I've had a well running stable desktop for over a year, and now it keeps shutting off randomly after I moved to a new but older apartment. At first I would find it mysteriously off after waking up in the morning. Then it got progressively worse where it won't stay on for more than 5-10 minutes. I've tried running it with minimal parts, 1 hard drive, and on-board graphics. It was running fine before with 650w power supply, a radeon 6850, 2 monitors, 3 hard drives etc. I've cleaned out all the dust, the cpu fan (a cooler master n520) and checked the wiring as best I can. The front panel of my case is a little dodgy as I can't see what is going on under the power button. Sometimes it powers on right away, some times not.
I am beginning to suspect the apartment itself, but am hoping to rule that out. I am suspicious because running 2 older laptops and then trying to power up an old-school xbox360 on the same powerbar won't work. (Different outlet than the tower)
Does anybody have any tips on how to troubleshoot this next? I have pulling out my hair here....
I'm no electrician so I can't help much.. all I can suggest is grab a Kill-A-Watt, plug it in to the socket and make sure the power is coming out at the right voltage and hz rating (in the US it is 120v/60hz).
Why not pack it up and take it to a friend or family members house for a day or two? This would be a quick way to see if the power in the apartment is the issue. If it is the issue you will have to buy a UPS if you want stability.
older apartment means crappy or inadequate wiring. try another outlet. don't leave machine plugged in all the time. possible power surges. when machine is plugged in and other appliances are used you could have caused damage.
Get a new GFI electrical outlet. Its very easy to install. Turn off the breaker for that outlet first!!. Cost is about $4 and takes less then 5 min. Switches do get bad over the years. If that doesnt work test you psu.
Thanks everyone for the tips. I've tried different outlets on the opposite side of the apartment. It won't power up there other than the green light on my motherboard. I tested some outlets with a multimeter. The voltages were all 128.3 v, (which was totally opposite of what I expected!) except the outlet where it sometimes boots which was 127.3. I will take it to a friend's house this weekend to see if it boots up normally. Hopefully I haven't completely damaged it. I will look into getting a UPS with that AVR thing for my apartment if it works at the friend's house.
If the voltages weren't really the issue, and I have to do a rebuild, is there an order of parts to check and replace? eg. I don't want to buy a new power supply, and then find out I only needed to replace a motherboard
This would be my approach here. First, check all connections inside, something may have come loose during the move. If not a loose connection, I'd be inclined to believe your PSU is the issue but try at your friend's house, if it doesn't work there, and it isn't a loose connection, I'd say probably the PSU. I'm assuming the outlets are grounded.
Do random lights dim when you power appliances? (Vacuum, garbage disposal, dishwasher) If so it's probably poopy power in the apartment. Also since you just moved the Pc open it up and make sure everything is still connected, something could have shook loose during the move.
I took it to a family member's house. It shut off during a memtest. It is struggling to restart after that. I bought a new power supply. We'll see how this goes.
Funny thing though, I did call the hydro company about the 129v coming in to my apartment. I've only seen my lights flicker once while using the microwave. They did confirm the voltage was messed up for the entire building and has dispatched an electrician.