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Tii needs tech help!

Tii

Pinball Wizard
here lately in the morning when i turn on my pc
sometimes the hard drive won't start, the pc power
light is on, but nothing happens with the HD light, then after
i turn off/on the power strip it starts up ok...

is it the cmos battery - pc is 5 years old (HP AMD Athlon),
pc clock is not losing any time and all info looks
correct in the bios setup

is it faulty power supply to hard drive - possibly a loose cable

or is the hard drive just going...

your thoughts would be much appreciated...thanx!
 

destruk

Pinball Wizard
Site Supporters
You can rule out the CMOS battery because none of the settings are needing to be reset. I'd guess it's about time to back up the hard drive and/or replace it because it is taking longer to spin up when powered on from a cold boot. The power on self test is looking for the hard drive and it doesn't spin up completely until you power off and back on again. Or try a different cable to the drive.
 

Tii

Pinball Wizard
You can rule out the CMOS battery because none of the settings are needing to be reset. I'd guess it's about time to back up the hard drive and/or replace it because it is taking longer to spin up when powered on from a cold boot. The power on self test is looking for the hard drive and it doesn't spin up completely until you power off and back on again. Or try a different cable to the drive.

ok thanx, i'm going to get inside and check the cable connection
later today...

oh yeah, i've got all my important porn backed up :boobies:
 

Phoenixx

Starfleet Member
Site Supporters
Unless the HDD is also making odd noises from time to time i would say its just a loose cable or your motherboard has a problem initializing on a coldstart.

(Some boards (even some CPUs) are notorious for the latter,...the board i currently have (about a year old) sometimes needs a full minute until the startup 'BEEP' too. But luckily only when it was real cold in the room during the night.)

In case your HDD rattles and/or clicks during read/write accesses, better save the data elsewhere and permanently replace the drive asap,...
 

mrschultz

Inserted Coin
My first thought was to go with the slow spin up theory. Although I haven't seen one of those in at least 15 years.

Other possibility is a bad connection somewhere that fixes itself when warmed up on the first powerup. Those are a pain to find, could be a chip on the MB, internally in the drive, a cable connector, or even in the power supply so it's not providing enough current to spin up the drive and unlock the heads on the first cold start.

Later,
Marty
 

Tii

Pinball Wizard
so temperature is a factor?

it seems to only happen after a cold night,
since it wasn't cold last night, i didn't have
any problem today...
 

Phoenixx

Starfleet Member
Site Supporters
so temperature is a factor?
It can be.

Like i said, after a cold night my motherboard often needs up to a full minute to complete the POST. Then its starts normally. Why that is, no idea, it was like that from the beginning. Of course this can be annoying but other than that it seems to be harmless. It does not happen when the room didnt get cold during offtime.

Next time it happens, just give it some time and see what happens. Maybe its the same thing in your case,...
 

Tii

Pinball Wizard
It can be.

Like i said, after a cold night my motherboard often needs up to a full minute to complete the POST. Then its starts normally. Why that is, no idea, it was like that from the beginning. Of course this can be annoying but other than that it seems to be harmless. It does not happen when the room didnt get cold during offtime.

Next time it happens, just give it some time and see what happens. Maybe its the same thing in your case,...


ok thank you Phoenixx buddy!
 

Phoenixx

Starfleet Member
Site Supporters
Youre welcome.

But that is only one possible cause, so you should still keep an eye on the drive. (Or an ear for that matter.) Especially when it starts to make odd noises caution is in order. In that case try a new cable first, (cant hurt anyway), and if that doesnt help, better save your data elsewhere and replace the drive asap,...
 

sleepy

Pinball Wizard
Site Supporters
Is the power strip good? After a lightning strike or power spike the protector circuit can blow yet the strip still provides power. This is because the protector is a simple voltage shunt across the terminals, though that shouldn't affect the power, only the safety, unless there is a break or fray in the cord(s)?

Is the BIOS menu set to Autodetect the HDs/ROM drives at boot, or is it set to a custom, HD?

I had what acted like HD failure once. It turned out to be a CD Rom drive that went bad, so if things get worse try disconnecting the CD/DVD ribbons and power connectors.

The HD jumper setting on the HD might not be correct, though if the HD has been working for years then that may be okay. I'd still check it. Look for a jumper map somewhere on the HD case for the correct setting according to the ribbon (Master or Slave or Cable Select).
On a dual ribbon the Master is at the end. The Slave connector is the one in the middle.

If the motherboard has a CMOS reset jumper, you might try that, but you will have to reset the BIOS settings afterwards. You only need to do this reset if the BIOS has gone wonky after a battery failure or power outage from a surge, but sometimes after switching non-standard drives as well. Don't forget to reposition any CMOS reset jumper to the default position after moving it to the reset position, otherwise you will not be able to boot until you do.

I've had keyboards "start typing on their own" with the front door open on a cold night < 50 F.
 
Last edited:

mrschultz

Inserted Coin
so temperature is a factor?

it seems to only happen after a cold night,
since it wasn't cold last night, i didn't have
any problem today...


Things contract and expand with temperature, if there is a weak connection or micro crack in a board they will sometimes separate during expanding while warming up from a cold night.

Edit: if this is the problem the only user fixable parts to look at would be the ribbon cable (connectors can have bad pins) and the power plug. If you've got a spare ribbon cable try swapping it, or just unplug and re-plug the current one.

How cold are we talking? Could be back to the slow spinup idea, bearings could be getting a little worn and sticking when cold. The inside of the drive would be the slowest part to warm up after a cold night.
 

Tii

Pinball Wizard
thank you all for your response!

no noises are occurring, temp on a cold night inside
the house could get down to 60-65 degrees, not
xtremely cold , but possibly cold enough, i'm
fixing to get inside and check the cable and such.
i don't really think it's a major thing, but all personal
data is backed up on a flash drive and of course
i have my hp recovery cds for total failure....
 

Phoenixx

Starfleet Member
Site Supporters
Things contract and expand with temperature, if there is a weak connection or micro crack in a board they will sometimes separate during expanding while warming up from a cold night.
True, but according to peoples experiences thats by far not the most common reason.

(Especially with regards to CPUs and Chipsets, where the silicone can kind of 'freeze' when it gets too cold.)

Just google for 'cold start bug' or 'cold boot bug' (or simply 'cold bug') and youll find anything from BIOS related causes to God-Knows-What,...
 

mrschultz

Inserted Coin
True, but according to peoples experiences thats by far not the most common reason.

(Especially with regards to CPUs and Chipsets, where the silicone can kind of 'freeze' when it gets too cold.)

Just google for 'cold start bug' or 'cold boot bug' (or simply 'cold bug') and youll find anything from BIOS related causes to God-Knows-What,...


In decades of fixing circuit board problems I've seen lots of temperature change related problems. Many of them micro cracks in traces or solder.

Chips run best when cold, lockups due to cold would be from bad connections. Bios and CPU chips are usually the only ones to be on sockets and not soldered permanently to the board, so they suffer most from pin connections going bad due to temperature cycling. Usually re-seating the chips in their sockets fixes the problem.

Since this motherboard seems to be getting through post and only missing the one drive, it's most likely not the MB but the cable or the drive. It could be a bad controller chip on the MB, but less likely.

Problems like this are such a pain, you can mess with the cables and chips and not know if it helped until the next cold night... They sell cans of stuff you can spray on chips to cool them down, but that's for the opposite problem of chips that die when they get hot. For this you'd have to cool down the entire computer to test...
 

Phoenixx

Starfleet Member
Site Supporters
I believe you, i too have seen many problems related to bad solder joints and/or cracks in the traces or joints. Very common issue especially with older appliances, and frequently changing temperatures are no doubt to blame (or at least co-responsible) in many cases.

But with regards to CPUs and Chipsets 'coldbug' means something different. While it is true that chips generally run best when cooled, a CPU or BIOS or North-/Southbridge etc. might very well fail to initialize properly when too cold. Especially some Athlons and the BIOSes on certain mainboards have won notoriety for this, there are plenty of examples and the effects range from messed up RAM divisors (which results in reboots until the chip is warm enough, usually one or two) to failed PCIe Bus initialisation which will be set to 1x instead of 16x etcetera. I would have linked you an example but most of the results i get are in german.


So im not saying you arent generally right. I just meant to point out that a coldbug with regards to PCs typically describes problems with non-initializing chips due to a too low startup temperature. As far as i know this has something to do with the silicone not conducting well enough below a certain temp,...
 

Tii

Pinball Wizard
ok i got inside and checked the plugs to hd and motherboard
and also the power supply plug - all are firmly planted and
nothing is kinked or anything in the ribbon, i don't have a spare
ribbon to try, but i really don't think it;'s that, i'm just thinking now
maybe it's just temperature....i shut it down and turned off the strip
and rebooted a couple of times with no incident....maybe it just wanted me
to touch it :headscratch:
 

Phoenixx

Starfleet Member
Site Supporters
ok i got inside and checked the plugs to hd and motherboard
and also the power supply plug - all are firmly planted and
nothing is kinked or anything in the ribbon
You also have to check the connectors themselves.

I have my PSU for quite a long time already, which means i have pulled and plugged the plugs plenty of times. Because of that i had to tighten the connectors in two of the power plugs twice already (by bending them tighter) because all that plugging in and out widened the 'tubes' enough to cause intermittent power loss to the attached device,...
 

Tii

Pinball Wizard
You also have to check the connectors themselves.

I have my PSU for quite a long time already, which means i have pulled and plugged the plugs plenty of times. Because of that i had to tighten the connectors in two of the power plugs twice already (by bending them tighter) because all that plugging in and out widened the 'tubes' enough to cause intermittent power loss to the attached device,...

if i have more problems with it, i will do that...thanx!
 

faralos

Faralos
make sure you keep your internals clean! I live with 3 dogs and every week i MUST open my computer and manually vacuum out the dust/dander that builds up on my heat fins on the motherboard to keep it's temps down. otherwise it starts to heat up and sometimes it just shuts off!
The hard drive problem; sound like it's getting old. My hard drive quit about 3 months ago, it just doesn't spin anymore, I lost everything! It never made any weird noise but every now and then if I shut my computer off, I'd have to wait almost 1 hr. before turning it back on (still can't figure out why, maybe it was a heat issue), But I am running two 40g drives to replace my 80g (the toasted one) and don't have any kind of heat problems. My computer was about 3 yrs. old when that HD went.
So think about backing up all your info soon, so you don't get screwed if/when it decides to go on ya'
 

Rick2007

Pinball Wizard
Tii
In your original post you mention that you turn on your computer every morning.
I read an article many years ago that recommended never turning your computer
completely off because of the potential harm caused by the heating/cooling cycle strain on all of the electrical connections and components. So I never turn my computer off.
I am curious if others do the same? It might solve your problem with your next PC.
 

mrschultz

Inserted Coin
make sure you keep your internals clean! I live with 3 dogs and every week i MUST open my computer and manually vacuum out the dust/dander that builds up on my heat fins on the motherboard to keep it's temps down. otherwise it starts to heat up and sometimes it just shuts off!

Last year a guy at work kept saying his computer was getting slower, then it started shutting down, thought it was a virus...

He brought it in for me to look at and when I opened the case at first I thought it was the strangest CPU cooler I'd ever seen, but it was a wall of dust under the fan, it had built right up to the fan blades, completely filled the fins on the heat sink.

Blew out the dust, had to re-seat the CPU and put new heat sink compound on and it was back to normal.

As for leaving it on or turning it off, there's pros and cons of both, some parts will wear out faster and others will be less prone to heat cycling damage. I turn all mine off, mostly to save energy and for less wear on the fans.
 

faralos

Faralos
I also turn mine off, too for that very reason. to save electricity and to increase my fan longevity. My computer is over 3 yrs. old now and anything I can do to help it last I try to do, which includes turning it off, but I am on it on the weekends an average of ten hours a day anyhow, but if i keep it clean the fans rarely turn on, only if i play an online game or do some heavy pinball creating do they turn on. (when it must perform a lot of heavy processing)
 

RockWizard

Rockin' And Rollin'
Because of constant downloading, my computer hasn't been turned off in weeks. BUT.....when it is turned off, I disconnect everything and clean out the insides(especially the dust!). Make sure everything is seated properly.

I read the previous posts and didn't notice how many fans are running in your case. Maybe you need another fan inside to keep things a little cooler.

Power strips? THROW THEM OUT. Go with a box that covers auxilary power and spike protection(an APC type product). I had two of my rigs fried due to power problems(surges, etc.) when using the strips. The last one ---- the jacka$$ power company even admitted it was their fault and didn't attempt to pay for the damn rebuild. Trust me, these boxes come in handy when the weather gets weird. Items plugged into the battery backup side give you enough time to shut everything down(and unplug) in the event of blackouts and quick flashes.
 
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