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PC powers off intermittently!

by fuzzbalz / March 10, 2006 8:03 AM PST

My inlaws computer was powering off by itself, so they asked me to look at it. I found the cpu fan not turning , so I replaced it. I also cleaned it out since it was pretty dusty. But it's still powering itself off. I took the cpu fan and cooler back off and used a contact grease, and cleaned the top off of the cpu the best I could, but it didn't seem to help. It's an AMD duron chip 1.3ghz. Could it be the power supply, or did the cpu get damaged? I looked at the cpu and it appears ok. Is there a way I can check the power supply, cpu or mother board, without just buying new parts? Thanks

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My try testing the RAM ...
by VAPCMD / March 10, 2006 1:19 PM PST

use something

MemTest-86 v3.2
DocMemory PC Memory Diagnostic Software V2.2

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Ram ok
by fuzzbalz / March 17, 2006 5:19 AM PST

I swapped out the ram on a working pc, still the same prob. Could it be the power supply?

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Powering off after a while
by kretchmard / March 17, 2006 7:10 AM PST
In reply to: Ram ok

This is usually the result of the CPU overheating, as you already realize and observed. You did exactly what anyone would do when you saw the fan was not spinning. The computer was turning itself off because the CPU was overheating, to state the obvious. I would remove the HSF again, THROUGHLY clean everything off, including the CPU (pure alcohol or acetate works best for me) reseat everything, and try again. Using a good thermal compound, such as Arctic Silver, is best.

I have somehow managed to install a HSF that felt and looked perfect, but was off enough to overheat and shut itself off.

I agree that a failing PSU might be the next suspect, but that was not the problem before, which makes it unlikely (but still possible) that it is the problem. Failing PSUs usually cause absolute failure, or different kinds of bad behavior in my experience.

If you don't want to swap out the PSU with a known good one, you could go to, say, CompUSA, buy a cheap one, and keep it if that solves the problem, or return it if not.

I would bet a box of floppies that the CPU is still overheating. Good luck!

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Not sure I follow ...
by VAPCMD / March 17, 2006 12:55 PM PST
In reply to: Ram ok

you put the RAM from the old PC into another PC or you took known good RAM and put it into the old machine and it did the same thing ?

Does it reboot after a certain length of time after powering it on ? If yes...what happens if you run it with the side off ? Have you looked at the system TEMPS ??

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cpu overheat
by fuzzbalz / March 18, 2006 4:33 AM PST
In reply to: Not sure I follow ...

The ram I tried was from my computer (same type) and so I put the good stick of ram in the machine to try. I've also cleaned everything on the cpu and the heatsink several times. I'm might give it one more shot and use the suggested "Artic silver" thermal compound. I agree it doesn't seem like a power supply type prob, if the cpu got damaged by the heat, could it act like this, also can I see the damage on the cpu? Haven't been able to keep it up long enough to install something to monitor the temps. I know that the heat sink is only warm, when I touch it after it shuts down. Thanks

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Before you try the CPU cleanup...load 'Speedfan'
by VAPCMD / March 18, 2006 10:40 AM PST
In reply to: cpu overheat

and see what the various system TEMPS show. If they're high...then try leaving the side off and see what that does. By the way ...what else is in the system ?

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Maybe or maybe not
by kretchmard / March 18, 2006 12:47 PM PST
In reply to: cpu overheat

I have seen ruined CPUs with obvious damage, and ruined CPUs the look perfect. Check the temp. in Setup. Watch it rise until it shuts off.

Go into Setup and see the temperature that triggers a shutdown. You might want to adjust this upward. Your CPU should be able to stand heat over 90C. Check for online documentation. Running at 90 would shorten the life of your CPU, possibly put it out of its misery, but it is pretty long in the tooth already, and the system is a boat anchor as it is.

In my experience (12 years, dozens of AMD systems) a bad CPU will either not boot to a desktop, or give you random BSODs and reboots. I believe it is almost surely the thermal protection that shuts down a system as you described.

I am especially interested in your problem, because 2 months ago I faced the exact same thing, with the same CPU. I fixed it using the method suggested in my prior post; through cleaning, a new (better fan) and an additional case fan (probably not required). I used Arctic silver because I had it, but that usually only gives you a couple of degrees advantage, and that is not the issue here.

If the HS was warm, it was most likely doing its job. Theory: suppose your MB sensor (you can see it when you removed the CPU) was reporting a cpu temp. higher than it really was? The CPU would be operating in a safe range but your system would still shut down.

I'm not trying to talk down to you but are you certain the new fan is blowing down?

I hope I've pointed you in the right direction.

Good luck!

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cpu heat
by fuzzbalz / March 19, 2006 9:27 AM PST
In reply to: Maybe or maybe not

I've watched the cpu temp in the setup, and it's a steady 111f/44c with the side on, 107/42 with it off. Also got it to run windows the other day for about 2 hrs before it kicked off, long enough to get some info off of it. It seemed to run for shorter and shorter periods after that. I've checked the cpu fan direction, now I'm starting to think the cpu got burnt. Going to get a new power supply tomorrow at comp usa, they got a deal going for a free one. After that I guess I search ebay for a cpu. Thanks

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Power Supply!!!
by fuzzbalz / March 23, 2006 5:39 AM PST
In reply to: cpu heat

Changed out the power supply and that has seemed to fix it. Got lucky too with the free PS at comp usa. Thanks again for everyone's help

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(NT) (NT) Thanks for the feedback !
by VAPCMD / March 23, 2006 7:29 AM PST
In reply to: Power Supply!!!
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This is happening to me
by nathanpsz2 / March 18, 2006 11:26 AM PST

My computer will shut off at random. There were some issues with heat, so I replaced the CPU cooler, and moved it all to a new case with better airflow. The CPU temps are 35-40C at idle, and 50C at full load. And it STILL shuts down, but only when I'm doing a CPU-intensive task. Right now, I'm trying to figure out if it's the CPU or the mobo. The CPU is a 3.2GHz P4 540, and the mobo is some proprietary one made by Asus for HP. Any ideas?

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PC powers off intermittently
by ooitsmagic58 / March 21, 2006 7:38 PM PST

Yeah there's some good info here to try out
for sure.If at last resort try looking for a screw that might have fell down between the motherboard and the metal casing,this has happened to me before on a
couple of computers.
hope you find the problem!

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