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PC keeps powering off and restarting?

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April 11, 2006 9:26:27 AM

Hi,
A friend has a Packard Bell I am trying to fix for them.

Problem is, the PC boots up, can stay up for any amount of time, then just the full power goes, the PC stays of for a second or two then just powers back on itself?

It can power off whilst in XP or just at the XP F8 menu so I do not think this is OS/Virus issue (AVG found nothing).

I thought it may be a PSU problem so tried a good spare I have, this worked fine for over an hour, then same symptoms!

I checked the CPU temp which is around the mid 30's (its a P4).

Had memory problems in other PC's before, but this just performed a reset, the fact this is actually cutting power to the board for a few seconds makes me think it is not memory.

Any advice/suggestions would be greatly appreciated, it has me stumped at the moment :( 

More about : powering restarting

a b à CPUs
April 11, 2006 10:03:08 AM

Ouch...

Sounds rather "motherboard-ish" if you've already replaced the psu! :-(

(Is an old AT psu? maybe power switch on case is intermittent, and you could wire it on permanently?)
April 11, 2006 10:38:01 AM

I had a very similar problem last year.

Possible causes investigated:

-loose memory, CPU, graphics (remove, re-seat)
-bad memory, CPU, graphics (memtest86, et al.)
-bad PSU (changeout)
-cable runs interfering with 'anything' (inspect, move - this one gave a clue but not definitive)
-overheating (MotherBoardMonitor with logging and stack dump)
-shorts on MB due to dust, mounts, etc. (inspect, vacuum etc.)
-virii (bootable virus check CD)
-BIOS (very risky re-flashing in this situation but tried anyway-phew)


The cause was finally traced, after many, many hair-pullings and blood/sweat/tears, to a dry joint (bad solder) on ATX power socket. Varying MB temp parted contact by micro amount - comp shuts down; cools fractionally - comp restarts.

My MB was still under g'tee so I RMA'd it.

The only difference with my situation is the frequency of shutdowns seems slightly more (once every 10-15 mins) than you have reported in yours, and reboot was not immediate - took about 5 secs to begin.

Good luck anyway.

Q.
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April 11, 2006 11:13:38 AM

Quote:

(Is an old AT psu? maybe power switch on case is intermittent, and you could wire it on permanently?)


Cheers - that was one of my next tests....don't like the power switch, seemed a bit unresponsive at times.

Will be something else to rule out if not ;-)

Thanks.
April 11, 2006 11:27:31 AM

smells on PSU or its cable to me:) 
try with another power cable and PSU
April 11, 2006 11:57:30 AM

Quote:


The cause was finally traced, after many, many hair-pullings and blood/sweat/tears, to a dry joint (bad solder) on ATX power socket. Varying MB temp parted contact by micro amount - comp shuts down; cools fractionally - comp restarts.


Q.


You did well finding that :-)

Will check it out also, cheers!
April 11, 2006 12:17:08 PM

I've seen that exact problem and it was memory.
April 11, 2006 12:50:29 PM

Quote:
I've seen that exact problem and it was memory.


I saw a similar problem, but resetting not powering off....if you have seen this same behaviour, will swap out the memory tonight....

Thanks!
April 11, 2006 12:54:32 PM

I agree. It was most likely memory as the culprit. Have you set the latencies too low?
April 11, 2006 2:37:41 PM

Quote:
I agree. It was most likely memory as the culprit. Have you set the latencies too low?


No settings have been changed, it is a friends, whom would not a know a latancy if it bit him on the @rse ;-) Plus he would have more chance of driving to the moon than being able to change any such settings...

I will certainly look into the memory tonight tho, hope it is that.....thanks.
April 12, 2006 6:58:04 AM

I did not have too much time last night for testing, so I just ran memtest and left it running for a few hours...no errors reported, also no power offs either :-(

Would this prove the memory is OK, or are the tests not good enough to highlight certain memory faults that may exist?

Cheers for any info.
a b à CPUs
April 12, 2006 11:53:54 AM

memtest86 is pretty darn definitive, IMO....

If it says it's good through all of the tests..... it's good! :-)
a b à CPUs
April 12, 2006 11:58:46 AM

I can't see anyway, beyond a severe short in a mem stick, that mem is going to cause a rig to completely power itself off for a second or two, then power itself back on...

blue screens, resets, of course can point to mem...

powering off in an older AT rig?

power switch, psu, cold solder joint, mainboard, a partial short somewhere?
April 12, 2006 12:40:36 PM

I have the same problem, used to be a Packard Bell aswell, i say used to, all thats left is the floppy and DVD-ROM from it. I have tracked it down to the hard drive. Had troubles reading data off bad sectors, froze, gave up, and rebooted. I am now awaiting a new hard drive. This supports why memtest86 was fine, as it doesnt give a damn if you have a hard drive attached or not.

Load up command prompt (Start > Run > cmd [enter]) then type in "chkdsk /f" with out the ""'s. This will check the hard drive for errors, and fix them. It may need to do it on boot. So you may have to restart. Hope this helps.
April 12, 2006 1:11:58 PM

Quote:
I can't see anyway, beyond a severe short in a mem stick, that mem is going to cause a rig to completely power itself off for a second or two, then power itself back on...

blue screens, resets, of course can point to mem...

powering off in an older AT rig?

power switch, psu, cold solder joint, mainboard, a partial short somewhere?

Well, a bluescreen will sometimes do that. Also, I know I've had this problem in relevance to my own memory when trying to run 270@1.5-2-2-5. While playing a game, screen would go blank, and bam, after a second or so it would restart. I have learned not to try and push good memory 10mhz farther than it needs to be ;p
BTW, I might advise you that memtest86 is a piece of crap. Use Prime95 for 24 hours instead, it is far more comprehensive and will pick up problems memtest won't.
April 12, 2006 1:14:22 PM

Quote:
I have the same problem, used to be a Packard Bell aswell, i say used to, all thats left is the floppy and DVD-ROM from it. I have tracked it down to the hard drive. Had troubles reading data off bad sectors, froze, gave up, and rebooted. I am now awaiting a new hard drive. This supports why memtest86 was fine, as it doesnt give a damn if you have a hard drive attached or not.

Load up command prompt (Start > Run > cmd [enter]) then type in "chkdsk /f" with out the ""'s. This will check the hard drive for errors, and fix them. It may need to do it on boot. So you may have to restart. Hope this helps.

Could very well be that too. I just had a few hard drives die on me; however, system would never restart. Things just took FOREVER to load or didn't at all, and if I wanted to restart, I had to do it manually.
April 12, 2006 1:22:09 PM

Quote:
I just had a few hard drives die on me; however, system would never restart.


Ah, mine would restart, until 2 days go that was. Playing UT2004, and would hang, sometimes for a sec or two, other times for nearly a min. Well sometimes after it had hung it will flash BSOD, and restart, but two days ago it would load XP and just before it would get to the welcome screen it would BSOD and restart. Left it trying for an hour, to no avail.


You could try testing it with a live CD, something like Knoppix, and see if it will handle stress like that, inwhich case it points towards the HDD.

What model Packard Bell is it?
April 12, 2006 1:25:08 PM

Quote:
I just had a few hard drives die on me; however, system would never restart.


Ah, mine would restart, until 2 days go that was. Playing UT2004, and would hang, sometimes for a sec or two, other times for nearly a min. Well sometimes after it had hung it will flash BSOD, and restart, but two days ago it would load XP and just before it would get to the welcome screen it would BSOD and restart. Left it trying for an hour, to no avail.
What mine would do is say "Windows is missing blahblahbullcrap.dll" instead of getting the Windows XP boot screen.
April 12, 2006 1:28:46 PM

Hal.dll, thats the one that i lost, along with half of the ststem32 folder. Thought it was the software, went through 3 different coppies of XP. Then thought, no this aint right, its gotta be hardware, a much as i didnt want it to be.
April 12, 2006 1:29:03 PM

Thanks guys, more tests for me to do tonight :-)

Much appreciated!
April 12, 2006 1:37:19 PM

Quote:
Quote:


What model Packard Bell is it?


Not sure, it is a friends who nicely dropped it off for me to fix, I will check tonight and post details tomorrow with results of tests performed tonight.
April 12, 2006 1:37:29 PM

Make sure that the cpu ins overheating, make shure the ram is in the correct slots as well. Make shur the psu is connected to the mobo completley :twisted:
April 12, 2006 1:38:02 PM

Hope you get it sorted, and might help if you get the model number for us, less u fix it that is.
April 12, 2006 1:40:25 PM

Quote:
Make sure that the cpu ins overheating, make shure the ram is in the correct slots as well. Make shur the psu is connected to the mobo completley :twisted:

take off the side case and put a big fan to the CPU.
April 12, 2006 4:22:20 PM

Take the hard drive out, get the data off and buy a new PC. Packard Bells are ancient. I havent seen one in years. If I did I would get out my shotgun for kicks. Those were the worst pcs I have ever had the misfortune of working on.
April 12, 2006 11:07:52 PM

Quote:
Take the hard drive out, get the data off and buy a new PC. Packard Bells are ancient. I havent seen one in years. If I did I would get out my shotgun for kicks. Those were the worst pcs I have ever had the misfortune of working on.


No that prize goes Fujitisu systems, fook me they are aweful. My 12 bore enjoyed it though.
April 13, 2006 12:27:12 AM

I had the same problem with Windows xp. I upgraded my system to a 3800 x2 processor and I kept getting a blue screen saying PCI.sys and it kept rebooting even after a fresh install. I found out you can turn off ACPI and it will fix the blue screen. I went back to windows 2000 and It works fine I downloaded a trial verison of win xp x64 edition and it fixed the problem. You can try a different OS and see if that fixes it. I still dont know why xp kept rebooting on me. I tried installing it 4 times and on 2 different hardrives/partitions
April 16, 2006 1:17:10 PM

Quote:
I have the same problem, used to be a Packard Bell aswell, i say used to, all thats left is the floppy and DVD-ROM from it. I have tracked it down to the hard drive. Had troubles reading data off bad sectors, froze, gave up, and rebooted. I am now awaiting a new hard drive. This supports why memtest86 was fine, as it doesnt give a damn if you have a hard drive attached or not.

Load up command prompt (Start > Run > cmd [enter]) then type in "chkdsk /f" with out the ""'s. This will check the hard drive for errors, and fix them. It may need to do it on boot. So you may have to restart. Hope this helps.


Cheers for all the help and suggestions, looks like it was the hard drive, ran a chkdsk then sfc to replace files, never had the problem again since. Chdksk did relocate some bad sectors....

Thanks again.
a b à CPUs
April 16, 2006 11:03:39 PM

"While playing a game, screen would go blank, and bam, after a second or so it would restart."

Restarting/rebooting is much different than powering itself off and then back on, I'd say....
April 16, 2006 11:06:02 PM

Quote:
"While playing a game, screen would go blank, and bam, after a second or so it would restart."

Restarting/rebooting is much different than powering itself off and then back on, I'd say....

Dunno, just restarted on its own it seemed. Sort of like if you hit the reset button...
April 18, 2006 2:57:39 AM

i came across this same problem once and i finally track it down to a loose wire connection in the three pin plug.
April 18, 2006 9:07:32 AM

As in the kettle lead?
!