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Why does my computer continually reboot

Posted on 2006-07-21
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Last Modified: 2010-04-12
I have a Compaq Presario S5400NX Running a P4.  My issue is that the machine once powered on continues to reboot.  Sometimes I'm able to see the bios but it immediately reboots.  I've tried swapping RAM, Power supply, unhooking all and some ide and nothing seems to change it.  I'm left with mobo and/or CPU but wanted a second opinion.  Thanks in advance.
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Question by:GTKINC
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18 Comments
 
LVL 69

Accepted Solution

by:
Callandor earned 2000 total points
ID: 17154983
If this happens during POST, try resetting the BIOS.  A faulty or inadequate power supply could cause this, as well as loose wires.  Check for loose connectors on hard drives, which would cause power fluctuations, and check for a bad reset button by disconnecting it entirely.
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 17155249
If you've unhooked everything except the motherboard and video, and have already tried a second power supply, then I agree it's either motherboard or CPU.  Most likely motherboard.   Clearing CMOS (per Callandor) is a good quick-check to ensure it's not just some unusual corruption in the BIOS - but from your description it seems it's not even POSTing, so it's certainly sounding like motherboard time.
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LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:SunBow
ID: 17157811
bad reset button? Interesting idea, that.
It is something hardware, like bios. Try to get to point of clear/reset. Look for HW dips or jumpers for a helper option.
CPU? I may have missed it, that better be seated well and I see no comment on its heatsinks or fans or anything
Now if we had more freezer space ...
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:FriarTuk
ID: 17157964
check your manual for a cmos reset jumper on the mobo, follow instructions to reset the cmos back to factory defaults, if that doesn't work try removing the battery on the mobo for 1hr.
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:phototropic
ID: 17158281
If none of the above suggestions resolve your issue ( and surely one of them must), you might consider checking for overheating.
If for some reason the CPU fan is obstructed, or the heatsink is not making contact with the chip, the processor can reach critical temp. in less than a minute, and will then shutdown. I admit this is a long shot, so check out everything above first!
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LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:PCBONEZ
ID: 17162213
The factory power supply on that model appears to be a 250 Watt PSU.
I strongly suggest you aquire a higher capacity PSU
! Especially ! if you've done any upgrades and ABSOLUTLY if you've added any optical or hard drives to the system.
It typically takes another 25-35 Watts (each) to support added drives.

Here's a PSU calculator. Add 'at least' 25 Watts to what it suggests as a safety margin.

~~~~~~

Another possible problem is overheating.
Make sure your air paths are clean.
(Especially the CPU cooler.)
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LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:PCBONEZ
ID: 17162216
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LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:PCBONEZ
ID: 17162218
On the PSU.
Adding one memory module can take another 20-40 Watts (ball park number)
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Author Comment

by:GTKINC
ID: 17181210
The machine has had nothing added to it.  This being the case the factory PS should be adequate.  Funny thing is, I removed the MFG front panel connector plug and reseated it and the machine has been running for about a day now.  I'll keep my fingers crossed and repost.  
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 17188783
It sounds like bad contacts on the front panel connectors.
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Author Comment

by:GTKINC
ID: 17189815
It would appear that this was just a coincidence.  The machine has resorted back to its old ways.  Not sure if I will replace the mobo.  We'll see though.  I'll repost.
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Author Comment

by:GTKINC
ID: 17200795
I forgot to reset the bios.  Tried that and all is well for now.  Lets see what time tells us.
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Author Comment

by:GTKINC
ID: 17200842
That didn't take long.  Rebooting again.  Can I get some final opinions?
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:phototropic
ID: 17201132
Can you get into the BIOS to check on temperatures?
Callandor's suggestion about bad front panel connectors makes sense. Try removing the front power switch connectors from the m/board and then power on the machine by shorting the terminals with a small screwdriver. Try removing any reset switch connectors too, if present.
If the machine powers on and stays on, you have found the cause of your problem.
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Author Comment

by:GTKINC
ID: 17205906
I have pulled the front panel connections from the mobo and started the machine.  So far so good.
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Author Comment

by:GTKINC
ID: 17233827
The machine has been up and running with the front panel connections disconnected for almost a full week and it seems to run great.  Good call.  Now I just need to find the replacement part.
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 17254152
It's probably the reset button - when it makes intermittent contact, the system reboots.  You just need a momentary on/off switch.
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Author Comment

by:GTKINC
ID: 17255858
Replaced the front panel buttons and now all is well.  Thanks.
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