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Random Shutdown (Power Off, Not Reboot)

Posted on 2006-07-22
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25
I acquired a Dell Dimension 4600 that had been electrically damaged in a thunderstorm. The PC randomly shuts down (powers off, does not reboot). Replaced power supply and installed new motherboard. Behavior did not change. What should be done next?
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Question by:BubbaJNelson
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by:phototropic
phototropic earned 150 total points
ID: 17161281
Check the power switch on the case.
Check the case for any chance of a short between the M/board and the case metal.
How long does it run before it powers off? If it happens quickly, try running the board outside the case for a while...
Unplug any front USB or front audio connectors.
It would be cheaper to replace an ATX case than almost any other component...
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by:BubbaJNelson
ID: 17161517
I have checked for shorts between motherboard and case. None.

The PC runs for a few minutes, a few hours, or sometimes for most of a day before it suddenly powers off. This is seemingly random behavior.

I tried your suggestion to  unplug the front mounted sound and USB ports. Behavior did not change.

How does one check the power switch?
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by:phototropic
phototropic earned 150 total points
ID: 17161605
Easiest way would be to disconnect the power switch from the m/board terminals, then power on the pc by shorting the terminals with a small screwdriver. If the machine still powers off randomly with the switch disconnected, you can rule out the power switch as a cause.
Could this be an overheating issue.? Next time it powers off, log back on immediately and check the CPU temp. in the BIOS.
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by:PCBONEZ
ID: 17162069
A bad power switch is not likely to cause a shutdown when it's already running.

Did you replace the modem, network card, video card?
Check all of the above for swollen caps or charred components.
http://www.badcaps.net/ident/
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by:phototropic
ID: 17162690
PCBONEZ,
You are quite right that abad pwr switch is unlikely to cause a problem. However, I have seen a faulty reset switch cause a similar problem to this...we disconnected the reset switch and the problem went away.
BubbaJNelson,
Have you tried booting the machine without expansion cards? Does your new m/board have integrated video?
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by:nobus
ID: 17162876
>>  Replaced power supply and installed new motherboard  << did you use the same CPU ? it can be damaged too.
You can test it out on another compatible mobo
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by:nobus
ID: 17162880
and the same ram ? test it with memtest86+ from :  http://www.memtest.org/      
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Author Comment

by:BubbaJNelson
ID: 17163972
I've booted the machine with all expansion cards and front panel connectors (sound, USB, etc.) removed. Behavior did not change.

Memory has been tested with Memtest86+. It's OK.

I've not yet tested the processor on another mobo and I've not checked the CPU temperature.
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by:PCBONEZ
ID: 17165732
The same CPU as when the storm hit?
I didn't catch that...
Yes, check the CPU next.......
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Author Comment

by:BubbaJNelson
ID: 17306073
I replaced the CPU with a known good one (appropriate for the mobo). All kinds of hardware errors resulted. I have decided that the machine is jinxed. I give up.
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by:PCBONEZ
ID: 17306217
Try with some known good memory in there and a known good video card with everything else disconnected.
Everything connected is new (since the damage) at that point so if it won't fire one of your known good's wasn't so good.
If it does fire re-connect things one at a time to determine which parts have gone foey.
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by:nobus
nobus earned 150 total points
ID: 17308318
probably the motherboard is causing it. In such cases, i test the devices on another system, before making a conclusion.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 17389879
Any news, Bubba?
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Author Comment

by:BubbaJNelson
ID: 17392674
I want to replace the mobo with one from Intel (D865PESO) but can't find one (eBay, Google, Yahoo, etc.). The processor requires the Intel 865 chipset and the case requires a mirco-ATX mobo. I considered non-Intel but couldn't find all the features I want such as AGP, Ethernet, dual channel memory, etc. What's your thinking on this?
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by:rindi
ID: 17392977
I think you just need to check now and then on ebay or wherever.
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by:nobus
ID: 17394833
you can always try a cheap dell instead
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by:rindi
ID: 17468789
Any news?
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by:rindi
ID: 17563249
Hello, bubba?
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by:BubbaJNelson
ID: 17564212
I'm still shopping for an Intel mobo.
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PCBONEZ earned 200 total points
ID: 17564729
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Author Comment

by:BubbaJNelson
ID: 17565158
That's it. Thanks.
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Author Comment

by:BubbaJNelson
ID: 17619195
Intel D865PESO mobo arrived yesterday. It replaced the stock Dell mobo. The PC has been running continuously for 15 hours. So far, so good.
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Author Comment

by:BubbaJNelson
ID: 17670551
The PC continues to run. I can close the Q. Thank you.
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