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Isignia D400a, Dead


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#1 Kain

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 11:57 AM

First, let me give you a little back story on the computer itself before I get into the 'current events.' As stated in the topic, it's an Insignia model D400A, it was purchased as one of those package deals from Best Buy, I'd say four to five years ago, though that information is a little fuzzy. Since it wasn't bought as a hand built, I can supply you with it's specs pretty easily as the Insignia Site has the information available. (Here and/or Here) The information provided by them includes operating system type, hard drive space, RAM, Processor speed, etc. The only thing that had been upgraded since purchase was the memory, I had a second 512 memory stick put in to bring it to 1024MB of memory.

Now, to the current problem. It's... well, dead. I'm in hopes that if I explain the events leading up to this, a couple things I've tried and such, that someone might be able to pin-point the problem so that I can hopefully get the part and fix it myself without need of a computer shop. (I've had to butt heads with a few in the past and would prefer to stay away from them if at all possible.) Without further delay, here's the story:

It was about two weeks ago, a point when it was acting completely fine, that this starts. It was late at night, I was watching a video in Media Player Classic. about halfway through the video file when all of a sudden... the computer shuts off for a few seconds and restarts. Not the first time it's done it, it's occurred a few times before though is rare and I always chalked it up to there being an error (it did this a lot when I first installed the drivers for my wireless adapter and it continued until I reinstalled the driver) so didn't think too much of it.

So, let the computer load up to the Windows Login Screen. Login, windows loads up normal. However, after about two minutes use, I notice a strange problem. The computer seemed to be running a little sluggish, not as fast as it normally did. I noticed a second issue shortly after, it seemed that every two to three minutes, the Windows Taskbar would completely free for about a minute. The Desktop, Programs, etc would function as normal when the bar froze, but the clock would not move, you couldn't switch windows (without Alt+Tab) and such until the bar got unstuck.

Because of this strange performance, I began to do a couple routine things. Started off by loading up the Malware scanners I had on the computer (a2, Spybot, Ad-Aware) and immediately started scanning for infections. The scans were taking quite some time given the sluggish performance, but after ages, each one turned up no threats other then some tracking cookies. I next moved to a hunt for virus', loading up the scanner I had bee using, AVGFree. It too returned similar results as the malware hunt, no infections.

I was a little stumped at this point. I only used the PC sparingly for the next day or two, mainly just getting on it long enough to hunt Google for people with similar problems and a way they fixed it, not really turning up much luck there. Then, got an idea, perhaps a System Restore Point would solve the problem. I loaded up the window, set it to restore to a point that was made about a week before the problem started. No luck. It showed the same sluggish performance here as well, thus, I undid the restore.

I was certainly at a loss of direction to go in. That's when the worst happened. I was on it one day, had only been on it about five to ten minutes when Windows completely froze, not even though mouse would budge. The only way I know to get out of this is to throw the switch on the Power Supply Unit as the Power Button on the front has no effect when the computer is froze like that.

All was good, the computer cut off, so, throw the switch back on and hit the power button on the front... nothing. Absolutely nothing happened when I pressed the button in and released. The PSU fan didn't try to spin, not a light flashed. The computer was simply, dead.

That's what indicated to me it was a hardware problem and not something software related. Perhaps I'm a little dumb for not figuring that one out sooner, but can't change that now. It was here, when I started thinking it was hardware related that I thought back to the night a few days prior.

Thinking back, I remembered it being a tad windy that night. Normally wouldn't seem a problem, but for our house it can be. About, well, it would be near 10 years ago this year (come October) we had a huge ice storm that caused a lot of problems. A lot of leaves were still on the trees and thus tons of ice ended up putting their weight on branches. One from the tree in our front yard broke off and came down right on the power line leading to our house, ripping it off. When the power company came out to fix it, I don't think they fixed it that great because when the wind blows and the line begins to sway, if you watch closely you can sometimes see light bulbs dim just a tad for a mere second.

Thus, that got me to thinking that maybe something electrical caused the problem. The computer was plugged in through a surge protector though, and it's the only thing to exhibit a problem since that night so I'm not 100% positive that was the cause.

Here is where you guys come in, I'm hoping someone might be able to understand the situation and be able to point in the direction of the problem. I'm almost sure it's hardware related, but if you have ideas otherwise that might say otherwise, then that's cool too.

However, there are a few pieces of hardware I've been able to check out and seem to be okay. I took the hard drive out of the computer and stuck it in a old hand built we have lying around. (our first computer, though it's had several upgrades over the year) and the computer fired up with this hard drive in there. It got all the way to the Windows Login screen, though prevents me from logging in since it states Windows needs activating (surely because it's an OEM version). That I think would rule out both the Hard Drive and a Software problem.

Another piece of hardware that's still kicking like normal is the PSU. I took it out of the problem PC and stuck it in the same hand built I tested the hard drive in and it once again fired up with no problems. (Forgot to mention that the PC had one prior problem, about a year after purchase, it went dead and when it was taken in, turned out to be a bad PSU.) Also tried both Memory Sticks (even though I don't think they would cause something like this anyway) and they both seem to be A-Ok as well.

Given that, I think it would probably point toward the Mother Board. Though, there is two things that make me suspicious of that claim. I noticed the other day when I had all the components in the PC and tried firing it up once again for the hell of it in hopes it might have just been having a bad week and simply said "Screw You" Ha. Though it did not, but it's what I notice that peeked my interest.

I had the side cover off, and when I plugged the power cord it, I notice there is a small light on the motherboard that comes on. I think it is simply there to show that the mother board is getting power, but it comes on. Then, if you unplug the cord or turn the switch on the PSU off, after about 3-5 seconds this light goes out, but when it does, the fan over the... uh... I think the Processor, it moves. It doesn't spin up for a good 2-3 rotations but it gets about a half rotation in. I find this strange.

Would it still do that if it WAS the motherboard? What else would be left if the motherboard is taken out of the equation, the power switch perhaps? I hope someone out there might have some ideas. I could probably take it into a shop and they would be able to tell me exactly what the problem is within the matter of a day, but as I stated somewhere up there in this dreadfully long post, I've had a few issues with a couple computer shops and thus am a little leery of trusting one again.

I'm in hopes someone can pin-point the problem and hopefully it will be a relatively cheap part. If it's the motherboard, it'd probably be just as easy and about as costly to buy a new PC (Vista *Grumbles*) as when we had that old PC upgraded, the computer shop guy charged us $200 for a Pentium II (been some years ago) so...

If it is hardware related, and it's something I couldn't do myself, then I could probably suck it up and take it to a shop to have it worked over, though at least then I might have an idea of what the problem is so I won't get completely screwed over.

Anyway, if anyone even makes it through this entire post, I thank you simply for that. If on top of that, you can make the slightest bit of sense from it all, your amazing. If you can solve the problem, I bow to you! :thumbsup:


PS -- If you need anymore information, then just holler and I'll try and provide it.

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#2 garmanma

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 01:54 PM

How dirty is the interior of the unit? Is the heatsink underneath the CPU fan packed with lint?
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#3 Kain

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 02:08 PM

It's not too dirty in the case, in my opinion as least, though I'm no professional. The heatsink looks to have a little dust in it, had a clump or two, but it wasn't jam packed or anythong, or a blanket under the fan or anything. Is that good or bad?

#4 Crizz44

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 02:16 PM

Hi Kain,

I apologize if I missed anything, but you said the PSU worked fine in another tower. But you also said the fan was not running in the original tower. Are you sure the power supply is good? I know it is seems simple, but sometimes I have been so puzzled trying to find a solution that I forget to throw the PSU switch back into the on position, luckily I realize it soon enough. You said you had to hit the switch to off at one time, did you move it back? Can you try the power supply from the other tower just to be sure. I have had bad power supplies even though the fan still runs. I would look more into the power supply before you call it quits on the motherboard.

Sorry something else just hit me. I have had the actual power supply cord go bad. The black power cord. Try using the cord from the other computer. I can't hurt.

Edited by Crizz44, 18 February 2008 - 02:17 PM.


#5 Crizz44

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 02:20 PM

It also wouldn't hurt to get a can of electronic air spray and blow out the dust that you see.

#6 Kain

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 02:22 PM

With the PSU in the original tower, you push the power button on the front of the PC and nothing happens. PSU doesn't try to fire up, lights don't come on, nothing. 100% sure I didn't mistakenly try with the PSU Switched to off, I even double checked that myself.

With the PSU in the old/hand built tower, that computer fires up as normal and runs fine.

EDIT: The cord isn't the problem. I've tried two different cords aswell as the one I had been using with both PC towers and they garner the same result as the PSU test. Old Tower fires up as normal, Problem Tower does nothing.

Edited by Kain, 18 February 2008 - 02:24 PM.


#7 Billy O'Neal

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 02:22 PM

Could you take a picture of the motherboard and post it here?
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#8 Crizz44

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 02:27 PM

Did you use the same black power cord on both computers with the old power supply? Or, did you use the power cord that goes with your working tower? Try switching the black power cords.

#9 Kain

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 02:34 PM

Yes, Crizz. I tried the power cord with the same PSU in the two different towers, aswell as know it works on a third PC with a different power source and whatnot. Aswell as two other cords.

Billy, I'll see what I can do about getting a pic, have to find the camera first. Ha.

Edited by Kain, 18 February 2008 - 02:35 PM.


#10 Billy O'Neal

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 02:53 PM

Also, are there other devices plugged into this power strip? Occasionally these things go bad. (Some manufacturers recommend they be replaced every year... but on the other hand they have an incentive for you to do so)

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#11 Kain

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 02:57 PM

The power strip appears fine, though I did try the PC at another desk once, which had a different strip.

#12 garmanma

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 03:15 PM

With the PSU in the original tower, you push the power button on the front of the PC and nothing happens. PSU doesn't try to fire up, lights don't come on, nothing. 100% sure I didn't mistakenly try with the PSU Switched to off, I even double checked that myself.

With the PSU in the old/hand built tower, that computer fires up as normal and runs fine.

It sounds like the momentary power on switch is broke. If you trace the power button to the motherboard, you can remove the 2 prong connector and short the two pins with a screwdriver, momentarily, to turn it on

Edited by garmanma, 18 February 2008 - 03:16 PM.

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#13 Kain

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 04:56 PM

garmanma, I tried doing as you said and if I did it properly, then that's not the problem. Nothing happened.

By "momentary power on switch," I take it your speaking on the power button on the front of the tower. I followed it's wires back to the motherboard. It wasn't a 'two prong' connector but more like a six prong (though a few slots had no wires.) I believe that's due to there being two lights up front by the button. Anyway, I tracked the colored wires to the correct two prongs and a screwdriver to short it had no effect.

Billy, I must admit that I'm not the most organized person in the world, and as such, have no clue where the DigiCam may be. If I happen to run across it, I'll try and get a snap to be viewed of the Motherboard.

Edited by Kain, 18 February 2008 - 04:57 PM.


#14 hamluis

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 05:13 PM

For What It's Worth: http://www.insignia-products.com/pc-281-48...ssor-28ghz.aspx

Louis

Edited to improve understanding :thumbsup:.

Edited by hamluis, 18 February 2008 - 06:34 PM.


#15 Kain

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 05:24 PM

hamluis, FWIW?

garmanma, more bad news for me it would seem. Got the strange idea to try the switch/button from the problem tower in the old tower and with that switch, the old tower fired right up. Seems the Power Button can be marked off the list of possibilities.

Only thing really left seems to be the motherboard. Anyone confident enough to call "R.I.P. Motherboard" or might there be something that's been missed?

EDIT: Ha, looked up "FWIW" on Google and now know what it stands for. I actually included that link, well, a similar one (mine didn't showthe "Desktop Computer" grouping, but otherwise I believe shows the same information) though you might have missed it since I linked it as "here." Good looks for trying to aid by providing that link though.

Edited by Kain, 18 February 2008 - 05:28 PM.





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