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16 posts


# 21050 14-Apr-2008 16:11
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I was wondering if anyone here knows enought about electricty to help me.
I am running a dual core 2.3 desktop with a 500 W power supply. Its a new machine. The first 5 days of running it were fine then I would occasionally lose LCD screnn connection. Then it started to power down and power up again outomatically sometimes booting into the OS , sometimes not getting as far but it basically never runs for more than 5 minutes. Seems like it often does not even get into the BIOs before it powers down. In between there were some bios issues as Asus has made a faulty new BIOS version for this motherboard that does not work with some nvidia cards.

So far I have
reflashed bios with newer version
reinstalled OS
tested RAM (with Vista internal test procedure, the one time it worked for a while)
Put it on power plugs in a different room (worked for 2 hours)
made sure fans are working so it s not an overheating issue

Is there any chance that old wiring in the house could stop it working? We are one apatment of three in an old house in welllington that was converted into 3 units.
Or could there be any settings within the BIOS that stops it from running properly like that?

any help would be much appreciated as I am a bit at a loss here.

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104 posts

Master Geek

  # 123427 14-Apr-2008 16:27
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Sounds like it COULD be.

Old wiring could be causing you to have fluctuating voltage.

Easiest way to test is (if you're able to) to get hold of a voltage regulator such as a UPS and plugging your machine into that.

Do you have issues with any other electrical devices around your home (specificially high consumption devices ie; Vacuum cleaners, fan heaters etc)

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  # 123431 14-Apr-2008 16:42
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Thanks for the reply.

No, I have had no other problems before, but maybe other products are more forgiving?
Also it only started a few days after I first got the system which is odd.
The only other high voltage thing we run occasionally is a vaccum cleaner. So far I have used a laptop but my work from home now requires something faster.

Unfortunately I don't have a voltage regulator.  I am absolutely useless when it comes to electricity so don't really know what it would do or how it works.


312 posts

Ultimate Geek
Inactive user

  # 123562 15-Apr-2008 02:00
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what are your computer specs? do you have any high power usage pci cards? high spec graphics card? how many hard drives are you running? it could be as simple as your power supply not being big enough (wattage-wise) though 500W is usually enough for most users.

when you plugged it in in a different room and ran it for 2 hours did it power down after 2 hours or did you just end the test there?

i suppose you could test your theory about the wiring being at fault by using i think what's called a voltimetre. electricians use them all the time to make sure electricity flow is good. DSE has them for approx. $20. however if you have no experience with electrical equipment i would recommend getting an electrician in to test the problem themselves as there is always the risk of electricution.

if you have a landlord you could contact them and complain and they could get an electrician in. however you may want to see if it's your computer at fault first as you could be footing the electrician bill if it turns out to be just that. otherwise it is the landlords responsibility to get it fixed and pay for it.

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  # 123598 15-Apr-2008 09:42
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Thanks for this

I think the PSU should be able to run this. It is an intel dual core 2.3, Geforce 9600 and one 320 GB hard disk plus a DVD burner. 4 GB Ram. 
So I think there should be plenty of power coming from the PSU to run this thing. I also have a 22' LCD screen I run from the same plugs. (Though I tried different parts of the house for the whole setup)
The PSU is 500 Watt.

181 posts

Master Geek

  # 124531 17-Apr-2008 20:58
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Can you advise what brand PSU it is?
500w it may be, but if its cheap and nasty it may be causing problems

312 posts

Ultimate Geek
Inactive user

  # 124572 17-Apr-2008 23:38
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also do you have any case cooling solution? have you checked temperatures with a program?

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  # 124601 18-Apr-2008 08:07
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Thanks again for your help

Yes there is more than sufficient cooling (120 mm fan in the back and and front and 9mm on the side). The only way I think it could be a temperature issue is if here was something in the bios that could affect the shutdown? I did flash the bios and it seems to have made things worse (if that is possible), but sometimes it does not even get as far as the bios.
For the 5 days this thing was actually running the CPU and system  temperature did not even reach 35% even in heavy use.

yes I think it could be the PSU. Someone told me that if it eas wiring I would also notice that in light bulb flickering in the house etc. The case is a Sigma/Raidmax and PSU is also Sigma model RS 500 ATX 12 V2.
I think the only way it could be .

I will test it at someone elses house this weekend to narrow it down but I guess if it is indeed the wiring in the house then there is not much I can do, unless someone could give me advice if there are any gadgets that could help with this.


94 posts

Master Geek

  # 124873 18-Apr-2008 23:27
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Its quite possibly the Raidmax PSU. The wholesaler of these had several bad batches (last year) - we ended up with about 50 of these PSUs come back faulty. Some exploded, some let all their smoke out, some just stopped while others manifested similar symptoms to what youre experiencing.

If you want to check the power point, plug in a desk lamp. If it flickers before your PC turns off then its the wiring (or a power surge).


1486 posts

Uber Geek

  # 125252 21-Apr-2008 11:42
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I used to have a box of tricks that would count power spikes and sags on the power socket it was plugged into.

I can;t for the life of me remember the make or even it's "proper" technical name, but what you did was plug it in the wall, then plug your device into it .. then an LCD would display how many times the power did something odd.  (which was often with the ropey old building in the UK :-)

Maybe you could find a knowledable electricican person or shop who could steer you in the right direction.



94 posts

Master Geek

  # 125256 21-Apr-2008 11:55
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Dranetz Power Quality Monitor? Most sparkies dont have these readily accessible. Tech-Rentals ( will rent you one or something similar but you could probably buy a new PC for cheaper than the daily rates Frown

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  # 125258 21-Apr-2008 12:01
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I have now tested the machine in two other houses in Wellington and  experienced the same problem.
So hopefully this is a hardware issue, rather than wiring. I am sending it back to the shop for them to have a look at. Still it seems a very strange fault...

5543 posts

Uber Geek

Lifetime subscriber

  # 125294 21-Apr-2008 13:17
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Mark: I used to have a box of tricks that would count power spikes and sags on the power socket it was plugged into.

I can;t for the life of me remember the make or even it's "proper" technical name, but what you did was plug it in the wall, then plug your device into it .. then an LCD would display how many times the power did something odd.  (which was often with the ropey old building in the UK :-)

Maybe you could find a knowledable electricican person or shop who could steer you in the right direction.



An ONEGraph from Oneac is one such device (very expesive version)

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