What Am I Dealing With Here?
About two months ago, we had two power interruptions while my 11 year-old Gateway 500C desktop was operating. After power was restored, I ran up the computer again & it seemed to work fine. Three or four weeks later, the computer quit after a few hours of idling, leaving just the standby light illuminated. It would not run up until after I disconnected the power cord and held the power button for 15 seconds before reconnecting the power cord. A couple days later, it quit again after a couple hours of operation, and I had to go through the same routine to bring it back to life. It worked OK for a few more weeks after that, but I never left it running unattended during those weeks.
Last week, it quit within a few minutes of run-up, and now it won't run up at all. Only the standby light and motherboard green LED illuminate when I press the power button. The fan does not operate and there's no video output to the monitor, nor even a whisper of HD activity. These symptoms do not change when I try the power cord disconnect/button push routine.
Inside the case, I've inspected the motherboard and all other PCB's. There's no sign of burned tracks, overheated components, or bulging capacitors.
I've reseated all power & PCB connectors as well as all RAM modules. I've tried to power up after disconnecting keyboard, mouse, and all other lines except power & monitor . . . the symptoms do not change. I've also tried this with all drives except HD disconnected. No change.
I'm OK with buying a new power supply if that's indicated, but I don't know enough to leap to that conclusion. I sure don't want to troubleshoot by randomly buying & installing new sub-assemblies one at a time until I get it to work . . . I'd like to fix it, but if that's what it would take, I'd rather just have a new computer built up.
Has anyone seen & resolved this set of symptoms before? Are there other tests I should do to narrow down the possibilities?
Careful not to make old People mad.
We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to piss us off.
Almost certainly a power supply. Very typical of how they go south.
Originally Posted by K9ZMD
"A republic, if you can keep it."
I'd go with replacing the power supply as well.
"If someone tells you he believes in and talks to an invisible bunny named Harvey, you put him on medication and a regimen of therapy. If someone tells you he believes in and talks to God, well, that's perfectly acceptable. Why that's the case is impossible for me to fathom." - WP2XX
"He's dead, Jim. You take his Tricorder and I'll get his wallet."
"The problem with America is stupidity. I'm not saying there should be a capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?"
Thanks, Eric & Jim -
Power supply failure was my first take on the problem, but I really don't know enough about pooters to make that leap. I've replaced floppy drives, fans, and RAM modules over the years; now it seems opportunity (to learn) has knocked once again. 73
I'll agree on the likely suspect IS the power supply, and (usually) an easy solution. If THAT solves the problem, that's a great and relatively inexpensive solution.
Good luck, and let us know of your r3esolution.
I installed a replacement power supply this afternoon, an ATX 350-PN by Sparkle. The computer started & ran up normally, so apparently the old power supply didn't take out the motherboard as it failed. A local shop had the replacement in stock at the same price I found on-line, sans shipping cost. With no waiting time & no penalty for instant gratification, what could be sweeter?
That was the silver lining, and now to check for a cloud. Once I button it all up, I'll scan for birdies on HF. If anyone has had experience RFI-wise with Sparkle power supplies, good or bad, please share the info, OK? The shop has a 30 day return policy. 73 and thanks again for the guidance.
Luvit when a plan comes together.
If the old supply works at all you may be able to make a nice 12v bench supply with it. Easy to do.
TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
It's been my experience that Sparkles are cheap supplies - both literally and figuratively. However, that's not a guarantee of failure: I have had $10 power supplies last the life of a computer, and I've had $100 PSU's fail. So congrats on fixing the problem, and good luck!
Originally Posted by K9ZMD
Thanks, Tom. Power supply longevity is not much of a worry for me; it won't take much luck for the Sparkle supply to outlast my tired, 11+ year-old Gateway.
Originally Posted by KI6ABZ
Tom, some part of the old supply was still working, based on the illuminated standby & motherboard LED's. I'll mess around with it later to see what use I can make of it. I hope 12VDC is still alive because I like the bench supply suggestion - thanks for the tip.
Originally Posted by K8ERV
Meanwhile, I'm happy I can resume keeping our budget records on the Gateway. All my data was safely backed up to an external HD, but I was surprised to discover that the other three computers in the house don't have MS Money or spread sheet installed. That will be rectified as soon as I determine where I stashed those software packages (somewhere in the 60 or so moving boxes that we haven't touched yet since moving here). 73 and thanks again to all.
I wouldn't bother. If "part" of the supply has already failed, the rest is likely to fail soon after. And trouble shooting and repair is often not worth the effort and expense as well. If the 5 Volt bus has failed, the voltage regulation may no longer function properly, and could damage equipment if used as a "bench" supply.. I'm the last person to want to scrap something that's working, but if it's already only semi-working, I wouldn't waste time or money trying to "repurpose" it; just extract usable parts and recycle the rest.
Originally Posted by K9ZMD