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Help please - New system, worked ONCE, no power

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September 24, 2010 2:39:17 AM

:(  I have no clue what I did. I'm kind of freaking out now...

So my first build worked two nights ago. I booted to BIOS, and happily went off to sleep.

I've been researching BIOS settings, and finally decided to try to set up the ram tonight.

And now - there is no power.

There should be a green light on the motherboard for power - and there's not.

I have reseated both of the power connecters (and rerouted them a little, so they were not so bendy), and made sure the power cord is plugged in securely of course and the psu is on.

The other night when it worked, just turning on the psu sent power to the board, and the green light lit up...

(I've also tried turning on the computer, just in case the led happened to burn out - definitely no power.)

Why would it work one time, and not at all again?!

Any other ideas on what to try?

I'm banging my head against the wall - sort of wish I had just spent the extra money and had someone else build it :( 

Ack, please help!
thanks...

More about : system worked power

September 24, 2010 2:53:09 AM

have you looked on the troubleshooting guide at the top of homebuild section? I'd link it but Im on my phone at work :-)
offhand I'd say check psu, dont forget the fuse in the plug too
make sure all connections are sound,
clear bios if you think your alterations may have caused an issue
I'll look back when I get home
Moto
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September 24, 2010 3:05:04 AM

Motopsychojdn said:
have you looked on the troubleshooting guide at the top of homebuild section? I'd link it but Im on my phone at work :-)
offhand I'd say check psu, dont forget the fuse in the plug too
make sure all connections are sound,
clear bios if you think your alterations may have caused an issue
I'll look back when I get home
Moto


Hi - and thank for the help!

Is there an easy way to check the psu that doesn't require any fancy electronics equipment (which I don't have)? Or do I need to go buy something?

I'm looking at the troubleshooting guide - thanks...

Quick question: The larger connector (12? 24? pin) for the power - mine is REALLY HARD to remove. I was able to remove it (and double checked that it was oriented correctly, it sure looks like it) - but it seemed like I was on the verge of breaking something there (either the motherboard, which seemed to be under alot of pressure from pulling on the power cord, or the plastic on the connecter itself). Is that normal?

I'm up to about item #6 on the troubleshooting guide - removing the ram. Was a little nervous at removing anything... but I'll give it a shot.

Oh... and not sure if it matters - that first boot that worked - didn't at first. no power, then I made sure the two power connectors were tight/pushed in, and it booted up. (As I said, I've reseated them this time, and no luck - but I didn't know if that could be relevant at all?)

Thanks!!!!

Edit: I've looked through the rest of the list and *think* I've done most of the things correctly (I read the mb manual, and cross referenced it with the other manuals and searched online for things that weren't clear!)

I haven't had a chance to change anything in bios yet - so I didn't reset the battery (yet) - the settings should still be defaults...

thanks...
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Related resources
September 24, 2010 3:18:03 AM

This is to be done at your own risk.
Excerpt from http://www.wikihow.com/Diagnose-and-Replace-a-Failed-PC....

Disconnect the power supply from the motherboard. Take a paper clip and short pins from the green and any black terminal of an ATX power connector (largest connector, typically 20-24 pins total) to power it on. Leave the paper clip connected, if you remove it, the Power will shut down again. Check to see if the fans spin (ie: inside the power supply). If so, your power supply is providing a 12V supply. An obvious clue of component failure is faint smoke or a burnt smell.

Little addition to that tip, wrap the paper clips with one layer of electrical tape then put the exposed end on to avoid any mishaps in terms of paper clips contacting something you may not want it to make contact with.

You can also test other components like molex based fans, atx connector based graphics cards (maybe, it depends. Will at least spin fans).

But if you are certain that this won't be your last build, save the trouble and purchase a power supply tester. It gives you rail readouts also. For example:
http://www.nextwarehouse.com/item/?714243_g10e
Theres definitely cheaper out there, I just chose a brand that creates reliable products.
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September 24, 2010 6:42:09 AM

dont worry about the 20+4pin being togh to remove, I feel the same way, feels like your going to snap the Mobo some days hehe
as cp said, green pin black pin will fire up your psu, but not give you any readings, its handy just to check the psu functions on a basic level, a multimeter can tell you if each line is providing what it should, but that is only a base reading (I.E. its working), not what the line is supplying under a load
or that link he provided also looks user friendly enough :) 
when I said about resetting bios, I was under the impression you had altered the ram settings already, my bad :) 
Moto
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September 24, 2010 8:22:22 AM

I've never touched the RAM settings of any computer I've had in 15 years. Asking for trouble if you're not confident.
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September 24, 2010 12:42:40 PM

cpatel1987 said:
This is to be done at your own risk.
Excerpt from http://www.wikihow.com/Diagnose-and-Replace-a-Failed-PC....

Disconnect the power supply from the motherboard. Take a paper clip and short pins from the green and any black terminal of an ATX power connector (largest connector, typically 20-24 pins total) to power it on. Leave the paper clip connected, if you remove it, the Power will shut down again. Check to see if the fans spin (ie: inside the power supply). If so, your power supply is providing a 12V supply. An obvious clue of component failure is faint smoke or a burnt smell.

This part is wrong. You need to momentarily (about 1 second) short the two together. Leaving them shorted is like pressing and holding the case power switch. The PSU will shutdown in about 5 seconds.

This will tell you if the PSU is bad. It won't, however, tell you if it is good because there is no load on the PSU.

Work through our standard checklist and troubleshooting thread:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261145-31-read-postin...
I mean work through, not just read over it. We spent a lot of time on this. It should find most of the problems.
Looks like you have done this.

If not, continue.

I have tested the following beep patterns on Gigabyte, eVGA, and ECS motherboards. Other BIOS' may be different.

Breadboard - that will help isolate any kind of case problem you might have.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/262730-31-breadboardi...

Breadboard with just motherboard, CPU & HSF, case speaker, and PSU. You do have a case speaker installed, right? If not, you really, really need one. If your case or motherboard didn't come with a system speaker, you can buy one here:
http://www.cwc-group.com/casp.html
Or Microcenter or Frye's.

Make sure you plug the CPU power cable in. The system will not boot without it.

I always breadboard a new build. It takes only a few minutes, and you know you are putting good parts in the case.

You can turn on the PC by momentarily shorting the two pins that the case power switch goes to. You should hear a series of long, single beeps indicating memory problems. Silence indicates a problem with (in most likely order) the PSU, motherboard, or CPU. Remember, at this time, you do not have a graphics card installed so the load on your PSU will be reduced.

If no beeps:
Running fans and drives and motherboard LED's do not necessarily indicate a good PSU. In the absence of a single short beep, they also do not indicate that the system is booting.

At this point, you can sort of check the PSU. Try to borrow a known good PSU of around 550 - 600 watts. That will power just about any system with a single GPU. If you cannot do that, use a DMM to measure the voltages. Measure between the colored wires and either chassis ground or the black wires. Yellow wires should be 12 volts. Red wires: +5 volts, orange wires: +3.3 volts, blue wire : -12 volts, violet wire: 5 volts always on. Tolerances are +/- 5% except for the -12 volts which is +/- 10%.

The gray wire is really important. It should go from 0 to +5 volts when you turn the PSU on with the case switch. CPU needs this signal to boot.

You can turn on the PSU by completely disconnecting the PSU and using a paperclip or jumper wire to short the green wire to one of the neighboring black wires.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FWXgQSokF4&feature=yout...

This checks the PSU under no load conditions, so it is not completely reliable. But if it can not pass this, it is dead. Then repeat the checks with the PSU plugged into the computer to put a load on the PSU.

If the system beeps:
If it looks like the PSU is good, install a memory stick. Boot. Beep pattern should change to one long and several short beeps indicating a missing graphics card.

Silence or long single beeps indicate a problem with the memory.

Insert the video card and connect any necessary PCIe power connectors. Boot. At this point, the system should POST successfully (a single short beep). Notice that you do not need keyboard, mouse, monitor, or drives to successfully POST.

Now start connecting the rest of the devices starting with the monitor, then keyboard and mouse, then the rest of the devices, testing after each step. It's possible that you can pass the POST with a defective video card. The POST routines can only check the video interface. It cannot check the internal parts of the video card.


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September 24, 2010 4:06:41 PM

Wow - thanks for all the advice! I appreciate it.

I think I'm going to head out tonight and get a tool for testing the power supply (I'm sure it will see much use, I've had trouble with psus before!)

And, I need to get a speaker b/c my case (antec 900) doesn't have one.

After that - I'll check the psu. If that's dead, that will be an easy enough fix... is it wrong for me to hope it's just the psu? ;-)))

I guess if that doesn't work the next step is pulling everything out and breadboarding to try to identify where the problem is...

Is there a good way to get the mb back out? I'm a little worried that the screws are going to fall back on the board and roll around, and would like to prevent screwing anything else up!

Thank you!!!

PS: re: the ram settings, I was under the impression that I needed to make sure that bios correctly recognized the ram. Since I have the Gskills eco ram which is 1.35v, I assume that this,at the least, would need to be set, no? I wasn't planning on any fancy overclocking or anything ;) ))

And - yup I'm trying to work thru the troubleshooting guide. I do have a tendency to skip steps, which I need to not do - so going back thru and being as thorough as I can.

Thanks!
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September 24, 2010 6:02:09 PM

for the mobo screws, put a tiny dab of blu tac or similar on the end of your screwdriver to hold it whilst you remove the screw from the case
Good luck with the tester
Moto
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September 25, 2010 1:02:02 AM

Hmmmm... thanks for the good wishes....

I feel like an idiot, but the power supply tester isn't doing ANYTHING. Am I missing something?

I got this one from Microcenter:
Ultimate Power Supply Tester rev 2 (says Coolmax on it, though not in the pic)
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

I unplugged all of the extra modular cables from the psu (the other ends are still plugged into things on the computer, but not plugged into the psu now).

I hooked in the 24pin and the 8pin power cords. They fit and are completely seated. Plugged in the computer, turned on the psu, and pressed "on" on the tester - nothing. Tried holding "on" - nothing.

Noticed that I had not unplugged pci-e cords from the video card :(  thought maybe that was causing the problem - unplugged those - still nothing.

Tried plugging on pci-e ino the tester with the 24 and 8 pin connecters.

Still not getting anything. No beeps, no lights, no sign that the tester is functional at all?

Did I miss something? thanks!



*edit* Hey Motopsychojdn , that initial "hmm" wasn't aimed at you ;)  just in case it read that way, it was me being worried about the tester's lack of any kind of feedback...

Yet another question - I can't return the power supply. I already cut off the upc and sent it off for the rebate (yes, i know, i thought it was working! i'm kicking myself!) BUT - it should be under warranty, right?

If it turns out it's bad
a - any chance I did something that killed it? I hope not... but ???
b - any experience with the warranty process (its xfx)?

thanks!
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September 25, 2010 3:03:27 AM

Hello,
I myself worked at a MicroCenter as a CSR near Service and Repair. They used those exact testers. Defective testers from there are rare, but it can happen. Now, at least the one in Cambridge, if you ask a tech to quickly test the power supply to see if it works, they will do it and won't charge you. If you can make another easy trip (I realize some people commute a ways just to come to MicroCenter) I would highly recommend that. A little tip, if you want to go during the least busiest time, go either first thing in the morning or at night close to closing to avoid traffic weekdays. Weekends you might get lucky. Again not sure which MC you are going to so traffic may vary, we were one of the busier locations.

Also, if you did happen to buy the power supply from Microcenter, they will return the product but will subtract the cost of the rebate from your return. Thats because the assumption is of course if you filled it out properly. If you didn't, well your out the amount of the rebate. And when they test it, you can return it with the same cashier so bring box with you (even though you cut the rebate, they still want the box).
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September 25, 2010 4:26:27 AM

Thanks for the tips cpatel! I'm only about 15-20 minutes from MC, so I'll try to get there early in the morning with the power supply... the confirmation of whether its dead or not would be helpful.

I actually got the psu from newegg - with the rebate AND a combo deal, adding to the complicatons!

If I can get it handled via warranty, it probably makes sense to just buy a replacement so i can get the computer up and running, and use the new/warrantied psu as a backup.

Thanks...
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September 25, 2010 11:27:53 AM

Im reading the blurb on the tester, are you testing one cable at a time or both the 20piun and the 8pin at once? might be that you just connect one at a time?


I'd take both the psu and tester there, get them to check both :p 

*Quote
If I can get it handled via warranty, it probably makes sense to just buy a replacement so i can get the computer up and running, and use the new/warrantied psu as a backup. **
If you do that, make sure to test the 'backup' psu before putting it in storage, so at least you know your backup one works hehe
Moto
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September 25, 2010 4:32:47 PM

Hi Moto!

Thanks for the tip - I saw it early this am and gave it a try before leaving, and still no go.

Microcenter was interesting!

At first, they told me they couldn't do any testing (tech guy wasn't in yet) and if I wanted the tech guy to test it, it would be $30... (more than the cost of the tester!)

But they also said I could just exchange out the tester if I wanted... and when I came back with the new one, they offered to let me plug the psu into their test bench and try it there (and then came over to help out) - so that was really helpful :) 

And - guess what - the new tester and the psu worked just FINE at their test station. Fan went on, all the numbers showed up and read out as being dead-on or .1 off, so pretty much perfect.

The dang psu sure looks fine and new and perfect. But at my house - the psu was looking completely dead (no fans even).

ARGHGHGH! ;) 

I'm going to try some different outlets around my house... to see if my outlet upstairs works, but is perhaps a little wonky ? Could that cause the psu to not start at all? The outlet SEEMS fine with other things plugged in - surge protecter lights up, laptop runs fine off of it, monitor starts off of it, etc. So it seems pretty odd... ?


And, I tested the psu in the case (after disconnecting it from all the other pieces). There's no way that anything in the case could cause the psu to stop working, right? I mean, the entire psu - all the electrical parts, are all contained on the inside, not exposed, so you can't really short it out or anything - right?

Have to ask ;-)

Thanks!
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September 25, 2010 4:58:24 PM

OK - This is weird.

I plug the psu into another outlet (with no surge protector or anything else plugged in) - it tests fine. Watch it for about 5seconds, no problem.

I plug into the desired outlet on the surge protector - it tests fine - but at approx. 3 seconds, there's a click in the psu and it shuts itself off.

It won't restart on that outlet.

Move to another outlet, works fine. Move back - starts ok then stops.

Do I need an electrician?

The outlet that I want to use has a (new-ish) surge protecter, with things already plugged in and working (dsl modem, wireless router, monitor - turned off, external drive - turned off, shredder - turned off, etc.)
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September 25, 2010 5:22:22 PM

I think if its working on another outlet then it is your house wiring that is the problem :( 
good call to M.C. helping you out though.
the reason it starts then stops after being plugged into another outlet is most likely residual power in the capacitors from it being plugged into a working outlet
now, who is responsible for your house wiring? you?, parents/landlord?
:) 
Moto
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September 25, 2010 5:37:56 PM

Thanks. Yeah - that would be me that's responsible for the house wiring (sadly).

I'm wondering if trying to find a way to get some stuff out of this room (the office, so it's hard - lots that needs to be plugged in!) will help any. I'll give it a try in a bit.

Hmmm but I probably should have someone look at it anyway, to make sure I'm not on the verge of burning down the house. It's a townhouse, my neightbors would not be happy ;) 

I'm also thinking that perhaps this is what kept killing my old computer, sadly.

Thanks for all the help, and sticking with me through this! I guess the good news is, it wasn't something I did to break the computer (at least not yet :p ) !

thanks!
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September 25, 2010 8:55:48 PM

sucks that its you who has to pay for the wiring, but good because a landlord would probably take months to even get round to thinking about it,
let us know how it ends man,
Moto
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September 26, 2010 3:21:49 PM

Hi Moto -

Well - it turns out it's not the wiring, and it IS the stupid surge protector! (And yes, I should have checked it more carefully, like everyone said - I need to be more patient and thorough when I "diagnose" !).

The surge protector seems to work fine for most things - the monitor, phone, modem, router... so I thought there couldn't be a problem with it.

But - when I took the surge protecter over to the "good" outlet - psu stopped working. (Someone mentioned the grounding wire might be bad?)

Outlet alone - works fine
Surge protecter at same outlet - dead!

So it looks like it's going to be easier and cheaper to solve than I feared!

;)  I'm also wondering if, once I fix it, I'll be able to get my old computer that was mysteriously dying working again - tho not sure what I'd do with it now that I have the new one!

So new one is working on the outlet directly and booting to bios. Still gotta figure out how to set up the ram in there, and then get stuff loaded on.

:)  but very happy to see it turning on and all the lights going!

Thanks for all the help, suggestions, and tips!
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September 26, 2010 3:29:08 PM

Cool, glad its not as serious as we thought, I assumed the surge was working fine as well so lesson for me too :) 
old pc hmm, maybe have it as a testbed unit or do a custom case? play with overclocking a bit?
glad its a happy ending mate, have fun
Moto
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!