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Pc Fans/lights Chugging On Power-up


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#1 MrBloke

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 01:38 PM

Hi, had a computer in the studio for a while now (2 or 3 yrs) and it has trouble starting cold. It's really cold in the studio, such that in order to boot we press power button: nothing. Repeat: nothing, repeat button press about 40 times, and with each press it stays on a bit longer, maybe 1 sec, then 2, then maybe even to POST until eventually it holds and it's fine. Putting a heater on it beforehand helps a bit.

This morning it booted up ok (well, as ok as can be expected, given its foibles) then just stopped. THE HDD and LED on the audio card flashed about twice a second and the fans seemed to be 'chugging', like coming on and off in sync with the LED.

Weirdly, the power button on the front doesn't switch it off; have to use the rocker round the back.

Unplugged all cards except gfx, switched it on and it chugged away immediately.
Unplugged drives, no change.
Removed ram, no change.

Thought it was the PSU so swapped it for a new 400W monster I had lying around; no change.

Put original PSU back, removed as much dust as possible from inside the machine then powered on the rocker. Nothing happened; not a peep. Waited. Maybe 20 seconds later, the board powered itself on and did its chugging thing. Switched it off, removed CMOS battery, left it for 20 mins.

Replaced CMOS battery, replaced RAM, powered on. Nothing for ages. Pressed power button on front and it POSTed as if nothing had happened. Edited the date, poked about in the BIOS and then about 20 seconds later (before I'd saved anything) it just shut off and went back to chugging. Switched it off, removed the power to the gfx card, it booted but an unending series of beeps told me that it wasn't playing without gfx.

Took out RAM again, powered it on from the back and took some video of it chugging - you might have to turn up the sound a bit to hear the fans pulsing away.

In my 12+ years of building, repairing, coding and diagnosing PCs I've never seen this. Can't find anyone with anything similar on the various forums/google.

Any ideas what I could try? Any ideas what might be causing it? My guess is there's some interaction between the mobo and PSU and maybe the mobo thinks it's not ready, tells the PSU to back off then goes "oh I'm ready now" and the PSU supplies the power, then it complains and the PSU backs off again? Or maybe some sensor (fan speed?) is mis-firing occasionally? Dunno, clutching at straws here. If it was purely a mobo issue it would be repeatable, right? Instead of sometimes powering up to POST and then stopping, vs sometimes letting me use the front power button vs sometimes auto-powering on when using the PSU's rocker switch? It's got me utterly stumped!

Had to cancel the client coming in to record at the studio today. Could really do with not having to cancel tomorrow :-(

Many thanks in advance for any insight.

--
System in question (bought pre-built, against my better judgement) :
Asus K8V SE Deluxe
BIOS may be K8VS1 1001 (label on a small chip says this)
AMD Athlon 3400+ (or close to that - can't remember offhand)
2 x 512Mb AData (?? chips labelled as this, no other markings) RAM sticks
ATI R98SE-C3
Aureon Universe 7.1 soundcard
Mercury 300W PSU
2x160GB SATA Drives (Sata... boo! Rubbish drivers!)
Standard CD Drive + DVD-ROM

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#2 stevealmighty

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 06:41 PM

TBH, I'd replace the PSU with a brand name one. Perhaps you have another one lying around that you could test to ensure that the psu is the cause of the problem....?

I have my computer set up in the coldest room in the house (lucky me), and last week we lost our heat...and it got down to 43 inside. My computer started right up though. I'm thinking that the components inside your psu aren't working like they should due to the cold. This may also stand true for the mobo components.

I've never seen a computer "knock" like that before....ever. Had a few cars that did that though! :flowers:

Let us know what you find out! :thumbsup:
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#3 T

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 09:06 PM

Perhaps try that psu in another computer, also to check if its the problem.

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#4 usasma

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Posted 08 February 2007 - 09:03 AM

I'd put the system in a warm room for a while to ensure that it boots properly from more "normal" conditions. Each particular piece of hardware has environmental limitations that may/may not be causing this. We occasionally have issues like this at the shop when a customer has left the system sitting in a cold car for a couple of days.

Then, with the computer back in the cold room, strip it down to the basics and try starting it. If it doesn't have the problem - then the problem is likely with one of the components that you removed. If it does have the problem, then it's likely that the problem is with one of the components that's left.
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