Ghost In The Machine - Power Issues?

By garmann
Feb 24, 2008
  1. I have a Dell Dimension 2400 and having problems with power. The computer continuously powers itself off and then back on then off and on etc. It will do this every few seconds and most times it never finishes the boot process before restarting again. It will restart if i am in safe mode or in the bios and sometimes it turns off and on so fast it is just clicking and never even posting. if i shut it down completely by holding the power button until it shuts off it will turn itself back on. occasionally if i let it rest for a week i can run it no problem for a day or 2. Sometimes it will not power back on no matter what i do or press.

    I have switched power supplies and that didn't do anything. I can't re-do the OS because it never stays on long enough. I want to zero fill the drive and reinstall the OS in case there are nasty trojans in there but can't get it to be stable long enough. I have other motherboards but can't use them in this small form factor case so i have no quick way to eliminate the MB as a problem.

    Has anyone heard of this before and can you guide me towards a way to stabalize the system?
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Sounds as though this may be hardware related.
    You have tried to replace the power supply already, so that seems to be eliminated.

    I would also detach all ATA cables leading to the Hard Drive and CD/DVD drive (temporarily for testing)
    There's is good online documentation on that process here:

    The reason for detaching the Hard Drive is to see if you are able to get into CMOS.

    You may also want to tries these options:
    • Unplug all external devices (leaving Keyboard; Video or Power connected only)
    • Remove any addon internal PCI card (ie Modems; Sound Cards; Video Adaptors)
    • Confirm all internal Power and Data plugs are secure
    • Reset the CMOS, using the onboard jumper (service manual required fo location)
    • Remove all internal dust and debri
    • Confirm all Fans are operational (especially CPU)

    Please try that, and report back.
  3. BonePimp

    BonePimp TS Rookie

    The is one other thing you should check take a look at the caps "capacitors" on the motherboard and see if any of them look like they are buldging out at the top with a brown colored paste coming out from the 4 folded seems or a fishy like smell to them. bad caps will also cause random reboots with the reboots becoming more frequent as they heat up.
    If this is the case bad news you have 2 options:
    1.) Find someone that can match up the caps and see if they will replace them.
    "This can prove most costly and risky if the person trying to replace them isnt an experienced solderer and overheats the contacts for the solder. forcing you to buy a new motherboard."
    2.) buy a new motherboard.
    goodluck mate ^^
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