Monday, February 21, 2005

Weird Computer Errors (Hardware)

For the records: I am a Management Assistant in Informatics, with CCI graduation.
However eventhough I am, there are hardware errors, even I am surprised about and cannot explain to myself.
Even asking colleagues won't help because they have no ideas either, (well they should, since they are graduated in the same field as me), but sometimes, even the most wise expert is on his wits' end.

In this blog's entry, I want to describe 2 hardware failures which amazed me incredibly:

- The Slow PSU Death -

It's summer, it's around 38 °C, it's one of the hottest summers ever (well, at least in this area).
My PC runs in a AT/ATX combo big tower of 1998 (got it for 5 bucks), with front and back system fans and a server PC PSU with a 12 cm bottom 550w PSU and with 12 CM bottom fan plus the back wall is a grid, so perfect air condition for a summer.
I check irregularly the sensor values in Everest Home.

I have noticed that the cpu voltage was a little higher than usually, and the temperature of CPU and motherboard was a bit higher. and the cpu cooler fan was on maximum speed.
But not always, just sometimes.

The System Temp Warning is set to 70°C for CPU.
I was working on my PC the other day, and suddenly reached 69°C! In panic, I switched my pc off and opened it, all was in perfect condition, cpu cooler fan worked fine, all was perfect. I wondered what the problem was.
then some days later, Windows began to crash, and I had a "unmountable boot value" bluescreen error while booting up.
Luckily I had an image and restored that.
And it happened a 2nd time, a 3rd time, a 4th time.
The summer days went cooler again and so did my PC /CPU and the sensor values in Everest.
But still Windows crashed and unmountable boot volume error and restore image again.

I have also noticed that my special additional sound card had a weird glitch while playing, I thought maybe the chip on the card went damaged. I was asking around for a replacement (but didn't find anybody),

Then I thought maybe the HDD had an error, and was about to do a 1:1 copy to an other one.
while my PC did that, I went to the bathroom, I returned and my PC was switched off.
It was dead, nothigg happened.
I decided to try out the PSU in a 2nd PC, no luck.

I mean, hey that a PSU causes an unmountable boot volume error, I had no idea! None of those people I asked neither! I was totally baffled, that all those errors were caused by a dying PSU!


The 2nd thing which baffled me:

- The damaged DVD writer -

I had that DVD writer which would only burn every 2nd DVD.
and if you try to boot from a Linux DVD, it would reset the PC.
And Mandrake Linux decided to freeze every 5 seconds a little for a quarter of a second.
Every Mandrake expert (I am none, I use Windows as main OS!) told me it must be a kernel failure and I should wait for next kernel cooker and update then.

When finally even LG support couldn't help me, I decided to send in the DVD writer for warranty. Amazingly as soon as I have replaced the DVD writer with a CD writer, Mandrake stopped freezing! I never would have guessed, that a faulty DVD writer can cause Mandrake to freeze every 5 seconds! WOW!



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