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Something I noticed while building my computer


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#1 ixcuincle

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 07:12 PM

I was building my computer the last 3 days and I noticed that the motherboard's power is inconsistent.

What I mean by this is that it sometimes receives power, but doesn't. The first time I built the computer together, and tried to turn it on, I was surprised when the computer didn't turn on. After setting it up, it turns out that the 24-pin connector to the motherboard is weird.

There is a green light on the motherboard which indicates whether power is coming to the computer or not. At first, this green light remained off, even with the 24-bit connector plugged into the proper location. Then, after shaking the part a bit, the green light turns on. Everything then works fine.

This will happen occasionally, when I'm working inside the computer, I will jolt the power cables which connect to the 24-pin location. And, power is off again, but another shake, and power is back on.

I was wondering whether this was anything serious or not, because the computer is working fine now. If these are defective parts, I was wondering if I should refund them, although I would be wary of building again (I am exhausted after 3 days of building a computer and encountering these errors. I just want to sit back and relax with the new computer.)

Edited by ixcuincle, 22 September 2012 - 07:17 PM.


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#2 FlutterVeiss

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 12:05 AM

I certainly understand the sentiment. My first build was problem after problem, and it's very frustrating to not be able to just use it (my problems lasted well over 3 weeks on my first build).

Anyway your problem probably isn't 3 weeks worth, so let's have a look.

First of all, are you using a modular power supply? And when you hooked in the 24-pin connector, did the little clip on the side "snap" into place? Run your finger along all 4 sides of the connector (obviously while the comp is off). If you feel a slight gap anywhere, make sure that it is fully connected. I built a system once where 4 pins of the connector were detachable and had an extra clip that prevented it from being pushed in all the way, so first and foremost make sure that it is, in fact, pushed in all the way.

Next, if it is a modular power supply, make sure the connector is pushed all the way into the power supply. This seems basic, but it's always important to double check.

If that still doesn't work, have a look at your other components to make sure they are all the way in, and that no components are where they shouldn't be. I had a friend who tried to plug the power supply for a floppy drive into a fan slot (he thought it was a fan controller). It caused a similar problem, because it would sometimes cause a short.

If none of these work, you may have a faulty PSU, or not have enough wattage. What all are you running? Did you check to make sure that you have enough wattage to run everything? It may help for you to post your specs.

If you have a voltage probe you can always test the wires to see if they're providing the correct voltages. If you wish to try this, I'll post further instructions, but most people don't just have a multimeter lying around, in my experience. Just let me know.

EDIT: oh and of course check the plug in the wall and in the back of the PC. I'm not trying to give you obvious advice, but covering all the bases is important.


Oh and to answer your question: it is potentially serious. As long as everything is getting the right amount of power, there is theoretically no issue, as long as you don't jolt the computer and shut it off while it's doing something important. I say theoretically because it would be very easy to do this and cause problems. It is, however, a big problem if components are not receiving enough power.

Edited by FlutterVeiss, 23 September 2012 - 12:11 AM.


#3 ixcuincle

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 06:33 AM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.1069084

Here is the system. How do I know if enough voltage is going to the computer? Can't that be done in BIOS?

#4 FlutterVeiss

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 01:05 PM

If you got it in a kit from newegg, the wattage is almost surely fine.



The bios can display the voltage, as can programs like hwmonitor and speedfan. You should definitely check those, but sometimes they can be inaccurate. Checking the voltage manually should be a last resort though. Have you double checked everything else?

For instance I noticed that the 24 pin connector has the clip on the last 4 pins that I was talking about. Triple check to make sure it is pushed in all the way.

With 24 pins like that if one side seems to be out and you push it in, the other side will pop out. Make sure you apply even pressure across the connector and get it all the way down.

Edited by FlutterVeiss, 24 September 2012 - 01:27 AM.


#5 s1lents0ul

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 09:20 AM

I had this problem building mine:

With 24 pins like that if one side seems to be out and you push it in, the other side will pop out. Make sure you apply even pressure across the connector and get it all the way down.


It was stupidly aggrivating.

Edited by s1lents0ul, 26 September 2012 - 09:20 AM.

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#6 MDTechService

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 12:27 PM

Simply using a multimeter to test the voltage won't tell you much. Since watts = (voltage * amps), knowing one but not the other is pretty useless.

Have you tried to use a known working PSU with the motherboard?
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Check the power cable to the wall first!

#7 FlutterVeiss

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 03:43 PM

You test the voltage because if the voltage is bad, the PSU is bad. If the voltage is bad, you won't be getting enough current (Ohms law), and subsequently not enough power. I'm surprised you haven't wondered why OC programs, stress tests, and temperature monitoring programs provide only the voltage to let you know if anything is going wrong.

Anyway, your voltages need to be correct to within 4% under load to effectively operate your system. I wasn't suggesting he test to see if he was providing enough power to his system (you can calculate that based on the components), I was suggesting he check to see if his PSU was working correctly at all. If the voltages are too low, he'd need to RMA it.


I don't think voltage is the problem though (that tends to cause bluescreens, rather than total power off), and there don't seem to be many cases of this PSU failing, according to the user reviews. It's much more likely that the 24-pin isn't securely fastened.

Of course we'll only really know if OP posts again.

Edited by FlutterVeiss, 26 September 2012 - 03:53 PM.


#8 caperjac

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 04:48 PM

,hopefully when you first plugged the 24 pin connector ,the motherboard was well supported on a level surface or you could have broken some soldered leads on the board ,and moving the 24 pin and loosing the power means it could be sort of shorting out .or I could be way off with this ,and hope I am

Edited by caperjac, 26 September 2012 - 04:49 PM.

My answers are my opinion only,usually


#9 ixcuincle

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 04:06 PM

Alright, update on the situation. Was just sitting watching Flash video when the computer turned off out of nowhere.

The computer then turned back on, and I got the following message.

Power Supply surges detected during the previous power on.

ASUS Anti-Surge was triggered to protect system from unstable power supply unit!

Press f1 to run setup


I proceeded to press F1 and then took a picture of the voltages reported by the BIOS. Then, I quit BIOS, and proceeded to run Windows 7.

Everything works fine now, but I don't want another surge. Any advice on what to do now? Thanks.

Attached Files


Edited by ixcuincle, 28 September 2012 - 04:07 PM.


#10 caperjac

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 06:44 PM

is the powersupply plugged directly into the wall outlet, if so get a good surge protector if you don't already have one ,to plug you power supply into

My answers are my opinion only,usually


#11 ixcuincle

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 08:47 PM

Yes, it's plugged into a surge protector.

#12 caperjac

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 06:23 AM

so this is the first time I have heard of the asus anti surge software ,I think some time these type programs are just too sensitive or not setup right out of the box sort of thing ,

so checked google I read a bit in one post[asus.com/forum] about normal power supply ripple[small voltage drops is the best example of what ripple means I think ]and maybe asus anti surge is just being to cautious, those are my words ,have a read for you self

http://vip.asus.com/forum/view.aspx?id=20091219124914828&board_id=1&model=M4A785T-M&SLanguage=en-us&page=1



Excample ;just yesterday I helped troubleshoot a Toshiba laptop that gave the owner a message to take his laptop back for repair because of a heating system failure ,so we/I determent it was Toshiba software running at bootup and monitoring the laptop was just being over cautious because the owner left the laptop in hibernation for 2 days ,disable the software and will see in a few days how things go for the owner .

My answers are my opinion only,usually


#13 FlutterVeiss

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 03:37 PM

Yeah just disable it and try it out. I will say, however, that I personally have never had a problem with it, and it's been on most of my mobos. Still, hope it fixes it!

#14 ixcuincle

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 04:45 PM

So all the voltage is good? The CPU voltage looks low, but I don't know computers or what the proper voltage values should be for a CPU.

#15 dc3

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:47 AM

The article below will walk you through a means of testing the PSU rail voltages. It is important to place a load on the PSU in order to obtain accurate voltage readings, for this reason you will want to download the program suggested in the article. Hope this helps.



Reading PSU Rail Voltages

Caution: Please read this before continuing.


∑ Since it will be necessary for your computer to be on during this procedure, you need to be aware that you will be working with live 12Volt DC potentials, which if handled improperly may lead to electrical shock.

∑ There are electronics inside the case that are very susceptible to electrostatic discharges. To protect your computer, touch the metal of the case to discharge yourself of any electrostatic charges before touching any of the components inside.

∑ If you are not comfortable doing this procedure, then I would suggest that you not use this tutorial. The risks involved are minimal, but are there nevertheless. Anyone who uses this tutorial will be doing so at their own risk.


There are two devices commonly used to read the rail voltages: a PSU tester, and a multimeter.

The PSU tester is the easiest to use since all that is necessary is to plug the different connectors into the tester and read the results on the LCD display. The problem with most of these is that they only perform a pass/fail test. They will not provide you with actual voltage readings.

There are a variety of multiple meters, but this tutorial will address Analog and Digital multimeters. The advantage of these meters is that you will be able to obtain accurate real time voltage readings.

For those of you who wish to know more about multimeters there is an excellent article in Wikipedia.


Analog Multimeter

Posted Image


An Analog multimeter is a little more complicated to use. Both Analog and Digital multimeters need to be set to the appropriate voltage, but with an Analog multimeter, you will need to choose the voltage range and must read the proper scale.

The Analog multimeter uses a needle display which moves from 0 across the scale until it reaches the voltage being tested. This multimeter has five major linear divisions with multiple scales to read a variety of ranges. An example would be three different ranges. The first is graduated in increments of 0 through 5, the second, 0 through 10, and the third, 0 through 25. Each of these ranges are subdivided into divisions that are graduated into tenths. In order to read 12 volts the 0 through 25 range would be the appropriate one.

Because DC voltage has positive and negative potentials this device is polar sensitive, this means that if you reverse the two probes when reading a positive DC voltage it will read as a negative voltage. This is actually necessary to read negative DC voltages. The two probes are differentiated by their color, Black (negative), and Red (positive). To read a positive DC voltage, the correct probes must be used with their corresponding potentials (positive to positive and negative to negative).

With the probes being used normally to read a negative DC voltage, the needle moves from the 0 to the left, "pegging" the needle. By reversing the probes you can properly read the negative voltages.

Digital Multimeter

Posted Image


The Digital multimeter (DMM) is much simpler to use. As was mentioned previously, you will need to set the appropriate voltage. One of the advantages is that the DMM has an LCD display with a numeric readout, so there are not any multiple scales to read. Another advantage is that most DMMs are autoranging when reading voltages, which means that you will not need to set the range with these DMMs. A DMM will read both positive and negative DC voltages and display them correctly. When reading a negative voltage, a minus sign will appear on the display before the numeric value. This still is a polar sensitive device, so you will still need to use the positive and negative probes with their corresponding potentials.

There are five different DC rail voltages which are color coded. The Black wires are always negative.

Yellow +12VDC

Blue -12VDC

Red +5VDC

White -5VDC

Orange +3.3VDC


There are only three voltages that can be measured easily without disconnecting the 20/24 pin connector from the motherboard: +12V, +5V, and +3.3V.

The +12V and +5V voltages can be read from a four pin Molex power connector.

Four pin Molex power connector

Posted Image


The same voltages can be taken from a four pin SATA power connector, but in order to read the +3.3V you will need to read this from a five pin SATA power connector as seen below.

Five pin SATA power connector.

Posted Image

To read these voltages you will need to insert the Black (-) probe into any of the black sockets, and insert the Red (+) probe in the different colored voltage sockets. To read the voltages from a SATA power connector it is easiest to insert the probes into the bac k of the connector where the wires enter. Unfortunately the sockets of the modular SATA power connectors are not accessible from the back, so the readings will need to be made from the socket side. Some probes are going to be too large to fit in these sockets, so you may need to insert a piece of wire into the socket of which you want to read the voltage of and place the probe on this for your reading. To reduce the potential of creating a short I would suggest taking the ground potential from another connector so that the two wires will remain physically separated.

Caution: It is very important to make sure that you don't allow the two probes to touch each other when taking the voltage readings. This will cause a short which could damage the PSU or other components.

To get accurate readings of the rail voltages it is important that there be a load on the PSU. In order to do this I would suggest downloading Prime95 for this purpose. This program was designed to be used by overclockers to put a full load on the RAM and CPU to determine the stability of their overclocking. Because of this it will put stress on the CPU and RAM which will create higher than normal temperatures. For this reason I would suggest not running this program any longer than is necessary. I would also suggest that an inspection be made of the interior of the case to make sure that there isnít an accumulation of dust which would impede adequate cooling. Pay special attention to the heat sink and fan assembly on the CPU. If there is a dedicated graphics card with a fan installed on it, look at this fan as well.


Readings should not have variances larger than +/- five percent.

Maximum.........Minimum
12.6V.................11.4V
5.25V.................4.75V
3.47V.................3.14V

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