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16 January 2008 @ 09:45 am
help me, livejournal wan kenobi!  

My desktop computer decided, last night, that it would be nice to have power running to it, and for its amber “I’m booting” light to blink on and off very rapidly, but nothing else is happening. No booting. No fan running. No nothing. I’ve killed the power to it entirely; when the power is re-introduced, it just goes back to humming and blinking.

This is, thank God, not my writing computer, and yes, as a matter of fact, I will be backing up Nook oh let’s see AS SOON AS I’M DONE TYPING THIS ENTRY, but I was wondering if Livejournal Knows All could help with any suggestions. It’s a Windows box, it’s running…XP, probably, it’s on the old end of things (four years?) and overall it seems likely that it’s recoverable if I bring it down to a shop or something, but it’d be a lot nicer to actually fix it at home and not have to haul it somewhere.

Help me, Livejournal Wan Kenobi! You’re my only hope!

(x-posted from the essential kit)</p>

ETA: Ok, the power supply is unquestionably horked. We (and when I say "we" I mean "Ted, Hero of the Revolution") switched Ted's power supply out with mine, and mine didn't power his computer.

Nor, however, did his power mine. He slaved my hard drive to his, and the drive itself is fine (thank goodness), but the computer will not boot. There are no burst or swollen capacitors on the motherboard. Is there any other kind of test we can do to determine if the motherboard is non-functional (which seems rather likely at this point)? I mean, I'm sure we can haul it down to a tech and have them figure it out, but if there's anything else we can do and save ourselves the fifty euro that's starting to look likely to need to go to a new computer, that'd be useful.

 
 
 
Grace Dudleygrian_ruadh on January 16th, 2008 10:04 am (UTC)
It sounds, actually, like your power supply has gone blooie. That sounds worse than it is. Power supplies are cheap to replace and easy to install.
The Bellinghmanbellinghman on January 16th, 2008 10:35 am (UTC)
I'd concur, if it wasn't for the fact that the orange light is flashing, which probably uses some form of power.

Last time I saw something like this (about six months ago), it was a motherboard failure. Such is not good. It could be worth looking at the motherboard and seeing if any of the big capacitors on it seem to have swollen (or even burst) tops.

It might be worth trying a fresh power supply anyway. If the PSU hads failed in such a way as to provide only a trickle of power, it might behave like this. But mizkit probably wants to get a friendly local techie on the case. Or inside the case.
The Bellinghmanbellinghman on January 16th, 2008 10:36 am (UTC)
I'd concur, if it wasn't for the fact that the orange light is flashing, which probably uses some form of power.

Last time I saw something like this (about six months ago), it was a motherboard failure. Such is not good. It could be worth looking at the motherboard and seeing if any of the big capacitors on it seem to have swollen (or even burst) tops.

It might be worth trying a fresh power supply anyway. If the PSU has failed in such a way as to provide only a trickle of power, it might behave like this. But mizkit probably wants to get a friendly local techie on the case. Or inside the case.
kitmizkit on January 16th, 2008 11:45 am (UTC)
Ok, the power supply is unquestionably horked. We (and when I say "we" I mean "Ted, Hero of the Revolution") switched Ted's power supply out with mine, and mine didn't power his computer.

Nor, however, did his power mine. He slaved my hard drive to his, and the drive itself is fine, but the computer will not boot. There are no burst or swollen capacitors on the motherboard. Is there any other kind of test we can do to determine if the motherboard is non-functional (which seems rather likely at this point)? I mean, I'm sure we can haul it down to a tech and have them figure it out, but if there's anything else we can do and save ourselves the fifty euro that's starting to look likely to need to go to a new computer, that'd be useful.
The Bellinghmanbellinghman on January 16th, 2008 11:57 am (UTC)
It's worth checking the rating of the two PSUs - if your machine is an amp-guzzler, then it may be that his PSU just doesn't have the grunt to work in yours anyway.

(Ditto for yours in his - it may be that your PSU actually is OK, but is just too delicate and feminine to work in a great hulking man's PC.)

Does his PC still work with his PSU in? The only reason I ask is that it's possible that when yours borked it took out something on your mobo in the process. Yes, not something you want to consider, I know.
kitmizkit on January 16th, 2008 12:17 pm (UTC)
How do we check the rating? Ted says when he put his PSU into my computer, the fan at least spun up, which it had not done with mine. We have no idea if that means anything. :) He also says that he got a high-performance PSU two years ago, because he had to replace his own power supply, so that would suggest, perhaps, that it's got the mojo to go.

His PC does work with his PSU. We had considered the possibility that mine had blown and done something to the motherboard, which, well, would suck. *squinchy face*
The Bellinghmanbellinghman on January 16th, 2008 02:03 pm (UTC)
That sounds like his is the big beefy one and it's your mobo that's died as a side effect of the PSU going titsup. Your Googling™ seems to confirm this.

(Some components, when they die, do sometimes turn into something that it instantly fatal to anything that's connected to it. It's rare, but I've seen it happen, though I don't normally worry about the possibility.)

There's usually a large label on the PSU somewhere that indicates either how much power it produces, or how many amps it provides at a number of different voltages. But the point seems mute moot.

Edited at 2008-01-16 02:03 pm (UTC)
Grace Dudley: Decafgrian_ruadh on January 16th, 2008 09:22 pm (UTC)
For future reference, if you ever need to know this again, the wattage and amps of a power supply are usually on the sticker slapped to the side of it. Sometimes, the way the thing is installed puts the sticker very helpfully between the power supply and motherboard or at an angle impossible to read without sticking your head literally inside the case. Whee. At any rate, it's there if you need it even if you have to unbolt the stupid thing to look at it.
Grace Dudleygrian_ruadh on January 16th, 2008 12:15 pm (UTC)
Did you have a storm sometime recently? This is sounding a bit like damage from an electrical surge which can take out a component and sometimes components attached to the victim as well. Check the wattage on Ted's power supply. If it's lower than the dead one, that could be why his won't power yours. If they're the same or his is higher than yours, it's possible your motherboard sustained some damage. Again, not the end of the world, but a more expensive and annoying fix. Damage to the board is not always visible, but the fact that your computer wont even POST is strongly indicative that the problem is very likely board-related. Unless one of you is handy with a screwdriver and fearless in the face of replacing a motherboard, take it down to a tech. Whatever you spend will be worth it in saved frustration.
kitmizkit on January 16th, 2008 12:23 pm (UTC)
Ted's pretty handy, but it seems like we looked at the possibility of having to replace his motherboard a couple years ago when his power supply went blooey, and that to do so was not quite par with replacing the computer in cost, but high enough that we might as *well* replace it. He's got an HP, which is highly proprietary, but then, I've got some puny-ass knock-off brand that, we've determined, is something like six years old anyway. It might not be worth the trouble.

Also, dude, what are you doing *up*? :)
Grace Dudley: Up To No Goodgrian_ruadh on January 16th, 2008 09:10 pm (UTC)
Computer strafe between bathroom and bed. I heard the techie distress signal and had to check. ;)
kitmizkit on January 16th, 2008 12:32 pm (UTC)
Further research (ie, ten seconds with google) suggests that with this brand of cheap-ass knock-off machine, if the power supply goes, the mobo goes, and vice versa.
The Bellinghmanbellinghman on January 16th, 2008 01:59 pm (UTC)
Bummer.

It might be worth taking it down to your store and investing that €50 (oooh, I so rarely use that key!) in getting it looked at. There's a chance it's not all fried. On the other hand, a six year old machine ... you're probably most interested in getting the files off it.

Being so far away, there's not an awful lot I can really suggest. Oh, it might be worth getting a UPS for the power smoothing if nothing else.
Grace Dudleygrian_ruadh on January 16th, 2008 09:15 pm (UTC)
Oh gah. Yeah, we dealt with that some years ago when we owned a cybercafe and some of our computers had been very inexpensive (it should have been a clue) eMachines... which *suck* *ass*. They also sort of generally give up the ghost when any major component goes down. It was cheaper to call Dell and just order a new machine than to go through the fiddliness that repairing it with a new board would have cost us both in time and money.

My advice as a tech and a hardcore user is to put the thing down on the floor to hold a flappy door open and get something newer. It really will be cheaper in the long run, and you will have updated hardware as a bonus! :)
dqg_neal: One Ringdqg_neal on January 16th, 2008 02:26 pm (UTC)
here at work I have a $20 little chip that plugs into the motherboard that gives us a result code of where in the boot sequence things failed.

Unfortunately without it the primary prefered checks are the beep sequence generated by the bios. Or having one of the nice motherboards that provides a sequence of lights for troublecodes. Inside it do you have any other LEDs besides the power indicator and hard drive indicator?

The first test with Ted's power supply to see what is occuring really would have involved disconnecting everything from the slots and power cables besides the video card. Absolute minimum power drain (including disconnecting the floppy drive.) If all is working, you'd get the typical responce from the BIOS telling you it has no boot drive.

This first test is important because if you had some sort of short to the power supply, it is possible that it took out the onboard battery without bothering the rest of the motherboard.