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Hard drive does not spin up at boot (bad psu?)

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  • Homebuilt
  • Hard Drives
  • Motherboards
  • Power
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Last response: in Systems
August 14, 2010 10:18:25 PM

I recently upgraded my motherboard, and the first few boots after that were fine, but now it seems like the hard drive does not want to spin up at all at initial power on. If I disconnect the sata power cable and reconnect it while the system is already running, it will spin up just fine. My initial thought was that the problem was the power supply, so I tested some of the ide power cables with a multimeter, and the power going to them is 6.90V. Once the system is up and running, everything is stable, with no crashes or problems. The PSU is a FSP Zen 400, and the system only draws at most 125W, so it should be able to handle the load, but maybe this motherboard just draws more at initial power on than the last and taxes the PSU too much for a second or two?

More about : hard drive spin boot bad psu

a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
August 14, 2010 10:37:56 PM

Well here's a shock for you... PSU sellers (in this case a manufacturer) lie.

They often try to sell a PSU not capable of 300W as 500W.
here's a case in point... I did not have to look hard to find it, many like this:
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/ASUS-Atlas-A-45G...

Also, a poor PSU will "sag" under load. Voltages might seem OK at idle then drop as a load is applied.

You HD draws far more power on spin-up than it does normally, and it could be that the drive is at fault.

It could also be your motherboard. I would look at the 12V power coming from your PSU under load, see where that is.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a c 188 V Motherboard
August 15, 2010 3:58:30 AM

6.9 volts would be bad news on any rail(unless you did a Yellow to Red test, 7V, this does not work on all power supplies, but FSP ones do for sure).

It may be that the power supply has seen better days

From
Black to Red should give you 5 volts +- 5% under all conditions
Black to Yellow should give 12volts +- 5% under all conditions
Black to Orange should give you 3.3 +-5% under all conditions

Normally FSP power supplies are not all that bad at all.

I would for the hell of it, try to disconnect the SATA DATA cable to make sure the board is not stopping the spin-up. I know it will not boot, but should allow you to see(ok hear) if the drive spins up while you enter the bios. A few boots this way will show if you have a further problem. If it does always spin up this way, i would try another cable or sata port. If not, I guess you may have to look at another power supply or test the drive in a friends system, hard drives can also have issues.
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Related resources
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
August 15, 2010 5:00:37 AM

Thanks NM!

nukemaster said:


Normally FSP power supplies are not all that bad at all.



They have made some decent ones, and some very bad ones, some acceptable and some not quite acceptable.

I admit most of the FSP units sold by FSP with their name on it are at least not junk :) 

Here are some FSP OEM models that are junk however:
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/1005/1
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...

And one FSP branded unit that failed (Everest 900W)
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...

However, I have built machines with the OCZ SXS line, made by FSP. Those are good cheap PSUs.
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August 15, 2010 7:48:43 PM

nukemaster said:
6.9 volts would be bad news on any rail(unless you did a Yellow to Red test, 7V, this does not work on all power supplies, but FSP ones do for sure).


Thanks for the reply.

I wasn't paying attention and did accidentally actually measure red to yellow. The actual voltages while running are 11.99 and 5.10. My multimeter doesn't really tell me what is happening with the voltages during power on, but it very well could be that the new motherboard is drawing more than the old one.

The PSU has the older 4 wire aux wire that goes to the motherboard to help power the cpu, while the new motherboard actually wants an 8 wire connection, and actually states in the manual that it won't start without one. It evidently does start, but maybe that could be part of the problem, though I thought that I could get away without the extra connections because my cpu only draws 45W. I will have to try your idea of unplugging the sata data cable first, and if that doesn't work, it would probably be the PSU, as I don't think that the hard drive is dying (SMART is still a pass, with a spinup time of under 7s).

As far as the quality of the psu itself, I always thought that the zen 400 was one of the higher quality fanless PSUs out there due to the favorable reviews that it garners, but maybe mine is just old. As far as replacement goes, there very few fanless PSUs out there, but it looks like seasonic released a nicer, more modern fanless PSU that was reviewed a couple of days ago (nice timing) at hardocp and silentpcreview.com, the X-400FL or SS-400FL, so that will be what I replace it with, once it comes in stock.
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
August 15, 2010 8:46:16 PM

Yes that Seasonic is looking really good. I did kind of remember this FSP Zen as a recommended PSU at one point, but when I searched I could find no good reviews, or quality reviews from anyone.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a c 188 V Motherboard
August 15, 2010 11:02:48 PM

Funny you mention that. I was actually going to get a FSP Zen years back. got an Antec EA430(the 380 was not in stock) that was very quiet(almost silent) on the 70-90 watt system. 2 years later it died :( . This kind of thing happens and Antec was very good with the RMA(fast)

The only reason i would recommend a fanless psu would be the ultra high efficiency at higher load. You still need some kind of fan to keep air moving past it.

I have also run boards with the 8pin power cable with a 4 without issues.
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August 16, 2010 4:59:03 PM

nukemaster said:

I would for the hell of it, try to disconnect the SATA DATA cable to make sure the board is not stopping the spin-up. I know it will not boot, but should allow you to see(ok hear) if the drive spins up while you enter the bios. A few boots this way will show if you have a further problem. If it does always spin up this way, i would try another cable or sata port.


I disconnected the drive and powered it on three times, and every time the hard drive spun up with the data cable disconnected, so it actually is the motherboard that is stopping the hard drive from spinning up, which is a bit unexpected. I didn't think that the hard drive would actually be in communication with the motherboard before spin up. I didn't think to try a different cable or port when I was testing it this morning though. Could it really be a bad port or cable? Other than this, there hasn't really been anything to indicate that either is defective.

The motherboard is a Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD5. The bios is the most recent version, and to think of it, it might be when I upgraded it when this started happening, as the hard drive spun up for the first two or so boot-ups, which was about the time I upgraded the bios to try to fix a minor audio problem. Could it be some setting within the bios or a bad bios that is causing this?
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
August 16, 2010 7:32:36 PM

We never really talked specifics here. Is this a Seagate drive? What brand is it?
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August 16, 2010 8:44:45 PM

Proximon said:
We never really talked specifics here. Is this a Seagate drive? What brand is it?


Samsung HD103SJ
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a b B Homebuilt system
a c 188 V Motherboard
August 16, 2010 9:05:02 PM

I have seen bad cables do some interesting things to a drive. This does include drives spinning down. I would just try a different cable first. The board should have come with a few

You can try to back date the bios(only do it from the bios's built in flasher[Q-flash], windows flashing is generally NOT RECOMMENDED), OR try the other sata ports. I notice you have 3 controllers, One for SATA 6(its the AMD one, BLUE), another for GSATA(its technically a jmicron one - white ports.), and the last one is your rear e-sata ports(jmicron).

Are you currently on the AMD or gigabyte ports? Are you set to AHCI/SATA/RAID/IDE?

Maybe there is some kind of a compatibility issue with one mode and your drive.

Generally AHCI(this allows things like hot swap and ncq) is recommended, but sometimes IDE mode is easier to set up. The e-sata ports should always be in ACHI mode.

Caution....

making changes to those settings after a Windows install can cause strange issues(most common going from IDE -> AHCI can cause BSOD's as windows wants to see the drive as IDE).

What was the minor audio problem? Did you get the latest drivers?
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August 17, 2010 1:26:38 AM

Quote:
Generally AHCI(this allows things like hot swap and ncq) is recommended, but sometimes IDE mode is easier to set up. The e-sata ports should always be in ACHI mode.


That was one of the first things that I tried, but did nothing, so I just changed it to achi mode from the default ide and left it.

Quote:
try the other sata ports. I notice you have 3 controllers, One for SATA 6(its the AMD one, BLUE), another for GSATA(its technically a jmicron one - white ports.), and the last one is your rear e-sata ports(jmicron).


Trying one of the two white sata2 ports fixed it. The hard drive itself is only sata2, so it doesn't really matter if I use the sata3 ports or not. I will still be emailing gigabyte about this because I remember the hard drive working with the sata3 ports before the bios update. Thanks again for the ideas for fixing this. Now, all I have to do is figure out why none of the 4 sticks of g.skill ram I have run their rated DDR3 speed of 1600 without giving errors in memtest. :kaola: 

Quote:
What was the minor audio problem? Did you get the latest drivers?


Some hissing on my speakers whenever the audio stopped playing, which did not happen on my old motherboard. I just switched to coaxial instead of optical output. This was happening in windows and linux, so it would be unrelated to drivers.

Quote:
windows flashing is generally NOT RECOMMENDED),


This reminds me of an old dell laptop that I have. Its bios would only allow flashing from windows XP; the executable upgrade from dell that was posted to fix suspending would fail to run on vista, win7 and even on windows xp compatibility mode. Which is funny because the laptop came with vista.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a c 188 V Motherboard
August 17, 2010 1:31:01 AM

illumilore said:
Now, all I have to do is figure out why none of the 4 sticks of g.skill ram I have run their rated DDR3 speed of 1600 without giving errors in memtest. :kaola: 

Did you up the voltage as needed?
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August 17, 2010 4:09:20 AM

nukemaster said:
Did you up the voltage as needed?


Well, the sticks were advertised as 1.35V, but the motherboard only has 1.41 or 1.31, so after emailing g.skill about the voltages, I just stuck with the recommended 1.41. G.skill mentioned somewhere that overvolting can cause them to overheat, so I haven't tried past 1.41.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a c 188 V Motherboard
August 17, 2010 3:45:08 PM

yeah 1.41 should be enough(for that low voltage memory). Guess you will have to wait and see what they have to say. In some cases running 4 sticks require a bit more voltage. 1.45 should not hurt it, but i guess waiting is better. I have never used low voltage memory.
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