I moved it gently, and still it betrayed me
July 9, 2005 10:10 AM   Subscribe

[DeadComputerFilter] I just moved, and as is customary, my PC moved in a separate trip, re-boxed in its original container, and generally cared for better than even myself. Now, I plug it in, turn it on... well, almost. It just doesn't come on anymore.

It does, sort of, respond to power, though. For one thing, the power light on the front comes on. For another, so does the integrated ethernet on the motherboard. Not only does its connect light turn on, but the switch shows it as a live connection. However, none of the fans, hard drives, or attached monitors go live at all.

My first idea was perhaps there were power issues with the wall outlet. So, I plugged in my other PC (moved at the same time) and it works fine. Which is good, since it's got the subversion repository on it (I'd cry like a baby if it was toast). Anyway, that done, I tried the age-old fixer-upper trick of semi-competent system builders everywhere -- I dismantled the machine and reseated every component. Nope, no go.

Now, a few things occur to me in this: One, the rear fan -- which is plugged directly into the power supply -- did not come on. This suggests that maybe there's problems in the PS. Which would be great. Two, although the motherboard came on, the CPU fan did not. I wonder if that might be because of the extra P4-only power lead (I'm not sure what this is called -- I'm a geek of software, not a geek of hardware) possibly being toasted.

What I'm hoping the Ask Mefi folks who know more than I do can tell me is, do I need a whole new motherboard? CPU? Power supply?

Is there any of you in Edmonton, Alberta willing to come over and look at it for a beer or something?

Or, am I going to start saving up for that move over to Apple toys now?
posted by ChrisR to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
By 'reseated' every component, do you mean that you removed the plugs and reconnected the plugs to every single IDE device and removed and replaced every single PCI card and each stick of ram and so on? If not, do that now.

Usually, if a mobo is getting power (as evidenced by LEDs) but won't respond to you pressing the 'power' button, one of two things is wrong. Something isn't connected right (hence the need to reseat/reconnect everything), or the power button isn't connected right.

You can use a screwdriver to short out the two jumpers that the power button connects to (just touch it to both jumpers at the same time), and that'll eliminate the possibility that the power button is somehow borked. If you do that and it still doesn't power on, and you've already removed and reseated everything (except possibly the CPU), let us know.
posted by Jairus at 10:32 AM on July 9, 2005

If it was a machine that had some substantial uptime before you moved it, it's entirely possible that the power supply crapped out when you turned it back on. Have you tried swapping the supply with the working PC and seeing what happens?
posted by cmonkey at 10:39 AM on July 9, 2005

Corroborating cmonkey's post ... I leave my PC on 24-7. I had to shut it down for an extended period one day and then it wouldn't power back up. Power supply fan had cracked -- apparently it worked fine as long as I didn't put it through heat/cool cycles.

If the power supply determines that its own fan is not spinning, it refuses to continue. It might supply enough power to light some LEDs here and there, but otherwise it's dead.

One $40 power supply later, all was well. By the way, don't scrimp on power supplies, or any computer component for that matter. Pay the extra 20% and get higher quality components / systems. Or not, if your time is worthless.
posted by intermod at 2:08 PM on July 9, 2005

Regarding the power switch, the switch does work -- I can use it to toggle the little bit of power that does seem to be getting through.

Given the uptime comments (24x7 pretty much since November,) I'd try the power supply from my other system, but it's not compatible -- it's about 4 years older than the dead box, and lacks the relevant connectors. However, I might be able to try it with a spare one I have elsewhere... If only I can dig it up.

I'll try that tomorrow, probably, and post my results. Thanks!
posted by ChrisR at 3:47 PM on July 9, 2005

I had a similar problem because my CPU was seated poorly. When you say you reseated every component, did you include that?
posted by Monochrome at 5:50 PM on July 9, 2005

Monochrome: Yep, did so.

cmonkey, intermod: Having tried a different power supply (sadly, one without SATA power leads, so no use to me as a replacement) I have confirned the nature of the problem to be as you described.

Thank you, you've just saved me ~$1,500. I appreciate it greatly.
posted by ChrisR at 8:44 AM on July 11, 2005

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