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PSU problem diagnosis

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  • Power Supplies
  • Graphics Cards
  • Components
Last response: in Components
March 1, 2012 5:57:07 PM

Hi,

Thanks in advance for any help. Please bear with me for the PSU bit at the end.

Yesterday I started getting a "no signal output " message from my monitor.

So far I have tried the following:
- Second monitor
- Different cable into both monitors
- HDMI slot on graphics card into both monitors

I have an Nvidia 295 GTX, the lights come on green and the fans spin. I do not have a spare graphics card to try or onboard graphics toon the motherboard check the graphics card.

I have openned the case up and checked the cables into everything and then turned the computer on, all the fans run and the graphics card light and mothrboard lights come on green. I then heard a clicking sound, I assumed this was the hard drive failing so I powered down and disconnected the hard drive. When I restarted I found that the clicking was emanated from the PSU.

Is the clicking a sign of PSU failure? Is there anyway I can confirm without switching the PSU over. I hope it is that problem as the PSU will be cheaper to replace than the graphics card.

Thanks

More about : psu problem diagnosis

March 1, 2012 6:06:01 PM

griffidj said:
Hi,

Thanks in advance for any help. Please bear with me for the PSU bit at the end.

Yesterday I started getting a "no signal output " message from my monitor.

So far I have tried the following:
- Second monitor
- Different cable into both monitors
- HDMI slot on graphics card into both monitors

I have an Nvidia 295 GTX, the lights come on green and the fans spin. I do not have a spare graphics card to try or onboard graphics toon the motherboard check the graphics card.

I have openned the case up and checked the cables into everything and then turned the computer on, all the fans run and the graphics card light and mothrboard lights come on green. I then heard a clicking sound, I assumed this was the hard drive failing so I powered down and disconnected the hard drive. When I restarted I found that the clicking was emanated from the PSU.

Is the clicking a sign of PSU failure? Is there anyway I can confirm without switching the PSU over. I hope it is that problem as the PSU will be cheaper to replace than the graphics card.

Thanks


Just to add, I have tried swopping out all the RAM. (4x4 slots)

The keyboard lights come on and work. My optical mouse light does not. (USB)

I get no beeps on startup


a c 159 ) Power supply
a b U Graphics card
March 1, 2012 7:54:17 PM

1. What are your system specs? (including the make/model of your PSU)
2. Any recent hardware upgrades?
2. Good initial troubleshooting thread for boot-no-video issues: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261145-31-perform-ste...
Does your motherboard have a speaker to give you the BIOS codes? Some motherboards don't have speakers. LED lights to give the BIOS error codes? Your motherboard manual will specify if/how BIOS error codes will be transmitted and the associated problem. If your mob doesn't indicate BIOS errors, then motherboard speakers are cheap; $3 at Fry's http://www.frys.com/product/6488702?source=googleps
Related resources
March 2, 2012 7:40:52 AM

Hi,

1 - System Specs, i have this usefully saved on my not working computer, but components are as follows
Alienware Aurora
ASUS - M3A32 MVP Deluxe
Nvidia - GTX295
AMD Athalon 2400+ X2
4GB RAM
250GB Hard Drive
PSU - Hipro - HP-W700 WCS
Windows XP 32-bit

2-no changes to hardware for over 18months when it went back to Alienware and new Mobo and graphics card were put it

I had already looked through the guide you suggested. I've checked bios again and I do get beeps (apologies for previously reporting there were no beeps)

2 short followed by 3 short

I've looked on Award website and Asus website and despite finding beep error codes the beeps I get are not listed anywhere I can find them. I've disconnected the hard drive and graphics card and taken out the RAM, put 1 stick in each slot and tried that, I still get the same beeps. Any idea what the beeps mean?
a c 159 ) Power supply
a b U Graphics card
March 2, 2012 11:45:34 AM

griffidj said:
Components are as follows
Alienware Aurora
ASUS - M3A32 MVP Deluxe
Nvidia - GTX295
AMD Athalon 2400+ X2
4GB RAM
250GB Hard Drive
PSU - Hipro - HP-W700 WCS
Windows XP 32-bit

2-no changes to hardware for over 18months when it went back to Alienware and new Mobo and graphics card were put it

I had already looked through the guide you suggested. I've checked bios again and I do get beeps (apologies for previously reporting there were no beeps)

2 short followed by 3 short

I've looked on Award website and Asus website and despite finding beep error codes the beeps I get are not listed anywhere I can find them. I've disconnected the hard drive and graphics card and taken out the RAM, put 1 stick in each slot and tried that, I still get the same beeps. Any idea what the beeps mean?

Award allowed the BIOS codes to be modified by the mobo mfrs. It is possible that Alienware and Asus used their own beep codes. You should really check your Alienware manual and/or contact Alienware for specific information on your BIOS codes.
There is no onboard speaker for this mobo...are the beeps coming from your speakers or does your case have an internal speaker that is connected to the Speaker header on the mobo? Page 2-38 in the mobo manual shows you where the connector is located. If there is no speaker connected, then they are only $3...and quick/easy to get if you have a Fry's around http://www.frys.com/product/6488702?source=googleps The error codes you're getting are really interesting...they sound like AMI codes instead of Award.

Boot-no-video indications are actually some of the most difficult to troubleshoot. It could be almost anything...PSU, mobo, CPU (not really likely), GPU, RAM, case, loose connections, bad cables, randown short caused by dust or dirt in connections. I immediately start breadboarding to isolate components: http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/page-262730_13_0.ht... because it makes it easier to swap components while troubleshooting and removes the case/front panel connectors (they are the initial isolation). It's better a motherboard speakers for the error codes, but if you get lucky, you'll find the culprit without it. I'm never lucky...
1. Start with the minimum components: mobo, CPU, GPU, (1) stick of RAM. No connectors beyond power and CPU fan.
2. If you can POST after first boarding, then make sure you can POST with each stick of RAM. If all of the RAM works, then you've got an issue in your case. Something is shorting your mobo...USB ports would be my first guess.
3. If no initial POST while breadboarded, then try with each individual stick of RAM. Having the motherboard speaker helps with the RAM isolation.
4. If you get the same indications on all of the RAM, then you really need the speaker for the codes when removing the GPU to determine if it is the issue. You remove the GPU...if you get the error code when it is removed but not when installed, then it is not likely to be the problem.

March 2, 2012 1:40:50 PM

The beeps are coming from the speakers.

I have checked my Alienware "user guide" which as I suspected from memory had no useful information in it. I have contacted Alienware to try to find out what the bios beeps mean. The PC is 6 years old now and out of warranty, but the MOBO and graphics card are only 2 years old.

In the meantime I have removed all components apart from processor, 1 stick of RAM and the speakers. I still get the same beeps.

I will wait to see if Alienware come back with anything useful before trying anything further but since they have been owned by Dell their customer service has been poor.

Thanks again for offering help.
a c 159 ) Power supply
a b U Graphics card
March 2, 2012 1:45:33 PM

Glad I can help...let me know when you get the response from Alienware and need some more help trying to isolate this. I'm thinking that breadboarding will need to be done at some point. Can you borrow a PSU or GPU from a buddy?
March 2, 2012 2:16:15 PM

With nothing apart from mobo speakers and cpu attached (breadboarding without taking it out of the case? or not) I get 1 long and 2 short beeps.

From google, 2 sources for Award bios
One long beep followed by two short beeps
Video adapter error Either video adapter is bad or is not seated properly. Also, check to ensure the monitor cable is connected properly.

Now I haven't even got the graphics card in the case at the moment so this would seem a strange error message? I might be being stupid here but is there a video adaptor on the MOBO that could be faulty? If so does this mean the MOBO is dead?

I must admit I'm getting to the end of my ability here, I don't have access to spare components to swop in and out.

a c 159 ) Power supply
a b U Graphics card
March 2, 2012 2:25:41 PM

griffidj said:
With nothing apart from mobo speakers and cpu attached (breadboarding without taking it out of the case? or not) I get 1 long and 2 short beeps.

From google, 2 sources for Award bios
One long beep followed by two short beeps
Video adapter error Either video adapter is bad or is not seated properly. Also, check to ensure the monitor cable is connected properly.

Now I haven't even got the graphics card in the case at the moment so this would seem a strange error message? I might be being stupid here but is there a video adaptor on the MOBO that could be faulty? If so does this mean the MOBO is dead?

I must admit I'm getting to the end of my ability here, I don't have access to spare components to swop in and out.

It's not technically breadboarding...breadboarding is with the components removed from the case. That being said, 1 long/2short is the exact error code that you should expect....no or faulty GPU installed will get you that error code. This is good...indicates that the problem is not the GPU. Try with GPU installed and no RAM.

Edit: I think this error code will be 1 long and 3 short or a beep in a repeating loop. If you get an error code like this, then your RAM is not the issue and I would bet it's the PSU. If you can rule out the RAM, then I would rule out the case by breadboarding outside the case with only power connections.
March 3, 2012 12:49:19 PM

OK, Ive got someone comig in the morning with a PSU to try, hopefully this sorts out the problem.

Thanks again for the help, wil let you know how it turns out.
March 5, 2012 5:24:02 PM

It was the graphics card. Took 5 minutes to diagnose with spare kit. Now as the graphics card is only 2 years old I need to see if I can get a new one out Alienware.
a c 159 ) Power supply
a b U Graphics card
March 5, 2012 5:40:15 PM

Glad you were able to figure it out. Spare parts are great troubleshooting tools!
March 6, 2012 12:17:53 PM

Thanks again for all your help. I now own a Geforce 7300 le, cost £10 so I have a spare for future troubleshooting.

I had a four year warranty on the Alienware when I purchased it in the pre Dell era, about 3 1/2 years into that the graphics card I had in it failed and it went back to Alienware. Because they didn't stock graphics cards that old anymore I got a new MOBO and the GTX295 on 14/03/2010

I contacted Alienware yesterday regarding the GTX 295. My system is that old it is a legacy system so the guy had to check the warranty on it as it would seem Dells warranty is 30days for parts but Alienware Legacy systems have a 2 year.

So the GTX 295 still has 8 days warranty! Result

However I have one final question, they are sending me a GTX 560 ti, looking at the hierarchy available on this site it looks like a comparable card but a quick google shows a massive price difference between the GTX 295 and the GTX 560 ti (£200+).

I also looked at this which does not look good for the GTX 560 ti, http://www.hwcompare.com/8902/geforce-gtx-295-vs-geforc...

Should I be happy with the GTX 560 ti (with 2 year warranty) or should I push for a better replacement part? Should I be asking for 2 GTX 560 ti to give comparable performance with the 1 GTX 295?
a c 159 ) Power supply
a b U Graphics card
March 6, 2012 12:43:44 PM

griffidj said:
Should I be happy with the GTX 560 ti (with 2 year warranty) or should I push for a better replacement part? Should I be asking for 2 GTX 560 ti to give comparable performance with the 1 GTX 295?

I'd be happy with the 560ti; it's only a little slower than the 295 and it's DX11. I don't think they would send a second 560ti anyway. If anything they might consider sending a GTX 570, but I doubt it. Who knows...the squeaky wheel gets the grease...
March 6, 2012 3:30:01 PM

I was driving home and Alienware rang me again. They said they had made a mistake by looking at my original configuration from 5 1/2 years ago with an GEFORCE 7950 GX2 1GB instead of the current configuration with the GTX295 in. They have now offered me a GTX 580. I believe this is good news.

I might consider upgrading the rest of the computer now!
a c 159 ) Power supply
a b U Graphics card
March 6, 2012 4:27:32 PM

griffidj said:
I was driving home and Alienware rang me again. They said they had made a mistake by looking at my original configuration from 5 1/2 years ago with an GEFORCE 7950 GX2 1GB instead of the current configuration with the GTX295 in. They have now offered me a GTX 580. I believe this is good news.

I might consider upgrading the rest of the computer now!

That's an awesome upgrade from a 560ti - congrats!