Worth fixing? or should I go shopping????

Discussion in 'Computer Information' started by sandy, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. sandy

    sandy Guest

    I've got a VPR Matrix computer probably purchased in mid 2002 (Intel
    (R) Pentium (R) 4 CPU 1.80 GHz 1.79 GHz, 256 MB of Ram Microsoft
    Windows XP Home Edition Version 2002 Service Pack 2) that has started
    having trouble starting in the morning. It gets stuck on the first
    page of the start-up and tells me that the CMOS bat is low (and
    something else is bad....I can't find my notes on it and don't feel
    like restarting it to get the info). The screen says to hit F1 for
    setup or F12 to start from the network and I've tried both (but don't
    seem to have any mouse power yet). So far I've managed to get it
    going by hitting (and rehitting Control/Alt/Delete).... But I'm
    wondering if this is something that I (a complete novice) can fix, if
    I should take it in for repair and maybe replacing the battery or if
    it would be better to go shopping for a new computer. Another thing I
    think I've noticed is that even though I turn off the computer in the
    evening, and then turn off the power to the surge protector....when I
    turn the power back on to the surge protector....the computer starts
    right up (I used to have to hit the on button to start it). I have no
    clue what that means!

    I HAVE saved everything important on CDs (computer has a CD burner) in
    case it up and dies on me.

    I only use my computer for playing on the web, writing, saving digital
    pictures, etc. If you think it's time to buy a new one, would
    appreciate hearing recommendations. Thanks!

    Sandy
    sandy, Mar 26, 2008
    #1
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  2. There is no reason you couldn't put in the battery. It's easy, and a battery
    costs about 3 bucks (USD)

    Open the case and look at the mother board. The battery is typically mounted
    in a corner, but could be anywhere. It is flat and thin, about the same
    physical size and shape as a quarter. The CMOS battery in my machine is a
    2032, which also fits my stop watch. It is a common battery that you will
    find anywhere they well watch batteries, I got mine at Rite-Aid (the drug
    store on the corner).




    "sandy" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > I've got a VPR Matrix computer probably purchased in mid 2002 (Intel
    > (R) Pentium (R) 4 CPU 1.80 GHz 1.79 GHz, 256 MB of Ram Microsoft
    > Windows XP Home Edition Version 2002 Service Pack 2) that has started
    > having trouble starting in the morning. It gets stuck on the first
    > page of the start-up and tells me that the CMOS bat is low (and
    > something else is bad....I can't find my notes on it and don't feel
    > like restarting it to get the info). The screen says to hit F1 for
    > setup or F12 to start from the network and I've tried both (but don't
    > seem to have any mouse power yet). So far I've managed to get it
    > going by hitting (and rehitting Control/Alt/Delete).... But I'm
    > wondering if this is something that I (a complete novice) can fix, if
    > I should take it in for repair and maybe replacing the battery or if
    > it would be better to go shopping for a new computer. Another thing I
    > think I've noticed is that even though I turn off the computer in the
    > evening, and then turn off the power to the surge protector....when I
    > turn the power back on to the surge protector....the computer starts
    > right up (I used to have to hit the on button to start it). I have no
    > clue what that means!
    >
    > I HAVE saved everything important on CDs (computer has a CD burner) in
    > case it up and dies on me.
    >
    > I only use my computer for playing on the web, writing, saving digital
    > pictures, etc. If you think it's time to buy a new one, would
    > appreciate hearing recommendations. Thanks!
    >
    > Sandy
    >
    >
    Jeff Strickland, Mar 26, 2008
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. sandy

    Paul Guest

    sandy wrote:
    > I've got a VPR Matrix computer probably purchased in mid 2002 (Intel
    > (R) Pentium (R) 4 CPU 1.80 GHz 1.79 GHz, 256 MB of Ram Microsoft
    > Windows XP Home Edition Version 2002 Service Pack 2) that has started
    > having trouble starting in the morning. It gets stuck on the first
    > page of the start-up and tells me that the CMOS bat is low (and
    > something else is bad....I can't find my notes on it and don't feel
    > like restarting it to get the info). The screen says to hit F1 for
    > setup or F12 to start from the network and I've tried both (but don't
    > seem to have any mouse power yet). So far I've managed to get it
    > going by hitting (and rehitting Control/Alt/Delete).... But I'm
    > wondering if this is something that I (a complete novice) can fix, if
    > I should take it in for repair and maybe replacing the battery or if
    > it would be better to go shopping for a new computer. Another thing I
    > think I've noticed is that even though I turn off the computer in the
    > evening, and then turn off the power to the surge protector....when I
    > turn the power back on to the surge protector....the computer starts
    > right up (I used to have to hit the on button to start it). I have no
    > clue what that means!
    >
    > I HAVE saved everything important on CDs (computer has a CD burner) in
    > case it up and dies on me.
    >
    > I only use my computer for playing on the web, writing, saving digital
    > pictures, etc. If you think it's time to buy a new one, would
    > appreciate hearing recommendations. Thanks!
    >
    > Sandy
    >


    In the picture here, the shiny circle just above the short yellow connector,
    is an example of a CMOS battery. That would be a CR2032. If you
    turn off the computer, unplug, and replace the battery relatively
    quickly, then it might keep any custom BIOS settings for you.
    If you pulled the battery out, and waited a while, then you'd
    later have to enter the BIOS and check the boot order or other
    custom setting etc. Entering the BIOS and verifying the clock is
    set correctly, will also help prevent problems with activation.
    You can get a CR2032 just about anywhere, even Radio Shack has them.

    http://c1.neweggimages.com/NeweggImage/productimage/13-153-074-02.jpg

    The reason the battery ran down, is because you're removing all
    power from the computer at the end of the day. For me, a CR2032
    lasts about three years, if you do that. If you leave the standby
    power running inside the computer (like when the computer is in
    sleep mode), then the battery will last longer. The battery
    powers the RTC (real time clock) and CMOS RAM that holds the
    BIOS settings, and there is only a tiny power draw from the
    battery, if the computer loses all power.

    There could still be some other problem with the computer, but
    it is worth it to try a new battery. It is cheaper than a new computer.

    Paul
    Paul, Mar 26, 2008
    #3
  4. sandy

    w_tom Guest

    Re: Worth fixing? or should I go shopping????

    On Mar 26, 9:56 am, sandy <> wrote:
    > ... I'm
    > wondering if this is something that I (a complete novice) can fix, if
    > I should take it in for repair and maybe replacing the battery or if
    > it would be better to go shopping for a newcomputer.  Another thing I
    > think I've noticed is that even though I turn off thecomputerin the
    > evening, and then turn off the power to thesurgeprotector....when I
    > turn the power back on to thesurgeprotector....thecomputerstarts
    > right up (I used to have to hit the on button to start it).  I have no
    > clue what that means!


    Any reply would be mostly speculation because numbers do not say
    what you have. A 3.5 digit multimeter can measure that battery
    without removing the battery. At 3.0 volts, then voltages as low as
    2.8 volts means battery did not create a problem. 2.8 volts: plan on
    replacing the battery sometime in the next 6 months. Lower voltages
    could explain your failure.

    Same meter can demonstrate why a computer would respond when powered
    by the power strip switch. Measure voltage on purple wire from power
    supply to motherboard. Note voltages when computer is turned off by
    power strip, when computer is off but powered by power strip, and when
    computer is powered on. Purple wire provides power for a power supply
    controller - what determines when computer starts working. Do this
    paragraph to get numbers; to learn how a computer works in a reply.

    Measure that battery voltage to learn if that battery created the
    problem.
    w_tom, Mar 27, 2008
    #4
  5. sandy

    Hp Guest

    Re: Worth fixing? or should I go shopping????

    you need to test any of the 20xx series batteries while in the socket,
    a dry test, out of the socket and with no load will not tell you much
    about the batteries real usability unless it is totally dead.
    these things need some form of load to really show condition.
    Been there, done that!

    w_tom wrote:
    >
    > On Mar 26, 9:56 am, sandy <> wrote:
    > > ... I'm
    > > wondering if this is something that I (a complete novice) can fix, if
    > > I should take it in for repair and maybe replacing the battery or if
    > > it would be better to go shopping for a newcomputer. Another thing I
    > > think I've noticed is that even though I turn off thecomputerin the
    > > evening, and then turn off the power to thesurgeprotector....when I
    > > turn the power back on to thesurgeprotector....thecomputerstarts
    > > right up (I used to have to hit the on button to start it). I have no
    > > clue what that means!

    >
    > Any reply would be mostly speculation because numbers do not say
    > what you have. A 3.5 digit multimeter can measure that battery
    > without removing the battery. At 3.0 volts, then voltages as low as
    > 2.8 volts means battery did not create a problem. 2.8 volts: plan on
    > replacing the battery sometime in the next 6 months. Lower voltages
    > could explain your failure.
    >
    > Same meter can demonstrate why a computer would respond when powered
    > by the power strip switch. Measure voltage on purple wire from power
    > supply to motherboard. Note voltages when computer is turned off by
    > power strip, when computer is off but powered by power strip, and when
    > computer is powered on. Purple wire provides power for a power supply
    > controller - what determines when computer starts working. Do this
    > paragraph to get numbers; to learn how a computer works in a reply.
    >
    > Measure that battery voltage to learn if that battery created the
    > problem.
    Hp, Mar 27, 2008
    #5
  6. sandy

    sandy Guest

    Re: Worth fixing? or should I go shopping????

    THANKS everyone for all your help. I'm gonna give it a try once I
    find a new battery. I live in a tiny town but we actually do have a
    Radio Shack (even if it also is a fishing tackle/hunting store AND the
    place to buy ice cream cones).

    And I'm also thinking of finally putting the doors on my computer
    armoire to maybe keep the dust out when not in use. It gets pretty
    dusty here during the Summer months and I can't imagine that it is
    good for the computer.

    One more question.....Is it better to NOT turn the computer off but
    put it in "Stand by" mode????

    Thanks again.

    Sandy
    sandy, Mar 27, 2008
    #6
  7. Re: Worth fixing? or should I go shopping????

    "sandy" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > THANKS everyone for all your help. I'm gonna give it a try once I
    > find a new battery. I live in a tiny town but we actually do have a
    > Radio Shack (even if it also is a fishing tackle/hunting store AND the
    > place to buy ice cream cones).
    >
    > And I'm also thinking of finally putting the doors on my computer
    > armoire to maybe keep the dust out when not in use. It gets pretty
    > dusty here during the Summer months and I can't imagine that it is
    > good for the computer.
    >
    > One more question.....Is it better to NOT turn the computer off but
    > put it in "Stand by" mode????
    >
    > Thanks again.
    >
    > Sandy



    Leave the doors open. It will get hot in there. While you have the 'puter
    open for battery work, you should clean it out. I blow mine with an air
    hose, but I'm not sure that is really the approved method. I have a
    compressor, so I use it. A strong consideration in cleaning the machine is
    static electricity. I have used a paint brush and vacuum cleaner, and that
    seemed to work pretty well.

    The battery is available from any store where they carry watch batteries. It
    should be a 2032, and a family member could mail one ...

    I leave my computers running all of the time. I have never replaced a CMOS
    battery in any of them.
    Jeff Strickland, Mar 27, 2008
    #7
  8. sandy

    w_tom Guest

    Re: Worth fixing? or should I go shopping????

    On Mar 27, 9:59 am, sandy <> wrote:
    > And I'm also thinking of finally putting the doors on my computer
    > armoire to maybe keep the dust out when not in use. It gets pretty
    > dusty here during the Summer months and I can't imagine that it is
    > good for the computer.
    >
    > One more question.....Is it better to NOT turn the computer off but
    > put it in "Stand by" mode????


    If moving too much air through a computer (ie two chassis fans),
    then dust problems get worse. Fans blowing too much air into a
    computer creates larger dust balls. Computers are (should be)
    designed to work in a 100 degree F room with dust.

    Better is to turn off computer or put it into hiberate mode. If the
    power cord is connected to an AC wall socket, some parts of the
    computer are still powered.

    Average life expectancy of a lithium battery is five years. Makes
    little difference if battery connects to an RTC or is on a shelf. It
    is called shelf life. A lithium battery discharges typically in five
    years whether connected to the CMOS/RTC or just sitting on the shelf.

    BTW you want to know if that battery was defective before replacing
    it. Important is to know if the problem existed before fixing it.
    Others here will also need that information if to provide better
    assistance.
    w_tom, Mar 27, 2008
    #8
  9. sandy

    Paul Guest

    Re: Worth fixing? or should I go shopping????

    sandy wrote:
    > THANKS everyone for all your help. I'm gonna give it a try once I
    > find a new battery. I live in a tiny town but we actually do have a
    > Radio Shack (even if it also is a fishing tackle/hunting store AND the
    > place to buy ice cream cones).
    >
    > And I'm also thinking of finally putting the doors on my computer
    > armoire to maybe keep the dust out when not in use. It gets pretty
    > dusty here during the Summer months and I can't imagine that it is
    > good for the computer.
    >
    > One more question.....Is it better to NOT turn the computer off but
    > put it in "Stand by" mode????
    >
    > Thanks again.
    >
    > Sandy


    To not draw power from the battery, all that is required, is to leave
    the switch on the back of the computer in the "ON" position. That
    causes +5VSB to be present. You can either select "Shutdown" in Windows,
    or you can use "Standby", and either choice would be fine. The important
    thing, is the availability of +5VSB power. And for that, leaving the
    power supply plugged in, and the back switch in the ON position, is
    what makes that possible.

    The ATX supply is split into two pieces -

    A.C.----------- switch ----+----------> +5VSB for standby
    |
    | soft
    | power
    |
    | /
    +---+ +--> +3.3/+5/+12/-12 main supply

    As long as the cord is plugged in, and "switch" is ON, there is
    +5VSB flowing. And then, the CR2032 is not being used, because
    the +5VSB does the job instead.

    The "soft power", is the thing the computer uses when you select
    shutdown or standby. Soft power disconnects the main supply, the
    fans stop spinning etc. In "Standby" Suspend To RAM, the +5VSB
    also keeps the DRAM memory cells powered, and that is how your
    session is stored until the next time you take the computer out
    of Standby. Standby might draw 10-20W or so, depending on the
    efficiency of the supply and the load inside the computer. You
    know you're in Standby Suspend to RAM, if the fans stop spinning.
    If the fans are still spinning, then the main supply is still
    on.

    But even if you select "Shutdown" in Windows, as long as the
    cord is in, and back switch is on, you'll have +5VSB.

    This is too much detail, but I like this web page, because of the
    effort the author went to. He traced the insides of a power supply,
    so we'd know how it was put together. It shows the main and
    +5VSB "second" supply. This supply is an older one, but the
    principles are the same as a modern one. "PS-ON" on the left
    of the diagram, is what the motherboard uses to control the
    soft power switch.

    http://www.pavouk.org/hw/en_atxps.html

    Paul
    Paul, Mar 27, 2008
    #9
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