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Computer won't power up; makes high pitched buzzing when plugged in


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#1 jmcquaid

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 11:28 PM

A friend just gave me an old E-Machine T1842 that he had had laying around for quite a while (maybe a year since it had been used). He said that it was working the last time he tried it, but when I went to turn it on for the first time, it didn't power up. It didn't do anything, except it does make a high pitched buzzing sound as soon as I plug in the power cable.

I'm really a novice when it comes to diagnosing computer problems, so any suggestions as to where to start would be appreciated.

Thanks for your time.

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#2 dc3

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 11:43 PM

Can you pinpoint the location of the noise?

Do you smell anything that like burnt electronics components?

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#3 jmcquaid

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 01:37 PM

Thanks for the reply.

It's a very faint sound, but it does sound like it's coming from the power supply. There is no smell of burning components.

#4 MrBruce1959

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 04:00 PM

when I went to turn it on for the first time, it didn't power up. It didn't do anything, except it does make a high pitched buzzing sound as soon as I plug in the power cable.


This sounds like a PSU issue, possibly a failed down-step transformer that converts AC house current to DC usable current.

The transformer has a series of wires which are wound around a core, also called a coil, this series of windings brings down the 120-110 Volts AC to a usable voltage the computer uses to run.

When a transformer goes bad, the coils vibrate, this is the buzzing sound you hear.

I am inclined to believe, This is NOT a cooling fan making this noise, because a cooling fan only spins when the power supply is supplying power to the PC.

Even with the computer off, the transformer is still operational to supply current to the controller board, which is waiting for an action from the computer's power switch located on the front of the computer tower.

It is strongly suggested you invest some money in a new PSU (power supply) and replace this one. As this current one is a safety issue and is not serviceable by the average home computer user.

You can purchase a better one with a better output rating.

Just make sure the PSU you purchase works with this computer.

If it is an ATX power supply, purchase an ATX power supply.

If it is an older Baby-AT you need to replace it with a Baby-AT type power supply. (These are for older computers, before ATX came out)

Please be safe and keep in mind the precautions needed to work safely inside a computer case.

Specially with precautions against ESD, keep yourself grounded to the computer case while working inside the computer case.

Static electricity from your body can permanently harm the components found on the motherboard.

Kind regards.

Bruce.

Edited by MrBruce1959, 21 November 2010 - 04:10 PM.

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#5 dc3

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 04:31 PM

Do the fans spin up for the PSU and the one on the heat sink and fan assembly of the CPU?

The motherboard initiates the start up of the PSU when the power button on the front of the case is pressed. The PSU isn't involved until this time, so any noise that you hear prior to this will not be related to that.

This may sound like a shade tree mechanics trick, and it is. But it works because of a principal of physics known as transmission of sound through a solid object. Take a wooden or plastic long handled spoon and place it against the PSU with the handle end against the the PSU and the spoon end against your ear and listen to see if the noise is coming from the PSU or elsewhere.

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#6 jmcquaid

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 05:34 PM

I appreciate both of your comments, and I'm sorry for the delayed response. I got caught up with holiday stuff so I haven't been anywhere near my computers.

I just went to try the wooden spoon against the PSU, and this time nothing happened when I plugged it in. No noise or anything. I have an old PSU around somewhere that I'm going to try and track down to see if it is compatible and just give it a try.




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