Major Computer Problem

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by Scribner, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. Scribner

    Scribner Guest

    For the recoed, my system just "blinked." The computer stopped for a
    microsecond and so did the monitor. Since my face is in the monitor,
    I don't know if this was an area thing or my computer. If it is, then
    it will be the third power supply to go. And this one is less than 3
    days old.
    Scribner, Mar 13, 2009
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  2. Scribner

    Mike Easter Guest

    Well, when/if it dies, you might try w_tom's multimeter suggestion
    outlined at or using the color coded pin number voltage graphic
    at ATX Power
    Mike Easter, Mar 13, 2009
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  3. Scribner

    G. Morgan Guest

    You've got to clarify some things:

    1. Is that stupid USB - VHS thing plugged in right now when it "blinked"?
    2. Do you have the PC plugged into a UPS or Strip (which?)
    3. Do you have a multi-meter and know how to use?

    After we eliminate #1, I want to check line voltage coming in. This sounds
    like a classic under voltage problem.
    G. Morgan, Mar 13, 2009
  4. Scribner

    Pennywise Guest

    A UPS also offers hardware protection, with Zener Diode (depending
    upon the circuit), If the surge is too high the diode will direct it
    to ground

    This is why you need to replace power strips and UPS's over time - the
    diode's path to ground will be severed over time; making them
    extension cords and battery backup packs instead.

    And yes you can use a volt/ohm meter to verify the diode is still
    Pennywise, Mar 13, 2009
  5. Scribner

    Pennywise Guest

    No the UPS eats the damage, as long as it's diodes are up to it.
    Pennywise, Mar 13, 2009
  6. Scribner

    Leythos Guest

    If you've lost 3 PSU's in less than a year, it's time to check a few
    things - What is the PSU rated for and what devices do you have
    installed in the computer?

    Do you have a real, quality UPS connected and do you have the control
    cable installed and communicating properly?
    Leythos, Mar 13, 2009
  7. Scribner

    Scribner Guest

    No. It has been gone for weeks.
    Scribner, Mar 13, 2009
  8. Scribner

    chuckcar Guest

    I *suggested* it as a solution. The problem is that the computer and the
    converter draw more power than the computer's power supply can provide,
    That's *why* they've been blowing so a UPS wouldn't fix the problem. You'd
    still have the power coming from one source - the computer's power supply.
    You need another power source for the VCR to DVD device, hence a hub for it.
    chuckcar, Mar 13, 2009
  9. Scribner

    Scribner Guest

    The original PS was rated at 500W. This one is rated at 600W.
    I currently have the m/b with CPU and two memory chips. I have 2 SATA
    hard drives plugged into the m/b. I have a video card and a 56k modem
    (I fax). That's it.

    I have no UPS installed because I have neither the space nor the need
    for one. The power never goes out, save for that "glitch" of two
    weeks ago.
    Scribner, Mar 13, 2009
  10. Scribner

    G. Morgan Guest

    Okay... Don't make me drag it out of you.

    What is the line voltage at the outlet?
    G. Morgan, Mar 13, 2009
  11. Scribner

    Evan Platt Guest

    Backpedal chucktard, backpedal.
    Evan Platt, Mar 13, 2009
  12. Scribner

    Pennywise Guest

    Cause everybody knows:

    Is a hub and not an AC device.
    Pennywise, Mar 14, 2009
  13. Scribner

    Pennywise Guest

    A UPS also supplies clean power, no spikes and constant voltage (it
    may change but it's over a matter of time).

    Your problem isn't the lack of a UPS, try w_tom's multimeter
    suggestion as posted by Mike Easter and first hit on google for
    ATX pin outs
    Pennywise, Mar 14, 2009
  14. Scribner

    westom Guest

    Nothing in a computer can blow a power supply. True even long
    before PCs existed. Furthermore, overheating a CPU does no supply
    harm. Meanwhile, do you also know that the CPU has its own separate

    Don't recall which CPU you had. But had it been an Intel,
    overheating would cause no damage - even to the CPU.

    With a multimeter - there is no way around best advise from someone
    who has done this for generations - then you would have seen that
    power supply and other power system components were OK in only two
    minutes. Then the third minute was spent looking for the actual

    Is a power supply sufficiently sized? Again a meter would have
    reported that immediately. An undersized power supply can still boot
    and run a computer. But that same undersized supply is immediately
    known, without doubt, if using the meter.

    Video cards cannot "pull so much power that the blow the ps".
    Obvious as it was long before PCs existed. But hearsay is alive and

    Many supplies sold to computer assemblers are missing essential
    functions to sell only on dollars and watts. Therefore numeric specs
    get 'forgotten'. No specs mean the 1% who actually know this stuff
    cannot 'blow the whistle'.

    What are those essential functions? All supply outputs can be
    shorted and the supply is not harmed. Intel specs even define that
    test by listing the minimum testing wire diameter. Overpower
    protection means nothing in a computer can harm that supply - draw too
    much power. Overvoltage protection means a supply can never harm
    computer components. All functions and others were standard even
    before and in the original PC.

    Some power supply manufacturers may 'forget' to install required
    functions. Then their supply might harm computer components. Or too
    much load might damage the supply. Failures found in some (but not
    all) supplies provided without numeric specs. Suspect the worst if a
    supply sells for $25 or $40 retail.

    Your symptoms in that first post are also explained by another
    function of a power supply system. Apparently the safety lockout
    function was triggered. You then assumed that power supply failed.
    Replacing the power supply restart that safety lockout. Did you
    confuse safety lockout with a defective power supply? However we
    would know this immediately and without doubt had the multimeter been

    Moving on to include information in afternoon posts: You can
    keep replacing power supplies - or first learn what exists. That
    means two minutes, a computer under maximum load, and the multimeter.
    If the meter defines a power supply definitively good, then move on to
    other suspects - and don't even look back.

    First are the four voltages when under maximum load from any one
    orange, purple, red, and yellow wires. Then are the signal lines that
    the supply and supply controller talk on - gray and green wires. Those
    numbers necessary to confirm the supply, it controller, etc. .. so
    that we can move on to other suspects.

    For example, if a supply controller has a defective driver, than all
    power supplies will perform strangely.
    westom, Mar 14, 2009
  15. Scribner

    westom Guest

    If any extra features were necessary, then that UPS provides more
    than just a battery backup function. But those functions such as line
    conditioning are performed by the computer's power supply. Why are
    200 volts square waves with a 270 volt spike not a problem?
    Computer's power supply contains line conditioning. The UPS does
    nothing because those other functions are made irrelevant by a
    computer's power supplies.

    Spend $500 on a UPS that only does what the computer already makes
    irrelevant? That $500 UPS simply does the same thing that a $100 UPS
    does - supply battery backup power so that data is not lost.

    When a computer grade UPS switches to and from battery backup, power
    is temporarily lost. No problem. A computer's supply must even
    output power without any voltage drop when incoming AC is temporarily
    lost. Just another example of line conditioning already performed
    inside a computer's power supply.

    Having said that, some will buy computer power supply on price.
    Instead of a $60 supply, they may buy a $25 or $40 supply. Now a $500
    UPS might cure the resulting problem.
    westom, Mar 14, 2009
  16. Scribner

    Leythos Guest

    And yet you've said you've lost a couple PSU's - this normally means one
    of two things - Cheap PSU's or bad power.

    If you value your time as money, a quality APC Ups can save you TIME in
    rebuilding your system or recovering files, which means it can pay for
    itself, as well as protecting you from power conditions that could
    damage your computer.
    Leythos, Mar 14, 2009
  17. Scribner

    bud-- Guest

    w believes plug-in suppressors (including UPSs) do not work.
    The vast majority of devices that actually do the surge protection are MOVs.

    Because for surges the impedance of the power "ground" wire is too high
    very little protection is actually by earthing a surge. Most of the
    protection for a plug-in suppressor is by clamping the voltage from all
    wires (must include both power and external signal wires) to the common
    ground at the suppressor. The voltage between wires going to the
    protected equipment is safe for the protected equipment.
    With high ratings that are readily available in a plug-in suppressor,
    the suppressor is unlikely to ever fail. It is harder to find UPSs with
    very high ratings.
    I know of no easy practical way to test MOVs.
    bud--, Mar 14, 2009
  18. Scribner

    Scribner Guest

    Poking inside a computer, especially the power wires, when the
    computer is on sends cold chills down my spine. However, maybe this
    would be helpful:

    Vcore1: 1.28V Vcore2: 1.58V +3.3V: 1.84V +5V: 5.00V
    +12V: 10.50V -12V: -0.10V -5: -0.23V +5V: 4.89V
    Vbat: 3.28V

    My motherboard requires the following from a power supply:
    +3.3V Must be "28A" or more.
    +5V Must be "28A" or more.
    +12V Must be "18A" or more.
    The rest are "Any."

    My Thermaltake 600W specs are as follows:
    +3.3V 30A
    +5V 28A
    +12V1 18A
    +12V2 18A

    And this power supply lists for over $100.00.
    Scribner, Mar 15, 2009
  19. Scribner

    westom Guest

    I gather this is from the motherboard monitor. That measurement
    device is not sufficiently accurate until calibrated with a
    multimeter. However, assuming those numbers are correct inside your
    machine, your machine should not even work.

    3.3 at 1.84 volts mean no operation. +12 volts at 10.5 volts is a
    complete failure. -12 volts is missing, required, but typically not
    needed to boot and run a computer. -5 volts typically has no function
    in any typical computer and is often missing on most power supplies.
    +5 is barely sufficient. Bat at 3.28 means the battery is fresh -
    probably new - no problem.

    If the system is a reason for failure, I would start with devices
    using 3.3 volts. That eliminates any powered peripherals such as disk
    drive, keyboard, CD-Rom, etc.

    So, is the load excessive due to a problem with hardware or a
    problem with the power supply? If I remember correctly, you spend
    much time looking for a power supply that met specs. Well, your
    motherboard requires 28 amps on 3.3 volts. Then that current
    increases with a plug-in video controller and other peripherals. IOW
    the power supply may be undersized. Assuming your voltages numbers
    are correct, then a low 3.3 volts (and other voltages) may report a
    power supply with insufficient current on 3.3 volts.

    If "Poking inside a computer ... sends cold chills down my spine."
    was a valid worry, then many are being electrocuted by jump starting a
    car. Car has even higher voltages - and is an electrical threat to no
    one. Anything dangerous inside a computer is heavily protected by
    steel (with signed saying do not open) so that you could never be at
    danger. And then the meter in VDC setting means even less threats.
    If fearing what is inside a powered on computer, then never cross the
    street. That is far more dangerous.

    How does the power supply turn on? Does the 120 volts go through
    the power switch? No. Of course not. That might put you at risk.
    Even the power switch has volts so low as to not even threaten an
    infant. The level of safety in an ATX computer is that large.

    Better is to first confirm those numbers with a multimeter.
    Measurements that would also calibrate the motherboard monitor. If
    the meter confirms those readings, repeat measurements with the video
    controller removed. Those voltages should increase if the power
    supply is insufficient. And if the power supply really does output
    and motherboard demands what is claimed, then you have confirmed the
    power supply is woefully too small; especially on the 3.3 volts.

    Moving on. Let's assume the 3.3 volts is too small. So you get a
    power supply with more current (greater than 28 amps) on the 3.3 V.
    It probably needs more current on the +12 volts (also reinstall video
    controller). Then use the multimeter again to confirm that new supply
    is more than sufficient when computer is booted to maximum load. If
    yes (and again, post those numbers here for further analysis or to
    learn more), then the power supply 'system' is good - definitively

    Why perform that last measurement? Because even a defective or
    undersized power supply can still boot a computer. Measurements on a
    new supply are an only fact to say that supply is sufficient for the
    load. Many foolishly believe that if a computer boots, then the power
    supply is OK. Nobody can know that without those multimeter readings.

    Not detailed here (yet) is what to do if removing a video controller
    causes no measurement number changes.

    Finally a caution. With computer powered off, measure the purple
    wire voltage (your previous post did not list that voltage). Notice
    that the purple wire (also called +5VSB) always provides power when
    computer is on or off. That is why you remove or install nothing
    without first disconnecting the power cord. Physically remove that AC
    power cord before changing anything inside the machine - to protect
    some transistors on some boards. It is a simple rule and the only
    internal danger. Some motherboards glow an LED just to warn you that
    the power cord is still connected.

    Good luck. I am looking forward to your next reply.
    westom, Mar 15, 2009
  20. Scribner

    Leythos Guest

    Disconnect parts in the computer and on the motherboard until the
    voltages come back to the normal levels.

    Since BOTH your 12V levels are bad, you -5V is bad, and your 3.3 is bad,
    I would start with disconnecting EVERYTHING that is not fixed to the
    motherboard, you need the CPU and Video card - see if there are any

    If you have a spare video card I would use it also, for testing.

    It would appear you either have a bad PSU or a major motherboard
    Leythos, Mar 15, 2009
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