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Computer works at one house, crashes at another...

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by will, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. will

    will

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    Hi everyone, I hope someone can help me with this weird problem!
    Basically, a few months ago I built a PC for my aunt, and the other day she rings me and says it has been restarting itself and wont turn on... I think dead mobo or something so I get her to bring it over. It works fine and there are no issues or anything, run a few virus/spyware scans just in case, nothing there. So she took it back and apparently it got even worse, restarting every few minutes, sometimes not powering back on and one time there was a scrambled display before it restarted.... She also said the more she used it the more frequent the crashes got, and that it usually crashed when it started doing something 'like going on the internet', I dont know if that's really significant though.
    She dropped it off with me this morning and I have been testing it out all day, it seems perfect... I cant see any problem with it...

    Here are the rough specs:
    P35-DS3L mobo
    E2160
    2gb 800mhz ram
    700W (lol) FSP PSU
    Passive 3450
    Everything is at stock and temps are fine. I have run memtest for a few hours, no errors...

    I cant really think whats causing these crazy problems... It sounds kinda like a power issue, maybe the electricity in her place isnt that great or has surges or something???? She also uses a USB printer, could this affect it, maybe dodgy cable or something? :confused:
    Please help!
  2. Black Panther

    Black Panther Senior Moderator™ Staff Member

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    It is possible that there's something wrong with her printer.

    My desktop never crashed. Once I borrowed a cheap webcam from my dad - and when I have it plugged in, it BSOD's either immediately or after some time.
    I returned the web-cam and haven't had a BSOD since.

    Maybe you could suggest that she drops off her printer at your place so you check it out?
    will says thanks.
  3. will

    will

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    Unfortunately I cant get her to drop off the printer, she has gone away for a few days. But that is sounding like the most likely explanation, the only thing is why did it only just start causing problems when it's been plugged in for months? I guess the printer could have just become faulty over time or something?
  4. Fastmix

    Fastmix New Member

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    To start...have her try it without plugging in the printer, it might be driver related.
  5. will

    will

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    I have the computer here and it works fine without the printer plugged in, I will get her to try it without the printer plugged in at her place when I next see her (sunday).
  6. chuck216

    chuck216

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    It could be the printer have her try without it. If it still resets it could be her house ac current is low causing brown outs making the comp reset but not shut down.
  7. Kreij

    Kreij Senior Monkey Moderator Staff Member

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    If you have a UPS laying around, that will tell you if she is getting drop outs.
    The UPS will beep whenever the power dips below a certain level (but will keep the computer from dropping out).
  8. will

    will

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    I don't have a UPS :(
    Could try with a surge protector though, they can help with brown outs as well as surges...
  9. kyle2020 Guest

    How will a surge protector prevent brownouts :wtf: Brownouts are a time period effect on a PSU - as it ages, it gradually deteriorates, lowering its power output . . .
  10. will

    will

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    There must be 2 different kinds, Im talking about where the ac power dips for a very short period (a few ms).... I think it's called a brownout, could be wrong though!
  11. kyle2020 Guest

    A brownout is a permanent thing that affects the PSU, not a temporary dip in power :rolleyes:

    You could accoster the dip also to capacitor ageing, but lets not be arsey about this :laugh:
  12. 95Viper

    95Viper

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    στο άλφα έως ωμέγα
    Brownout
    where the voltage level is below the normal minimum level specified for the system. Systems supplied with three-phase electric power also suffer brownouts if one or more phases are absent, at reduced voltage, or incorrectly phased. Such malfunctions are particularly damaging to electric motors. Some brownouts, called voltage reductions, are made intentionally to prevent a full power outage.

    Must be different in Britain...
  13. ZenZimZaliben

    ZenZimZaliben

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    Sounds to me like a driver issue. Is she running Vista?
  14. Polaris573

    Polaris573 Senior Moderator

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    No. Brownouts are a drop of voltage below the minimum level of an electrical system (think partial blackout). While you can have a brownout in the the electrical system between the power supply and your computer components, that is not the only place brownout can occur. Brownouts can occur in any electrical system such as computers, your home, the whole power grid, etc.

    In addition, brownouts are not a "Time-period effect" on power supplies. The deterioration of the power supply components from wear and aging are the cause of an eventual brownout or failure not the other way around. Unless your power grid is faulty and your power supply must deal with routine brownouts.

    You are correct in that a surge protector will not prevent loss of power to a computer from brownouts. Surge protectors only protect devices from over-voltage, not under-voltage. A Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) is needed to even out voltage and prevent effects on equipment from brownouts coming from the electrical system outside of it (your house or the power grid).
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2008
  15. r9

    r9

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    I cant really think whats causing these crazy problems... It sounds kinda like a power issue, maybe the electricity in her place isnt that great or has surges or something???? She also uses a USB printer, could this affect it, maybe dodgy cable or something?
    Please help!

    I think you gave your self a answer.
  16. will

    will

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    Well those are really just guesses, I was looking for people to confirm/disprove them or come up with alternate ideas, maybe something I could test on the computer as I have it with me atm.
  17. keakar

    keakar

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    well the printer is a possible cause so have her leave it unplugged for a day to test that

    also the power issue can be as simple as one bad outlet not allowing proper voltage, i have seen some old outlets putting out 99-100volts on one plug yet the other plug in the very same outlet gives you 110volts. this would work fine for clock radio or light fixture but not the computer. have her try another plug on the other side of the room, to be sure (just in case it is all the outlets on one wall) and use a heavy duty extension cord for this (she may try a small cord that isnt proper for good voltage.

    last i would say if all above doesnt work then you need to try it at her house as she uses it. cant tell you how many times i find granny doesnt run the a/c and its 100% humidity in house or she has it pushed flat against wall blocking airflow and overheating that passive cooling 3450. only by seeing how she has it set up can you eliminate the unknowns and see whats really happening.

    i once had a lady whos big fat cat lays in front of and against the pc, thus blocking the front intake vents lol, i had to build a raised platform so snookums could help out and not interfere with the computer.
  18. FordGT90Concept

    FordGT90Concept "I go fast!1!11!1!"

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    I had a similar problem with my brother's computer. It turned out a fan was dying (specifically, the fan on the Saphire 9800 Pro). He kept his computer cooped up in his desk while I kept it out in the open so everytime I tried something here, it worked fine but never worked when he brought it home. So, make sure all the fans are working right.

    The other things I would check that were already mentioned include the printer, a different outlet, and using an UPS.
    Crunching for Team TPU

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