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Booting Problems with 2 different PCs (possible environmental problems?)


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#1 greebocks

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 09:26 PM

Specs:

Motherboard: Asus H97 Pro Gamer

CPU: Core i7 4790

GPU: Zotac GTX 970

RAM: 3x 8GB Kingston HyperX

HDD: 2x 1TB Western Digital Blue

No overclock

7 months old

 

Hello, everyone.

 

My PC has developed a problem where on a cold boot (leave it off for the night), it would power on with the lights and fans running, and then shut down for a few seconds before attempting to power on again (I believe this is similar behavior to a failed overclock?). It would do this once or twice before successfully booting. When it boots, it seems to work fine.

 

There are a few more frustrating things about this problem. First of all, it is intermittent. It doesn't happen every day. Also, when I leave it on for a few minutes and power it down it would boot fine, so I can't even try to fix it by removing components at this point. Second, and more peculiar, is that this is the second build that this has happened to. My previous PC had this behavior as well, and while it started out quite benign and intermittent (like my current build) it progressed to the point that it would keep power cycling and refused to boot which is why I replaced it. On the plus side, while my old PC would get a performance hit whenever it had trouble booting (lower FPS in games and graphics programs, more crashes), my current PC seems to run fine.

 

There are a few odd details that lead me to believe that this might be an environmental issue, but it could also just be coincidence. My old PC first started having problems when I left it off for a few days due to being stranded in a storm. Right now it's the start of the rainy season where I live. And that thing about the problem being intermittent? When the problem happens, it rains hard later on in the day (my PC can predict the weather. Hooray?). Things also seem to rust awfully fast where I live, so I'm guessing the humidity is pretty high here. I have no idea how environmental factors can affect how a PC runs, but could high humidity cause this kind of behavior? Is there any way to protect my PC from this if this is the case? I've thought about sticking a bag of silica gel into my PC case, but I don't know how safe that would be. Any suggestions?



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#2 mjd420nova

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 09:36 PM

Your description of the environment would lead me to a dis-assembly and complete inspection.  Check the CMOS battery holder and battery for any corrosion.  Standoffs in the chassis could also develop corrosion, even on the PCB traces if it gets too close,  Corroded ground points on standoffs are suspect too.



#3 greebocks

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 03:15 AM

Hi. Thanks for the reply. I'll give it a thorough check over the weekend, but when I checked it last while cleaning it, there didn't seem to be any signs of corrosion.

A few more details about my older PC, though I don't know how relevant it is for my current PC. When the problem started to get worse, I ended up buying a new motherboard and psu, swapped out the gpu with a newer one that I borrowed, tried different configurations for the ram (one stick at a time, different slots, even no ram) and I even got a new cpu cooler for good measure. The problem kept coming back. Now that I've replaced everything save for the monitor, the problem still persists.

If this is an environmental problem, is there anything that I could do to protect my pc from damage? I wouldn't want to waste any more time or money replacing components if it will just break again and again.

#4 greebocks

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Posted 22 June 2015 - 11:12 AM

I did as suggested and gave my PC a thorough inspection. I couldn't seem to find any signs of corrosion or damage. This is really odd.

 

I also found myself a cheap hygrometer. I don't know how accurate this thing is, but at one point it hit 90% relative humidity after it rained. Could that cause damage? How can I protect my PC?



#5 YeahBleeping

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Posted 22 June 2015 - 12:09 PM

Okay this is a interesting topic...My first thought is that the heatsink for the cpu is getting 'clouded' with moisture.  Upon attempting to boot the pc on first startup it immediately (possibly) overheats while it (burns off) the moisture.  The combination of the cpu fan and heatsink eventually rid the system of the excessive heat through moisture buildup and the computer starts normally.  It could also be that the power supply is having trouble producing the proper amps/volts because it is laden with moisture.  I would say you are a perfect candidate for mineral oil pc setup but evidently they had to stop selling their DIY kits.  About the only other thing I can think of is maybe a water cooled rig would help.  But if it truly is a moisture related problem I would think water cooling would simply be a bandaid on a gaping wound.  The only other thing I suggest is to build a better environment for your PC.



#6 greebocks

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Posted 01 July 2015 - 05:23 AM

I just wanted to give an update so that I don't leave the thread hanging. After reassembling my pc, it stopped doing the multiple power cycles before booting, which would normally be a sigh of relief but this was also how my old pc behaved. I reseat something, it works properly, and after about a month it goes back to its old problems. Now I don't know if this is indeed an environmental problem or if I'm just really, really unlucky to have the exact same problem for two different builds (with 3 different motherboards and 4 different PSUs). The only thing I can do right now is hope that this is not the start of a long decline for my new build like my old one.

#7 mjd420nova

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Posted 01 July 2015 - 10:17 AM

This sounds like an environmental issue with the power source.  I have seen some problems with improper grounding within the home, mixed neutral and grounds in different outlets can cause ground loops that will render most protection circuits unable to function.  This is like having opposite potentials on two different chassis, resulting in the full 110 volts appearing between two devices.  This can cause all kinds of faults, failure to start, starts and stops and even failures of peripherals connected to the unit.  A certified electrician should check out the outlets to be sure.






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