Odd PC Behavior

By Maethalion
Jun 4, 2007
  1. In addition to my previous post, I have a home PC which is working... marginally.

    I'm running a Dell 8400 (something) with a 3.2GHz Processor, 1Gb RAM, and a nice sized HD. (win XP home edition) The graphics card is a AGP nVidia 6800, with digital out. The monitor is a 15" VGA LCD.

    The problem is that a while back I started having difficulty booting the PC. It would turn on, make all the HD noises, spin the CDROMs, chunk the Floppy, but wouldn't display anything on the monitor. After much swearing, cussing, and waiting, the PC would boot fine, but wouldn't recognize the graphics card. It would boot in 640x480 resolution and in 16-bit color.

    I fixed this by downloading the latest drivers and installing them. This seemed to work, for a while. But the problem kept happening. So my solution was to never turn the PC off, but set it into stand-by mode. I would also get warnings from the nVidia graphics drivers that the power was low and that the card would reduce it's graphics output. Then, it suddenly stopped turning back on, so I bought a $20 GeForce 4x00 cheapo-card and at least the video works.

    And now my system battery is low.

    In addition, I've bought a lynksys G and B wireless network card and sometimes that card isn't recognized by the PC (when coming back from stand-by), so I have to reboot to get the PC to recognize it.

    I plan on getting a new System Battery, but I want to find the root cause of all these problems. I've noticed that the Capacitors on the mother board are "bulging" on the top (rounded instead of flat) and some of them have corrosion on the top (clumpy red stuff - not the white stuff you get on batteries). I was thinking this was a PSU problem, but before I go buy a new one, I'd like to find out if it's the source of my problems, or if it's the mother board and bad components.



    -Stephen Furlani
  2. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

    You answered yourself - caps failed and leaking.

    Copy anything off there you can NOW just to be safe.

    Your motherboard is toast and will fail your other components soon if not already.

  3. Maethalion

    Maethalion TS Rookie Topic Starter


    So what causes capacitor failure? I'd like to not repeat this if I could.
  4. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

  5. Maethalion

    Maethalion TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks, I appreciate the help a lot. I've got a local PC repair shop that should be able to handle the repair and the whole Dell/replacement thing.

    thanks again!

  6. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    poor design, age, heat....

    a computer that runs 24/7 can expect to lose 30% in capacitor storage in 2 years.

    poorly made caps can last even less.
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