Will you rate my PC advice? ("dead PC")

Posted on 2006-06-01
Last Modified: 2010-04-12
I hope you guys don't laugh too much at this. I'm a novice PC tech who makes housecalls at a very low rate for my area.  I was dealing with a "dead PC".  I expected to find that either the PSU or motherboard was dead. But both appeared to be dead. (see below)  Normally I would have spent time checking all the jumpers & other things (see below), but the user wasn't there to authorize that kind of time.  Plus, the PC had not been opened since sent from the factory, so the jumper issue seems moot.  The user had unplugged and replugged the PC when the monitor was "flashing something wierd".  (side question - Is it common that BOTH PSU and the MoBo will be damaged?)

Does anyone want to take a quick look at the following and tell me (briefly) if I made a reasonable recommendation?

Problem: "Bluto's" PC won't power up. The fans (board and PSU) never move.  The fans never moved in any of the scenarios below.  Assume when I "swapped PSU's" I connected all the power cables correctly, altho it only took P1 and P8 (next to cpu) to get the fan turning on the good system (Popeye's).  

"Popeye" is Bluto's sister and lives in the next room.

Reccommendation to user ("Olive"):


Since Bluto's PC and Popeye's PC are both Emachine T2682's, and Popeye's IS working:

I swapped the Power Supplies (PSU) and power cables and powerstrips between the two PCs. [Both powerstrips were powering other items - I used plugs that were were hot / powering other appliances.]

Popeye's PSU worked only with Popeye's PC.
Bluto's PSU didn't work with either PC.

SO --
(1) Bluto's PSU is bad/burned out, and
(2) ONE of the following is true:
--(a) Bluto's motherboard is also burned out, OR
--(b) Bluto's motherboard needs to have something changed, e.g jumper cables have to be moved around, or the start button replaced, or there's a bad component (ram, cpu). [EE -- I couldn't find a cmos battery...]  But to check those I'd need to get the diagram for that motherboard, switch PSU's again, and try switching those around.

BUT -- since the problem started WITH an electrical event and WITHOUT anyone opening the PC, and since there's not warning beeps at all to suggest things are wired wrong or there's a bad component, (b) is unlikely.

If it's under warranty, send it in.

Otherwise, it's up to you whether you want to
(i) pay someone to find the motherboard diagram and PC documentation online and check for jumpers settings or component problems, or
(ii) buy a new PC, or
(iii) buy a new motherboard and have a tech guy install that (in order to save/salvage your memory, HD, cd burner, dvd player, cpu, cpu fan, PCI cards and pc case).

In my opinion:
(i) and (iii) would take a few hours at least, and are fastest done in a shop.
(i) might not cost you any parts, but would cost labor. And it might simply prove that the motherboard is bad after all.
(ii) would cost the a new PC.
Question by:dgrrr
    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    Not bad at all for a novice tech - I think you may have hit the nail on the head.  "Electrical events" always make me suspicious of a power supply burning out, and when a power supply goes, anything connected to it can be affected.  The hard drives and video card are other victims of failed power supplies, so be aware of that.
    LVL 69

    Assisted Solution

    Some things that can result in a "dead" PC:
    - motherboard shorting on case, or dust accumulation
    - CMOS jumper set to CLEAR, instead of NORMAL position
    - bad connections
    - extra power connector not attached to motherboard
    - faulty or inadequate power supply
    - bad RAM, or wrong ones for your motherboard, or bad RAM slot (try in another slot)
    - faulty video card
    - bad motherboard
    - bad cpu
    LVL 6

    Accepted Solution


    I don't think you hit the nail on the head, I thng you hit the whole box lol.....

    I have come across this on a few occations where both the motherboard and PSU have been dead, although I have also known it to be a modem or other device plugged into the motherboard to be dragging the power down therefore giving the apearence of both items being dead. Tiny machines especially have this problem (having worked as one of their field service engineers) after lightning storms have been within close proximity.

    If you have tried the psu from Popeye's machine on Bluto's machine without and unnecessary items connected, just motherboard, cpu +f/hs, memory and graphics card, and there is still no sign of any fan movement or led's lighting up then I would definatly say that both the psu and motherboard are dead. On one occation I have had the PSU, motherboard, HDD, memory, CD drive and CPU to have blown, but this was a very severe case and very rare.

    As you so rightly said, if under warranty then take it in, if not then time taken to swap each extra component from one to the other PC would give full component diagnostics as to any further items that could possibly be at fault.

    Best of luck.

    Author Comment

    Thanks you guys.

    SteveG00000 --

    Yes, I tried the swapped PSU with the P1 connector plugged in alone, and also with the P1 and the P8 (the square one, near the CPU), and also with all the connectors connected;  the fan never turned.

    BUT -- I didn't try disconnecting any of the DATA cables, just the power...  Should I also have tried diconnecting the IDE cables? Or are they "invisible" to the PC when not powered?

    Also, I realize I should have removed the CPU and video card (as well as the ram), to see if I got beeps -- right?

    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    Hard drives are invisible if not powered, so leaving the data cables attached was ok.  For completeness, yes, you should remove cpu, video card, and RAM, but some motherboards need a cpu at least.
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    If you have a fault with any device connected or even a cable fault then this can cause power loss so try with just a cpu first.
    LVL 3

    Assisted Solution

    I would still disconnect all data cables from the motherboard and strip it down.

    1.  Very rarely the monitor will not show something.  I have seen this twice in 3 times in 2 years and both times a factory reset fixed it.  My guess was a user did something that put them out of range though.

    2.  I always recomend in a situation like this you do disconnect the data cables if for nothing else, I don't like having a hard drive connected to a motherboard that may have issues.

    3.  Strip the motherboard down to CPU/Cooler, 1 stick of RAM only, and a video card unless there is integrated video in which case no video card.  All other expansion cards removed.

    4.  Spray off any dust and connect the good power supply.

    5.  Connect only a monitor and Keyboard.  Don't even connect a mouse.

    6.  Reset the CMOS via the jumper.

    7.  Try to fire it up.

    8.  Remove and reseat everything except the CPU.  Just leave that.  IN other words, remove and re-insert the RAM and Video card to make sure they are properly seated.

    9.  if it doesn't fire up, disconnect the power, remove the ATX and ATX 4 prong connector.  Reset the CMOS jumper to clear, and remove the battery for a long while.  Now re-insert the battery and connect the ATX and 4prong connector wiht the power supply unplugged.  Then set the CMOS jumper back to normal and connect and attempt a boot.

    10.  Many proprietary computers such as the eMachines have a Front Pannel Control Pannel, which is essentially front USB, Front Audio Ports, and a Power button on a circuit board.  This Circuit board typically connects to the motherboard via a ribbon cable.  It is way easier for the system builder to have 1 ribbon cable instead of a lot of individual power, reset, and audio and usb header cables.  My point is that sometimes the Front Control Pannel Dies or the Switch is bad.

    I am quite simply saying it might be a good idea to test this by swapping it too.  I still find it hard to belive that the motherboard and power supply died at the same time unless the powersupply overloaded or a surge hit the computer...  Regardless, the problem can probably be fixed wiht a new motherboard and power supply.

    Although unlikely, it could be that there is integrated video and also a video card.  Perhaps no video is comming out of the video card or integrated video.  In other words, make sure you have only one video out source on the computer.

    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    Sorry, I meant to say I would expect the fans to spin, and that you should also try the comuter with the known good monitor.
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    >>> "Is it common that BOTH PSU and the MoBo will be damaged?" <<<
    See question asked just after yours:

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