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System randomly goes into power save mode


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#1 Eyesee

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 12:55 PM

I have been fighting a Dell Dimensions 2400 system for several days now & I'm stumped!

The system will randomly go into power save mode. When it does so there is no signal to the monitor.
The power light on the system goes amber. The hard drive light stays lit and all fans continue to spin.
There is no time element involved. Its completely random.

I have disabled all power management both in Windows and the BIOS, cleared CMOS, tried another power supply,
Ran all Dell diagnostics including a thorough hard drive test (WD 80 gig), disconnected power to the cdrom, and reloaded Windows (XP SP3) with all drivers.

The system does not have to be idle when it does this. It can work fine for hours or go into power save immediately.

I thought about trying another video card but the onboard appears to work fine. There are no video anomalies and all Dell video tests pass.

Anybody have any ideas?
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#2 Allan

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 01:10 PM

Does the same thing happen in safe mode?

#3 Eyesee

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 01:29 PM

Yep, I sould have mentioned that.

Yesterday I booted the system into the BIOS screen & let it sit for hours. It was fine.
Then I booted to the ReaToGo cd & did the same thing. It was fine.

I backed up her data & loaded clean Windows. Installed all drivers & updates & let it sit.
It went into power save in two hours. Keybard or mouse will not wake it up.

I just reseated all cables, memory and cards. It shut down at the Windows splash screen.

Im thinking motherboard but why would it work sometimes?
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#4 Allan

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 01:34 PM

So if I understand correctly the only symptom is that the display seems to go into power save mode (the green light turns amber if that's applicable to your display). If indeed that's the case, I'd start by trying a different display. Let's rule out the obvious before you have to delve into the difficult :)

BTW, hardware is absolutely not my strength, but I can offer reasonable assistance up to a point

#5 Eyesee

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 01:37 PM

The power light on the computer goes amber, which of course causes the monitor light to do the same thing.

This exhibits the same issue at her house & my place.
That eliminates monitor, keyboard, mouse, peripherals, bad power, power chord etc.

I just tried to boot to the Ultimate boot cd to test the drive again & it did exactly the same thing.
System is at the BIOS screen right now. I bet I could leave it there all day long and it would be fine.

Has to be hardware. Windows has been eliminated as well.
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#6 Allan

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 01:53 PM

Sorry I misunderstood. Based on your first post I understood only the display was going to power save.

Yes, if it happened at the splash screen BEFORE drivers loaded, I agree it sounds as though has to be hardware. Having said that, if it IS hardware it would also happen in bios or outside the OS when you boot the Ultimate Boot CD. Can we try one thing? Let's try a clean boot with msconfig. On the General tab choose Selective Startup and uncheck everything and reboot. Let's see what happens.

#7 Eyesee

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 02:04 PM

It does the same thing. I tried the Ultimate Boot CD already & it shut down.

Windows has been eliminated with the clean load that I did yesterday.
Everything installed without issue & ran for several hours before going into power save.

Right now its sitting on the BIOS screen & its fine.
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#8 Allan

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 02:12 PM

Okay. What's been confusing me when you said that when you booted to the Ultimate Boot CD "it does the same thing" and then immediately said in bios it could sit all day. I took that to mean..... never mind, got it now :)

I'm guessing power supply - but that's obviously just a guess. Clearly the system uses less power in bios than it does when doing anything else. As you probably know a bad PS can result in any one of a number of different symptoms, from blue screen errors to immediate shutdowns to anything in between. Perhaps even sending the system into power save to conserve power. I have to admit, this is the first time I've run into this particular problem though. VERY interested in knowing the cause once it's identified.

#9 Eyesee

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 02:22 PM

Tried that.
Swapped the PS with an identical one from spare parts.
Tried all new IDE cables as well. Tried disconnecting the cd. Cleaned all fans & heat sink.

Still on the BIOS screen & has been for over an hour.

Just tried the Ultimate boot cd again & this time it booted.
Am running HD test again.

The randomness of this has me really stumped.
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#10 Allan

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 02:27 PM

Me too - sorry.

#11 Eyesee

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 06:25 PM

Memory & hard drive both pass extended tests.
It has now been running for several hours inside of Windows.

I am going to let it run overnight.

Any other ideas?
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#12 hamluis

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 07:43 PM

Is the original CMOS battery in that system?

It's been a long time...

CMOS batteries are the only thing that I know of that can make Windows come up with configuration problems/situations never previously experienced, I would replace it on GP. It's a cheap investment even if it does nothing.

Louis

#13 Eyesee

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 01:06 AM

Thanks Louis

I did pull the battery but didnt replace it.
You're right. Its only a few bucks. Customer goodwill too.
If I end up trashing the system I will pull it.

It is the only thing I havent tried.
But if it solves the issue I am burning my IT degree!
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#14 Allan

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 06:11 AM

It is the only thing I havent tried.
But if it solves the issue I am burning my IT degree!

+1 :)
Worth a try, but I've never seen a dead cmos battery cause these particular symptoms.

#15 Eyesee

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 12:07 PM

After fiving this some thought over the weekend, I think I am going to try another video card.
System has an integrated Intel 82845g.

Maybe thats what is causing the issue.
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