HTPC Suddenly Not Working

sh18

Active Member
Hi Guys

Ive had my beloved HTPC for over 2 years now and it has never skipped a beat until a week ago.
I was using the system as normal a week ago when suddenly the screen went black and displayed 'no signal detected' as though there was no display cable connected. When this happens it's as if the system locks up and even holding the power button down doesnt turn off the system and I have to switch it off at the PSU. Now it is hit and miss as to wether the system displays anything. I can randomnly get it to start to Windows only to have it happen again after a few minutes.
The system itself powers up every time. Fans come on, I ca hear the HDDs spinning up, screen goes black but everything still seems to be working.

My HTPC is connected to a 1080p Samsung LCD via HDMI. Spec for the system can be found in my signature.

So far ive tried:

- Connecting via VGA using the onboard GPU
- Trying the possible 4 RAM slots in single and dual channel
- Using different RAM
- Error checking all drives for errors (1xOS and 2x for Media)
- Disconnecting the Media HDDs and leaving the OS HDD active

CPU was given a new application of thermal paste a few months ago when i fitted a Scythe Shuriken heatsink and fan and had no problems whatsoever.

Im well and truly stumped. Im thinking its the motherboard but I don't have a spare to try out so im looking for suggestions before I stump up for a new board.

Any help would be great appreciated guys :lease:
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
I'd hazard a guess at a faulty graphics card?

Only way I know of checking is to swap it out for a different card, or do you have onboard graphics you can try?
 

tony_park

Active Member
When you boot up, do you see anything from the pc, bios details etc? If not, I would go with the above that its likely to be the graphics card that's failing.

Tony
 

bryanchicken

Active Member
have you got one of those little system speakers installed? Or have you got one you can put in?
That will provide you with some beeps that could help you identify what is the problem (different codes for different motherboards. Eg, 2 beeps - bad ram)
 

sh18

Active Member
Thanks for the suggestions guys but, as I've already mentioned, I've tried bypassing the gfx card by using the onboard VGA but I still get the same issue.
Does the same thing in safe mode too.
I would try a fresh windows install but the system won't work long enough for me to do it although I could put the HDD in my dads PC and install a fresh copy using that?
I'm not sure if I have a PC speaker lying around but I'll have a look.

I'll report back once I've tried the above
 

simplicity96

Distinguished Member
How about getting into safe mode...? Im asking as the driver for your graphics comes live quite early in a boot of windows and if its correupt will cause the issues you mention. Using safe mode bypass's the graphics driver and uses a standard VGA one. A flawless working of safe mode give you a answer
 

tony_park

Active Member
I would try a fresh windows install but the system won't work long enough for me to do it although I could put the HDD in my dads PC and install a fresh copy using that?

Have you tried taking off the case lid, and checking all fans are able to rotate - if the pc dies after a time, it could be overheating.

Tony
 

DavidT

Well-known Member
I've had this problem on a PC before, turned out to be a faulty PSU. Do you have a spare PSU you can try?

David
 

gixer271

Active Member
Sounds like it could be a few things.

1. Possible faulty Power supply dropping voltage or overheating causing the self protection of the motherboard to kick in.

2. Possible fault on the motherboard causing the self protection to kick in.

3, Possible CPU fault causing the motherboard self protection to kick in.

It doesn't sound like a graphics card fault as you have tried onboard graphics & safe mode.

Can you get it to boot into the Bios setup & will it stay running while in the setup? (this would then point to a OS fault).

If your close to Doncaster you could drop it into my shop & I will run a free diagnostic on it. (I have a DIY/PC repair shop).

:smashin:
 

Monty Burns

Well-known Member
hmm i would initially think faulty graphics card too... but that wouldnt explain the complete system lock out.

Tried a fresh windows install?

Yes it could, easily.
 

Monty Burns

Well-known Member
...Can you get it to boot into the Bios setup & will it stay running while in the setup? (this would then point to a OS fault).
...

That could also point to a heat issue as well (although, more unlikely). In the BIOS screen the PC is running almost completley idle and so generating very little heat. Agreed though, getting it into the BIOS screen would be a good start!

edit: I've seen virtual identical to this in the past when I was a bit of a muppet - I forgot to put paste on a new CPU! Might be worth (as a really cheap attempted fix) to remove the CPU cooler, clean it and re-paste it. I guess the paste might be able to degrade over time?
 
Last edited:

Monty Burns

Well-known Member
really? I would have just thought that if a gpu was at fault it would just crash the system/force it to restart rather than freezing out every control on the PC! I stand corrected though :)

Totaly, yes! (Sadly)

I've even had a PC not boot at all because the GFX couldn't establish a link to my PJ over HDMI! How MAD is that!? The GFX card failed to negotiate and therefore locked the BIOS up, solid. Had to unplug the HDMI before I could reboot the box each time.
 

sh18

Active Member
Update time guys:

Tried a reliable PSU (500W Coolermaster) and still no luck.
Ive managed to borrow a motherboard speaker but not had a chance to fit it yet so will hopefully get that done tonight.
Also in response to recent posts:

- No heat issues whatsoever (idle is less than 30c)
- I applied new artic silver paste to the CPU only a few months ago but will check after ive tried everything else
- When I can get into the BIOS settings the problem still happens
- If ive tried both the onboard and external GPU with the same result would the sheer existence of the external GPU still cause this issue? (bearing in mind the external is HDMI and the onboard is VGA)
 

Monty Burns

Well-known Member
Your unclear, does that mean you have pulled the GFX OUT of the box? You should try that if not, you can't simply just connect the VGA connector instead of the HDMI.

If your in BIOS and its still doing it then its not "stress" heat however, it could still be the paste/cpu (mine did it in BIOS). Also, try removing memory sticks down to just one and then try the other (assuming you have 2 or more).

edit: If its still happening in the BIOS, its almost certainly (95%) a duff part/connection. At this stage it really only can be a card or component. The only way to find out which is to swap out which, of course requires a spare.....
 
Last edited:

sh18

Active Member
Your unclear, does that mean you have pulled the GFX OUT of the box? You should try that if not, you can't simply just connect the VGA connector instead of the HDMI.

If your in BIOS and its still doing it then its not "stress" heat however, it could still be the paste/cpu (mine did it in BIOS). Also, try removing memory sticks down to just one and then try the other (assuming you have 2 or more).

edit: If its still happening in the BIOS, its almost certainly (95%) a duff part/connection. At this stage it really only can be a card or component. The only way to find out which is to swap out which, of course requires a spare.....

Thanks for the advice. In relation to the GPU I have left the card in (ATI 4550) when using the motherboard GPU. Was wondering if it made a big difference leaving in the ATI as surely it wouldn't factor if I was using the onboard using the VGA connection on the motherboard? Ive been given an old ATI card to try so that will be my next port of call and then ill try reapplying the thermal paste. watch this space :rolleyes:
 

Monty Burns

Well-known Member
Thanks for the advice. In relation to the GPU I have left the card in (ATI 4550) when using the motherboard GPU. Was wondering if it made a big difference leaving in the ATI as surely it wouldn't factor if I was using the onboard using the VGA connection on the motherboard? Ive been given an old ATI card to try so that will be my next port of call and then ill try reapplying the thermal paste. watch this space :rolleyes:

Yeah, if there is something physicaly wrong with the card it could well stop the PC in all manner of ways. Best remove it from the box.

Good luck!!
 

sh18

Active Member
Yeah, if there is something physicaly wrong with the card it could well stop the PC in all manner of ways. Best remove it from the box.

Good luck!!

Well I removed the ATI card altogether and tried the onboard. System booted to Windows fine which gave me a glimmer of hope but after a few minutes it happened again :mad:
Just the CPU left to try now but ive got to wait until I can get some more thermal paste. If that doesnt work then ill be replacing the board. I miss using my PC!
 

tony_park

Active Member
Have to say, it still sounds like a heat problem, as it takes time for the heat to build up to a temp that causes the pc to crash. If you have temp monitoring in your bios, may be wise to boot up, go into the bios and then watch the temps and keep an eye on what the processor temp is just before the pc dies.

Tony
 

Monty Burns

Well-known Member
Got to agree with Tony, more I hear, the more I think its heat related - don't forget, its not just the CPU that generates heat. Tripple check all those fans are spinning.
 

bryanchicken

Active Member
Normally, i'd say heat as well. However, every system i've ever had that have overheated have rebooted or shut themselves down. This does not seem to be the symptom based on the original post:
I was using the system as normal a week ago when suddenly the screen went black and displayed 'no signal detected' as though there was no display cable connected. When this happens it's as if the system locks up and even holding the power button down doesnt turn off the system and I have to switch it off at the PSU

Heat is probably still my first guess, but it doesn't seem normal.

I note you say it doesn't stay on long enough for you to reinstall windows. Have you disconnecting everything that isn't absolutely necessary? Even try booting without a keyboard if your bios allows. My mum's computer suddenly wouldn't boot with the keyboard attached!

If still no joy then i would physically detach the hard drive and try booting a live linux distro to see if that works
 

spyder viewer

Distinguished Member
Last thing you did was to disturb the cpu changing the HSF. Must have removed the cpu to clean it up: did you esd zap it or damage a socket pin?
 

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