Author Topic: Computer Turns Off  (Read 2744 times)

Offline nickclone

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Computer Turns Off
« on: Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 11:51:11 AM »
Ok, a couple of months ago I was downloading a large file while playing Skyrim. I then smelled something like burning wires. Apparently, my power supply burned out and I had to buy another one.

Just now I was trying to play Far Cry 3 when my computer just turned off again like before, no burning this time. When I tried to turn it back on, nothing happened. I've fixed this before by just switching power supply cords, but it didn't work this time. However, for some reason when I switched power strips, everything was fine. My main question is, why does this keep happening and can I try to play Far Cry 3 again without causing any major damage?

Offline Xessive

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Re: Computer Turns Off
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 12:18:23 PM »
This sounds like a power management issue. Does it only happen with graphics-intensive games? What could be happening is when the GPU demands the power output the system goes into shutdown as a safety measure.

Offline nickclone

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Re: Computer Turns Off
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 02:45:13 PM »
The weird thing is, this only started when I moved back home. Also, why does it not start back up when it powers down. Some one mentioned that it could be an enclosure issue. I had to put a blanket up over my window (no shades) and the fan on the computer is pretty close to it. Think that could be the problem? Even though I have no place else to put my computer, I'd rather that be the problem than something major.

Edit: Oh and yes, this happens only when I play PC games.
« Last Edit: Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 04:17:53 PM by nickclone »

Offline nickclone

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Re: Computer Turns Off
« Reply #3 on: Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 01:35:45 AM »
Well, my comp shut off again and this time it won't come back on. I tried switching the power supply and that didn't (but the psu is still good). Unless the motherboard is dead, I have no idea what is wrong. This really sucks...

Offline Xessive

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Re:
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 03:17:07 AM »
I'm worried it could be overheating. If that's the case you have to determine which component is causing the excess heat. Since it only happens with games it could very well be the graphics card. As you said, it could also be the motherboard.

Offline nickclone

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Re: Computer Turns Off
« Reply #5 on: Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 10:58:12 AM »
I replaced the psu a little over a month ago, it literally burned out (could see damage and smell it). This time I didn't smell anything and didn't see any damage anywhere. I even checked to see if it was a faulty power switch connection, but no dice. So I gave up and took it to a repair shop,will let you know the damage when I find out.

Offline Pugnate

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Re: Computer Turns Off
« Reply #6 on: Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 11:09:08 AM »
You are back after god knows when and you post here?! :D

Offline scottws

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Re: Computer Turns Off
« Reply #7 on: Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 11:12:57 AM »
Seems like you might have an issue of power quality at home, or perhaps your home doesn't have grounded outlets.  I used my computer at my old house in an ungrounded outlet and it eventually killed the motherboard.

Offline nickclone

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Re: Computer Turns Off
« Reply #8 on: Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 02:08:11 PM »
Sorry Pug, been busy. During the summer I got a girlfriend and we lived in a house with a couple other people. I have since lost my job and had to move back home, still with the girlfriend, but I don't know why.

Our house is old, so I don't know if its grounded, but the comp was plugged into a power supply. I had my first comp in the same spot for almost 10 years and it never game me problems like this computer, which is only two years old.

Offline scottws

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Re: Computer Turns Off
« Reply #9 on: Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 03:48:12 PM »
A power supply as in an UPS?  On an ungrounded outlet those will help you with line sags but not surges.  Surges above a certain voltage threshold are normally sent by the surge protector (or surge protection mechanism in the UPS) to ground but if you have no ground it does damage.  Depending on the severity of the surge, the damage can be large or small and many small surges over time can cause cumulative damage.

In my case, things got worse and worse.  Initially, it was USB devices disconnecting and reconnecting occasionally and then more and more frequently.  Eventually USB devices were dying.  Then I started having issues with drives disappearing from the SATA interface and that problem got worse and worse until I started having trouble booting because it couldn't find the boot disk.  Basically, the problem was the southbridge going, well, south.  Eventually, it wouldn't POST at all.  I had to replace the motherboard.

I'm not saying this is the problem, but it is a suspicion based on the fact that you started having problems after moving home.

There are several ways to test if you have a grounded outlet.  One is to buy something that plugs into the outlet and tells you (like this).  You can find these at almost any hardware store.  If you have a multimeter, just use that.  I bought mine at Harbor Freight for like $6.00.  You set it to test AC voltage.  Set it to 200 or higher.  Read the instructions for the multimeter if you don't know what I'm talking about, or ask someone who knows how to use one.  Then you put the red pin in the hole representing the hot wire and the black pin in the ground.  Here is an image that might help.  If you get something like 108 - 125, it is grounded.  If you get something close to 0, it isn't.

If the outlet itself isn't grounded, you may still be able to ground it. Sometimes the gang box itself (the box that the electrical outlet itself is attached to and the wires are housed in) is grounded via metal sheathing that is around the in-wall wiring, but the outlet's ground screw just isn't connected to the box.  You can test this with a multimeter.  Red goes on the hot wire, black touches the box.  Same results as before.  Something around 108 - 125 and it is grounded, nothing and it is not.  Or maybe there is actually a ground in the gang box but it just isn't wired up to the outlet's ground screw.  The ground will just be a thick twist of copper wires with no insulation, as visible in this picture.  If the gang box itself is grounded or you have the ground wire twist in the gang, you can hook up the outlet's ground screw (usually green) to the ground twist or another screw that you screw into the box, depending on where you found the ground.  If you aren't sure, use a multimeter.  There might be white wires in the box too, but these are neutral wires and not the same as a ground.

If don't have any grounded outlets in your house, you are probably just screwed and will have to deal with it like I did.  My house had no ground whatsoever.  In general, it is not trivial and definitely not cheap to put in grounded outlets in a home that isn't set up with any in the first place.

Be careful testing for the ground using the multimeter!  You will be doing stuff with live electricity!  It is safe as long as you don't allow yourself to come in contact with the hot and something that grounds you (a lot of things will).  I have replaced a ton of electrical switches and outlets and many of the installs have required figuring out which wire is the line (hot power source) and the load (something served by the power, like a light), and this requires using the multimeter with the power flowing to the gang box.  Just be very careful!
« Last Edit: Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 04:17:02 PM by scottws »

Offline nickclone

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Re: Computer Turns Off
« Reply #10 on: Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 07:37:43 PM »
I will have to test this out and see if it is grounded. I really don't like messimg with electricity because I have been shocked a few times, nothing bad. Thanks for the advice.

The guy from the repair shop called me today and told me that the power supply was bad. Apparently the new power supply was putting out too much electricity and it fried my processor/motherboard. It will cost me $250 to repair it, just enough to cost too much, but not enough to warrant buying a new computer. The guy said this is the 5th one he's had today you think there might be something wrong with the power grid in the area.