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PSU incompatible? PC won't turn on even with new PSU

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March 16, 2006 1:28:30 AM

OK, I'm hoping you all can help me figure out where I've gone astray. I'm pretty good with computers, but the guts part is pretty new to me--I'm an old hand at adding and replacing RAM, NICs, stuff of that nature, but I've never built a computer, or upgraded any major parts.

Here's my situation:
I own an eMachines T2542, it's about two years old (yes, I know it's a piece of crap, but I was poorer than dirt when I needed a new PC). I've always run it out-of-the-box except I upgraded to 512MB RAM shortly after purchasing it--no added frills in way of graphics cards or other energy drains.

A few months ago, it wouldn't boot up. It had been working the last time I'd needed it, but that was several weeks before. (I don't use it as my main machine, but I need it for more powerful applications than my 6+ year old internet machine can handle.) No indictation of life at all. So I poked it a for a few weeks, making sure everything was connected, tried different outlets and cords. No life.

I figured it was the PSU, otherwise there'd be some sort of life. Opened up the PSU, it had an area that looked slightly unheatlhy. Figured that was the problem--something fried. So I looked up the piece (Bestec atx-250-12e) online. Found that a Bestec atx-300-12e was the recommended replacement, so I bought one. It arrived, I installed it no problem. Power connected, fan came on, (kinda odd) but it powered up. Put it on a new surge protector when I replaced the PSU. The fan remained on whether the PC was on or off, so I unplugged it when I wasn't using it. I used it a couple of times over the next week, got more comfortable with it. Everything seemed fine except for the fan that remained on whenever the cord was plugged in.

So I got more confident after trying it for about a week, and finally started working on my project. After about four hours of use, as I was happily working away, the computer died. No blink, no warning, no hot electrical smell, just poof--dead. So I again tried other outlets, checked the connections inside, etc. No luck. The other things plugged into the surge protector all still work fine. But no signs of life in the PC. Opened it up, sniffed to make sure I wasn't missing the electrical smell. Figured I'd bought a crappy PSU to put in a crappy PC, and that wasn't a brilliant idea. So I checked my power needs, figured 300w should be plenty (NOTHING fancy on this PC) but decided to aim for 400w next time.

After reading reviews, decided to try the Thermaltake TR2 W0070 ATX 430W Power Supply. It arrived today, I installed it, prepared for the fan to come on, and tried to power up. Nothing happened. I flipped the switch in the back, pushed power again. Nothing happened. I unplugged everything, checked my connections, switched the 4-pin power, plugged everything back in, pushed the power button, nothing happened. Flipped the switch in the back, tried again. After stepping through this several times, I debated whether the SATA made the PSU incompatible with my PC. But nothing I've read seems to indicate this to be so--SATAs seem to be "extra" rather than "instead of" (correct me if I'm wrong).

After fiddling with the connections, I unscrewed the Bestec 300w PSU, and took a look inside. Nothing looks burned or fried, so now I'm left to wonder: why doesn't it power on? Is it really the PSU? Is the Thermaltake incompatible? Wwhat else can make the PC lose its spark without any warning? What step did I miss, or what did I do wrong?

Anyone have any suggestions (besides skipping the eMachines system, because it's obviously too late for that). Thanks.
March 16, 2006 2:06:40 AM

It's probably the board, are there any diag lights on it that light (or don't) up? Try to pull off all the eMachines emblems, it just might start working :) 
March 16, 2006 2:38:18 AM

when your p.s. went out it probabley damaged your motherboard and probably some other componets as well. it worked for a while with the new p.s. because the damage wasn't catastophic but components were significantly weakend and they failed as soon as you started to stress your system a little.
i would be wary of reusing any of the components (ram, hardrive, processer) in any computer you have to depend on.
March 17, 2006 12:48:30 PM

Thanks for your input. Michaelahess, the PC acts as if it were not plugged in, so I doubt I'll be able to trick it back to life, although I do intend to pull it apart over the weekend (can't hurt anything if it's already ruined). Wgfalcon, you gave me the news I was afraid I was going to get. Thanks for your thoughts. Guess I should put the pretty new PSU to use by finally building my own computer.
!