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PC Hardware Issue - Troubleshooting

Old 09-14-16, 09:24 AM
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PC Hardware Issue - Troubleshooting

I know this is going to be an open-ended question but I figured I'd throw it out there in case someone with hardware experience may be able to help.

Had a breaker in our house pop the other day (happens from time to time; never been an issue). After flipping it back on, my PC is more or less dead. It is plugged into a beefy surge protector but I can't think of anything else which would cause this. Worked perfect before the breaker pop; doesn't work at all now.

When I turn the system on, something is making a pretty bad noise inside and after a minute or so, it turns itself off. No image is passed to the monitor. I took the side of the case off but I can't pinpoint where the sound is coming from. The case fan and processor fan are coming on and don't appear to be the cause. I haven't yet ruled out the GPU or the power supply. I'm not really sure how I could test though.

Any hail Mary suggestions on what I could try to narrow it down and resolve? The PC is only a couple months old.
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Old 09-14-16, 09:30 AM
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Re: PC Hardware Issue - Troubleshooting

Power supply got jacked up. It's a pain, but I'd uninstall it and test it separately. Or just to be safe, replace it with a new one and see if that does the job.
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Old 09-14-16, 09:45 AM
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Re: PC Hardware Issue - Troubleshooting

Ugh...that's what I was afraid of. I have a compact case machine; trying to uninstall the supply is going to be a nightmare, I'd guess.

So the machine could still power up if the power supply is toast?
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Old 09-14-16, 09:50 AM
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Re: PC Hardware Issue - Troubleshooting

My guess is that it may have been the beefy surge protector stopped bulk of the surge, but still hit the power supply. So it may be damaged enough to do what it's doing now, or at the very least making the power output inconsistent. And of course, if the power supply is damaged, that's why the low power stuff like the fans come on, but the monitor doesn't.
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Old 09-14-16, 11:37 AM
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Re: PC Hardware Issue - Troubleshooting

What wattage would be good to go with if my plan is to get a decent GPU at some point? Is 600w sufficient?
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Old 09-14-16, 12:41 PM
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Re: PC Hardware Issue - Troubleshooting

500-600 would be plenty sufficient. I would only go higher if you are planning on linking multiple graphics cards along with having multiple hard drives. I would recommend EVGA since they have sleeved cables. I like that added protection, but it's certainly not required.
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Old 09-14-16, 12:48 PM
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Re: PC Hardware Issue - Troubleshooting

Cool; thanks for the help. Proactively ordered a Corsair CX600, assuming the PS is the issue. First time I'll be swapping one out. Should be fun!
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Old 09-14-16, 01:29 PM
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Re: PC Hardware Issue - Troubleshooting

Good luck! Let us know how it goes. Hopefully that's the only issue it has.
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Old 09-14-16, 01:42 PM
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Re: PC Hardware Issue - Troubleshooting

Are surge protectors worthless?

I've never trusted the bastards (I make sure my computer is unplugged when it starts to storm), and I've heard a few first-hand accounts of computers and tv equipment getting fried.
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Old 09-14-16, 01:46 PM
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Re: PC Hardware Issue - Troubleshooting

I have UPSs on all my machines (including DirecTV boxes) and they've definitely saved me a few times when the power has gone out for a few seconds. But let's face it - if lightning can jump between the clouds and the ground, a surge protector isn't going to be much of a deterrent if something goes bad.
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Old 09-14-16, 01:51 PM
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Re: PC Hardware Issue - Troubleshooting

First time I've had an issue so I'd say they're worth the investment. This wasn't even a power outage...just one breaker popped in the house.
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Old 09-14-16, 01:55 PM
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Re: PC Hardware Issue - Troubleshooting

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
Are surge protectors worthless?

I've never trusted the bastards (I make sure my computer is unplugged when it starts to storm), and I've heard a few first-hand accounts of computers and tv equipment getting fried.
Good best practice is to just unplug. However a couple of Memorial Days ago, my house was hit directly by lightning. Just about all of my electronics bit it. And my home theater was on a huge Belkin surge protector. The electricians who worked on our house said it was rare, but if a house does get hit directly, not even a full house surge protector (which we now have) cannot save most electronics. Best practice now for me is to unplug.

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Old 09-14-16, 02:48 PM
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Re: PC Hardware Issue - Troubleshooting

Have you tried plug it in different plug - such as wall plug and different surge protector?

I've heard that sometimes it caused by surge protector went bad, not PC itself. If the issue is still same after you plugged into different plug, then obviously PSU issue.
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Old 09-14-16, 03:23 PM
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Re: PC Hardware Issue - Troubleshooting

I didn't try that but everything else plugged into it works fine (monitor, speakers, printer..etc). But I will give that a try as well tonight.
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Old 09-14-16, 04:30 PM
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Re: PC Hardware Issue - Troubleshooting

Yes, rare events like the one you've experienced are why I *always* manually turn the switch on the power supply from "1" to "0", or, if there is no switch, physically unplug the power plug from my computers when I turn them off. Anything else, and a small amount of current is still getting into the system (ie, some power draw is occurring).

The same thing goes for all my other electronics without a physical "off" switch. Unplug them when not in use. Saves power, and can in such unfortunately rarities as yours, save the devices.

I learned the hard way ~15 years ago after experiencing exactly your problem... I replaced the power supply, and thankfully, the system came back to life, with no other components fried.
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Old 09-16-16, 06:36 AM
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Re: PC Hardware Issue - Troubleshooting

Originally Posted by Noonan View Post
First time I've had an issue so I'd say they're worth the investment. This wasn't even a power outage...just one breaker popped in the house.
All power supplies contain robust protection. But an adjacent protector can compromise that protection. You apparently have a classic example.

Destructive surges are rare. Maybe once every seven years. So what did that beefy protector do when it was finally confronted by a surge? You have resulting damage.

No protector claims to protect from surges. Plug-in protectors can make damage easier. Effective protectors connect surges harmlessly to what does protection - to where hundreds of thousands of joules harmlessly dissipate. Single point earth ground.

No protection is 100% effective. A properly earth 'whole house' protector, according to an IEEE Standard, will do 99.5% to 99.9% of the protection. IEEE says
Still, a 99.5% protection level will reduce the incidence of direct strokes from one stroke per 30 years ... to one stroke per 6000 years ... Protection at 99.5% is the practical choice.
Only then can that 'beefy' protector add another 0.2% protection.

'Whole house' protection is installed to protect from direct lightning strikes. If damage happens, then a homeowner inspects what probably permitted that damage - connection to and quality of earth ground. That is where so many electrician make mistake - resulting in damage.

Some numbers. Lightning is typically 20,000 amps. So a 'whole house' protector must be at least 50,000 amps. Because any protector that fails on any surge is ineffective protection. Connection to earth must be low impedance (ie less than 10 feet). If a ground hardwire from a breaker box (and 'whole house' protector) goes up over foundation and down to earth, the protection is compromised. Hardwire is too long. It has sharp bends over the foundation. It is not separated from other non-grounding wires. Most electricians are not taught this - resulting in damage from direct lightning strikes.

Even a protector must be protected. How many joules does that 'beefy' protector claim to absorb? A thousand? Effective protection must harmlessly dissipate hundreds of thousands of joules. This effective protector costs about $1 per protected appliance. How much for a 'beefy' protector that does not even claim to protect from a surge that happens maybe once every seven years?

Surges pass destructively through powered off appliances. Belkin protectors do not claim such protection. Even unplugging is unreliable. Manufacturer of a 'beefy' protector will not discuss this - as you have seen. Protection is always about where hundreds of thousands of joules are harmlessly absorbed. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground. Informed homeowners suffer direct lightning strikes without damage for about $1 per appliance by earthing a 'whole house' protector.
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