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Puzzling Hardware Failures

Maveric169

The Voices Talk to Me
#1
I recently took my computer out of storage after a year, it was fully working when it went in, but had now where to keep it or use it as I am OTR truck driver now. Well, I decided to set it up at my GF's house, and be damned if it would power up. I traced the problem to my "brand new" PSU that I had replaced not long before I put it in storage. So I bought a brand new Antec Trio 430W PSU. Everything worked fine for about 2 weeks, then my GF had to restart the comp and it came up with a BSOD saying the system config files were corrupt in win32. Well after screwing with it for a few hours, I tried to reinstall xp on a spare drive, but with it hooked up to my comp, install ALWAYS failed, with a boot read error.

I know the drive is good, and installing xp with the drive attached to a different system, installs and booted just fine, connect to my system, nothing but errors. Not knowing which problem it could be I tried a mobo and processor swap. A new Gigabyte Mobo and a AMD XP3000 procressor problem fixed. Great right? Problem solved.

However, not really, As the mobo was brand new as well. Now, since the repairs everything is working great. Only question, WHY DOES MY HARDWARE KEEP FAILING!
 
#2
Consumer electronics is not really meant to be stored for long periods of time. Other than a dead CMOS battery the most likely culprit is the aluminum electrolytic capacitors all over the system.

Aluminum Electrolytic capacitors are used in all consumer electronics, especially in power conversion (like the PSU and the MB CPU and vid card GPU voltage regulators). They tend to stop being capacitors over time if not used. This kind of degradation does not show up visibly like leaking electrolyte so you can't tell.

One year without use is not that long but if they were cheapo chinese knock offs to begin with they might die younger than usual. They can be reformed but it requires applying a low voltage to them and slowly reforming them. That will not happen in a PC.

If only some of the capacitors fail you will get increased noise that will upset the PC randomly. Eventually the healthy capacitors will hard fail due to increased ripple currents in them. If you examine the failed MB now you may actually see bulging or leaking capacitors. Or when the original power supply failed it may have overstressed the MB leading to it's death shortly after.

Avoid storage of electronics, especially in unconditioned storage areas (u-store, attics, garages, basements).
 

Maveric169

The Voices Talk to Me
#4
Have run memtest, says everything is working fine, this has just been frustrating as it seems like everytime I turn arround I have a major hardware failure, HDD's dying, PSU's, Mobo's, just driving me nuts. The only thing that hasn't failed are my processor and memory, but I have changed the CPU with the new board. Maybe I should just change the memory too so everything is "clean".
 

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