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[Urgent] System won't power up after I open the case to clean the dust

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September 1, 2011 3:09:31 AM

Guys, yesterday, I decided to clean all the nasty dusts in my case.

I've been using this PC for almost 3 years and never cleaned it once (sucks to be my PC). Anyway, so I opened the case and used some tissue paper to wipe the all the dust (OMFG there were tons!). After that, I put the cover back on and the PC won't power up!!

Actually it turns on 1/2 sec and then immediately turns off, and it keeps turning on and off by itself. I have to hold the power button to make it stop.

I am using GA EP45 UR3D mobo and the 6 phases led flashes once and immediately turn off every time. I tried everything I can without success (reset cmos, unplugged all, leaving only cpu/heatsink on, etc.)

Also, when I turn it on, the fans on the CASE rotate about 5 times but it seems the CPU fan never responded, I suspect that's why the mobo shut it off immediately. The cpu fan cable is plugged into the mobo firmly.

Here is my basic spec:

Gigabytes GA EP45 UR3D

Q6600 x 4 GB RAM (Cosair?)

700W powersupply (sorry can't remember the brand)

GTX 260

Any suggestions ??

Thanks in advance guys! (If it's hardware failure, I might just upgrade the system).





a b B Homebuilt system
September 1, 2011 3:28:12 AM

Hi, welcome to the forums.

Well, it's tough to say without knowing more. My suggestion would be to pull it all out and follow the steps mentioned here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261145-31-perform-ste... as it might turn something up.

It's a good system, no sense replacing so much as upgrading in my opinion.

If you could follow the steps listed there, it would help a ton trying to figure out what went wrong.

Cheers!
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 1, 2011 3:44:22 AM

Three years, huh? You're PC is begging you not to wait so long again!! There's a good chance that you've got dust in one of the connectors or possibly a loose connector. You might also have dust or something jamming up any of your fans(like the CPU fan).

I would suggest you carefully disassemble everything and clean each component individually. Be careful to note where each connector and component goes as you take it out. I use tape to label the connectors and then label where each one went. While you have the fans out clean them up with a vacuum cleaner and see if they turn freely. Any fan that does not turn freely needs replaced.

Once you've cleaned it up good then reassemble it. I expect that everything will work again but if it doesn't then it sounds like you have a good excuse to upgrade.
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Related resources
September 1, 2011 3:47:28 AM

@Striker410 Thanks for the fast reply man!!

The guide you linked was the first thing I tried. The only thing I haven't tried is testing the PSU since I don't have the necessary tools or an alternative PSU.

I want to add that this PC has been running smoothly for almost 3 years, so it's not a new system and a lot of the stuff on the step by step don't really apply.

I totally understand that it's hard to tell without knowing more. Sorry for the vague information guys. I will try my best to provide more details!

My original plan was to upgrade my GPU only (to a GTX 560 ti) for more gaming power, and maybe used it for another year. This rig was built almost 3 years ago, so I am pretty happy that it's still alive (if I can fix this issue).

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September 1, 2011 3:51:29 AM

JKatwyopc said:
Three years, huh? You're PC is begging you not to wait so long again!! There's a good chance that you've got dust in one of the connectors or possibly a loose connector. You might also have dust or something jamming up any of your fans(like the CPU fan).


Once you've cleaned it up good then reassemble it. I expect that everything will work again but if it doesn't then it sounds like you have a good excuse to upgrade.


Thanks ! I think that's a good idea. I will try to clean each part carefully tomorrow after work (man, that's a PITA). I really hope this is the cause!

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a b B Homebuilt system
September 1, 2011 4:04:36 AM

jl0329 said:
@Striker410 Thanks for the fast reply man!!

The guide you linked was the first thing I tried. The only thing I haven't tried is testing the PSU since I don't have the necessary tools or an alternative PSU.

I want to add that this PC has been running smoothly for almost 3 years, so it's not a new system and a lot of the stuff on the step by step don't really apply.

I totally understand that it's hard to tell without knowing more. Sorry for the vague information guys. I will try my best to provide more details!

My original plan was to upgrade my GPU only (to a GTX 560 ti) for more gaming power, and maybe used it for another year. This rig was built almost 3 years ago, so I am pretty happy that it's still alive (if I can fix this issue).

Alright, I gotcha!
I actually totally agree with the other poster. When you "cleaned" it, it probably smeared little bits of dust everywhere (no offense, I've done the same thing lol). The best way I've found to clean out a PC is an air compressor (or the little canned air things) and a vacuum. Blow all the air out, then suck it up into the tube of a vaccum.

Q6600's are still quite prized, as they overclock like demons. A 560 Ti and an OCed Q6600 would do very well together!
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a c 136 B Homebuilt system
September 1, 2011 4:20:01 AM

theres a fairly decent chance that static electricity from wiping it with paper has killed some critical component

Never clean the inside of a computer with anything besides a can of compressed air
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
September 1, 2011 4:24:36 AM

Good suggestions.

I don't recommend air compressors as the air moving through the line can generate static electricity that can damage electronics. However, as long as the air nozzle is not brought very near the parts it's probably OK.

Better to use canned air, which is pricey at the office store but better at Costco or such.

I have blown out very dusty computers that then failed to start. It's probably very common. I usually resolve that by reseating everything, including all power connectors, and making sure I got all the dust.

You do not need any special equipment to test a PSU, just a paper clip.
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 1, 2011 2:18:35 PM

Proximon said:
Good suggestions.

I don't recommend air compressors as the air moving through the line can generate static electricity that can damage electronics. However, as long as the air nozzle is not brought very near the parts it's probably OK.

Thanks for the tip! I had my doubts about sticking a highly pressurized device in my computer, but decided it was worth it haha. I'll be sure to keep the nozzle well away.
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September 1, 2011 2:45:36 PM

Its worth it to take everything out and clean it with canned air and vacuum as stated above. A field tech had his laptop stop working one day and popped into the LAN room for me to fix it. I seemed dead except you could hear it whine a bit when power on but no real indication it was working. Turned out the dust buildup was so bad and he never blew out the cooling vents, his CPU was unseated just enough to break positive contact, after getting all the dust out and cleaning the RAM, NIC, Modem, and CPU contacts it worked fine, until he knocked it off a roof onto a parking lot.

If the dust is really bad, get a static wrist band, good work area and ensure no static buildup can occur and use electronic cleaning solution and swabs. Over time dust can get really hard when exposed to heat and can even clump, in extreme cases it can even ignite if temps get high enough long enough. Take away, clean out once a year at the least.
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 1, 2011 4:36:44 PM

Been using a compressor for years, helps save a bundle of cash when you're going into an office and cleaning out a dozen or more machines at a time.
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September 2, 2011 1:18:08 AM

Bad news guys :( 

I bought a canned air dust buster and cleaned all the parts carefully.
Still turns off immediately after power on for a sec.

Also did the paper clip test to my PSU, seems PSU is totally fine.

Now I am suspecting that maybe my mobo died ? Could I really fried my mobo accidently?

What also bothers me is that this PC has 2 HHD in RAID 0 set up. I have no idea how to retrieve the data on them if I were to upgrade the PC (new mobo/cpu/memory etc).

Thanks a lot for all your help!! I really appreciate them :) 

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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
September 2, 2011 2:49:39 AM

You really shouldn't jump to any conclusions just yet.

Try testing the CPU fan to make sure it's functional, if it isn't it could prevent a POST.

You also need to make sure all the case connections are correct. Power switch and power reset especially.

Did you look under the MB for any loose screws or other short hazards?

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September 2, 2011 3:04:33 AM

Proximon said:
You really shouldn't jump to any conclusions just yet.

Try testing the CPU fan to make sure it's functional, if it isn't it could prevent a POST.

You also need to make sure all the case connections are correct. Power switch and power reset especially.

Did you look under the MB for any loose screws or other short hazards?


You are right, it might be the CPU fan.

Is there anyway to test it? Do i need to buy a new cooler to see?

I took the mobo off and checked for loose screws. Didn't find anything.
I need to find a way to test the CPU fan now :) 

Thanks for the suggestion!
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 2, 2011 7:40:06 PM

jl0329 said:

Also did the paper clip test to my PSU, seems PSU is totally fine.

It's not a perfect test.
I have an EA 500 here that will light up a fan on the desk no problem, just wouldn't boot a known working system, opened it up, 3 bulging caps and a scorch mark on the pcb.
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
September 2, 2011 9:19:09 PM

Well ya, there's "working" and then there is "working within spec" of course. The paper clip test just tells you if there is power, not what kind of power.
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April 20, 2012 9:29:14 AM

I had a similar case of 'won't work after dusting' thing. I blew air using a vacuum cleaner. I don't remember the exact sequence of events, but after dusting and re-connecting and the computer not booting, I re-seated everything apart from the CPU. Ultimately the problem I identified was while re-seating the connectors from the front panel: following the colour of the wire to match the one on the mobo front panel header isn't advisable since they are not necessarily made based on that. Once I carefully connected it correctly, things worked as usual.
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April 20, 2012 12:36:05 PM

To the OP - I have a similar issue right now with my EP45-UD3R. My system is doing the exact same thing yours is doing after I took out my GPU to clean it.

Unfortunately, I think my mobo has been damaged somehow.

Fingers crossed for you!
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!