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PC died, again. Now working, again. Next move?

Starsky

Established Member
Hi all,
I wondered if I could get some opinions on what to do next.

Long story short - Packard Bell iMedia A3317 from PC World (I know, sorry). Nice machine, looks & performs very well for me and is super quiet. I'm not a gamer. All I do is process images and surf.
Recently, my LG LCD monitor connected by DVI started flickering. Eventually the PC wouldn't output a signal to it at all, even by DSUB. I could get past POST, just. It'd then die. I could get power to the front case light once every ten or so attempts. Realising it had a paltry 250W PSU, I went to get a 500W one and all was well & I continued to use DSUB.
Last week, it died again, overnight while in sleep mode. Tried and tried leaving it on (hoping the PSU would charge enough to get the board to boot), switching it on and off, stripped it down and put it together again. removed/swapped RAM, disabled all but bare bones, nowt. But I had all the power I could see I needed at the switch this time and it would attempt to boot every time. HDD, fans, CD drive all OK again - just no POST. Not even getting to BIOS screen. So I put it away and got the laptop out and was sure the board had popped.
Today, I have some RAW image files to process, so in desperation I dragged it out again. It fired first time and is sat here happily humming away. I'm incredibly relieved I've been given a 3rd chance to diagnose it, but would have thought the 500W PSU would have been adequate. Given the symptoms of the second fail, would anyone like to guess what's falling over? I'm thinking it could only be the PSU again?
I'm running nothing on it but on DVD drive (never used), one SATA HDD, USB mouse and I've fitted a card reader to one of the internal USB headers. Again, barely used. And the machine was asleep when it failed.
The only thing I will mention is I was using one of these. Don't ask why, because I don't even know why. It was free and I kept getting distracted and leaving the machine on, so I'd hit this button and leave it to go to sleep. I believe it used to execute a batch file which put the machine into a deeper sleep than the standard sleep :)confused:). I don't know how true that is, but it's in the bin anyway as I'm quite suspect of it. Could this have corrupted the boot files? WIN7 insisted on running chkdsk when it booted. Or am I right in thinking it would have got to the BIOS screen before that?

That wasn't a long story short at all was it. Sorry about that, and thanks for reading.
 

spyder viewer

Distinguished Member
Strange that W7 thought there was a problem with the hard drive and ran chkdsk. Maybe there is a problem with the HD. If W7 started, then it has gone past running the bios. What internet security packages do you have installed.
 

Starsky

Established Member
Hi mate. I had presumed checkdisk might have been invoked due to the illegal shutdown? And/or whatever the batch file might have done to the start up switches?
Yes, it's gone past the BIOS, but only started doing that today when it finally booted. Previously, no POST, no BIOS screen.
I think the HDD is fine, I've been accessing my files on it with an external SATA caddy.
I don't use anything other than Windows Defender and Malware Bytes.
 

vsmora

Established Member
Given all the previous things you've already sensibly tried and since the replacement PSU fixed it for a while, I'd suggest checking the M/B capacitors. These smooth power to the onboard chips, so sometimes getting a better PSU (i.e. providing cleaner power to the board) can temporarily help but it's not a proper solution. Cap failure would be rare on such a relatively recent system, but no harm in checking especially considering the erm... quality components :rolleyes:, that I've seen from PBell over the years.
 

Starsky

Established Member
Thank you. That's very interesting. I will take a look at those later. I have to say I think I would have noticed given that I've been scrutinising connections and components recently, but I will still have a further look.
 

core2tom

Banned
You could try taking the battery out of the motherboard and resetting the jumpers (can't remember the term haha) that usually works if there is a BIOS problem, just to clarify it's not that.
 

spyder viewer

Distinguished Member
Unfortunately, intermittant problems are the worst! It is just possible that the cmos back-up battery is breaking down: replacing it is simple and cheap.

Is the malwarebytes the freebee or paid up version? I don't think the freebee has continuous monitoring so maybe you should install a virus checker as well. Try the Microsoft Security Essentials.

Try running a low level error checker on your hard drive just to be doubly sure and while it's up back it up.

It is possible that your original psu was under-rated and there is a small chance that you have replaced it with a defective one (but unlikely).

You've had graphics problems, bios problems, no post and it died overnight when you left it on in standby. One thing that links them: motherboard. It is possible that there is a component that is going down that may have been sensitive to your original and overstretched psu. Changing the psu for a "smoother" more stable one may have bought you some time but unfortunately a component may still be dying!
 

Starsky

Established Member
Great advice. Thanks so much for taking the time to write that up. I shall be doing some trawling to find a good, reliable board (this is a Bengal?). I like the box, build and quietness so happy to be able to retain all that! Thanks again :)#

Worth mentioning I did reset the CMOS when I first stripped it down.
 
Last edited:

vsmora

Established Member
If the board can't be repaired and you can't find an identical replacement, then it is worth mentioning the OS licensing restrictions. If you are using the OEM Win license directly oras the basis for an upgrade edition of W7 then you are not allowed to legally reinstall on a different model of M/B. While technically it may install, electronically activate and run fine, speaking with MS would confirm it is not permitted. I make no comment on how this info might or might not affect you in the real world.
 
i think if the motherboard has failed or is failing them microsoft cant really do much about installing the oem on another mobo as it would be a manufacturer fault.

how old is the machine btw? any warranty or garantee/insurance on it against "mechanical failiure"?
 

Starsky

Established Member
No warranty or anything. It's over 12 months old and pretty sure I've not kept any paperwork. In any case I've already formatted the HDD, changed the OS and installed a new PSU so I wouldn't dream of taking it back to PC World for them to explode in a fit of whistling through their teeth! I'm more than happy to accept whatever needs doing is down to me.
 
pc world dont have a leg to stand on, just remind them that they sold a pc with someones personal detials, home address, names numbers, credit card numbers ect as a new pc lol. shus them right up.

as for your problem, try replacing the mobo battery as stated.

also when you stripped it down, did you add fresh thermal paste?

when it was refusing to boot did you get and bios beep codes from it?
 

Starsky

Established Member
pc world dont have a leg to stand on, just remind them that they sold a pc with someones personal detials, home address, names numbers, credit card numbers ect as a new pc lol. shus them right up.

as for your problem, try replacing the mobo battery as stated.

also when you stripped it down, did you add fresh thermal paste?

when it was refusing to boot did you get and bios beep codes from it?
I just wouldn't trust PC World with a repair, nor have I the patience to even bother trying to argue the toss with them. The only reason I went there in the first place was the PC wasn't being paid for by me and I just really needed a half decent PC in double-quick time.
Battery is on the list. Yes, fresh thermal paste used after a thorough cleaning.
2nd time it broke down, no. No beeps, no BIOS screen, no signal to the monitor whatsoever, but the power light was on and the fans/HDD were spinning.
 
thats strange.

meh, okay well see where you get with replacing the battery for now.

did you check your motherboard capacitors?

does kinda sound like possibly bad luck with the psu.

trust me tho, not as bad as what i had lol.

when it died did bios or windows generate a crash report or anything that might be useful to us?

these reports are underestimated lol
 

Starsky

Established Member
No logs unfortunately. Caps look fine to me, really. No bulging or leaking.
Yeah, it all points to the PSU again doesn't it. I'll pop another battery in it this week and see how it goes.
 
just had a thought!

how old is the psu u put in it?

can you return it for an exchange?
 

Starsky

Established Member
Again mate, no paperwork. I am the World's worst for stuff like that. It wasn't expensive and it works, so I just didn't keep hold of the invoice.
However, it came from Aria in Manchester and they bench test all returns while you wait and well, it would have worked wouldn't it. I've fallen foul of this with them before and they will not budge.
 
i heard this thats why i dont buy from them.

they fail to understand you cant bench test an intermitten fault
 

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