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Seeking Advice (desperately) on First Build Problem

By FyireChilde
Sep 7, 2009
  1. Hello, I need help. I am not greatly experienced, but not completely clueless, in the world of computer building. I now have what I am assuming is a huge problem and am unsure as how to proceed, I have attempted to look for similar issues and their resolutions here, but feel I need to seek some specific advice.

    I should tell you my full story:
    I built my first computer with some remote assistance of a friend, at the end of college (ie early this summer), and it worked perfectly and all was mostly right in my world. The processor gave me weird readings, but continued to function as if it weren't. I was attempting a few different programs to figure out what it was about, my processor fan is powered and functionally stuck in place and I cannot get it off the motherboard. It functions but often tells me that the temperature is *below* an acceptable margin which neither I nor my friend had ever heard of as being a problem; but since it worked consistently I was not terribly worried.

    I moved home in late august, and became concerned that my computer did not travel well as it did not make it through boot up. I tried the easy thing: I cleaned it with condensed air, and it worked again (woo). I downloaded a MS XP update, it installed, I checked my email, and then it shut itself off. It didn't start again for about ten minuets, then did, loaded, I attempted to go about my business and shut itself down again. I have had problems with poorly installed updates on factory computers before, so I thought I would have no choice to system restore before it and try installing it again. I momentarily forgot that I had been worried about connections.
    I waited and turned it on again, but it did not run long enough to try anything. I then believed I had a real hardware issue instead and checked all my connections. Still no luck. I cleaned it again, since I now live in an environment with pet hair, and had the same lack of result. I unplugged my external restart button, in case it had a fault, but now the computer will not even turn on. I could not figure out what to do next and I pouted for several days. I assure you this was the best use of my time. =P
    I'm out of ideas and now too frustrated, but very calm about it, to continue a search for existing advice, which has been unproductive up to now. I am far more experienced with software, but do understand basics of hardware care, I have a grounding bracelet, handle by the edges, touch the metal case under the power supply frequently, and dust with condensed air. I'm afraid my nosy officious family may not, but but that is the risk you run when your office does not lock. I would like to try anything to get my computer working since I do have work to get done eventually.
    I believe I have made my specs public?

    ...thus concludes my tale of woe, I am really grateful to any of you who have read it and eagerly await your advice/instructions. Hopefully more instructions since I have exhausted my own technical knowledge.
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 6,908   +10

    What do you mean by "condensed air" that you used to clean it. Was it treated with difluoroethane gas to prevent the creation of static electricity... as untreated air can ruin a number of electronic components, permanently.

    Always suspect the power supply, then the CPU setup, then memory.

    Other than that, I would strip down your system to the most simple possible connection... board, power supply, one memory module, and an info source... hard drive, floppy drive, External USB drive?
    Inspect every component carefully, slowly. Even the most obvious ideas.
    Have you bent a pin on the cpu?
    Have you allowed some non-descript cable become loose?
    Have you inadvertently plugged a cable into the incorrect port?
    Is a cable to the power supply loose at the case or at the wall?
    Don't laugh. It is usually something stooped you overlooked out of frustration.

    Is your power source to that socket good, or have you inadvertently caused a power switch at the box to switch to the neutral location?
    Use logic. Write out your plan before you start.
    The idea is to test one approach. then another.
    You don't have to worry about maximum power. Try any other power supply.
    Simple, simple, simple tests... then add or change to keep it simple.
    What do you want it to do. Turn on.
    What causes it to not turn on? Bad memory module. Bad connection. Bad setup on your CPU. Bad power supply.
    There are so many things that go wrong on new equipment... they are never tested adequately at the plant because the guys who do testing are telling jokes, or were out with too many beers or cheap rice wine the night before.
    Once you get it turned on, life will become better.
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