Problem after outage

audrey_gwApril 12, 2014

Hi, everybody. The power here flickered and went off briefly early this morning. I always have problems getting my Dell 546s to reboot properly after that happens, as the monitor light turns amber and goes into power save mode. Usually I just have to unplug the computer and plug it back in again, to get things to work again. This time, however, the power button on the tower came on amber as well.

I think that means the computer is supposed to be in sleep mode, but I haven't been able to get it to come out. Hitting the keyboard keys doesn't help, and I've unplugged and replugged the computer several times, both from the power strip and from the back of the tower. I've even tried unplugging the computer and then holding the power button down for 20 seconds or so, as I saw that suggested somewhere. Does anybody have any other suggestions for me?

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Perfect example of why a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) is a good thing to have. No telling what surge-spike-brownout-crash might have actually occurred or which component(s) might be affected.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 2:28PM
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Normally I assume you have 2 LED lights on the front of the tower? One should come on constant indicating power, the other which is the hard drive activity light should flash on and off, does this happen at all?

Do you hear the BIOS beep or any of the fans starting up?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 3:46PM
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No, I'm not seeing any flashing light on the front, just the amber one on the power button. There is a steady green light on the back too. The fan seems to be working okay, as I can hear it running. There is a slight grinding noise when I turn the computer on too, but no beeps.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 5:18PM
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Any ideas, anybody? My mother, who is more mechanically minded than I am, moved the hard drive to her computer and it did okay there, so apparently it wasn't affected. Replacing the power supply with another one didn't help either. We are still getting the amber light. I really need my computer, since I make most of my living from it, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 2:18PM
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Wow, good for mother, I like people like her who are willing to try stuff.

However I get the impression the motherboard might be fried.

According to these specs you computer is old with only an Athlon II processor and XP so the best suggestion is to dump it and buy another computer.

To replace the motherboard would be folly because of the age and performance of the computer. Plus once the Motherboard is replaced you have to buy another copy of Windows because factory built computers have the operating system activation code built into the BIOS and is non transferable sadly.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 2:38PM
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Thanks for your comments. I can't afford a new computer, so will have to try to figure out something else. I hate to give up on the Dell, since it has worked fine for the last five years and probably would have continued to do so if not for that power glitch. It was actually running Vista, not XP.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 9:23AM
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Look around your neighbourhood for schools, police, hospitals or other places where they sell/auction off older machines. You are reasonably sure a computer bought from these places will work, after all they may be getting of of numerous machines at the same time. I have paid as little as $18 to $25 for a working (older) computer.

Also remember if the advert says there is no operating system that is not an issue because if you can borrow a copy of the operating system (same version of course) you can legally install it BUT be sure to use the 25 digit activation code that will be on the outside of the computer you bought and it can be activated.

Some smaller computer stores locally may well have bought a job lot under the same terms so you might find a replacement computer there but the price will likely be a bit higher.

There is a motherboard on eBay at $50 shipping included that might suit seeing how Mum is technically inclined. But you still have the issue of an operating system, this could be overcome by using a Linux version which is totally free. Sure, you'll have a small learning curve but it will get you back to having a useable computer at a reasonable cost and minimal risk.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 10:17AM
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Just a belated note to say many thanks for your advice! We did eventually decide to try a new motherboard after we'd tried everything else, and got exactly the same response from it. The fan runs, but the computer doesn't boot, and we still get the same amber sleep mode light on the power button. (Sigh.) At least the monitor still works when it's attached to a different tower.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 10:25AM
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Good news! We sent back the first replacement motherboard, after we became convinced that it didn't work either, and ordered another one which did the job. The computer is back to white lights again, and all my previously installed programs seem to be working fine, for which I am very grateful.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 9:04AM
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It's possible that your motherboard failure was coincidental to your power problem, but equally possible that it was caused by the power problem. If it was the power problem, then your power strip...if it was also a surge protector...didn't save you. A UPS (uninterruptible power supply) is cheap insurance for this kind of event. Without it, you're just gambling that it won't happen again.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 9:30AM
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Do as advised and invest in a UPS. I have had one for years. We have had a few occasions where on a very nice day a car hits a pole and knocks power out and it has saved me since I leave my computer on all the time in good weather. Mary

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 12:11AM
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> ... but equally possible that it was caused by the power problem.

Nonsense that is popular in fables. Some of the 'dirtiest' power comes from a UPS in battery backup mode. An example. Power from this 120 volt sine wave UPS is 200 volt square waves with a spike of upu to 270 volts. This power may be harmful to power strip protectors and motorized appliances. Computers are so robust as to consider this power 'ideal'.

A useful recommendation is based in numbers. If a UPS is cheap insurance, then posted are UPS manufacturer specification numbers that say so. No numbers are posted because a UPS manufacturer does not make that claim. A UPS is temporary and 'dirty' power so that unsaved data can be saved. It does not protect hardware.

Read above numbers. Where is hardware protection when a UPS might even output 270 volt spikes? Protection was standard inside computers even long before an IBM PC existed.

Gambling is a recommendation that ignores spec numbers and is not based in what hardware really does.

More numbers. Let's assume that UPS makes the world's cleanest power. A power supply inside every computer then converts that 120 volts to radio frequency spikes that well exceed 300 volts. This is common knowledge to those who learn how hardware works. Power supplies routinely convert cleanest AC power to some of the 'dirtiest' inside a building. Then superior filters and regulators inside every computer convert 300+ volt spikes into rock solid and stable 3.3, 5, and 12 DC volts.

Best electricity cleaner is already inside every PC. Making 'dirtiest' power from a UPS into good power. Even 'dirtiest' power from a UPS does not cause hardware damage.

UPS does nothing for the OP's concerns. UPS only creates time to save unsaved data. Nothing from a UPS manufacturer even claims hardware protection. Computer must be so robust as to even protect itself from 'dirtiest' UPS power.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 12:26AM
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I don't know if the preceding post is useful or not, from someone knowledgeable or not, but I'd observe that the use of consumer grade UPS systems seems to have fallen out of favor a long time ago. Just like surge protectors that plug into the wall that most people overload in using as power strips.

We don't have lightning where I live, but i'd think that timely backups, turning off devices when not in use and unplugging them when violent weather threatens are the most effective means of minimizing damage. If you're really concerned, use a laptop and work off the battery when it gets stormy.

Edit for typo - have lots of lighting, but no lightning.

This post was edited by snidely on Wed, May 14, 14 at 16:48

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 2:22AM
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" It does not protect hardware." "Nothing from a UPS manufacturer even claims hardware protection."

The link below is an example of just one product from just one manufacturer that tends to disagree with you. I'm sure I could find more. So...are you saying the claims made herein are deliberately misleading?

Interesting that you say computers are already so robust as to not need power protection. Leaves me wondering why I have never heard a computer manufacturer make that claim in their advertising. Surely they would if it was true.

Here is a link that might be useful: APC UPS

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 4:38AM
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> Here is a link that might be useful: APC UPS

Why not cite the Encyclopedia Britannica? Since that may also prove your point.

If that citation claims protection, then quote a specific number that make that claim. Nowhere do I see any hardware protection claims. Show me. Don't just cite some vague reference to rocks on the moon. Or some subjective belief based in junk science reasoning. Instead, cite the specification that actually claims hardware protection.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 12:28AM
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Quoting the Encyclopedia Britannica might be useful, for example, for discussions with people who question what others find reasonable to accept.

I don't think there's a doubt that UPS devices provide protection, maybe only a matter of amateurs (us here) understanding what kind of protection and at what cost. Either way, these kind of products are mostly commonly found in data centers.

This particular provider has a multi-billion dollar business in these products, could it be that the technically sophisticated people who buy these things by the truckload are less knowledgeable than westom? I'd say that's unlikely.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 1:55AM
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> Either way, these kind of products are mostly commonly
> found in data centers.

To provide temporary and ;dirty' power during a blackout. A cheap office datacenter would only need maybe 10 minutes of temporary and 'dirty' power. To protect data; not hardware.

Serious data centers use something completely different (also called a UPS or backup generator). These facilities do not use what they consider toys - products from APC.

Where is an APC specification that claims to protect hardware? If it exists, one need not use 'speculation' to assume protection exists. Instead, once can cite specific numbers from APC. Good luck. No specifications numbers exist in the cited URL. It was an expensive looking sales brochure full or words and devoid of technical facts.

Power from this 120 volt sine wave UPS is 200 volt square waves with a spike of up to 270 volts. Power so 'dirty' as to put power strip protectxors and small motors at risk. And ideal for any computer. Due to superior hardware protection already inside computers.

Where is hardware protection provided by a UPS? Only exists in speculation that assumes a UPS for data protection must exist for hardware protection.

So many posts cannot answer one simple request. Show me the numbers. APC products marketed to consumers do not make that claim. Only wild speculation fueled by hearsay made that assumption. Serious data centers use other and proven solutions. With numbers that define hardware protection.

This post was edited by westom on Thu, May 15, 14 at 9:26

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 9:22AM
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Here's an interesting thread from another forum. Look at the 1st post...

Here is a link that might be useful: Hmmm

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 9:28AM
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And this one.

Verbose, isn't he?

Here is a link that might be useful: More

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 10:57AM
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Power controller was replaced. Then the computer worked. A UPS obviously has no effect on and does not protect the power controller. However many, who have no idea what a power controller is, recommend an expensive UPS anyway. Hearsay somehow creates experts.

That failure was typical of a manufacturing defect. In some cases, due to a power supply that might be defective and slowly getting worse with age. Time will say more.

This post was edited by westom on Fri, May 16, 14 at 1:24

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 11:10PM
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As I have shared through the years several times before, we cannot defeat Mother Nature. We can only work with her by doing the best we can by protecting ourselves with what we can afford.

If you happen to be like me and live in rural America you know nothing man-made will fully protect. I've seen the impact/detonation holes in the ground, and the remnants of direct tree strikes. The evidence is convincing to this layman.

Just on the radio yesterday morning was an announcement of a report that declared 5% of lightning deaths are to callers actively using a land-line telephone.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 3:21PM
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A telco CO suffers about 100 surges with each storm. So your town is without telephone service for four days while they replace their $multi-million computer? Of course not. Only those who all but invite lightning to do damage have that damage. Damage is traceable to humans who do not learn what works (ie from long posts). And instead believe soundbyte recommendations.

Laymen who learn this stuff suffer direct strikes without damage. Even telephones already have this effective protection (as required by numerous codes and standards). Unfortunately naive linemen, untrained electricians, or inattentive homeowners can compromise that protection. Then one who uses a phone becomes a vicitm of that human created mistake.

Do operators remove headsets and leave the rooom with each storm? Obviously not. So lightnig enters their head? Of course not. Protection from direct lightnings strikes was routine and understood even 100 years ago.

Many still recite soundbytes rather than learn what works. In part, because reality is verbose and comes with numbers. Soundbyte reasoning or one paragraph recommendations is a first indication of a lie or myth.

Direct lightning strikes without damage is routine. Plenty of responsible citations, examples, numbers, and history proves it. Anyone using that UPS or strip protector has added virtually no protection. The other and superior solution is even why operators never leave the room with each approaching storm. And why the telco's $multi-million computer is not damaged by about 100 surges per strom.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 10:35PM
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Now there's a waste of my time.


This post was edited by damccoy on Sun, May 18, 14 at 8:21

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 7:41AM
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Here you go Westom - Numbers!

1. Let
A = B

2. Multiply by A
Aò = AB

3. Subtract Bò
Aò - Bò = AB - Bò

4. Factor both sides
(A - B)(A + B) = B(A - B)

5. Divide out (A - B)
A + B = B

6. Observing that A = B
B + B = B

7. Combine like terms on the left
2B = B

8. Divide by B
2 = 1

This post was edited by mxyplx on Sun, May 18, 14 at 10:47

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 10:38AM
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Proved by 2=1 are that surges are the devil's tool. Only a devil's disciple suffers. Angels do use electronics. Then they don't get burned.

Apparently we are all sinners. Numbers prove it.

And still a UPS does nothing useful for the OP.

This post was edited by westom on Sun, May 18, 14 at 19:56

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 7:53PM
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Please allow this thread to die, nothing useful to OP any longer.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 10:27PM
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If a power anomaly damaged that motherboard, then a UPS was a useless recommendation. Sometimes, a power strip protector can even compromise existing internat protection.

Failure apparently involved its power system. If the defect was elsewhere, then some good motherboards might not work and others might work. Again, time will tell more.

But a UPS does nothing to avert it as demonstrated by many so previously posted reasons.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 3:36AM
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