TechSpot

Emachines T2865 killing PSUs

By gfoiboy
Sep 26, 2006
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Hi. A newbie here, so apologies in advance for my ignorance or breaks with Forum protocol.

    I have an Emachines T2865 purchased in 2003 that just died on me. No power at all.
    I removed and tested the PSU with a Multimeter and it was dead (as far as I could tell).
    I replaced it with a 500W PSU via eBay. On receipt, I tested with the multimeter and got power. However, after installing the PSU and powering it up, it hung half way through the boot cycle so I rebooted ( I didnt note the beep sequence on the boot). This reboot killed the replacement PSU i.e. tested with the multimeter and it's dead.
    Also note that I have several other machines on the same UPS powerline, so this ruled out bad power at source (I think).

    At this point I started researching online and discovered that these types of issues are common with Emachine PSUs and mobos.

    After reading a thread on this site, I thought it was the mobo, so I purchased a new mobo and yet another new PSU thru newegg.
    "MB ECS 741GX-M+XPM 2400+CPU 462 "
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813135015
    and a 350W PSU
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817103934

    With the new mobo and PSU installed, on the first try, after getting through the CMOS setup on the new MB, (basically looking around and setting the clock), I got a untrappable flashing blue screen and it went into a boot cycle. I tried in vain to capture the blue screen, but it happened too quickly. The screen appeared 7 seconds after it checked the disks on the boot cycle.
    As I could not break from the cycle, I rebooted again, and this blew my new (third) PSU :(

    So I am really at a loss on what is causing this or how to proceed.

    1. could it still be the PSU, mobo or CPU?
    2. could it be a virus?
    3. Could it be that XP wouldnt boot because of the new mobo? (note I hadnt tried booting from an XP disk and now that the 3rd PSU is dead, I dont have that option.
    4. when PSUs go bad, is that it?? i.e. is there any way to rescue the new PSU or do these types of problems damage the h/w beyond recovery?

    On another site (there are a lot of posts on Emachine problems) I read that this could be a really nasty boot-sector virus (I recently allowed my visiting niece to check her internet email on my computer, and I think that this is where it came from)

    If its a virus, I had a few questions on the best way to proceed

    1) What is the best way to clean the virus from the boot sector?
    2) could I place the main drive in another pc as a slave, recover the fimprtant files and clean it there? Or would this risk blowing up the other PC also?

    Its pretty frustrating to buy two new PSUs and watch them blow up one after the other.
    I now have three dead PSUs, a new mobo, no PC and a wife who is wondering where I am spending all this time :)
    However I am reluctant to give up on this and let this piece of Cr%$ Emachine get the better of me.

    Maybe I am doing something fundemantally wrong, or stupid, that I would be grateful if someone could point out.

    Any guidance on how to proceed would be gratefully appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 4,985

    First off, are the psu's definately dead? Have you shorted the green wire to any of the black ones to see if they power up?
     
  3. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 737

    Sounds like some kind of short. The Antec PSU should be ok. They have protection circuicts that cut power if they are shorted just unplug it let it discharge and it will probably work. You will need to reformat your HDD and reinstall windows with the new motherboard. Check the case and make sure the board is not shorted (standoffs without screws touching the board or any other metal touching the board). You will need to replace the case if it is as E-machines cases have nonremoveable standoffs. Next strip it down to the basics(motherboard,CPU, one stick of RAM,PSU) and add components untill it fails.The part(s) that cause failure are your issue.
     
  4. gfoiboy

    gfoiboy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Wow. thanks guys for the quick response.
    I didnt have any issues fitting the new mobo into the case and it seemed to fit perfectly i.e. all standoffs were snug and screwholes were aligned.
    I removed the mobo again, but now need to get the Antec PSU wortking again. I will try unplugging it and letting it discharge (how long should this usually take?).
    I will also try shorting the green to black to see if it powers up.
    Will post results when done.
    Thanks again for speedy response, suggestions and support - I no longer feel like it's just me against the Emachine :)
     
  5. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 4,985

    If you didnt short the green wire to a black, how did you go about testing the psu?

    I hope you dont mind me saying, but emachines have a lot to answer for. They sell crap to the public then charge the earth when (and not if) it goes wrong.

    Thank god there are poeple like yourself out there that will question what they charge!!!!
     
  6. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,866   +165

    Yes Rik,
    most higher end, (if you can say that) Emachines desktops are a mini-ATX footprint. Any Mini-ATX motherboard and power supply will fit into the cases. For < $100 you can have a good running Mini-ATX system, that only resembles Emachines by the name on the case.

    I thought it was the blue and white wire that you momentairly short to start an ATX power supply
     
  7. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 4,985

    NO, you should NEVER short the blue and white wires together. That would short -12v to -5v and could easily destroy a cheap psu.

    http://www.helpwithpcs.com/courses/power-supply-basics-inc-pinouts.htm#atx-psu-pinouts

    The green (ps_on) should be pulled down to ground (0v) in order to fire the psu up. I know of what i speak, I have worked in the electronics trade as a test engineer for over 15 years. My main task was to fault find on till psu's which are similar in many ways to a pc psu.
     
  8. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,866   +165

    Thanks Rik,
    I remember now :) Green to black it is!
     
  9. gfoiboy

    gfoiboy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks again Rik.
    >>If you didnt short the green wire to a black, how did you go about testing >>the psu?

    When I got the first replacement, I got a 3V reading on my multimeter, even before I installed the PSU. After it died, I got no reading whatsoever on the first PSU.
    Also, as both the first and second replacement units initialized the boot sequence on both mobos, before dying on the second boot, I assumed that they both initially worked and were somehow "blown" on the second boot.

    I havent tested the second Antec PSU with the Multimeter yet and until you suggested it, I was not aware of the green/black shorting trick to get it to power up. I will give it a shot this evening.

    Also, would you know if the protection circuits on the Antec possibly kicked in, should these automatically reset or do I somehow need to reset? I googled this question but couldnt find an obvious answer.

    >> I hope you dont mind me saying, but emachines have a lot to answer for. >> They sell crap to the public then charge the earth when (and not if) it goes wrong.

    I couldnt agree more. Its the classic switch and bait sales method - sell cheap and extort your money by charging the earth for replacements when they fail.
     
  10. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,866   +165

    gfoiboy,
    when you check power supplies output with a volt meter, be sure to connect the ATX connector to the motherboard first. Power supplies need to be loaded inorder to get accurate voltage readings. Also, motherboards have voltage and current regulators on the board, so if one or more of these fail, this could load down the power supply, making you think that the power supply is bad when it is not
     
  11. gfoiboy

    gfoiboy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    thx tmagic.
    When I tested with the multimeter, I wasnt really looking for the exact voltage readings, just any reading, to see if there was any power coming through.

    With the PSU off the mobo, I can understand why I might not see power because of the green/black not being shorted,

    If I understand you correctly, isnt this a bit of a catch-22 situation in testing for power? The PSU will not have power without it being attached to the mobo, but if its attached to the mobo, the mobo regulators might make it seem like it has no power? So how could I confirm power either way?

    Thanks for the suggestions though.
    I will try the green/black short method and both of your suggestions and see if my PSU will power up.

    If all these fail to power it up, I will return it as a DOA PSU.

    I'm still not sure whether it is the mobo blowing the PSU, vice versa or something else entirely.

    Could anything else blow the PSU? e.g. a bad HDD or memory?

    Aside from checking the PSU this evening, I also plan on mounting my primary HDD as a slave on another machine and running a virus scan on it. If it is infected, hopefully, my Norton will catch any virus before they do damage to the other machine.

    Thanks again. Much appreciated!!
     
     
  12. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 4,985

    Norton is also crap, get rid of it, its probably THE most problematic bits of software there is!!!!!

    With the psu's, if you short the green to black the psu should fire up, if not, its faulty. If you do this test on all the psu's you have that you suspect may be faulty, if they pass this test then they will probably (but not certainly) work fine.

    If you have 1 or more that pass then try them on the mobo. If it wont fire up then is more likely to be mobo, processor, or ram. Have just the bare essentials plugged in, like mobo (obviously), processor, and ram. I think your system has a built in graphics card, if not, then you will need a card in it for test.

    See if it works, if not post your results and we can check a few more things.
     
  13. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,866   +165

    Hey Rik,
    don't you just momentairily short the green wire to ground to start the PSU? Isn't the case on/off switch momentarily closed when pressed?
     
  14. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 737

    no to test a PSU you keep the wires connected as long as you want it to run. for a motherboard test you short the PWR switch pins momentarily.
     
  15. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 4,985

    Sorry, i should have explained better, dmill89 is correct.
    The power switch is momentary action to the mobo which then pulls the ps_on (green wire) to ground permanently while switched on.
     
  16. gfoiboy

    gfoiboy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hey guys.
    I followed your suggestions and got some results!!
    With your excellent help, it turns out that I was able to power up the Antec PSU on its own by shorting the green and therore establish that it was not in fact blown (the original PSU was in fact dead).
    Again, thanks to your help, I connected the PSU and powered up the mobo with only memory attached. I then reseated the mobo in the case and tried again with no issues.
    I then added back the HDD and hey presto, it failed when booting the OS.
    However, unlike before where it died after the first cycle, this time, I was, and am, able to repeatadly repower to the point where the OS load blue screened.
    So, the net-net is (with your excellent suggestions) I now seem to have isolated the issue to the HDD.
    My feeling is that it could be a bad spot on the boot sector of the HDD or a virus.

    If its a virus, what's the best way to proceed

    1) What is the best way to clean the virus from the boot sector?

    2) should I just reinstall XP Pro - note I do have picture files that I need to recover, so during the reinstall of XP Pro, would I need to reformat the drive to get rid of the virus?

    3) Could I place the main drive in another pc as a slave, recover the important files and clean it there? Or would this risk blowing up the other PC also? Bad as Norton is (and Rik, I pledge to replace it with whatever you recommend when I am done), would it protect the other PC, is a virus was present?

    Again, I am in deep appreciation of your help thus far and in awe of your knowledge and willingness to help me out.
     
  17. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 737

    You stated that you replaced the motherboard. When you replace a motherboard in an OEM machine you will need to reformat the HDD and reinstall windows XP as the OEM licence agreement states that you cannot replace the motherboard with the original windows installation and OEM's like E-machines set it up so that the original install of the OS as well as their recovery disk will not work with a new motherboard.You will need a Windows disc to reinstall the OS.
    Even if you have your own windows installed you will need to preform a repair installation to make it compatible with the chipset of the new motherboard.
     
  18. gfoiboy

    gfoiboy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks dmill89.
    So should I first attach as a slave and recover my files? Would you know if Norton will protect me or should I worry about the virus infecting my good machine?
     
  19. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 737

    If you want your files you will need to attach it as a slave to recover them.
    Norton should protect you from viruses but it is known for false positives and slowing downsystems as well as causeing errors. Porsonally I would get rid of norton and use AVG avalible here: http://www.grisoft.com/doc/1 it is good and doesn't use too many system resources. best of all $40 gets you a 2 year licence instead of the usuall one year with norton.
    There is also a free version of AVG avalible Here: http://free.grisoft.com/doc/2/lng/us/tpl/v5 but it does leave out a couple features.
     
  20. gfoiboy

    gfoiboy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    awesome. thanks for the advice and the recommendation on AVG. I'll let you know how I get on with the file recovery and reinstallation process.

    One other thing...I was half thinking of testing my original mobo on the new PSU.

    a) the original may have been responsible for killing the first PSU and
    b) by all I have read and heard, the original Emachine mobo, like the PSU, was crap to begin with and is not worth the effort.

    Do you think that would be worth the risk or should I just dump it in the trash and move on?
     
  21. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 737

    I wouldn't be too woried about frying an Antec PSU due to their protection circuicts but E-machines motherboards are total garbage and if it is not already dead it will likely die eventually. I would just put the new board in and get rid of the old board.
     
  22. gfoiboy

    gfoiboy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I did some checking on AVG, and while Norton is rated lower than most, Bitdefender and McAfee seem to get higher marks than AVG in the reviews I looked at. Any views on these products versus AVG? I have to admit I like the 5 PC/2 yr pricing option for AVG.

    On my ongoing problem, when I attached the HDD as a slave and tried to copy the files, it rebooted my new machine. On restarting, XP ran chkdsk on the slave drive and repaired some indices on the NTFS before starting windows. I ran NAV on all volumes and it didnt find any viruses.
    I was able to recover all files and save to my new PC.

    When I put my the HDD back as master in my old Emachine, and booted with the XP install cd, it told me that I was in the middle of an install and asked did I want to continue. I figured why not, but it then got stock looking for some drv file later on and I had to restart again.

    That's where I left it, but apart from firguring out the issues with reinstaling XP, it looks like I am on the road to recovery.

    Rik and dmill, thanks so much for your help on this project. It's really appreciated.
     
  23. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 737

    McAfee and bitdefender are also good options but I like AVG's licenceing better and I like the fact that it uses very little system resources.

    For the XP reinstally you will likely have to reformat and possibly zero the drive to get rid of all of the old E-machines files.
     
  24. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 4,985

    I'm glad you almost have it all sorted.

    Its nice to be appreciated!!!
     
  25. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 10,074   +13

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