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Thread: HELP: Dead computer

  1. #1
    The New Gold Swagger travmil's Avatar
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    Default HELP: Dead computer

    OK all you computer guru's wrap your heads around this:

    Today I was using my home computer (I'm posting this from work). I turned it off and went to run some errands. I come home, hit the on button and get.....nothing. Well, almost nothing. The fan for my video card (ATi Radeon 9800 Pro) is running normally. The other two fans for the PSU, and the CPU are not running at all. Additionally, the "on" button will not change from amber to green, which would indicate a normal startup. I unplugged the power cord, and the video fan card of course stops running. I plugged it back in, and it starts again, but still nothing on the other two fans. So, I hold in the "on" button for 10 seconds (as instructed by owner's manual) and it powers down to completely off. I left it alone for 60 seconds and press the on button again, and the exact same situation. Fan on the vid card runs like normal, no CPU and PSU fans at all. Nothing on screen. It won't boot at all. AFAIK, we had no power surges, and even if we did, I have a high quality surge protector. I've already done the obvious ones like disconnecting all cables and such. I know how to remove the ram and other components but haven't yet tried booting with and without them. Here's my basic system stats:

    Dell Dimension 8400 (I know, I'm asking you because I can't get through to their support)
    80GB HD
    Pentium IV 3.0 Ghz with HT
    1 GB of RAM
    Windows XP Home, SP2

    Any ideas, suggestions, or observations. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    How are you here? Kegboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: HELP: Dead computer

    Well, I can tell you right off the first thing Dell will have you do is crack the case and reseat all the power connectors, unplug the drives, take out the memory, take out the cards, etc, just try and boot the board clean.

    Hopefully it is something ancillary like that. Sounds to me like it's a board problem. Still under warranty?
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    The New Gold Swagger travmil's Avatar
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    Default Re: HELP: Dead computer

    Quote Originally Posted by Kegboy
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    Sounds to me like it's a board problem. Still under warranty?
    Nope. Expired about 8 days ago, of course.

  4. #4
    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
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    Default Re: HELP: Dead computer

    Power supply failure? The 'some fans on', 'some fans off' have me curious. In fact, I'd almost bet a cookie on it that you need a new PS (or have blown a fuse in the existing one which may or may not get you running again if you replace it(if something in the PS is blowing it)).

    In fact, with the PS fan being one of the ones that is dead I think that is probably your biggest clue. The PS fan shouldn't need anything in your computer to run (AFAIK altho I'll admit changes happen all the time).

    IIRC correctly the leads that plug into things like HD, other fans, etc have 12V and 5V pins (and the attached device is setup to use the one it needs) so again, that would explain some things working and some things not (with a partial PS failure).

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    The New Gold Swagger travmil's Avatar
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    Default Re: HELP: Dead computer

    so Bball, if I took a PS out of my other comp, and connected all the stuff to it, I could at least test this theory? More than likely I'd still have to order a replacement off of Dell because hardly any aftermarket parts fit their PC's, but I could at least find out of this is the issue.

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    Member skyfire's Avatar
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    Default Re: HELP: Dead computer

    I'd also suggest the PSU being the cause. If you are running lots of peripherals (new video cards use alot of watts) in a standard dell box, it might be overloading the PSU. You might only have a 250-300W PSU. You could try disconnecting some of the drives and seeing if the PSU starts up again. If the PSU is broke then replacing it with a higher Watt version could be your solution.

  7. #7
    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
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    Default Re: HELP: Dead computer

    Quote Originally Posted by travmil
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    so Bball, if I took a PS out of my other comp, and connected all the stuff to it, I could at least test this theory? More than likely I'd still have to order a replacement off of Dell because hardly any aftermarket parts fit their PC's, but I could at least find out of this is the issue.
    You don't need to connect everything for the test. Motherboard, CPU (fan), should do it. You won't be able to boot into Windows without the HD but you should see the Bootup screen appear.

    Would Dell be so lame as to use a proprietary PS? That would be surprising (only slightly tho) but I'd think even with a proprietary case the PS should interchange with an aftermarket model. I don't have a Dell desktop so I can't tell you that as fact. They could do something lame I suppose...

    ---
    IMPORTANT!
    I've went Googling on this issue (Dell compatibility). Read these (apparently they would be so lame!):
    http://www.hardwareguys.com/dellwarn.html

    http://www.endpcnoise.com/cgi-bin/e/dellconverter.html

    http://www.techspot.com/vb/all/windo...ly-please.html

    -Bball
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    The New Gold Swagger travmil's Avatar
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    Default Re: HELP: Dead computer

    Yep, that's lame allright.....

    Shouldn't be a prob though, standard ATX power supplies apparently fit, and then you use the adapter to connect to the mobo. $30-35 for the PS, $15 for the adapter so total under or around $50. Way better than Dell wanting $150 just for their PS, and then they will only send you one if you are still under warranty. If you're out of warranty (like me) you have to ship your box to them so they can fix it, for much more than $150, plus paying all the shipping. If you buy a Dell, read the fine print.

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    Fear my small avatar Gyron's Avatar
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    Default Re: HELP: Dead computer

    The other option to pick up a dell PS(which I had to go thorugh a couple years ago after a power surge) is Ebay. I picked one up off of Ebay for about $30 including shipping. Still working fine today.

  10. #10
    Grumpy Old Man (PD host) able's Avatar
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    Default Re: HELP: Dead computer

    90% chance of a PSU issue.

    how to test:
    take psu out of dell;
    go to other puter

    take of mb connector, put dell psu on and see what happens, if noise; then moboin dell is fubar, if nothing the psu is fubar

    how to replace with NON-Dell?

    take old PSU, select connector to board (proprietry one) , cut cables to psu, mark down colourcodes!
    buy new psu (350 w $ 25 tops)
    cut /splice (latter best solution, means to bare small part of cable to connect other cables to) all cables to connector.
    carefully connect all wires from dells connector to spliced wires,
    insulate connection

    happy putering/

    make sure of the insulation, but let the setup not nother you further, it is only 12v on low amps so nay worry, if you colour them up correct then nothing can go wrong and you sav e yourself a bundle including lots of time.

    same goes for the possile p4 connector to the board (square 4pin) if you have a spare powersupply, cut of one of the flat 4pin plugs and wire the one on the broken psu up to it, works great.

    this way: no wating, 30 minutes work and you are up and running again,
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  11. #11
    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
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    Default Re: HELP: Dead computer

    Quote Originally Posted by btowncolt
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    My laptop is dead too. Power supply issue that I can't solve.

    Did you try plugging it into the the thing on the wall called a 'receptacle'?



    -Bball
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    "A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, thatís teamwork."

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  12. #12
    Fear my small avatar Gyron's Avatar
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    Default Re: HELP: Dead computer

    Quote Originally Posted by Bball
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    Did you try plugging it into the the thing on the wall called a 'receptacle'?



    -Bball
    Nah, he bought a wireless model......

  13. #13
    The New Gold Swagger travmil's Avatar
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    Default Re: HELP: Dead computer

    Here's an update:

    I removed the PS, and found one of the connectors (marked P2) was smoked. This connector provided the power to the CPU, not the fan. The CPU fan gets it's power off of another connector that comes from the mobo not the PS. I'm assuming that this other connector never gets power unless the CPU does. Anywho, I went to this computer place called Computer Renaissance at 86th and Michigan, and the lady there told me basically everything that you all have told me. She told me to make absolutely certain that there;s nothing wrong with t he mobo by testing it with a multi meter before going through all the trouble of tracking down a Dell PS, which makes sense. Thanks everyone for all of your help.

  14. #14
    Harmonica
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    Default Re: HELP: Dead computer

    So much for the superiority of PCs over Macs.

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    The New Gold Swagger travmil's Avatar
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    Default Re: HELP: Dead computer

    Quote Originally Posted by Harmonica
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    So much for the superiority of PCs over Macs.
    Nice try, but the only thing that this proves is that a MAC's power supply might be superior. A for effort though.

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    The New Gold Swagger travmil's Avatar
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    Default Re: HELP: Dead computer

    Here's an update. Computer is now fixed. I purchased a refurbished power supply from Dell for $43 and it works perfectly. I looked into eBay and while there were several available, they were all going in the neighborhood of $65-$70. Thanks for all your help. BTW, Macs suck.

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