was out of spec on one line like yours, but it was stable till I repaired the Antec and replaced it. Didn't cuase any problems, just made me nervous.
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Postby dodecahedron on Fri Oct 10, 2003 10:03 pm

a couple of tenths of a % ???
wow! didn't realize they were so good (or that my crapos were so bad).

edit:
OK my bad, you must've meant a couple of tenths of volts.
still very good. 0.2v on 5v = 4%.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the land of Mordor, where the Shadows lie
-- JRRT
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Postby CDRecorder on Sat Oct 11, 2003 12:40 am

I'd recommend Antec power supplies, too. I have two Antec 300W power supplies, and both are great!
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Postby VEFF on Sat Oct 11, 2003 1:08 am

Ditto.
I have a 400W Antec PSU and a 350 Watt Antec True Power PSU.
No problems with either one!
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Postby Turkeyscore.com on Sat Oct 11, 2003 1:56 pm

Antecs are expensive on Newegg, any suggestions for a good deal? 400W would be good. How about another good 400W PS?
zzzt *pop*
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Postby CDRecorder on Sat Oct 11, 2003 2:41 pm

Wow, you're right. Antec PSUs are expensive! :o I didn't know how expensive they are because my Antec PSUs came with my computer cases.

You might want to read this article to find out which power supplies are good.
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