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PC problem Part 2: The PSU and GeForce

By mapp84 ·
I finally took the PC into Special Reserve and explained the situation and asked if it was either the PSU or motherboard, along with other minor probs the computer was having. The tech said that it was probably the PSU and ordered another one in. I came back an hour later and picked it up. I had to pay 30 pounds for the PC "diagnosis" and a further 9 pounds for the power supply. I took it home, installed it and connected up only the GeForce. I turned it on and it powered up! Now I attached the video cable and hard drive. It powered up but no video signal. Strange! I looked under the GeForce (where the fan was) as it powered up, and there was no movement at all. I was starting to worry that both the PSU AND the motherboard had died, so I phoned up Special Reserve and let them know. They replied that the GeForce was probably dead. I unplugged the ATX power cable from the motherboard and then put it back in (btw, the computer was not turned on at this point, but the electrical lead was plugged into the PSU and on at the plug in the wall). I suddenly saw a small white flash near where the ATX power cables were plugged in. Very worried now, I tried powering on the PC. The GeForce still wouldn't work, but now the PC was running on dim power (like you get in power cuts where you get just enough power for the lights to be on dimly but not enough to power anything else). Now I have several questions that I need some help with.

1. Were both the PSU AND motherboard dead?
2. Could the GeForce have died when the whole computer went down last week or could it have died when I put in the new power supply?
3. Could what I did to the ATX power cables have shorted both the PSU and motherboard (the GeForce was dead BEFORE I tried this)
4. Should I really have to pay 30 pounds for Special Reserve to say that it was probably the PSU that was causing the problem?

Thanks once again in advance
-Marc Piano

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PC problem Part 2: The PSU and GeForce

by BV2 In reply to PC problem Part 2: The PS ...

1. Quite possibly, but since the computer fired up (I assume you hear the clickety-click of the HDD powering up and a happy beep) it's doubtful.
2. Most likely the GeForce died when the computer went down last week - EMF is a cruel, cruel mistress, and GeForce cards require a lot of juice.
3. Bad, bad boy - never unplug ATX cables while power is supplied - residual charges can arc, causing unhappy users. It may have shorted the motherboard, but I've tried several times to kill them without success (long story).
4. Yup - you shot yourself in the foot by not bringing in the entire system (GeForce plugged into the system). Most places have a base rate, regardless of the time taken to solve the problem. If you would have taken all ofit into the shop, any tech worth his salt would have, upon lack of display, taken a known good card and tested the system. Now you either have to take it back and pay again, or find a known good card and plug it in. Sometimes the lights will be dim because of a current draw on the system (dead card sucking juice). If you remove the GeForce and the lights are bright, hooray! If not, your mobo is probably nothing more than a serving tray now.

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PC problem Part 2: The PSU and GeForce

by mapp84 In reply to PC problem Part 2: The PS ...

Q1. Intiially, the HDD would start up a few seconds after it powered up. After a reset of the PSU switch, it started up immediately.

Q2. I will have no way of knowing whether it was last week's accident or the new PSU.

Q3. I have done it before with no problems whatsoever. It looks like it is pretty difficult to short it unless you know that you are trying to.

Q4. I did bring in the entire system. When I picked up the PSU, I asked the tech if he could quickly test it before I paid forit. He said no, as that would technically be called a "fitting" and therefore cost 12 pounds. Because of my limited funds, I couldn't afford this.

Thanks anyway!

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PC problem Part 2: The PSU and GeForce

by BV2 In reply to PC problem Part 2: The PS ...

OK - if the "tech" didn't do anything to the computer and then charged you 30 pounds, I'd be going back in there and blowing a gasket. The audacity of a "tech" to diagnose a problem and not verify it to be a solution is unacceptable to me, and I would call him on it. If he didn't check the components, and didn't verify it was a working system, what was he charging for? Personally, I'd go back there and raise some ****.

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PC problem Part 2: The PSU and GeForce

by mapp84 In reply to PC problem Part 2: The PS ...

Whilst the tech couldn't have powered on the system initially because it was dead, he could have at least tried the system with the new PSU in it for free, seeing as you don't really need to fit it in to test it, just rest it outside the case and connect up the cables. However, it was considered a "fitting" if he tested it, since he would have to install it, therefore resulting in an extra 12 pounds. If he had tested it, then the GeForce problem would have been noticed and fixed, being encompassed in that initial 30 pound charge. I used to work in a computer superstore tech bay, and, whilst we had a similar service charge, we had no objections to testing the system in front of the customer if requested at no extra charge to prove that they had paid for it to be fixed.

Initially, i wanted to leave the machine with the techs to fix the minor problems the PC had too, but I had coursework on there which is due in over the next few weeks, so my firt priority was to get the thing back up and running again, so I could backup the docs to my laptop.

If the PSU had the entire system working fine and dandy again, I wouldn't have objected to paying 30 pounds. However, since it didn't completely fix the problem, and neither was the "diagnosis" helpful in the first place, I feel a bit ripped-off. Even though I am proficient with computers, but when I take a machine in there is obviously something wrong with it that I do not know about. I have a feeling the tech took me on my word that it may have been the Mobo or PSU initially, which is understandable. But he still should have performed a very quick test. They had a lot of machines to fix, apparently, so normally I would have to leave it there for four or five days, but they could have done a quick test on the spot. Ah well. Hopefully, we will go back today and try to sort it out.

Thanks anyway!

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PC problem Part 2: The PSU and GeForce

by Ebstar In reply to PC problem Part 2: The PS ...

It is a known and documented problem that the most powerful 32Mb Cards are EXTREMELY power hungry. I didn't see part 1 to your query, so I don't know what's in the rest of your system. If you have a fast processor, especially an Athlon and a GeForce VGA card, chances are that the motherboard simply cannot supply enough power to the AGP slot to run the card. You'll need at the very minimum a 250W PSU, if not a 300W one. Can you let me know what's in your machine and if your PSU is a standard 230/235W PSU. If this is the case, you can almost guaranty that you need more power.

Hope this helps.

Ebstar

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PC problem Part 2: The PSU and GeForce

by mapp84 In reply to PC problem Part 2: The PS ...

The old PSU was a 250w and the new PSU is a 300W. Now that I have a job I plan to buy a GeForce 2 which apparently doesn't consume as nuch power as the original GeForce
Thanks anyway

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PC problem Part 2: The PSU and GeForce

by HiltonT In reply to PC problem Part 2: The PS ...

Hi Marc,

1. No way of telling from this. If a "tech" charged you for a diagnosis, for a new part, & then refused to test the new part in your system, I would seriously question his/her abilities & the policies of that company.

2. Quite possibly last week. If the original problem was a catastrophic failure (lightning strike, power surge or similar) then its likely. If the machine was working fine until a reboot - not as likely.

It is also possible that if the PSU & motherboard died, then replacing the dead PSU with a new one caused the faulty mobo to kill the Geforce.

3. Quite possibly. You really shouldn't fiddle with ATX computers with the power applied to the PSU. An ATX PSU never really turns off if there is power applied but just drops its power down so that only the +5V is output for motherboard/keyboard/PS2/WOL functionality is available.

Although you may be able to fiddle with cards/drives/power connectors 100's of times with the system plugged into the mains, it only takes one time to fsck the computer.

Yes I know the PSU has protection from shortage like this but the motherboard could still be damaged b4 the PSU protection circuitry kicks in.

4. If you went in knowing they had a minimumcharge & agreed to this, then absolutely you should have to pay. If the diagnosis was incorrect & as a result of the incorrect diagnosis you purchased a component to replace a perfectly working component, then you should be able to get your money back on the purchase & not have to pay another service fee.

I'd be taking it back & letting them know that the original diagnosis was incorrect & that the original PSU is still working fine. Let them know that since you have already paid a service fee, you'd appreciate them correctly diagnosing the fault, applying the original $30 to the new service charge & refunding you the purchase price of the PSU.

Regards,
Hilton

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PC problem Part 2: The PSU and GeForce

by mapp84 In reply to PC problem Part 2: The PS ...

It looks like the surge did kill the prehistoric mobo, the old 250w PSU probably didn't have enough time to react.

The old PSU is completley kaput, but the new PSU works again after I tried it for a second time. I took the PC in agian to the company, and they said that the first time I brougt it in they didn't charge me the 30 pound service charge, merely the 38.99 pounds that was the cost of the new PSU. They didn't explain this initially and I am still surprised that they refused to test it.

I have a job now so I think I should make a clean start on the PC and buy a new motherboard, CPU and graphics card.

Thanks!

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PC problem Part 2: The PSU and GeForce

by mapp84 In reply to PC problem Part 2: The PS ...

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