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Computer doesn't power up properly

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libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04

Something is obviously wrong with my computer lately, but I can only speculate what. What happens is that when I turn it off (or something turns it off) I often can't properly start it back up again even after trying many times. Sometimes I am lucky enough to start it up after I unplug it completely and then plug it back in for a few times and trying to turn it off and on in order to get to the normal boot (and even then it seems it just doesn't prompt CD/DVD devices for boot at all).

When I turn it on at these occasions, fans start spinning, the green light turns on and one CD light turns on, but keeps being lit up (which isn't normal) and nothing else happens. The picture doesn't come to the monitor and the boot sequence doesn't start.

Yesterday it was so bad for so long that I even carried it for a quick check at a computer service, but the guy there saw my graphics card not entirely plugged into the slot, pushed it in harder, tried it out and it worked. Well, today I'm getting the same problem and all cards are pushed in properly, so it's not it. It probably worked for him randomly, as it does for me at home.

I was suspecting my power supply because it is an old one (came with the case) that can sustain about 200 watts, but the computer didn't originally had an extra DVD player, a PCI DVB card and a graphics ATI card with a fan on it. So I'm guessing that maybe the power supply just can't supply enough energy to it all, which manifests in these boot failures.

But then it's weird how it doesn't restart itself at all. I heard that when the power supply is too weak, computers actually restart themselves occasionally too..

Anyway, I'm wondering what could be the problem. The service man said that these things could be caused by anything from a MBO to the graphics card to the DVB card. I doubt it's a graphics card as its new, so it might be either an MBO or that weird SkyStar DVB card.. or.. the power supply..

If you've had any experiences similar to these I'd be glad if you'd share it.. Thanks for your help.

a thing's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20
take stuff out

1. Dust.
2. Try taking stuff out.

tbuitenh's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-21
first things first
a thing wrote:

1. Dust.
2. Try taking stuff out.

0. Make a complete backup NOW!

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Dust can cause issues like

Dust can cause issues like this? I'm not sure.. The case is open all the time so the air flows freely and I occasionally blow some dust out.

As for taking stuff out, that's what I was thinking off, but the thing is that since it randomly will start up anyway, even if I don't take anything out, it's going to be very hard to determine whether the device I took out was to blame or it just randomly decided to start up. :\

I did unplug my DVD, CD and floppy the other day. That didn't help immediately, but the service man managed to start it up anyway..

It's so annoying.

Since I am suspecting a power supply, and I was planning on gradually building up a new computer this year, including a case (cause this one is quite terrible), I might get a case with a built in 400W power supply that supports mATX motherboards, and just move everything from this old one to that new one.

Then, when the time (and cash) comes I'll also replace the old MBO, CPU and memory with new ones, hence converting the computer to a completely new one (I already have a fairly new HD, graphics card, CD burner and DVD player so all I really need yet is MBO and CPU, and perhaps a bit more memory.

Thanks

AndrewB's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-18
Check the battery on the

Check the battery on the motherboard. When mine ran flat it done this for some random reason.

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Joined: 2005-12-18
Actually, the graphic card

Actually, the graphic card should be your main suspect, if these problems appeared after you bought it. It is new, so it shouldn't be faulty, but your system also wasn't faulty before you bought that card. You could try using a computer for some time without that card plugged in (if I remember correctly, you also have an onboard GPU).

Off course, if computer works correctly without the card, this still doesn't mean that the card is defective - it could be mainboard (the AGP slot that you plug the card in or accompanying chips could be faulty) or a power supply.

I remember having similar problems with powering up my old computer, it would simply stop before powering hard drives. I never looked much into it as it happened very rarely (but would happen a couple of times in a row), I kept it on the whole time and rarely rebooted and was planning to get a new computer soon anyway. The computer still happily works (my parents use it), and I think this doesn't happen anymore. It has a bit damaged PS/2 connector (the keyboard one) so I assumed that keyboard was plugged in badly and was causing this (it is an AT keyboard plugged in AT->PS/2 adapter plugged in PS/2 port that is damaged and I would pull it all out accidentally with my leg once a month Smiling).

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Is there a way to check for

Is there a way to check for sure whether the battery ran out? If yes, that'd be the easiest way to resolve it. I guess I'd just have to get a new battery...

Although I thought those are charged while the computer is on (which is all the time).

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Oh no not the new graphics

Oh no not the new graphics card!

Well, I guess I'll have to double check whether the onboard chip is conflicting with the card in BIOS. I have AGP-Add-On enabled there, but also I have selected 256MB to be the amount of video memory (it's not onboard sharing, but can't remember how exactly is it called).. Maybe I should put that to none or something...

The likely scenario I imagine, regarding the graphics card, is not that it or the mainboard are defective, but that it takes more power than the power supply can give it..

AndrewB's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-18
Wait! That's a point. It

Wait! That's a point. It does charge. With that computer there was a fault with the motherboard so it didn't charge!
Could still test though.. swap it with your sisters for a day.
I think now I realise the old problem it could be that you are putting too much on your PSU... but you have tested that..
Hmm

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Actually I haven't tested

Actually I haven't tested yet. I'm just guessing. That seems most likely to me..

I don't want to unplug my card, but I guess I'll have to, to be sure. :\

AndrewB's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-18
I remember my dad decided

I remember my dad decided it was cause it needed to warm up. So we used to leave it in it's coma state for 5mins then try again. Of course it made no difference.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Hehe warm up indeed. It

Hehe warm up indeed. It actually looks the opposite here. I just rebooted to BIOS and all seemed fine there, except that (since I reset my CMOS recently) I forgot to make it check for CD/DVD for boot before hard disk so I fixed that.

I then tried booting to the EasyLFS, but my USB keyboard didn't work properly and I had to shut it off. When I tried to turn it back on there was the same problem again. I then switched it off, switched the power supply power input to off (there is a 0-1 switch on the back of the power supply), looked around the inside of the box, blew some dust off (not much), pushed the memory module a bit, basically did nothing in particular except touching things. Laughing out loud

But a few minutes went by and the next time I tried to turn the comp on everything was normal. So I suppose just waiting to actually "cool off" helps.

But of course, there must be a reason why it does this at all.. I hope it's not any defect in any cards, the MBO or anything like that. Besides, it all works pretty good while it's on. I *still* think it's just the simple power supply issue. All components probably take just so much power for the power supply to barely be able to power it all up. It's probably somewhere on the limit, which is why it sometimes needs a few try outs to get the initial power to all devices once the comp is on.

Sadly, this is mostly just speculation at this point, but when I'll have time and will I might test it without the AGP card and then I'll know more. In the meantime I think this'll do for a few months. After that I'll get a new case with a power supply, MBO, CPU and memory and then just move the existing CD, DVD, PCI DVB card, AGP card, HD and probably the existing memory module. And it'll all be fine then...

Which brings me to another, not so urgent topic that I might open later... which MBO and CPU to get. Eye

a thing's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20
AGP slot?
libervisco wrote:

Dust can cause issues like this? I'm not sure.. The case is open all the time so the air flows freely and I occasionally

1. Dust can do a lot of weird things.
2. I suggest you get a can of gas duster (sometimes incorrectly called canned air, but it's not just air—it's poisonous and should be used in an open area and/or with a fan blowing).
3. The open case could be contributing to the collection of dust.

However it is important to check voltage compatibility as some cards incorrectly have dual notches and some motherboards incorrectly have fully open slots. Inserting a card into a slot that does not support the correct signaling voltage may cause damage.

That might have something to do with it. Try playing with the graphics card and just taking things out.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
I'll try looking for this

I'll try looking for this "gas duster" thing. I assume it's something that makes dusting sensitive things like electronics easier. Another option is just vacuuming, but then I have to be careful..

About voltages I doubt it is that. I heard about that and checked around a bit and it is said that all recent AGP cards go on 1.5V and not 3V, and 1.5 is what modern mainboards (including mine) support. So compatibility should be fine.

Besides, I don't get why would it work flawlessly once it's on if it really has some sort of a defect or a compatibility issue. It still remains most likely that it is a power supply issue.. The graphics acceleration is great and I don't see any glitches so I doubt the card itself is problematic.

AndrewB's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-18
You could as in #hardware

You could ask in #hardware on irc.freenode.net
I have found they are very friendly and often provide answers to hard questions such as this...

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Thanks Andrew. I didn't

Thanks Andrew. I didn't know about that channel. Smiling

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Joined: 2006-06-11
This problem happens when

This problem happens when you turn the voltage switch on the power supply to another value, 220 instead of 110, or something like that. Everything seems to turn on yet nothing happens, and no beeps.

Usually a power supply failure if that happened out of nowhere. Otherwise, the motherboard have beep codes for almost every other problems that can happen in a PC. Refer to your motherboard manual for details (often available on vendor's website) :-)

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Joined: 2005-12-20
It sounds like your

It sounds like your powersupply isn't powerful enough.

This could be cos of your new card Smiling

Try booting the comp with no graphics card (your on board one)

That might help

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Yep, to both, the power

Yep, to both, the power supply must be the issue. I'll try without a graphics card at some point, but as long as it's on and works properly it's ok for now.

And if I ever have to turn it off I guess I'll just wait a bit and try a few times, maybe also check without graphics card.

Thanks Smiling

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