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Power failure/surge damage

By shantie ·
Would like your opinion on the following.
New system I sold approx 15 months ago. Asus P4S800-MX board and Cell 2.6 cpu. WinXP home.
Owner is an old lady who uses it for card games and emailing relatives, so no hard work. No problems until last week when system just would not boot.
It is on a surge protector and lights on surge board still working.
Tried all the usual things and decided that board was dead.
Normally the board goes and the cpu is still okay, so I put a new Asus board in with the old cpu. No boot.
I then tried a new cel 2.6 cpu on the old board but no boot. So I just replaced the motherboard and the cpu with new ones.
Realy worried about why this has happened with both the board and cpu. No storms in the last two months but did have some bad storms about three months ago. there was a power failure last week but just went off, no surge and was off for a few hours.
I did read somewhere that if you get a bad power surge or power failure that it might not affect your system straight away. So thinking that the power supply might not have been working properly since the storms I also replaced the power supply.
I took the computer back this morning and just now the lady rang and said she was playing a game of scrablle and the screen went blank, must have still had power as she was able to take the disc out of cd rom drive and then pressed the reset button, then everything booted up okay. The monitor is an LCD, which was supplied with computer 15 months ago.
If the power supply was not working properly after storms would it have caused the slow death of board and cpu??? Would it also have caused faults with other hardware such as hard drive, just worried about replacing the lot.
Owner has a hearing problem so could not detect any difference in the noise from computer but said no funny smells she just said the night before everything was working fine and shut down okay but next day would not boot.
Any ideas thank you

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Power failure/surge damag ...

Something that I've found with the cheap Power Supplies is that they don't filter much out from the mains.

The main problem with power outages isn't the actual outage but when power is reconnected there is always a massive Surge that comes down the line with it and most of the Surge Protectors Will Not Prevent This as the rise time is much faster than the filter can actually work. If you look at the specs of the filter you'll see a Milli Second Rating the better ones are around 4 Millisecond the not so good ones are much higher. What happens is that for the time that it takes the filter to start working there is a large power spike going through the entire system and because you are using an ATX Power Supply that means the M'Board and everything connected to it as you are switching on the Negative Rail and the machine remains power all the time unless it has been unplugged.

The most likely explanation as to why this has happened is that there was an Event overnight which cause some high tension power lines to come into contact with the Mains something like a bird flying into the High Voltage side of things and shorting to the Low Voltage Mains or even something like a car crashing into a power pole and causing the same thing to happen.

If there is an ongoing problem here I would suggest that you get yourself a copy of The Ultimate Boot CD and do some extreme testing on the M'Board/CPU and Memory as well as any HDD/s and associated equipment installed in the computer as well as the Monitor. The most likely thing that will have happened is that the circuitry has become degraded and fails intermittently and that is something that you can only pick up with Stress Testing while you can see the monitor.


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by shantie In reply to

Thanks for the comment, well I have ran a lot of tests and can find nothing wrong. Think maybe something happened to the XP home installation when I installed the new board and cpu. I have now formatted and reinstalled the XP and has not frozen up yet. I did get a comment from another technician about how the original fault may have occurred. As the old lady was fanatical about pulling the plug out of the wall as soon as she switched of the computer, he suggested that unplugging from the wall straight away would leave power in the board and when the system is restarted would cause an overflow of power into the board. After 15 months of this could have caused the damage. I am going to ask an electrician what he thinks about that idea tomorrow.
Thank again.

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by dawgit In reply to Power failure/surge damag ...

one Question: Is the computer also connected to the internet all the time? Either by telephone lines, or Cable? And are they in the air? You mentioned 'Storms', while I don't know exactly where the computer is, I can say a bad storm can kill a computer. Remember, even if a Computer is turned off, it's still drawing power (not much however) and the LAN is still Live (at least the on-board LAN) and so are most built in modems (they are made that way to do 'wake-on........') unless you have disabled them. A stong lightening storm throws a lot of wild electons around, and any line (like a phone line) acts like a attena to the computer. They make surge protector for Telephone Lines and Cable too, for just that purpose.

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by shantie In reply to

Sorry, this old lady was fanatical about switching the computer off, then immediately pulling the plug out of the wall and also disconecting the internet from the phone line. Thank for the comment

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by shantie In reply to Power failure/surge damag ...

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