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Spontaneous Rebooting - Power Supply?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Lisa, Aug 24, 2004.

  1. Lisa

    Lisa Guest

    My computer has been spontaneously rebooting itself quite often
    lately, but only when my air conditioner compressor kicks in. (I tried
    plugging it into a different outlet, but it didn't work. It's long
    story involving aluminum wiring and builder shortcuts.) Anyway, I'm
    wondering if this means that my power supply is too small for my
    system? Do I need an uninteruptable power supply or could it be
    something else altogether? I'm not too experienced with hardware
    problems, so any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Lisa
     
    Lisa, Aug 24, 2004
    #1
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  2. Lisa

    bill murn Guest

    One sure way to implicate the air conditioner as the culprit is to
    switch it off for a couple of days. If the problem goes away then the
    AC is the problem. More precisely, the initial current draw of the AC
    when it kicks in causes a momentary drop in line voltage which causes
    your comp to reboot. Alternatively, take your comp to a friends house
    for a few days, try it there, and monitor the situation. Problem still
    there? It's your computer. Problem gone? It's your house wiring.
    Bill Murn
     
    bill murn, Aug 24, 2004
    #2
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  3. If you can observer that the computer reboot is happening
    when the AC compressor kicks in, and your comuter is plugged
    into an outlet on a seperate breaker, then your AC is drawing
    sufficient current to cause a voltage drop on your main
    (feeder) wiring. If your AC is a window unit, try to put
    your computer on an outlet on a different breaker. If it
    is a whole house unit, then it already is on different
    breaker(s).

    First, verify that your home wiring connections are tight.
    This is something thay you should get an electrician to do.
    There is sufficient voltage and current potential at these
    connections to kill a person.

    Aluminum wiring swells with heat, and creates the heat when
    conducting current. A common problem is over time the
    connections become loose because of swelling and contracting
    cycles of the wiring. Loose connections will cause unstable
    power delivery (and can become a fire hazard). This often
    happens on the main feeder wires between the meter and the
    breaker box if those are aluminum, and on the feeds to high
    current drawing devices (AC compressors, electric water
    heaters, ovens, etc.).

    Yes an uniteruptable power supply will help your computer,
    but it is not a guaranteed fix. The voltage drop may not be
    enought to trigger the UPS to flip to battery power,
    but some UPS's (APC 350 is one) will let you configure the
    "trigger" low voltage. Last one I saw out of the box
    triggered at 83 volts (in the US where nominal line voltage
    is 115 - 120 VAC RMS). 83 volts is a bit low for many
    computers... I would suggest 100 VAC).

    Many computers have been sold with 200 Watt power supplies,
    and when you add a second disk drive, CDRW, etc., then
    you should install a power supply with a larger capacity
    rating. Also, there are components in the computer that
    can start consuming more power as they approach end-of-life.
    Components will also consume more power as they get hot, and
    they will get hot more quickly if fan(s) are dirty or the
    components are dirty. Get a can of compressed air and
    blow out the dust build-up in the computer. Verify that
    the fans are operational.

    Best Regards,
    Frank Fitzpatrick
     
    Frank Fitzpatrick, Aug 24, 2004
    #3
  4. Lisa

    DaveW Guest

    Either/or your power supply is too small, and/or your house's electrical
    outlets from the main electrical panel are overloaded.
     
    DaveW, Aug 25, 2004
    #4
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