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Computer powercycling constantly, can't get it to fully boot

Dec 10, 2010 1:49AM PST

This is what first happened, I was using it and it just suddenly powered off and tried to power back on, but would only do so for a few seconds before starting the whole process again. It started POST, but never lasted long enough to load windows.

I did some research and disconnected all RAM, hard drive, dvd rom, card reader, and tried to boot again. Now, I get a series of long beeps and the power cycling. Nothing on the screen. Help.

Discussion is locked

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So far, so good.
Dec 10, 2010 1:58AM PST

The beeps are proper for the removed parts so don't panic.

Since it still power cycles my diagnosis given the story so far is it's the motherboard or the power supply with a 60/40 chance it's the PSU (power supply unit.)

Again, no screen and beeps is proper with those parts removed so all I can ask is for the make, model, age of the machine to help diagnose it further.

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Thank you Bob!
Dec 10, 2010 2:27AM PST

It's only a two or three years old - Dell XPS 410.

So how do I figure out which part it is - I can replace either myself. The power supply was replaced 13 months after purchase (and after warranty ha!). At that time, it simply didn't power on at all so the diagnosis was simple. Happy

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Still sounds like the PSU
Dec 10, 2010 2:37AM PST

While it's possible it's the motherboard the chances of a PSU is still higher in my opinion. At the shop we would have tried another PSU in about 5 minutes as we don't install the PSU but simply connect it up.

A tip. If you do replace the PSU, add 100 Watts to the rating to help support what's in the PC.

AND INSPECT the boards for BAD CAPS. To see what to look for, google BAD CAPS.

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Dec 10, 2010 3:10AM PST

I'll have to convince my 64 year old mother (who is - you won't believe it - a World of Warcraft addict) to let me cannibalize her computer for her power supply for an afternoon.

Any tips on the least amount of work for me? I wonder if the cable to power the motherboard could reach into my box without me physically removing it entirely from her box...

Thanks for your help. I already ordered the motherboard just in case. If it turns out I don't need it, I'll just return it.

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The least amound of work.
Dec 10, 2010 3:17AM PST

Some take me to task if I guess wrong. You know why this must be a guess.

My guess is the PSU. The least amount of work is to get one that fits, has the connectors (don't fret if it has ones you don't use) and 100 or more Watts than the PSU that's in there.

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New PSU didn't improve anything
Dec 11, 2010 12:33PM PST

New PSU installed, now it tries to power on (fans come on) for a split second then...nothing.

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Looks like
Dec 10, 2010 5:14AM PST

Your system seems so typical of a failing PSU. I agree, to swap it out as std. procedure. If anything else, then cost quickly comes into play, being a Dell system. Even though it has already been done in the past, a PSU can be tasked and from wear&tear, die. I offer this link to help:

As suggested adding a new PSU with greater watts than before is a must. Most PSU's should work if they don't have a physical sizing problem. I found some Dell systems are made in such a way to defeat std. PSU's by fit alone. There are direct Dell replacements as well, just google for Dell PSUs, etc for hits. But, I'm sure a generic PSU with proper connections will do +100W more.

tada -----Willy Happy

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Well Willy....
Dec 11, 2010 12:32PM PST

I bought a new PSU. I forgot to check the specs of my original, and got 1000 watts to be on the safe side. Turned out my original was 500 watts. So, plenty of power I hope. However, it's not booting. The fans come on for a split second, then nothing.

So, anything else I should try or do we look at the motherboard now?

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Double check your work.
Dec 11, 2010 12:34PM PST

That short spin up has many causes. Such as forgetting the ATX12V connection or an IDE drive that has failed or is plugged in wrong.

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Dec 11, 2010 2:14PM PST

Yep, missed one of the connections. Thought I had been so thorough, but I double checked the photos I took before undoing everything and there it was, clear as day. I'm all booted and typing on the now working computer. You were right, and I appreciate all your help!

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The same thing happened to me just a couple of weeks ago!
Dec 10, 2010 5:14PM PST

My computer would incessantly restart over and over again, I took mine to a nearby comp-shop and he told me the motherboard was done, something about my capacitors being blown... If you notice on the inside of your computer that some parts are leakage a mysterious red powder, BEWARE.

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Dec 10, 2010 6:00PM PST

What a silly name. But yes, that's exactly what I had. The comp guys told me it would cost more to get it fixed than it would for me to get a new computer.

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Dec 11, 2010 3:08PM PST

Actually, if you know anyone who was involved in TV repair or any electronics for years, I'm sure they could tell you a thousand leaky capacitor stories. It's not that uncommon and I fixed radios or other electronics when I was younger, long before I ever worked on a computer and have seen many myself.

I recall being 5 or 6 and my father was a TV repair man, showing me what a leaky capacitor was, although I admit I was more interested freezing my finger with cold spray. Happy

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Marking as solved.
Dec 11, 2010 9:20PM PST

See post 11 and glad it's working.

Open a new post to continue if need be.