stephenbrooks.orgForumMuon1Generalhardware problem?
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Stephen Brooks
2004-03-30 03:43:09
My computer here (the one that generates the stats) seems to have been resetting its power at intervals - both overnight and this morning.  It'll be OK for an hour or two and then it will click and it's as if someone just pressed the 'reset' button.  Sometimes when it does this once it does it about 6 times while the computer tries to start up, then usually when it gets as far as Windows it will be OK for a while.

I'm looking for any hardware experts out there - is this a PSU problem or could it be something dodgy with another piece of the computer like the hard disk?  The computer support people are coming over here to look at it, and the machine is only 6 months old so is probably covered by the manufacturer's support too.
kitsura
2004-03-30 04:38:05
PC spontaneous rebooting could be caused by a variety of factors:

1) The most common cause if you're using Win2k or XP is the MSblaster problem.  But most PCs have been patched or even an unpatched PC with a firewall won't experience this problem.

2) Again for Win2k or XP it could be an OS instability or driver problem.  Your PC could have crashed to a blue screen and then rebooted so quickly that you didn't get to catch the error message.  To catch the error go to computer->properties->advanced tab->startup and recovery and uncheck automatically reboot.

3) Flaky PSU or power source, but this is very hard to troubleshoot you would need to swap a good stable PSU or UPS or surge suppressor with line filter to check if this is the cause.

4) Hardware overheating.  Also one very common cause.  Install a temperature monitoring software and then run a CPU intensive program like those distributed computing number crunchers or 3Dmark and note at what temperatures the PC will reboot.  If its totally random then this might not be the cause.

5) Multiple issues.  Good luck on this one, you'll have to divide and conquer to troubleshoot if your PC has multiple issues like flaky PSU + overheating + driver issues.

Keep me updated on what's the main cause and the resolution.
Stephen Brooks
2004-03-30 06:02:23
quote:
Originally posted by kitsura:
1) The most common cause if you're using Win2k or XP is the MSblaster problem.  But most PCs have been patched or even an unpatched PC with a firewall won't experience this problem. 
Well there is a firewall here, and they have an automatically-updated virus checker on every machine, though I could see if there's any option around to do a manual thorough scan...

quote:
2) Again for Win2k or XP it could be an OS instability or driver problem.  Your PC could have crashed to a blue screen and then rebooted so quickly that you didn't get to catch the error message. 
I don't _think_ this was it.  The dump file it would have written is not there.

quote:
3) Flaky PSU or power source, but this is very hard to troubleshoot you would need to swap a good stable PSU or UPS or surge suppressor with line filter to check if this is the cause. 
I might be able to get a PSU changed if I let the vendor have my computer back for a while, as it is under garauntee.

quote:
4) Hardware overheating.  Also one very common cause.  Install a temperature monitoring software and then run a CPU intensive program like those distributed computing number crunchers or 3Dmark and note at what temperatures the PC will reboot. 
Well this thing is a dual-processor Xeon, so it does pump out the heat a bit.  I noticed this morning the fans were sounding slower than they had been before (and were switching between two speeds) but assumed that was automatic because the internal temperature was colder than normal.  I've certainly not been stressing the CPU as much recently as I had done before (when the exhaust got very hot!), though.  I will download a temperature monitor (if my motherboard has the appropriate sensors) and post here what it says.

Right now I'm running CHKDSK on the drive with the muon results on it, as this drive has certainly been getting some punishment one way or another.  It was only a standard Maxtor 160GB and I'm not 100% sure if it appreciates hourly reads of multi-GB of stuff.  I've got XP Pro so think I might be able to activate some sort of RAID if there's a real problem with HDD reliability.
Stephen Brooks
2004-03-30 06:30:49
OK either this particular app.  is dodgy or my CPU temperature sensors are malfunctioning:

...note that the latter case could explain why my fans were going at odd lower speeds and I was also overheating.

Do you have any particular recommended CPU temperature monitor software?  Searching Google actually yielded a lot of junk sites...
Stephen Brooks
2004-03-30 07:39:36
I've found the motherboard manual - this one was from Tyan.  Their CPU temperature and fan monitor is giving much more sensible values: 34C when idle, climbing to 50C 52C after Muon1 running for several minutes.

[edit#2] And then it spontaneously crashed again.  Managed to get another stats update out though (just).
kitsura
2004-03-30 09:09:14
PC Wizard is a pretty decent software to try.  As for speedfan I've never heard of it before so can't comment on its reliability.  Of course the most reliable readings come using a laser temp probe, followed by the readings from you mobo temp sensors as shown in your BIOs, and lastly those 3rd party software that extracts data from your mobo temp sensors.

Xeon loaded temp of 52ºC seems quite normal, in fact P4 cpu loaded temp are known to be much higher, around 40-50ºC idle and 50-60ºC loaded temperature, of course any readings in the upper 60s to 70s is much too high but Intel CPU is known to trottle back their performance to reduce overheating.  So again I'm not so worried about overheating unless of course you CPU fan is faulty.

And the other more likely cause is a faulty piece of hardware.  I really forgot to mention RAM in the first post but this is about 1 of the most likely culprit to cause system reboots.  Download and run Memtest 86 to check your RAM.  Mobos and other Video cards are possible too but very unlikely.
[dpc]McPhisto
2004-03-30 10:40:47
Is this hardware problem causing this ?
http://stephenbrooks.org/groupee/forums?a=tpc&s=724606111&f=144606111&m=266107123 ?

Sorry but I can't be of any help with this, I would've send it back to the manufacturer.
Stephen Brooks
2004-03-31 05:48:26
The guy from IT support came over and he first tried MemTest86 (which was what I was actually about to do), revealing no errors, and now has changed the PSU, so hopefully it ought to stay up.  If it doesn't I may need a new motherboard.
kitsura
2004-03-31 08:31:55
What is the brand of the PSU that you're currently using, there are those cheap flaky PSUs and there are those rated and certified ones that come from PC power or Antec. Of course the better ones cost a premium but they provide stable power flow and have active PFC which reduces spikes and other power problems so your hardware is more stable overall.
Rocko
2004-03-31 11:21:19
Your voltages are way off spec, if those are accurate.  If you are using a "no-name" PSU, I would immediatly suggest replacing it with a well known brand, such as Antec, Enermax, TTGI, Fortron, or ThermalTake.  Open up your PSU and inspect it, looking if the capacitors are bulging, any electrolyte is leaking, or if the safety vents on the top of the capacitors are open. 
Your symptoms do describe a flaky PSU and I strongly suspect this is the cause of your troubles
kitsura
2004-03-31 12:19:21
Yes the voltage readings are very off spec but I don't trust them and anyone wiser would ignore it.  The most accurate way to measure voltage from the rails is using a multimeter.  The +3.3V rail is the measured from the orange wire, the +5V rail is measured from the red wire and the +12V rail is measured from the yellow wire.  Of course since you'll have to measure it with the power running its not recommended for those who don't know what they're doing as it could be a potential electrocution hazard.
mjp282
2004-03-31 21:39:07
Hello, I don't know a great deal about computers and that sort.  But I did have a problem similar to what was described with the computer resetting every so often.  I might of also had the same hard drive.  (Maxtor 160 GB, 8MB cache...).  I RMA'ed the hard drive and I currently do not have any problems with the new one.  Well, it's only been about a week with the new one though.
Best of luck.
Stephen Brooks
2004-04-01 00:11:45
My computer has worked fine overnight with the new PSU (it was resetting several times a night before) so I assume that must have been the problem.  The system as a whole is from Digital Networks UK though I don't know about the PSU.  The new one is from ISIS IT support's stash of replacement ones.

Rocko - yes, those figures would be VERY worrying, if they were correct, but I think that particular program was talking rubbish anyway - even the fan speeds were misread.  The application my MOBO vendor (Tyan) supplied worked much better and all the voltages were really close to what they should have been.
kitsura
2004-04-01 02:06:18
Yes, the problem with OEM assembled PCs is that some of the parts are sub-standard and are of much lower quality as compared to their retail counterparts.  I'm using the PC Power Turbo-Cool 510 Deluxe and have been having rock solid performance ever since I bought it.  My PC is on 24/7 and the last time I rebooted it was about 25 days ago the longest time I had it running was 31 days before a power trip from a thunderstorm forced it to shut down.  I currently don't own a UPS but am looking into it to keep my PC running as long as humanely possible.
[TA}B of BnT
2004-04-05 05:28:12
Sounds like you have your problem fixed.  But just incase I would still take a look at all the capacitors on the Motherboard.  The symptoms you gave are indications that some of the caps may be ready to go.  Look for either bulging tops or worst case leakage at the tops of the caps.
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