I believe my PSU is bad, fix or buy a new computer?

By James92se ยท 9 replies
Jun 4, 2009
  1. I'm new here and as a preface I'm not the greatest with computers. I've had an eMachines T2895 for at least 4-5 years now, and had no problems with it at all (this thing actually was on 24 hours a day for years) until a week or two back. The mouse seemingly stopped working, so I got a good mouse to try and it still didn't work. I turned it off figuring I'd mess with it later. The next time I turned it on, it didn't boot up normally but had a black screen with a bunch of white text (I can't remember what it said), and made a clicking noise. Now it won't turn on at all.

    Now, before I posted here, I did a bunch of research and it seems the initial problem was a bad PSU (power supply unit I presume). I opened the case and the PSU in there is a Bestec, which appears to be pretty crappy based on my research. I also read that many times the failed PSU will ruin the motherboard (which is what I figure "mobo" is).

    So here's my n00b questions. First, I feel fairly confident I can replace the PSU myself, but how do I determine if the motherboard is bad or not? I don't want to buy a new PSU and there still be more problems with it.

    Second, if the motherboard IS bad (and I realize this is a silly question to you guys), what practical implication does that cause? Does that mean all my "stuff" is gone? Say, for example, if I have to replace the PSU and the motherboard, does that essentially create a new "old" computer? In this case, and all my "stuff" is gone, I don't see the point of fixing the computer

    Third, if my "stuff" isn't gone, and assuming it's not worth it to fix and I just buy a new computer, how do I retrieve said "stuff"?
  2. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    A clicking sound with white text onscreen usually means an HDD failure. Nothing is likely wrong with your PSU, because if it was fried, you would instantly smell burnt plastic from the blown capacitors. (that is usually how Bestecs go out). You will have lost the data on the HDD though.

    I would recommend replacing the PSU along with the HDD too, to prevent any further mishaps.

    Can you elaborate on how it does not turn on? Does the PC not power up or does it power up and not boot into Windows?
  3. James92se

    James92se TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, before posting, I spent a few hours reading posts/forums/articles/etc. online specifically about eMachines and PSU problems. It seemed virtually any problem with eMachines computers not turning on turned out to be the PSU. I found a thread where the person had a similar problem in which the mouse and keyboard didn't work, and then the computer wouldn't turn on and it turned out to be the PSU.

    When I say it won't turn on, I mean the computer literally wont turn on. Pushing the "on" button on the front literally does nothing. However, just a few days ago it would turn on and boot completely into Windows just fine, but after about 30 seconds the mouse cursor wouldn't work/move and when a key was pushed on the keyboard it just made a beeping sound. I shut it down and the next time I turned it on after that it gave the black screen with white text (really wish I could remember what it said) and the clicking sound, then now the computer won't turn on at all.
  4. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 475

    The General Problem with older (pre-Gateway/Acer) emachines is not the powersupply takeing out the motherboard but the exact oppisite; a bad motherboard takeing out the PSU when it fails (perticuarlly the trigem imperials). As power supplys go the Bestec's arn't that bad while they are not a brand I would reccomend; any one I have seen was resonibly well built (not as good as seasonic, PCP&C, Antec, delta, corsair, etc. but better than many cheap aftermarket PSUs and PSUs included with cheap cases) with decent (not the best but acceptible) components (Dell and HP have been useing them for years without many problems so it seems the cheap emachines motherboards are the main issue. Since your system will not turn on it is likely the power supply is dead (not uncommon for a system as old as your's) the only question is did the PSU just die or did the motherboard take it out. If you have acccess to a spare powersupply you can try it and see it the computer turns on and boots.One thing you can check; there is a white sticker on the botttom right corner of the back of the case. It contains UL and other information and in the bottom right corner of the sticker it should say "manufactured for emachines by ...." Generally it will say trigem (the most problamatic), FIC, or ECS (the latter two have less problems) If it is a trigem look over the motherboard for any obvious signs of failure such as burn marks (one fried emachines I saw actually had the ATX connector melted to the motherboard) , bulgeing/leaking capacitors, etc.

    The clicking could be several things such as a failing HDD (as Rage_3K_Moiz said), failing fans (this could lead to overheating and failure of the CPU or PSU depending on which fan was failing), or elctrical arcing from a short.
  5. James92se

    James92se TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, here's an update:

    I bought a new PSU for it, and finally got it today. I installed it and now the computer turns on and boots into Windows normally. The thing is, the mouse still isn't working. All my stuff on the desktop is still there so I don't believe there was any loss of data, etc. I can also use the keyboard to navigate things I have on the desktop like pictures and whatnot, and it all works normally, just the mouse doesn't seem to work.

    I also checked the motherboard incredibly thoroughly for obvious signs of failure like leaking/bulging capacitors, burn marks, etc. and can't find anything. Strangely enough, the board on my refrigerator just went out and the repairman pointed out to me the obvious burn mark where it failed and i see nothing like that (or anything else) on the motherboard on my computer.

    Any ideas?
  6. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 475

    The non-working mouse could come from (minor) damage to the motherboard. I'm guessing you are useing a PS-2 mouse (round port). Try a USB mouse I've seen a few computers with bad PS-2 ports and replaceing the affected periferal with a usb version generally solves the problem.
  7. James92se

    James92se TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yes it's a round port that plugs in the back. Unfortunately I don't have a USB mouse to try so I'll have to go try to buy one. Surely they aren't more than a few bucks?

    I also got it to load/open Mozilla as well as many of the programs from the start menu as well as standby/restart/shutdown so I really am hoping it's only a problem with the mouse. Is there a way to run some sort of diagnostic to determine if the motherboard has any other damage aside from the mouse port?
  8. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 475

    Generally just see if everything works. For some reason PS-2 ports and dial up modems seem to be the devices most affected by powerspikes/irreguarlarities (most likely due to their ultra low voltage&current design not beaing to absorb spikes, the fact that they can fail from small spikes also decreases the likelyhood of physical signs of damage). memtest will check your memory for problems and there are several other diagnostic programs (many avalible under the downloads section of this site) but as far as I know they only test major components (memory, cpu, main chipsets, etc.) and not the board as a whole. Generally unless you are expreienceing alost of crashes, BSODs, or data corruption the major components are working fine.
  9. James92se

    James92se TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I appreciate all your input. I went to WalMart and got a $9 USB mouse. Tried it in every single USB port on the computer and nothing. I know the USB ports work because I can plug in a flash drive and it opens/displays all the contents of the drive.

    I'm really not sure what my next step should be. Can I just buy a replacement motherboard? Are those plug and play?
  10. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 475

    Ok, now it sounds like a software issue. If the USB ports are good the mouse should work. It seems like windows isn't recogniseing it. You could try system restore or a repair install of windows if you have a windows disk.

    There is also the slight posibility that the PS-2 mouse circuit failed in a closed mannor(meaning it believes there is a mouse when there is not one connected and a short prevents the signel getting to the rest of the motherboard when there is a mouse connected) however I have always seen mouse circuits fail in an open fassion where the system does not see a PS-2 mouse weather not one is connected.

    Also check the BIOS for an option to enable USB mouse (some older boards require this) or an option to dissable the PS-2 mouse.

    As for a new motherboard for a system that old It just isn't worth it. Finding a board to support your ram and cpu will be dificult unlesss you get a used board (usually cheap but motherboards are easy to damage so a used one is risky). And you will likely need a new copy of windows since oem licences are linked to the motherboard(probably about $200 for a new board and a copy of windows). For $300-$400 or so you could build a decent new system (includeing a new OS) as long as you don't need anything too powerfull. You could buy one too but OEMs tend to use cheap parts in that price range and you can usually build a more powerfull system than you can buy for a given price and use better quality components aswell.

    But before going to extremes like an new motherboard or system look for software problems.
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