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> Power Supply Defective? Any Hardward Wizards Here?
fkalich
post Feb 11 2009, 02:53 AM
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Probably there are some here. I have a sick Dell server, does not power up, the screen displays nothing. However there is some activity when I try to power up.

1)Sometimes when I power on, the case fan does turn on for a bit as it used to do (I think it runs a test on it), and an available yellow wire output line from power to power supply to a meter does show 12V for maybe 5 seconds or less. But then suddenly the voltage drops to nearly nothing, and the orange "you have a problem" light starts to blink on the server. It never shows anything on the video screen, as I said. The power supply fan does run though.

2) If I try to power up again soon after that, then generally the case fan never turns on at all, and the voltage shows nearly nothing from the beginning. Either that or the case fan starts to turn on for just a small instant, or it struggles to try and turn on for a second or two. It is as if the power supply needs a rest to do the little it is willing to do. Maybe. But I am not sure it is the power supply, could be a short. But I would think it would be more consistent if the motherboard or a device were shorting out.

3) However If I wait awhile before I try it again (maybe an hour) it may again do what it did in (1) above, the case fan will test for several seconds as it should, but after about 5 seconds the problem light blinks, and that is as far as it gets.

I did try running it, disconnecting all drives and the one board (that mirrors data to a second disk) and the fans one by one. This did not help (I was looking for a short in a device).

To me, this smells of a bad power supply. But it is expensive to guess. Any feelings on this? Thanks.

This post has been edited by fkalich: Feb 11 2009, 03:14 AM
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Les Paul
post Feb 11 2009, 04:38 AM
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It’s most likely failed power supply or drive. You mentioned mirrored drives, so it’s probably not drive failure.

If you take it to one of those small local computer stores, they will be able to tell you. If you don’t get any help from the store (or have to pay for checkup), you can try new power supply first and see what happens. Power supply is usually cheap. Lower end ones are about $30.

How much do you want to spend? Computer being so cheap these days, sometimes it’s better to just buy a new one.


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Feb 11 2009, 10:04 AM
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I had a similar situation to the one you describe fkalich and it was the power supply fkalich.

If you have a spare pc try the supply from that connected to the minimum amount of hardware you can to boot up ie mobo, RAM, main HD with OS, and video - temporarily remove any other card (firewire, audio, USB, fans, etc). (BTW although my server runs with a 550W supply I tested it with an old 300W supply - you don't need a brand new supply just to check - one issue you can have though is the pin orientation/number on some mobos and supplys. smile.gif ).

Also on power up a pc will try to go through its POST check here and here (you may hear a series of beeps) and these can tell you if you have an issue with video, hard drives etc. If the power supply is dead/dying it probably will not even get this far though since there won't be enough juice to get to this stage.

Some mobos have status indicator lights and if yours has one it can again give an idea what the fail condition is. When my supply went though half the time it couldn't even do this - not enough supply to the mobo so the one time it would have been useful it wasn't rolleyes.gif .

Worst case scenario is if the supply is good it may be your mobo that is fried. If you need to check this hook your current supply up to a different pc's mobo. Seems unlikely though as usually you'd need to short out the board/get hit by an electrical storm to fry it.

Best of luck.

Cheers,
Tony


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Feb 11 2009, 02:23 PM
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This may be a trivial question fkalish, but have you checked the power outlet for any voltage drops?


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fatb0t
post Feb 11 2009, 02:49 PM
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Does it have a Dell proprietary power supply or a standard ATX one? Check the mother board for swollen capacitors as...
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MickeM
post Feb 11 2009, 03:40 PM
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I'm neither a Harvard nor hardware wizard but I had the exact same problem with a laptop. I could run for a minute then died. If I tried again it died immediately. Waiting an hour I could get it to run for a minute again. Next time, dead.

Maybe you're second to Harvard and already tried tried this wink.gif but I solved my problem by a good clean. Especially the fan which was clogged up with dust was the reason it died as soon as it got the slightest bit warm, or if it's some kind of self test that will turn it off when the fan is not working properly.


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Andrew6
post Feb 11 2009, 03:50 PM
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As the others have said check your ram and if you installed the mobo yourself check to make sure the screws are in the proper positions as an off screw can short the board


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fkalich
post Feb 11 2009, 07:17 PM
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thanks all. I figured I would get good answers here, even on a question like this. I figure it is down to MOB or PS. Hopefully PS, or I have a very effective door stop. Oh, my Dog is getting older and fatter, he needs a step to jump up to the bed. Lots of uses for a fried computer if that is the case. Thanks Tony, will hook my PS from an older server up, and let you know how it goes.


QUOTE (MickeM @ Feb 11 2009, 08:40 AM) *
Especially the fan which was clogged up with dust was the reason it died as soon as it got the slightest bit warm, or if it's some kind of self test that will turn it off when the fan is not working properly.


I thought about the case fans, and failed self test. But sometimes it gets past that point, and dies a few seconds after that, no noises or clicks. From reading above, and my observations, the basis of my conclusion that MOB or PS is the bad boy. Best bet is PS, as the behavior is inconsistent as I describe. I would think a bad MB would be very consistent.

This post has been edited by fkalich: Feb 11 2009, 07:20 PM
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