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Did power surge fry my computer?


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#1 KevinMac

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 12:11 PM

There was a power surge that turned off all the computers, reset all the clocks, etc in my house.

One computer won't restart. Dell Dimension 8250, Pentium 4 (2.4).

1. When I boot from hard drive, I get "disk read error"
2. When I boot from CD I get "scanning hardware." Screen then goes blank, nothing else happens.
3. I can still get into BIOS

How can I tell if there's just a faulty part or if the computer is dead?

Edited by KevinMac, 11 July 2010 - 12:18 PM.


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#2 MrBruce1959

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 01:09 PM

Hello and welcome to Bleepingcomputer.

I read your description above.

I want to believe your power supply may have suffered in someway, it is the closest to the AC line which experienced the power surge.

Below is a preceedure that you will have to conduct to figure out if your PSU has suffered any damage.

Please follow the instructions carefuly and post back the results in your next reply.

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.

Caution:
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
www.playtool.com

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.


If everything checks out with your power supply, please let me know, I will post further instructions you can try. We are working on a process here called "process of elimination"

Kind regards.

Bruce.

Edited by MrBruce1959, 11 July 2010 - 01:10 PM.

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#3 KevinMac

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 02:42 PM

Hi, Bruce. I will do if you think advisable. I should point out, though, that the fan is on, the CD drive spins. Would that mean the problem is not the power supply?

#4 MrBruce1959

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 03:51 PM

You should still check the power supply for problems.

A power supply has several outputs, those to name a few are +5 Volts and +12 volts. If one of the voltage regulators is bad one rail won't function properly.

So what we are trying to accomplish here is to determine if your power supply has suffered any damage, if not then we'll move onto another resolution.

Bruce.
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#5 Sneakycyber

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 04:19 PM

There is a good chance that the computer has some damage. Depending on the level of damage I would contact your home owners or renters policy they both cover lightning strikes and power surges. Depending on your coverage your computer can be replaced less the cost of your deductible. As a side note if you do own your own home you may want too look into an entire house surge protection circuit that will cover everything. Most newer furnaces, refrigerators have computers in them and are very expensive to replace.

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#6 hamluis

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 04:21 PM

Did you check that the date/time in the BIOS is correct...and then elect the default settings and save those settings (F10)?

As a general rule, I think it's a good idea to run chkdsk /r after power failures, etc...since chances increase the likelihood of file damage to system files.

Louis

#7 KevinMac

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 10:41 PM

Hi Bruce. Did what you said (attached jumper wire from green wire to one of the black wires of the power supply connector). Reconnected the power.
the fan turned on
the LED on the DVD drive turned on
I touched the primary hard drive and it felt like it was spinning (a little hard to tell-no LED)
secondary HD didn't feel like it was spinning.

By the way: ;I actually own a voltmeter for some reason. Is there a more scientific way to do this?

Edited by KevinMac, 13 July 2010 - 10:42 PM.


#8 MrBruce1959

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 01:00 PM

Please use this page I am posting to help you use your VOM meter to test your power supply.

This page shows you all possible connecters used on pwer supplies and the voltages that can be found using a VOM meter.

http://www.playtool.com/pages/psuconnectors/connectors.html

Any questions, just ask.

Bruce.
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#9 KevinMac

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Posted 18 July 2010 - 06:09 PM

OK, I tried the VOM on the power connector. The green wire seemed OK - about 3.5 volts.
None of the others seemed to register at all.

I conclude that my power supply is fried. Does that make sense?

#10 KevinMac

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Posted 24 July 2010 - 12:59 PM

Uh oh. I swapped a good hard drive for the bad one. Evidently that wasn't the only thing wrong, because I have the same problem. When I boot from the hard drive I get "disk read error." When I boot from CD-ROM I get "scanning hardware," then nothing.
What's the next thing I should try?

#11 MrBruce1959

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 11:19 AM

Uh oh. I swapped a good hard drive for the bad one. Evidently that wasn't the only thing wrong, because I have the same problem. When I boot from the hard drive I get "disk read error." When I boot from CD-ROM I get "scanning hardware," then nothing.
What's the next thing I should try?

When you added the new hard drive did you enter the BIOS setup utility at boot up to make sure the new hard drive was either auto detected or detected by selection the Primary master option in the BIOS menu and high-lighting it until it showed a hard drive by way of its hardware ID number?

Once you have this drive shown next to primary master, you have to save the setting by pressing the F10 key, this usually brings up a dialog box which asks save changes to CMOS and exit? You have to confirm those changes by typing Y for yes. The system should reboot, if the hard drive does not contain an Operating System such as Windows, you will now need a Windows installation disk to either boot to (Windows 2000 through Windows 7) to start the installation process, this disk has to be in an optical drive that is configured in the BIOS in the BOOT menu as the first drive in the BOOT list, the hard drive has to be set as the second one in the list below the optical drive to which the Windows installation disk is located.

Depending on the type of hardware, if the hard drive is an E-IDE/PATA type hard drive, these drives have jumpers on the connection location, which configures the drive as a MASTER or a SLAVE, in cases where two pieces of hardware are on the same ribbon wire, one has to be set as the MASTER and the other set as a SLAVE, if either device is configured wrong, one or both devices will fail to work.

If the hard drive is a single device, it still has to be set as a MASTER regardless if there is another device on the same data cable or not.

SATA hard drives are not configured the same way however, they do not have MASTER and SLAVE jumpers.

Most older computers have their optical drives in the E-IDE/PATA format. Most, but not all, newer more expensive OEM computers have SATA type DVD drives.

You still have to make sure the BIOS setup program on your computer has recognized all the hardware you have installed such as hard drives and optical drives and those are saved to the CMOS in order for them to work once the computer is rebooted.

They should now function and allow you to use them to install the new OS to your hard drive.

You should also make sure the primary E-IDE/PATA hard is on the end connecter of the data wire and the primary slave is on the second (middle connecter) this configuration works out better in the long run.

Any questions? Please ask.

Bruce.

Edited by MrBruce1959, 25 July 2010 - 11:27 AM.

Welcome to Bleeping Computer! :welcome:
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