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Old 04-26-2012, 12:48 AM   #1
JonInMiddleGA
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
Computer help pls - power supply issues?

Way too many computer gurus around here for me not to reach out for some help. I'll give you the brief backstory that seems relevant & then cut to what happened a few minutes ago.

The computer in question is my primary one, an eMachines T3085 that's several years old now, AMD Athlon 1.3 ghz, running WinXP

A few days back (Saturday IIRC) we had a power outage, as in the lights went out. Came back on after a couple of hours, no biggie ... except I got a "no video signal" error message. It seemed to be rebooting best I could figure but there was simply nothing on my monitor except the error msg. Google on another computer & found references to this exact situation with WinXP and sure enough, once I removed any & all USB devices, I rebooted & the problem was solved. Plugged my printer, mouse and wireless network adapter back in, all is well.

A few minutes ago while in mid-browse everything went dark. Just poof, black screen shutdown. There might have been a household power flicker but I've decided that didn't happen (since nothing else seems to have shutdown) but I can't swear there wasn't a split second power decrease almost like a brownout, I actually thought that was what happened at the time but now I'm not sure either way.

I powered the PC back on and instead of hearing that comforting little *beep* that goes with rebooting, I heard a sort of *click*. Not exactly the mechanical sound of a failing drive or something, this was somehow different than that one ... but the bottom line was no reboot. No video input error message either, just a cycle of the initial eMachines logo popping onscreen briefly, disappearing, reppearing, disappearing. I finally killed the main power & tried again. This time nothing at all, just a black screen. Holding my breath I removed all USB devices, tried again ... like magic, I'm up & running just like nothing happened.

Umm ... WTF?
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Old 04-26-2012, 02:26 AM   #2
k0ruptr
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Gah. Sounds like brownout fried motherboard.
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:55 AM   #3
weegeebored
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If I'm following correctly, the 'puter boots with no attached USB devices? Perhaps the BIOS settings were changed/reset due to the power issues. I would check things like boot order and USB settings to see if they are properly set for your devices. It could be a flaky motherboard but I would be inclined to check other things first before assuming the worst.
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:05 AM   #4
Peregrine
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What kind of USB devices do you have? Are there a lot of them, possibly drawing a lot of power? Some of the issues you had could be a failing power supply, or if you have recently started using new equipment it could be you need a larger supply - seems unlikely since you have an older machine.
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Old 04-26-2012, 12:30 PM   #5
JonInMiddleGA
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weegeebored - you read it correctly. From googling, it seems to be something that may not be common but isn't highly irregular either. (Saturday night was the first time I'd ever seen/heard of it though)

peregrine - only three usb devices: a printer I've had for ages, the same wireless network adapter I've used for at least a year, and an external drive that doesn't even work but was still plugged in apparently (I just disconnected it during this post) edit to add. I left out my mouse when replying originally.

The whole unplug-all-USB-devices bit was the lifesaver on Saturday, darned if I can find the support discussion where I got the idea from though. In that thread, maybe a year or so old, after all sorts of discussion about replacing powers supplies, motherboards, etc & so on, I saw someone mention the USB thing. A couple of people there had success with it, figured it was worth a try (since I certainly wasn't going to be doing any of the other things myself & doubly not pushing midnight on Sat) ... sure enough it worked.

Thing is, I don't recall any explanation about [i]why[/] that worked, just that it did. Last night's issue seemed more like a failure to boot properly than the incident on Saturday, it was more specific to just a video signal failure. I can't swear the two things are even connected, but it sure seems as though they would be.
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Last edited by JonInMiddleGA : 04-26-2012 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 04-27-2012, 01:10 PM   #6
JonInMiddleGA
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Aaaaaand another abrupt black screen death this morning. Just *poof* like the power was killed ... except of course it wasn't (through any obvious means).

This time no luck rebooting at all, can't even get a beep, not even with every peripheral (USB and otherwise) disconnected. I notice that the fan is not starting either, so my fingers are now crossed that it's only a power supply failure rather than motherboard or anything else.

Off to have that checked.
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Old 04-27-2012, 02:31 PM   #7
JonInMiddleGA
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Aaaaand it'll be Monday before I know anything, little shop got backed up I guess.

Yeah, it's okay to point & chuckle at me, but the simple truth is that I haven't the foggiest how to able check that power supply suspicion short of actually replacing it. And maybe I could have white knuckled my way through that with the help of a solid online tutorial but I wasn't going to jump those hoops until I at least knew whether that was the problem.

Gonna be a loooong miserable weekend for me, about 95% of my life seems to be on that computer. My options are pretty much down to 360 (which is actually wonky for the past week or so) and the FM12 that's on my son's laptop.
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Old 04-27-2012, 07:58 PM   #8
Autumn
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I hear there's a big event happening this weekend. They call it Outdoors. Maybe it's worth a try.
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Old 04-27-2012, 08:20 PM   #9
MizzouRah
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I suspect power supply. There is only so much it can take before it finally says enough.
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:12 PM   #10
JonInMiddleGA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn View Post
I hear there's a big event happening this weekend. They call it Outdoors. Maybe it's worth a try.

Why don't you just shoot me?
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