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Old 08-25-2005, 01:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Mobo / Power Supply Fried?

specs:
athlon 3000+ barton
1 gig / ram
350w power supply
via chipset
nvidia 256mb agp graphics card
creative pci sound card
no warranty as i scrapped it together myself. its not even a year old.

So, I get home from work and turn on my comp, everything boots fine. I sit down for a minute to watch tv, come back and its turned off. I try to turn it back on, and nothing. No fans, no lights, no beeps. (yes, I did check the I/O button, made sure everything was seated right and plugged in securely) Change the power cord. Nothing. Switch the surge protector. No result. I open up the case and watch as I hit the on button. The cpu fan moves just a tiny hair every 5 or 10 times I try to start it. Ok, I figure its probably the power supply.

I dig up an old psu, hook it up to the mobo and hit the switch. Frikkin smoke rolls out of my board. Not a whole lot but it was definately visable. So I yank the cord out of the wall, disconnect it from the board, set it on the table by itself and plug it back in. After a fireworks show, there's one final pop and the smell of hair perm fills the room. Oooookay, probably should've tossed that one out a long time ago.

I looked over the motherboard, no scorching, melting or any evidence that I just fried it (maybe its salvageable?) So I take the PSU out of my girlfriends hp desktop, hook it up and bite my lip, but still, no lights or fans. I mean even if my mobo was fried, the fans and drives should still kick on right? Well, mine was a 350w unit, hers was only like 200 I think, maybe it just didn't have enough juice to start it up. Also, it was in a P4 desktop and I did hear something about P4s needing special PSUs.

Then I put mine in hers, no dice. Again this could be due to the fact that it may need a different type of unit.
Put her original psu back in the hp and it cranks right up.

Maybe my switch is faulty? I know the on switches go bad sometimes, and I haven't been able to rule out this possibility, but I'm not completely sure which wire leads to my on switch so I can't really try to bypass it by connecting the pins.

I need this computer for work and I'm getting kinda nervous.

Ok so now that you have my life story, here are my questions -

1. Does smoke necessarily mean your mobo is garbage?

2. Is it possible that my girlfriends power supply wouldn't crank it up because it was just too weak? or maybe its strictly for P4s?

3. Even if the motherboard was fried, shouldn't a working power supply start up your drives or turn on some lights?

4. If indeed the switch just went, would everything lose power even while the computer was already running?

5. And what color usually are the wires that connect your on button to the mobo, so I can try to bypass the switch? And is there anything I should know before I do?

If anyone can answer any of these, or even give me some advice on what to do next, I would be eternally greatful.

Thanks
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Old 08-25-2005, 02:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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1. 99.999% of the time, yes (assuming it's coming from the motherboard)

2. yes. computers will not run without enough power.

3. not necessarily. the motherboard controls the PSU turning on and off.

4. no. the the power switch never does anything unless you press the power button. when you do press it, if it's on, the motherboard will turn off (or ask the OS to turn off), and vice versa.

5. in most cases, red and black

you'll most likely have to replace the motherboard and the PSU.
one lesson to learn is, always get a good PSU.
cheap PSU's often supply fluctuating power, that can crash the system, damage, or even destroy parts.

some good brand PSU's are: Enermax, Antec, Thermaltake, Cooler Master, OCZ (OCZ's are rock solid) and Ultra. some people don't like Ultra PSU's, but they are pretty good.
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Old 08-25-2005, 02:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by apokalipse
3. not necessarily. the motherboard controls the PSU turning on and off.
thanks for replying

Hmm...So what likely happened is my psu died, then the old unit fried my board? Ouch.

you sound like you know what you're talking about...but before I go out and drop a hundred bucks, are you sure theres no way it could be the switch? They are used to shutdown the computer manually when the os isn't responding I'm pretty sure...So do you think could there be a slight possibility that it just shorted out or something and caused the motherboard to shut down the power supply?

And this is a longshot, but is there any way to test a psu without a mobo?
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Old 08-25-2005, 08:36 AM   #4 (permalink)
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the switch is just an open circuit. when you press it, you close the circuit and the motherboard reads that. then, if it's off, it will turn on, or if it's on it will turn off (or tell the OS that the power button has been pressed, depending on the motherboard and OS)

you can try and turn it on by contacting the switch pins (they'll usually have "PWR" or something similar written next to them) with a screwdriver.
however, since you saw smoke, I'd say at the very least the PSU is dead. at least get a new PSU (a good quality one) and then you can try and find out if the motherbord still works. although I'm doubting it does.
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Old 08-25-2005, 12:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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ok, first off, AMD processors REQUIRE a MINIMUM of 350w...and a TRUE 350. which means that it needs to be a good brand. most no-name PSU's only PEAK at that wattage, and drop off, which is no good. and that 200w? no f'ing way will it ever work. like i said, they require 350 for ALL the amd processors...even the lowest end semprons. so i would recommend at least a 450, especially your setup.

really, the only way to test your motherboard to see if it is fried or not is to get a new psu like i recomended above, plug it all up, and turn it on. if it doesnt initialize, your mobo probably fried. but i would check the RAM and the video card first, just in case...you never know, right?

another thing. the little switch on the back for 115 or 230? what was it set at? and what kind of current environment are you in? if it's set on 115 and it's a 230 environment...yeah. sparks and smoke sound about right.

and as for putting your PSU into your girl's HP? probably didn't work because it fried. either that, or some of the namebrand computers out there need an extra plug, just to be difficult for replacing parts. but most likely because your PSU fried. :P

good luck mate.
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Old 08-25-2005, 12:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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ok so i'll just pick up a new psu, and if that doesn't work I'll just break down and buy a new board. Damn I really hope I didn't fry my memory or cpu, I can't afford all that right now.

thanks for your help, we'll see how it goes. :/

oh yeah and btw it was set at 115. But the sparks were from an old unit I hooked up... Whats the difference between 115 and 230?
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Old 08-25-2005, 03:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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it's the current you have running through your electrical wiring in the building. 230 is uber more powerful. so when a PSU is set for a 115 environment, if 230 pushes through....BBZAP! dead.

good luck mate
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Old 08-30-2005, 08:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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ok so here's and update :P

Bought a store recommended 450 watt PSU with 3 cooling fans in it at fry's and still no power. So, I bought a new mobo (I needed one anyway really, my old one downclocked my cpu and my pci3200 memory). Success, the bastard fired right up. Thank you guys for your help.


But now I'm having a problem with this new bios... It recognizes my hard drive but won't boot to windows. I've cleared the cmos over and over again to no avail. When I hit power it will either show my hd and dvd-rw drives all scrambled when it detects them and freeze, or it will show them correctly and just go straight to a black screen where xp should've booted. I tried putting my girlfriends hd in and instead of a black screen i get the error message "The operating system could not be loaded." I have not tried flashing the bios, I've never done it before so I figure I'd get some thoughts before I wander into the unknown. Anyone know what I did wrong?
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Old 08-31-2005, 06:48 AM   #9 (permalink)
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psh

I disabled caching in the bios, repaired my windows installation and bada-bing its running faster than ever.

piece. thanks again y'all.
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Old 08-31-2005, 09:48 AM   #10 (permalink)
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what motherboard did you get?
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