Random shutdowns

Posted on 2005-05-12
Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I have a reasonably new Dell Dimesion 5000 that worked fine for 3/4 months after I brought it. Now however it shuts down after a seemingly random amount of time, whether being used or not and will not allow you to turn it on for hours after it has shut down. Yesterday it lasted 8 hours without shutting itself down, today only 2. Any suggestions as to why this happens would be greatly appreciated!
Question by:myefforts
    LVL 14

    Expert Comment

    Sounds like a heat problem.  Check all fans - power supply, CPU, case fan.
    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    The two kinds of problems that can cause this are overheating and faulty or inadequate power supplies.  You will have to open it up and use a can of compressed air to blow out the dust.  Tie up your cables and make sure the fans are running smoothly.  In extreme cases, you will have to remove the cpu heatsink, clean off the old thermal paste, apply a tiny drop and spread it around the contact surface, and reattach the heatsink.

    A bad power supply may do this also, but is not as likely as the overheating.
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    Shorting of the motherboard can also be the cause of reboots or shutdowns, especially if the environment the system is in is dusty, or the internals are dirty.  dust bunnies do conduct electricity and can work their way under the motherboard
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    Bad Power supply.
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    you can download any program of there monitoring programs and see if there is any changes happens to the heat or the voltage usage if it get low or high
    LVL 14

    Expert Comment

    Dell computers are both marginally powered and minimally cooled but this sounds more like a cooling issue...T

    Expert Comment

    Solution: Dont buy Dell.

    Why: I am not sure if this applies to the model you have, but Dell thought up this great idea that they could save money on a CPU fan. They decided that they would take the Chassis fan and make a big (usually green) tube from it, straight onto the processor. This is great in theory, saves money, and your processor might be cool. But the rest of your machine gets burned to **** by the amount of hot air circulating around the machine without any fresh air.

    Maybe take off the case, or cut a big hole in it, see if that helps it cool down. Otherwise id see what type of motherboard it is and see if there is a mount to put a normal heatsink on and discard that big green tube they put in.

    Good Luck.
    LVL 14

    Expert Comment

    Open up the cabinet and keep it on its sideso that air flow is maximal. This wud be to eliminate heat problems.

    Get Memtest : and let it run for abt 5 cycles to rule out bad RAM that can cause the same problem.

    Open the system and clean it out nicely with a blower or something so that dust is not a culprit shorting out something.
    Press in everything in its slots just in case there is a problem with some loose component. Try disengaging the CDROm drives and any extra cards in the system u can let be for a little time and then see if it helps.

    See if these solutions solve ur problem. Then u know whats the culprit.



    Expert Comment

    Hello Myefforts,

    I have some experience with Dell systems and in my opinion they very rarely experience overhaet problems unless something is broke or the site is really hot.

    So that leaves either Bios, OS or Power supply.

    Please check all power save modes are disabled both in the Bios and OS.

    Unfortunately the evidence points towards your power supply. Power supplies have a thermal safety cut-out that is supposed to prevent overheating damage to both your motherboard and components and power supply. This cut out would be activated when ever the PSU gets too warm or is overloaded.

    The cut-out can also be triggered by a faulty thermal detecter or potentially failing PSU. The fact that your PSU requires some time before it will reboot, is a sure sign that it is waiting to cool down and reset.

    Also if it has been getting progressively worse i.e. shutting down sooner and being more difficult to start this can also point to a faulty PSU (Power supply Unit).

    If you have one to hand simply replace the power supply to test. (no need to remove existing PSU simply unplug from board and devices and put replacement nearby and plug it in outside the case if you can)

    Please let me know how you get on??

    Good Luck!!!


    Expert Comment

    If the system is only 3-4 months old call Dell, if its still under warranty they will repair it.

    Expert Comment

    Thats a very good point nick1059. Dell will perform basic diagnostics over the phone and send an engineer out to fix if fault assumed to be there component.

    However, it would be nice to know what is causing the problem before Dell get involved and start swapping incorrect parts out.

    They some times ask you to re-format your drive etc. so beware.

    Good Luck!!

    Expert Comment

    It seems they asked the question, and some of us took the time to answer them!


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