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Emachines c2280, is it dead?

By johnlvs2run ยท 39 replies
May 24, 2008
  1. I've had an Emachines c2280 for 5 years and now it's not booting up.
    I'd like to either rebuild it, or else build a new one, maybe from a shuttle barebones.
    My preference is to rebuild the Emachines, as the case is nicer than any others that I've seen.

    May 6th the computer kept starting and restarting but wouldn't boot all the way up.
    Finally it started. Then for the next couple of weeks it would intermitently beep twice and reboot.
    Often it would only start part way and reboot again. At least once it clicked off while I was in the Bios.
    However, I still used it most of the time for 2 weeks.
    Then as of two days ago the fans would only go a few seconds before the computer would shut down.
    Then 2 days ago it stopped working at all.

    The problem started after I used magicjack in the USB port for the phone, which loaded a UTSCSI file.
    I've heard the magicjack cdloader.exe file causes problems with windows, and XP SP2 causes problems
    with the USB file usbport.sys. I deleted the suspect files but the rebooting continued.

    optical drives and printer have not worked since May 6th
    computer - dust blown out and is clean
    2x 512 memory - switched 1 by 1 and no change
    motherboard - looks clean, no discoloration or smell
    capacitors - have normal appearance, not swollen
    power switch - tested good
    bestec 250w power supply - tested good
    western digital 80gb harddrive - only has 12gb's on it
    cmos battery - is good, removed for 5 minutes and no change

    Is a dead motherboard most likely the issue? What else might it be?

    I have been looking at doing a Shuttle build, but would prefer to rebuild the Emachines as I like the case.
    My wish list for the Shuttle: https://secure.newegg.com/NewVersio...47&WishListTitle=shuttle31+for+linux+2hd+$460

    Is it feasible to do a similar build in the Emachines case?
  2. johnlvs2run

    johnlvs2run TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    I cleaned out the computer a month ago and am relatively sure it's not overheating.
    Even before that, the temp usually registered 103 degrees when hot.
    I don't play any games or do any thing all that intensive.

    This past month I've been using the sleep function, and moving the ball on the trackball to start up.
    When the problem occurred May 6, I stopped using the sleep function and just left the computer on all the time.
    A few days ago the computer seemed to be better, so I started using the sleep function again - but then the rebooting
    started again, got worse and now the computer doesn't go on at all.

    Responses appreciated. Thanks.
  3. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,761   +2,432

    Emachines, #1 in Customer Satisfaction......!

    When an Emachines mobo fails, it usually takes out the PSU. Emachines with the Bestec 250 are the ones notorious for mobo failure. That said, you did say you installed a program which is supposed to cause trouble with Windows. You mignt try a non-destructive restore with your CDs. My Emachines has "PC Angel" restore, which works like crazy. You only get 2 choices, wipe the drive and reinstall everything <<<<< that you DON't want. Or, it will install a fresh copy of XP from the "D" partition. <<<<You DO want that. I just did it last week, one click and away you go, even leaves the Windows Updates in place. Some of the goofy symptoms you describe could be malware, who knows.

    Still it could be a bad PSU all the different voltages don't necessarily fail at once. When my Bestec 300 failed, all the case fans were running great, albeit at full blast.
    Boot, reboot, won't wake from sleep, are all classic bad PSU symptoms

    One of our members "raybay" has a better knowledge of exactly which Emachines models give the most grief with mobo failure. It's the boards made by "Tri-Gem, which fail the most, so you might try googling for your exact specs. Emachines website does still have full specs on all their models under "support".

    Can you boot this machine into BIOS? (F2) that would read this PSU voltages. Would you be willing to try and install a copy of Ubuntu Linux?
  4. johnlvs2run

    johnlvs2run TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    The cd drive and printer haven't worked since May 6, so I haven't been able to install any cd's. I don't recall the angel restore on CD. The last time XP crashed, Linux was still working. I was only using XP for the magicjack. I tried to restore XP to the C drive and instead it wiped out everything, all partitions - so I think this particular XP CD doesn't have much of a choice of how to restore

    The PC won't boot to the Bios anymore. The Bios was rather shallow, didn't show voltages, didn't test memory, at least not that I was able to find. Now the PC is not booting at all.

    Okay then thanks - I won't use it any more.

    I've added up some parts for a rebuild and will post them for feedback next message.
  5. johnlvs2run

    johnlvs2run TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    how is this for a build in the emachines case

    Please give feedback on how you feel this build might work in the Emachines case, and what you think of the build.
    I've read that some BioStar motherboards work in Emachines cases but am not sure about this one.

    case - emachines
    psu - antec earthwatts 380w 80+
    mobo - biostar a690g or biostar ta780g
    cpu - amd be-2350 brisbane 2.1ghz 45w
    memory - gskill 2x 2gb 800
    harddrive - seagate barracuda 7200 80gb sata (sata or ata?)
    optical - pioneer dvd burner

    Details here: https://secure.newegg.com/NewVersio...WishListTitle=emach+biostar+amd45w+linux+$300
  6. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    We maintain a list of failed eMachines. We have 14 models for which the motherboard fails, not the Bestec power supply.
    But your C2280 is not yet reported as one of the high failure rates.
    On the other hand, most eMachines motherboards are constructed under license in Korea by a company called Tri-Gem. These boards have the highest failure rate in the business. Apparently the componets cannot handle the changes that naturally occur from heat or environmental concerns, or they simply are not made very well. It seems that few Tri-Gem products last very long.

    The Besttec power supply is not a good one compared to most others. But the identical power supply was used in very large numbers of Gateway, HP, Systemax, and Microstar computers with only minimal failure rates.
    It is the board. Get another. Avoid the frustration.
  7. johnlvs2run

    johnlvs2run TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    The L7VMM2 REV:1.0A is an ECS, which is said on this board to be one of those known to fail.

    It is perhaps a micro-ATX with socket A.

    Via VT8235 0303CD China 23A3987761
    Phoenix Bios D888 111636756
  8. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,761   +2,432


    I can't speak to the CPU or the board on your wish list, (I'm an Intel guy). Actually I could, it just wouldn't mean any thing.

    However, I'm completely on board with the Pioneer DVD burner. (I own 5 of them).

    Let me suggest the Seagate 160GB SATA2. You double your hard drive capacity for $11.00. Hard to resist, yes? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148230 The board you mention is SATA, even raid compatible so I wouldn't even consider the PATA HDD option. Leave the IDE buss for your opticals

    Kingston's "Value RAM" works wonderfully for me. Here's 2GB DDR800 for $44.95 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820134117

    You're not going to be able to overclock the crap out of it, but the computer you're describing is fairly basic, you might not want to. I do mean basic in a good way.

    Should you elect to save a bit on the memory, I'd put the extra bucks back into a better PSU. Here's an Antec "Earthwatts" http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371005 They're saying "Memorial Day Sale" on this PSU.
    It's $30.00 if you're willing to wait for the rebate. Antec is one of better companies for customer service, you needn't worry, they'll send you the rebate. (This assuming you file it correctly).
    These PSUs are short, so they're a nice fit in an Emachines Matx case. They won't foul the back of the drives. You need to install an aftermarket DVD drive in the lower bay. The top bay holes are drilled for an OEM Emachine optical drive only.

    My Emachines is a T-5026 (Intel P4 w/915 GAG Intel board) and it's a tad newer than yours. (3 1/2 years) So, it's hard to say if your recovery options are the same as mine. I was actually able to use Ubuntu to access the recovery partition. (I misplaced my recovery discs). So, restoring the OEM software wasn't an option open to me. But really, who would want to.

    You could order the PSU this weekend to get the price, try it in your computer, if it doesn't help, go for the rest of your parts in the second order. The PSU is free shipping now, so you wouldn't save any shipping costs by waiting to include it in the order with the bulk of the parts.
  9. Tedster

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

  10. johnlvs2run

    johnlvs2run TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    Thanks much for your recommendations.
    I have no preference Amd or Intel except the 45 watts is attractive.
    Harddrive size is a consideration but I don't use much space and thought the smaller drive would be faster.
    I'm planning to use a second drive (perhaps the old one) for a swap. Is there a benefit to a larger drive besides size?

    Yes, my interest is in basics - no games - basic searches, message boards, chatting, word processing and occasional videos such as youtube.

    I saw the Earthwatts and was concerned about the 380 but note it is quite efficient.
    Does this mean it would use less energy than the 250w psu? If so, then I'll get it. :)

    The Pioneer drive?

    I don't care about XP but would like to get some of the data from there, such as email addresses and such.

    Oh that's cool! Would it be safe to try in the Emachines?

    Thanks for posting that link. I read it yesterday and there's a lot of great information.
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,761   +2,432

    The AMD CPUs are supposed to be a good value about now. For me to recommend an Intel would require a board change. I didn't want to tamper with your budget. I thought your choices here were as good as any.
    Actually, Seagate's 500GB 7200.11 is supposed to be one of the fastest drives around. So no, size doesn't matter with respect to speed. HDDs are supposed to be fastest in the first 1/3 of their capacity. Since 1/3 of 160 is 2 times 1/3 of 80...(!) or (?) as the case may be.
    If your old drive is IDE you would lose the IDE master when you connect it. You only get 1 IDE buss in the new boards, so you would have to choose between a volume drive and 1 burner, or direct drive to drive copy with 2 opticals. This of course assumes your original CD burner is still in working order.
    I'm guessing that 80% efficiency is against what is being asked of the PSU, not always against it's full power capability. So no, it probably won't draw any more than yours does now, and possibly less. If the system draws 160 watts at idle, upping the PSUs max capacity won't make it use more. Besides, the EA-380 is Antec's smallest offering in the "Earthwatts" line. Manufacturers install those 250 and 300 watt supplies have just enough juice to get to box out of the store. A little extra capacity will save wear and tear, and allow a little bit of potential for a video card upgrade should you ever be so moved.

    Emachines has their ODD suppliers modify the cases of the drives to match the bolt pattern in the top bay which is non-standard. So yes, the Pioneer would need to be in the bottom bay. Incidentally, I just got one of the 115 Pioneers, Nero chooses to run it at 18X. It turns out perfect DVDs at this speed, even though the media I have is only rated at 16X.
    With only 12GB on an 80GB drive Ubuntu could be installed on a small partition, say 5GB. Ubuntu will read NTFS, so no problem in retrieving files there. Here's the caution; to attempt installing Linux on your drive, you need to have been a little diligent about defragging your HDD. If you were asking to install Linux, I would have said make sure you defrag before you try the install, and make sure the drive is less than 25 % full. Then there's plan "B": Pull your drive out, and install it in another computer, (as a slave), and retrieve your data that way. Plan "B" may be the best way anyway.
    Unless, your Bestec or mobo smells like a peed on campfire, I'm thinking probably. Newegg is very accommodating when it comes to returns also.
  12. johnlvs2run

    johnlvs2run TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    You are giving me a lot of great information, which is much appreciated. :)
    I will go with a bigger HD as suggested.
    I'm not sure what this means, that it couldn't be used as a master HD anymore? That is fine.
    Could I connect it Ide to retrive the info, and then use it on Sata after that? Or plan B on Sata?
    If not, I'll get another Sata drive later on. The HD was less than 20% full, and JKDefragged regularly.

    The CD burner is hopefully still working well, though it's in the bottom bay of the tray.
  13. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,761   +2,432

    A computer's IDE buss has a master and slave position on the ribbon cable. A HDD must be connected to the "master", which is the furthest one from the board. I also meant you couldn't (or shouldn't) use it as the system drive. If you use it at all, it would be as a "Volume" drive. Just storage space nothing more.
    As I said earlier, you could actually install the drive in another computer running Windows and retreive your data that way. To do this, the drive must be connected as a slave, (the center position on the ribbon cable) and not be in the boot order. That's not as complicated as it sounds. The SATA and PATA connections are completely different. What you call "ATA" is an 80 pin ribbon connector. SATA is a small cable less than 1/4 the size. SATA = "serial" ATA. "PATA" = "parallel" ATA which is connected to the computer's IDE buss, the same as the CD drives. Your old Emachines board likely has 2 IDE busses, enough for 4 drives. Your new board would only have one, so it's only going to be useful for either 2 optical drives or your existing ATA HDD and 1 optical.
    With your stated low need of HDD space, you should partition your new drive to something like about 40GB / 120 GB, then install the OS on the small partition. The computer will then report this as 2 drives. It actually isn't. With 2 PHYSICAL HDDs you would have the option of duplicating your data across them, in an even more secure back-up strategy.

    Here you lost me. If there is only one optical drive, and it's the one that the machine shipped with, it should be in the top bay, with the blank cover below it.
  14. johnlvs2run

    johnlvs2run TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    The top bay has a DVDr drive and the 2nd bay has a CDw drive. Perhaps I could put a DVDw in the top bay then?

    I understand about the master and slave positions, but don't know if the old drive could be used as slave drive in sata, or does it not have a sata connection.

    The drive used to be partitioned dual boot with ubuntu and xp, before xp wiped it all out. My reason for wanting the 2nd drive is to be used only as swap - as I was told this is much faster than having swap on partition, because the head of the drive never moves. I don't know if that is the case but will see, and will have plenty of room on the 1st drive for my files.

    The L7VMM2 REV:1.0A is an ECS, which is said on this board to be one of those known to fail. It is perhaps a micro-ATX with socket A. I'm not sure if the socket refers to the motherboard or the case. If the former, then it shouldn't have any significance for replacement.

    I have a concern of the motherboard taking out a new powersupply, or does the superior electronics of the new power supply prevent this from happening?
  15. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    "I have a concern of the motherboard taking out a new powersupply, or does the superior electronics of the new power supply prevent this from happening?"

    Nobody knows. Yet. There are 14 models of the eMachines that have this problem of the motherboard failure causing the power supply failure. There have been over 300 models, but all this models with high failure rates were issued after 2003. The group planning a class action law suit do not list your model among those with the extreme high failure rate (which exceeds 65%)
    Why take your chances when you can buy a Dell Dimension 8400, a wonderful computer, for $219 including shipping, that uses SATA. Its failure rate is minimal to non-existent, or the Dell Optiplex GX260 and GX-270 which sell for $129 (but is EIDE) both of which exceed the specs of your eMachines, and are known to be rugged, reliable, and supported.
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,761   +2,432

    OK then, no matter what you'll have to decide which 2 of your 3 opticals are staying. An aftermarket drive can be adapted to the top bay, you just need to drill new holes in the rails.

    It does not have a SATA connection. There is no master or slave in SATA. Each drive is a separate entity, wired point to point to the SATA controller

    Should you elect to try this, you're pretty much on your own. I wouldn't try it, but I'm not very adventurous. When the swap and OS partitions are close together I would think the drives read head doesn't move that much anyway. Who knows, time for a second opinion about that. The easiest way to get yourself back up and running is to use the board's SATA ports for the HDD (s) and the IDE buss for the opticals.

    ECS ="Enhanced Chip Set". You would need a Matx board anyway, since an "ATX board won't fit an Emachines case. (Micro ATX refers to the physical size of the board, which is a maximum of 9.6 " X 9.6") "Socket A" refers to the processor socket. Actually, in the case of the processor you've chosen it's a "Socket AM2". The motherboards you've suggested are socket AM2 (methinks). I can't speak to the reliability of the chipset I simply don't know enough about it.

    This depends on who you ask. My T-5026 has gone through 2 PSUs, a Bestec 300, and an Antec"Smartpower 350" with the original mobo. I'm writing this post on the machine with PSU #3. (An Antec EA-380) Working fine. If your board is in fact shorted it could possibly damage a new supply. there is a certain amount of risk involved, but I don't know how to avoid that. Well, other than putting the bestec in another computer or buying a PSU tester.
  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,761   +2,432

    14 out of 300 models equals 4.7%. Now this lawsuit has been in the "planning" stage for quite some time. Hearing about it has become a bit tiresome. I don't say it's unwarranted or unfounded, I just think it's time to s*** or get off the pot. Believe it or not, there are many people in the world who are happy with their Emachines, myself included. johnlvs2run has gotten 5 years of service from his computer, I suppose you could say it was supposed to give him 10 years, but the nickel is still a good run.
    I couldn't find these machines for these prices. The 8400 is probably discontinued, since it's got a Prescott Pent 4 (560). So, if you know someplace that has a stash of these things laying around at these prices, you might give us a boost with a link, thanks.

    As far as which Emachines are the troublemakers, it would help to post your list of model numbers in a locked thread, no opportunity for rebuttal. Perhaps "Guides and Solved Issues" would be an appropriate place for it.. The other Emachines threads are dozens of pages of contention without consensus. Rik tried to do a good thing by starting the "If You Own a Emachines Read This" thread, but somehow the message got lost.
  18. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    You are not part of it, Captain Cranky, so don't you worry about it. You are the loyal opposition. You think things are fine with eMachines. They have nearly 700 machines now... targeting 750. It will not be in the newspapers.
  19. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,761   +2,432

    OK Raybay, what I really think is I would have appreciated the links to the Dells at the prices you quoted. This to help the poster with some additional choices.

    I think I actually would like to see the model numbers of the problem Emachines in a thread of their own without opening the floor up to discussion.

    I don't actually think that everything is "fine" with Emachines, that's just a convenient oversimplification on your part. I think that there are good and bad Emachine models and I think Emachines may have rectified some of their problems quietly, without fanfare so as to avoid lawsuits and messy, expensive recalls. Sort of a "without admitting any wrongdoing" kind of settlement, but without the intervention of the courts. Even their Celeron machines were shipping with the larger 300 watt Bestec PSUs. I don't think they're blissfully unaware of any problems of the past. But, I do think they have more lawyers on retainer than you do, and I'm certain that that clock is running on the statutes of limitations.
  20. johnlvs2run

    johnlvs2run TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    how is this for a build in the emachines case

    Here's my updated build to put in the Emachines case. I'm planning to order today.
    case - emachines
    psu - antec earthwatts 380w 80+
    motherboard - biostar ta780g
    cpu - amd be-2350 brisbane 2.1ghz 45w
    memory - gskill 2x1gb 800
    harddrive - seagate barracuda 7200 250gb sata

    The Emachines case gives me more room than the shuttle, and seems to meet mATX standards.
    I like the 80+ power supply and 45w cpu. :)
    The motherboard has plenty of room for expansion of memory later on.
    I'm planning to get an 80gb second harddrive when a good deal comes up.
    I'd rather have 2x 40gb but the 250gb is $60 and an 80gb is $46 with shipping.
    A dvd burner can wait.

    How does this look for the Emachines case?
    Total $305 + tax and shipping.
    Details here:
    Thanks for all of your comments.
  21. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,761   +2,432

    Have you been having trouble logging on the our server? Yesterday was brutal!

    Anyway, I wish you a lot of luck with your build. I don't see anything that I personally would avoid.

    Before you buy the memory I would check the board's website to determine if they consider it campatible. Some boards are pickier than others. If they don't say, roll the dice I suppose.

    You're talking about adding more memory later. You should probably install a 64 Bit OS. A 32 bit OS won't be able to use more than about 3 GBs or so.

    The new Ubuntu 8.04 is out, and it has 3 years of support, so you might want to download your copy today, so's you're ready to go when your computer is built.

    So, good luck, and don't be afraid to post back if you need anything.
  22. johnlvs2run

    johnlvs2run TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    need help with invisible seagate

    I've been offline ten days, as the second windows system failed, this time to an autologoff virus, and I have no other windows system to repair it. The emachines is still dead with the new power supply, which leaves the emach motherboard as the culprit, and nothing worth rebuilding on there.

    As of this morning the new system is set up on the motherboard box. The biostar motherboard is fantastic!

    However, there's a major issue, as the seagate harddrive doesn't allow pclinux or ubuntu to install, and doesn't allow gparted to format or partition the drive. Basically the harddrive is invisible. Unfortunately the fine print on the seagate says it can only be formatted with windows, of which I have no more working copy. I am very annoyed with seagate, will never get another of their drives, will probably have to order a western digital and send this one back. In the meantime I'm getting online from the ubuntu livecd. The pclinux livecd runs offline but hasn't been able to connect.

    Any suggestions on how to get linux installed on the seagate?
  23. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    We use Seagate drives exclusively. We have never had the problem you describe in over 1000 Seagate drives. Please post the model number of the drive, being sure to list the last two digits, along with the size. Windows is required for partition sizes above 127 GB. You will have problems if other software is already installed on the drive, or based on how the drive is partitioned.
    Have you contacted Seagate support online? They will not accept a return if it actually will work.
  24. johnlvs2run

    johnlvs2run TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    seagate harddrive won't work without windows?

    Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

    So there's no way this drive will work without MS windows. :mad:

    Update: Yes, I have sent them an email. Everything on their site is all about MS.

    As I'll probably need to return this drive, can you recommend drives that will work without MS?

  25. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,761   +2,432

    This could be a SATA driver issue. A HAL in most boards will allow the BIOS to configure drives to be run as IDE, (under Windows XP), but Linux distros seem immune or rather oblivious to it. Linux will install in my old Emachines T-5026 (Intel 915), but with my G965 Intel or Gigabyte G31 it pretty much gets ignored.

    Depending on the distro, Linux will either ask for drivers, or just sit there.

    I wouldn't think that 2 partitions on the drive would be a terrible inconvenience, would it? you're only getting 223GB out of your 250 anyway. 2 X 112GB?
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