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Why did my computer crash and won't start again?

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 03:59 PM

Last night my computer froze. I rebooted and just as the desktop was loading the PC shut down. It then would not start. I press the power button and nothing happens. If I hold the power button in, sometimes it will begin to start - the case fan, the processor fan, and the GPU fan will start up - but then it shuts off within about 10 seconds.

It seems like the power supply is dead but I'm not sure about that.

What does this sound like to you? Could it be the motherboard? Something else?

The PC is 5 years old.

Thanks for your ideas.


In case it helps:

AMD Athlon 64 3200+
Chaintech VNF3-250 mobo
Antec True Power 380S power supply
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 256mb

Edited by BGAMN, 26 April 2009 - 04:03 PM.

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#2 Sunharrow


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Posted 26 April 2009 - 04:59 PM

Try the following: Disconnect the peripheral items from the motherboard as well as psu such as DVD drives, USB hubs, etc., one at a time. Does it boot up? If not then continue by disconnecting such things as harddrive and video card. Keep working backwards until it boots. If you get down to the basics of RAM and cpu then it is a good bet it is either psu or motherboard.

It still may be the psu has crapped out on you so test it with a didigtal multimeter.

#3 Sneakycyber


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Posted 26 April 2009 - 07:43 PM

The purpose of this procedure is to bypass the motherboard to test a ATX PSU. Some manufacturers Like Dell have used some non ATX PSUs which have a different pinout for the 20/4 pin connector, please confirm that your PSU is a ATX type before using this procedure.

This procedure will involve working with live 12VDC electrical potentials which if handled improperly may lead to electrical shock. Proper precautions should also be taken to prevent electrostatic discharges (ESDs) within the case of the computer. For safety purposes please follow the instructions step by step.

First, shutdown your computer. Then unplug the power cable going into your computer.

Once you have opened the case, touch the metal of the case to discharge any static electricity.

The connector of the PSU which connects to the motherboard is readily recognizable by the number of wires in the bundle. To disconnect it you will need to press on the plastic clip to disengage it and then pull the connector up and away from the motherboard. Please take notice of the location of the locking tab and the notch on the socket of the motherboard, this will only connect one way as it is keyed. This wire bundle will have a memory of the way it has been installed and will want to bend back that direction, you may have to play around with it to find a position that the connector will stay in the same position while you run the test.

Posted Image

From the top left to right the pins are 13-24, the bottom from left to right are 1-12.

Please notice that there are PSUs with 24 pin and 20 pin connectors, the location of the green wire in the 24 pin connector is #16, and the green wire in the 20 pin connector is #14. If you look at the connector with socket side facing you and the clip on the top the number one pin will be on the bottom left corner. This makes the pin out for the 24 pin connector from left to right 13-24 on top, and 1-12 on the bottom. The pin out for the 20 pin connector from left to right is 11-20 on top , and 1-10 on the bottom. If you look at the connectors you notice that these are sockets that fit over the pins on the motherboard where the PSU cable attaches, this is where you will place the jumper. For a jumper you will need a piece of solid wire about the size of a paper clip (20-22 awg), preferably a wire with insulation. It will need to be large enough to fit firmly into the socket so that it will not need to be held in place while testing. You are at risk of electrical shock if you are holding the jumper when you power up the PSU. Insert one end of the jumper into the socket of the Green wire, and insert the other end into the socket of any Black wire.

Once the jumper is in place plug the cord back in. If the PSU is working properly the case fans, optical drives, hdds, and LEDs should power up and remain on. I would suggest that you not leave this connected any longer than is necessary for safety purposes.

To reconnect the 20/4 pin connector unplug the power cord, remove the jumper, and reconnect the connector. Take a moment at this time to make sure that nothing has been dislodged inside the case.
Chad Mockensturm 
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Posted 27 April 2009 - 07:53 PM

Sunharrow, I tried what you wrote and I get the same results.

I also bought a new PSU and plugged it all in and got the same result.

Someone told me that my CPU is heating too quickly and shutting down as a precaution. Does that sound right to anyone? He said that I need to clean the dust off the heatsink and possibly reapply thermal paste.

Sneakycyber, thank you for the detailed post. I'm not going to try since I'm now pretty sure that the PSU isn't the problem, but I will remember your procedure for future reference. Thanks.

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