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IDE Ports Kill HDD Power

By TxTopgun ·
After 22 years working on these things, I have just ran into something I have never seen before. I have an emachine that one day was working fine and after shutting down it wouldn't come back up. I first thought it was the hard drive because it wouldn't spin up. Then I noticed the CD drive wouldn't open either (I was going to try to boot from it for diagnostics). Since it would be extremely unlikely for the CD and hard drives to be go bad at the same time, and they were connected to the same power lead, I thought it must be the power such luck. I decided to try a known good drive and it wouldn't spin up either...power supply good and drive good. Well then I decided for some reason to see if the drives would spin up if not connected to the IDE cable...they both did. Note: One is connected as the primary master and the other as secondary master. Has anyone ever seen this before? What could cause it? It just seems strange to me that both the IDE connector circuits would short out at the same time. Every drive I have tried worked fine until I connected it to either one of the IDE ports (changed cables too). I am confused.


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Don't Forget About Cards

by willcomp In reply to IDE Ports Kill HDD Power

In 15 years of repairing PCs, I have only seen 2 PCs destroyed by power surges coming in via the power supply. Both of those were severely damaged by lightning caused surges. In other cases, the power supply failed but did its job and saved the PC.

The most common problem I see is phone line surges coming in through an internal modem. Symptoms can range from a failed telco connector (no dial tone) to severe internal damage of mobo, drives, CPU, and memory. Most people have some sort of surge protector, but very few have one with modem protection.

One of the common failure modes is internal shorting of the modem which shorts out the PCI bus. Symptoms can range from strange boot behavior to PC not powering up.

Although your mobo may have failed, always remove all cards (except video adapter, of course) and disconnect drives when troubleshooting boot up problems. If system boots with minimal configuration, sequence components back until you find the culprit.


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That is interesting

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Don't Forget About Cards

Over this side of the pond there are very strict regulations on any modem which must be totally isolated from the mains supply and the phone line. This is always achieved by having an optical connection on both of the incoming and outgoing lines with the power for the optical connections on the phone line side of the modem being supplied by the phone line and the other side is supplied by the computer in the case of an internal modem or a plug pack in the case of an external modem.

I didn't realize that the regulations over there where not as restrictive.


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by jays37 In reply to IDE Ports Kill HDD Power

I too have similar problem w/Dell XP. Have replaced power supply, memory, IDE cable, chip, and yes motherboard. You could try to go into BIOS and change settings, then set it back, and let it come up. This has worked for me so far. Now I have your problem w/CD access. It will work, just not all the time. The one thing I have yet to do, and yes it should have been the first, is to flash the BIOS to latest update.

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You could always try a

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to

Firmware update on the CD Drive if one is available. With XP that is quite often a very easy fix but a BIOS update should always be the first attempt to rectify any problem.


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Don't you just hate it

by TxTopgun In reply to You could always try a

Don't you just hate it when your put in a new motherboard and it has the 'old' BIOS from your previous board.....hehehe....I just couldn't resist.

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eMachines and USB problem

by house In reply to IDE Ports Kill HDD Power

I have an eMachines PC that was having problems with the USB controller. It seems that certain devices would appear to hog the resources. When on seperate controllers, the devices would work properly. Strange?

I guess I should mention that one of the devices was the Logitec MX Duo. I've actually slapped on the usb -> ps/2 adapters and it seems to be fine now.

I also tried the USB port on a DSL modem before and it was acting up. This doesn't make any sense to me, but on USB I lost my sync/link. I quickly went back to UTP...and then back to cable internet.

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Emachines USB

by TxTopgun In reply to eMachines and USB problem

Emachines are notoriously underpowered. I have seen them actually fry the power supply because of things powered through USB ports. Replacing the power supply may very well fix your problem.

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assumed that it was a power issue

by house In reply to Emachines USB

I assumed that it was a power issue, but the devices didn't just stop working, they were going funky..

I don't feel like investing any more into the piece of crap anyways. I'm a heavy gamer and it doesn't even have an agp slot.

I'll my own and leave that for my GF...she never gets off it anyways.

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