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Thread: Grr, computer turning itself off randomly

  1. #1
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    Grr, computer turning itself off randomly

    This has been happening to me on and off for a while, and recently started happening to a friend of mine as well. I'll list my stats (don't know hers off the top of my head) and throw out what I believe to be the most likely culprits. I can't afford to spend on something that isn't a pretty sure-fire solution though, as I am dirt poor.

    This is likely a hardware issue, it happens to me in all environments. It seems to be triggered by heavy load or by certain types of load on the computer; specifically video games and video.

    My spex:
    ASUS P5K-E w/Wifi mobo
    2.66 Core 2 Duo
    4 gigs of RAM
    geForce 8800gts
    120gig WD
    360gig Seagate

    The issue:
    It just shuts off sometimes. If it does, it won't turn back on unless I wait a few minutes. There doesn't seem to be a TON of rhyme or reason to this, except that it does seem more frequent when under heavier load, as mentioned.

    Most likely culprits imo:
    Two things I've noticed similar between my setup and my friend's: the geForce 8800gts and the fact that at least one of the PSU's rails (5v for mine, +12 for hers) is more than 5% off consistently. For me, it's the 5v running at about 5.52, which is more than 10% off if you don't care to do any math. Her 12v is running at 11.3, which is JUST past the 5% threshold.

    Other than that, I can't think of anything really. My PCU was heating up so I threw an extra fan in there, and eventually started shutting off sensors in the BIOS in order to isolate the issue. The RAM is quite new, so it's probably not bad.

    Things I've tried or am about to try:
    Turned off almost all sensors, disconnected nonessential drives. If push comes to shove I'll disconnect ram sticks 2 at a time, flash my BIOS on the very offhand chance that an old version might cause some problems with hardware, and then... I don't know, start borrowing parts till it works?

    Is there a way to check what happened to cause a bad shutdown, maybe give me an error code I could google? BIOS post message maybe? Is this a common issue? Anyone have experience with this sort of thing?
    Ah nuts.

  2. #2
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    Re: Grr, computer turning itself off randomly

    If it is a hardware issue then you may need to have it looked at by a professional, I doubt you will get any answers on the forums that is going to fix the problems. If you continue to have this shutdown problem every time it does this it is probably damaging whatever HD's that are running, so you might want to consider, the cost of frying a part that will cost more then having it looked at.

  3. #3
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    Re: Grr, computer turning itself off randomly

    I was hoping that someone might have had a similar issue, or that someone could tell me if +/- >5% voltage could cause this sort of thing.

    Yeah these HDDs are taking it pretty rough, I'll replace the one with the OS on it eventually though, it's a piece of crap.

    Anyway, I guess I'll hold out in hopes of some sort of response- the level of guru on these forums never ceases to impress me.
    Ah nuts.

  4. #4
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    Re: Grr, computer turning itself off randomly

    Quote Originally Posted by Aped View Post
    I was hoping that someone might have had a similar issue, or that someone could tell me if +/- >5% voltage could cause this sort of thing.

    Yeah these HDDs are taking it pretty rough, I'll replace the one with the OS on it eventually though, it's a piece of crap.

    Anyway, I guess I'll hold out in hopes of some sort of response- the level of guru on these forums never ceases to impress me.
    When you get it to boot, have a look at the system logs.

    System Administration, Log File Viewer
    If there no log files showing File Open from the Log File Viewer menu.

    It sounds like your computer is over heating - something may show in the logs.

    The following isn't meant to be insulting as it seems like you have a clue but others reading on similar problems might not have thought of these:

    You put another fan in - but is the box in a tight corner without airflow?

    Did you clear the air holes of dust so the air can flow?

  5. #5
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    Re: Grr, computer turning itself off randomly

    Have you cleaned the cpu heat sink fins. Get hold of an air duster aerosol & blow it out.
    I have a server that runs 24/7 & every 6 months or so I clean the heat sink. Othwise it eventually becomes unstable.
    Linux Registered User #443947 Ubuntu Regestered User #12604

    Hakunamatata ...... No worries !

  6. #6
    pricetech is offline May the Ubuntu Be With You!
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    Re: Grr, computer turning itself off randomly

    Sounds heat related to me also. A "can of air" would be helpful to remove embedded dust and such. A soft paint brush with china bristles can be used to knock loose anything the air doesn't remove on its own.

    From your specs it looks like you're giving your power supply a lot of work to do. Consider upgrading that as a possible solution.

    I hope this isn't the case but; Heat may have already damaged the processor, though I usually see that manifested with lockups, not shutdowns.

  7. #7
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    Re: Grr, computer turning itself off randomly

    I had similar issues with my old laptop but I just cleaned it out. The amount of dust would have been impossible to "blow out"! Five years of dust=thick rug and absolutely no air flow. It was easy to to open up and get it out though and now it works like a charm!

  8. #8
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    Re: Grr, computer turning itself off randomly

    This is a prime example of power supply overheating as one person said clean the cooling vent and the power supply or if that dont help this is a typical symptom of a bad power supply..
    2.1 AMD Athlon-X2 QL 64,
    ATI Radeon HD 3200 Graphics Card 1408 mb HyperMemory,
    320 Gigabyte HDD, 3 Gigabytes DDR2 Memory,
    15.6" HD LCD. Ubuntu 9.04....

  9. #9
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    Wink Re: Grr, computer turning itself off randomly

    I agree this is a heat issue of a power supply.
    Its easier to replace the power supply than it is to try to fix it I would recommend no smaller than a 350 to 450 watt power supply.
    if your ide cables are flat ribbon type harness together with a velcro strap do not use a zip tie as they can break the fine wires in the cable.
    try to place the cables so they wont block air flow around cpu or ram(30 years as computer tech)

  10. #10
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    Re: Grr, computer turning itself off randomly

    That sure sounds like a heat and/or power supply issue. Like everyone else, try giving it a clean out. Cans of air work nicely, but don't forget the power of the cotton bud! (q-tip?)

    Also, once you have the case of to try to clean it out, you can try pointing a running desktop fan into the computer case. The extra airflow should help a lot if your having overheating issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aped View Post
    Two things I've noticed similar between my setup and my friend's: the geForce 8800gts and the fact that at least one of the PSU's rails (5v for mine, +12 for hers) is more than 5% off consistently. For me, it's the 5v running at about 5.52, which is more than 10% off if you don't care to do any math. Her 12v is running at 11.3, which is JUST past the 5% threshold.

    Other than that, I can't think of anything really. My PCU was heating up so I threw an extra fan in there, and eventually started shutting off sensors in the BIOS in order to isolate the issue. The RAM is quite new, so it's probably not bad.

    Things I've tried or am about to try:
    Turned off almost all sensors, disconnected nonessential drives. If push comes to shove I'll disconnect ram sticks 2 at a time, flash my BIOS on the very offhand chance that an old version might cause some problems with hardware, and then... I don't know, start borrowing parts till it works?

    Is there a way to check what happened to cause a bad shutdown, maybe give me an error code I could google? BIOS post message maybe? Is this a common issue? Anyone have experience with this sort of thing?
    I assume that your voltages are taken from BIOS? If so, I would be getting a new power supply. The voltage rails _should_ be within 10%. I perfer with 5%. Anything over 10%, and its junk. I have seen computers do exactly what your experiencing from bad power supplies. The only times I have seen serious 'out of voltage range' issues its been either a very old, very very cheap, or underpowered power supply.

    Depending on your motherboard, you may or may not get an 'overheating' BIOS alarm. I guess you are not, so maybe its just a power supply issue. If it was your RAM you should get a bad RAM BIOS beep, so I really doubt its that as well.

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