Hardware Interrups - High CPU usage

Posted on 2008-11-14
Last Modified: 2013-11-09
We have a problem with one of our products. In below zero temperatures, once Windows XP is loaded, the hardware interrupts are consuming 50% CPU. This can be seen in Sysinternals Process Explorer.

Does anyone know of a program that will give even greater detail of what is happening? Is 'resetting' IRQs possible through for example a WMI script? A software solution would be great as we have over 200 units out with customers. We are also looking into a BIOS fix, though even if this will solve the problem, flashing the BIOS is a more complicated procedure for our customers.

Any input is welcome!

Question by:CodeHacka
    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    Computer components have a recommended operating temperature range - if you go outside the boundaries, the electronics do not function normally.  If the product works fine at normal room temperature, I suspect the motherboard circuits are operating beyond their intended capacity and you need to use the product with a heater.  Some CCD camera enclosures, for example, come with an electrical heater to bring the device up to acceptable temperatures.
    LVL 47

    Expert Comment

    Is this only with your product installed?

    And is it hardware or software or a combination of both?

    Author Comment

    Thanks for the responses. This mobile computer is our own product - designed and built.

    Callandor : yes, we use a heating pad in the system which warms the HDD. We have an adapter board with PIC code so that the system will not start until the tempsensor reading is acceptable. We have also had a onborad LAN problem in temperatures av -15. This has been solved by physically patching the circuits.

    To both repsonses: it is definately a hardware problem. My interest at the company lies withing IT & Software. I've recently joined the R&D department, so I'm a little new with this deep level of hardware and manipulating it with for example WMI scripts. To be patching computers out in the field will be an expensive  exercise. My hope was to :

        1. Find software that can give a more concise report on what is happening compared with sysinternals.
       2. Having someone's opinion who is more knowledgable in the area of softare/hardware saying for example, 'no not possible' or 'you could try ... to correct the hardware interrups cpu usage...'

    Interesting is that this problem does not go away until a complete shut down - also the 5v standby shut off. The problem will remain starting from cold, then running in normal room temperature for an entire day...  

    LVL 69

    Accepted Solution

    I think you will need additional heating pads for the other components.  The need to completely shut down before the problem can be corrected is an indication that a circuit has gone into a state where software is unable to fix it, and even a warm reboot does not clear the state completely.  Your temperature sensor may be too far from the problematic circuit to help keep it in the desired operating range.
    LVL 47

    Expert Comment

    Do the event logs show any signs of what could be causing the problem?

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