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Modem blew in thunderstorm, now can't get Computer to start


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#1 LauraJBJD

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 03:14 PM

I apologize in advance for not knowing exactly where the problem is, but I'll tell you what I know. I have broadband Internet/phone, and a modem that handles both. Computer is Dell Dimension, Windows XP SP3, Intel Celeron 2.00 GHz, 512 M RAM.

Saturday, a severe thunderstorm blew threw. (Computer turned off, plugged into surge protector at the time.) I heard what sounded like a cannon blast, and the next time I checked my phone, I had no dial tone. I looked at the modem, saw no lights (power, etc.) at all. A while later I tried to turn on the computer, heard it "fire up," and waited for the black screen with the password prompt to show up. Got a black screen with no password prompt. Tried typing in the password (no joy), tried putting in the Windows XP reinstall disk into the CD driver and restarting (hitting CTRL-F12 for all I was worth), no joy. (Had to do a hard shutdown, because the computer was simply not responding to anything.)

I've turned the sucker on a couple of times now, and have noticed that the CD drive containing the Windows XP reinstall disk flashes a green light briefly when I turn on the computer; the green "power" light on the computer does not show at all. I think the hard drive is working, because I hear the normal whirring noise (and fan) when I turn the computer on, but beyond that, I'm flummoxed.

So -- new computer? new motherboard? new power source? new user? new brain?

TIA.

Edited by hamluis, 25 June 2012 - 04:26 PM.
Moved from XP to Internal Hardware - Hamluis.


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#2 s1lents0ul

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 05:40 PM

A couple of ideas:

Check your surge protector, is the fault light on?

From your surge protector, are there any other devices that can turn on while plugged into it?

Try plugging your computer into a different socket, that loud cannon noise was someting blowing from an overload. The overload was either something in your computer, the monitor, the surge protector, or the outlet.

Check each piece of your equipment seperately, in an outlet you know works. Verify what devices are blown, and those that are not.
==]--s1lents0ul-->

#3 LauraJBJD

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 07:40 PM

A couple of ideas:

Check your surge protector, is the fault light on?

From your surge protector, are there any other devices that can turn on while plugged into it?

Try plugging your computer into a different socket, that loud cannon noise was someting blowing from an overload. The overload was either something in your computer, the monitor, the surge protector, or the outlet.

Check each piece of your equipment seperately, in an outlet you know works. Verify what devices are blown, and those that are not.



Thank you for the reply. I'd been thinking it over and figured something blew, either the power source (best case scenario) or motherboard (more likely). I took it in to get looked at, and the motherboard was indeed toast. I have since bought a new/refurbished/similar era PC, and am using the old hard drive (which survived unhurt, thank God) as an external backup now. Again, thanks for the reply.

#4 The_Outkast

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 07:54 PM

Just an fyi, if there is a storm, you might want to consider unplugging both the power and the network cable (assuming it's not connected to a wireless device). There is a chance that an electrical surge came thru the phone lines and then to the ethernet port of the pc.

#5 LauraJBJD

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 08:15 PM

Just an fyi, if there is a storm, you might want to consider unplugging both the power and the network cable (assuming it's not connected to a wireless device). There is a chance that an electrical surge came thru the phone lines and then to the ethernet port of the pc.


I've never had that experience in 20-some years of computer use, but it didn't take more than the one time to convince me to deal with it differently. The computer guy suggested a battery backup as being superior protection to a surge protector, and I may do that. In any event, yeah, I'll probably break my neck running to pull the plug the next time I hear thunder. :warrior:

BTW, any idea how to import my Firefox bookmarks from the old hard drive?

#6 westom

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 09:23 AM

Understand how damaged happened – the destructive path. A most common transient is lightning to AC lines down the street. That is a direct strike incoming to every household appliance. So everything is damaged? No. To have electricity (and damage) means an incoming and another ‘outgoing’ path. Incoming was AC electric (any or all three wires). Outgoing apparently was the network.

Telephone and cable typically have superior protection earthed where wires enter the building (the service entrance). A surge was hunting for earth ground. Since you did not earth AC wires at entry, then a surge found earth ground via cable or telephone wires. Destructively via your computer motherboard and modem. You all but invited a surge to come inside and go hunting.

Had AC electric included a properly earthed 'whole house' protector, then that surge need not find earth destructively inside. Protection is always about earthing a surge harmlessly outside. A surge earthed outside does not go hunting for earth inside via appliances.

No protector does protection (especially your adjacent to a computer that has no earth ground). The effective protector connects low impedance (ie 'less than 10 feet') to single point earth ground. Then lightning is not inside hunting destructively.

Best protection at the computer is typically inside its power supply. But by locating a protector adjacent, then a surge was given paths into the motherboard. Bypassed the supply's internal protection. That adjacent protector simply gave a typically destructive surge more paths to hunt for earth ground. You saw the resulting damage.

Earthing must be upgraded to both meet and exceed code requirements. And install a 'whole house' protector on AC mains at the breaker box or meter pan. If you don't, then protection already inside every appliance is your only protection. Either that energy dissipates harmlessly outside. If inside, it will hunt for earth destructively via appliances – as you have witnessed.

For over 100 years, the only solution was to earth a surge BEFORE entering a building. Since you did not have that, then a surge went hunting inside. Found a path to earth destructively via your computer and modem. Spend about $1 per protected appliance to upgrade to superior protection. This time it was only a computer.

#7 s1lents0ul

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 04:14 AM

LauraJBJD, as far as importing bookmarks from firefox goes...

I personally do not use Firefox, but here is a link to a tutorial about the subject. Sorry it couldn't be from personal experience.

Firefox Bookmark Tutorial
==]--s1lents0ul-->




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