Intermittent no boot emachines

Gateway / T6542
October 3, 2009 at 07:43:23
Specs: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium, 2.2 GHz / 1405 MB
HI - My emachines T6542 started failing to boot approx two weeks ago. When the power switch it pushed, the fan will turn and the lights to the peripherals will light, but no signal to monitor. The multi-speed fan will also just run in high speed, versus slowing down after ~ 3 seconds. The one light that doesn't turn on is the light (glows blue) in the power switch itself. If I hold in the power switch, the computer will turn off, then I can try again. The computer might not start five times in a row, then the fifth time the blue power light will come on, and the computer will boot and run with no problem. The computer will also not restart (it will hang), and it will not revive from sleep mode (so I have to set it to not sleep for 6+ hours). When the computer did boot, I ran disk checker and it fixed some errors, and I defragged. I tried to do a system restore to a prior point, but none of the save points were more than a day old, so they didn't pre-date the problem. I have an older emachines computer in the garage with a working power supply (although the computer died in a simjilar fashion). Thoughts on hardware vs software? I've got everything backed up to an external hard drive, but I'd like to get another couple years out of this computer (it is less than three years old). Any tips on what to troubleshoot? I'd hate to leave the computer on indefinitely, but I'm worried every time that I turn it off that it won't turn back on. I think I can replace the power supply, but when my last emachines box died at year three, I took it to BB and they tested the power supply and said it was fine (which means that I can use it to troubleshoot this one if need be). thanks


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October 3, 2009 at 09:51:00
It could be a heat problem. Open the case and blow it out with a can of compressed air. It really sounds like a failing power supply. Emachines is noted to use cheapo PSU's

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October 3, 2009 at 10:12:26
emachines desktop computers are well known to have el-cheapo power supplies that tend to fail more often than average, and when the power supply fails completely, they are a lot more likely than average to damage something else, often the mboard.

If you have not been fiddling inside the computer case just before this happened and have not changed the ram installed in it, it is very likely that if you replace the power supply BEFORE it fails completely, doing that will restore your system to working properly again.

Unplug the cord to the computer, or otherwise switch off the AC power to it, open up the computer case, and find the label on the power supply - if the brand is BESTEC I advise you, if you find ANY indication the power supply might be in the process of failing, DO NOT trying booting the computer anymore - if the PS fails completely there is a strong likelyhood it will trash your mboard!!!!

Failing power supplies are common and can cause your symptoms.
They often partially work, fans and hard drives may spin, leds may come on, yet you may get no video and the mboard will not boot all the way.
Check your PS.
See response 4 in this:

"Intermittent no boot emachines"

In the initial stages of the power supply failing, they often work okay intermittantly.

DO NOT replace the power supply with another BESTEC one!
In most cases you can replace it with a standard sized standard ATX power supply.

If you HAVE been fiddling inside the computer case before this happened
- remove the AC power to the case the same way, check to make sure all connections, cards, and ram are fully seated.

"It could be a heat problem."

While you're in there, if the cpu fan/heatsink has mung (dust, lint, etc.) on it, clean it off, but DO NOT use a vaccuum cleaner to do that (they produce a tremendous amount of static electricity when running, and anything connected to them can discharge that to your components) - use canned air, or an air nozzle if you have access to an air compressor, or an artist's brush that can be used in small spaces, etc. It may be difficult to clean the top of the heatsink under the cpu fan - the most likely place to have mung on it - and the bottom side of the cpu fan blades unless you remove the fan. If you have a case fan, clean that too if it needs it.

With the cover still off, restore the AC power, start the computer and make sure the cpu fan spins - if it doesn't spin, if you're sure the power supply is working okay, don't use the computer until you have replaced it.
If it spins too slowly, and/or if it makes rattling or screeching noises, most likely to be noticed when the computer has cooled to room temp, has not been used for a while, and then is started up, the cpu fan's bearings are failing - replace it as soon as you can.

If the PS is failing, you can usually replace it with any decent standard sized standard ATX PS with the same capacity or greater.

Standard (PS/2) power supply size - 86mm high, 150mm wide, 140mm deep, or 3 3/8" h x 5 7/8" w x 5 1/2" d , or very close to that, though the depth can be more or less for some PSs.

Don't buy an el-cheapo PS.
See response 3 in this:


A frequent mistake people are making these days is they have installed a video card their power supply hasn't got enough capacity to support.

Your power supply must have at least the minumum capacity required to support a system with the graphics card you are using installed, or the max graphics card you might install in the future.
(Onboard video - video built into the mboard - IS NOT A CARD!)
You can go to the video card maker's web site and look up the specs for the model - often under system requirements - the minimum PS wattage, and, more important, the minimum amperage the PS must supply at 12v is stated. If you don't find that, any card with the same video chipset including any letters after the model number has very similar minimum PS requirements.

If the power supply does not have enough capacity, the video card often works fine at first anyway, but the PS is overloaded 100% of the time the computer is running and the PS is damaged and will eventually fail completely.

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October 3, 2009 at 10:26:15
"but no signal to monitor"
thats not a software problem


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October 3, 2009 at 13:56:10
Thanks to all responses. I've got all the info from the current Bestec power supply and I'm going to call BB, Compusa, etc to get a non-Bestec replacement. The only items that I've added to the base computer was a second DVD drive and a firewire card (which I never use). The computer still has integrated graphics, and it is going to stay that way. The power supply was a Bestec ATX 300-12E. 300w Max. I had not opened the case on the computer in about two years, and it was pretty dirty inside, so I'll also get some compressed air to clean. Thanks for advice on not using vacuum, because I would have used that. Leaf blower is also tempting :-)


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October 3, 2009 at 15:17:34
As I said, you can probably use any decent standard ATX PS as long as the Bestec one is the standard size. Very few if any system builders have used proprietary PSs for at least ten years or so - as in oddball wiring, for oddball wired mboards, with the exception of some server systems - but some systems require smaller physically sized ones. Emachines has been using standard ATX mboards for a long time, in fact, they have been using mboards not made by the actual maker of the systems - Trigem, in Korea - for most if not all systems for quite awhile. They merely have emachines bios versions on them.
You can find out which make and model of mboard your system has here:
Sometimes there's also a mboard manual available in the downloads at the left side of the info page for the mboard.

However, don't use non emachines bios updates there if you want the option of being able to use the Recovery disks for your model to re-load it's original software - the Recovery prgram will probably quit when it discovers the existing bios version is not an emachines bios version. For that matter, NEVER flash your bios unless you find specific info for the bios update that mentions the exact problem you are having, or unless a cpu support list says you must have a newer bios version than you presently have to have the bios properly recognize a cpu. Other than that, 99% of the time, flashing the bios DOES NOT cure whatever problem you are having. If the computer worked fine with the present bios version with the same cpu previously, then the present bios version CANNOT have anything to do with your problem.

You could use the leaf blower, or a vaccuum if you can hook it's hose up to blow, as long as you don't let it touch any part of it, or yourself while using it, to the case or the mboard.

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October 10, 2009 at 09:55:25
I went to BB, and they hooked up a different power supply, and the problem was the same. Also, they did a test with a paperclip on my existing power supply and stated that the test meant that my power supply was fine. Is there way to determine if the problem is the motherboard vs the CPU? I'm thinking motherboard. Also, if it is the MOBO, does that make sense to repair (i.e. can I order a replacement MOBO and find someone to replace it for a total cost of ~ $125?? I think I found the MOBO online for ~ $80). Any thoughts? Right now we're using my work laptop, and we'll buy a windows 7 machine in a couple weeks if we can't repair our existing desktop for ~ $125 or less..
Oh -and the CPU fan now doesn't turn at all when the computer is turned on (before it would just run at high speed and not slow down)


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October 10, 2009 at 11:10:13
"I went to BB, and they hooked up a different power supply, and the problem was the same. Also, they did a test with a paperclip on my existing power supply and stated that the test meant that my power supply was fine."

The paper clip short test is a very crude test. The fact that it starts up doesn't necessarily indicate it's still putting out the accurate voltages it's supposed to be putting out, within 10%. The only sure test is to try the PS with a known working system, and then check the current voltages it's putting out in the bios.
According to what I've heard and read about them, I would throw away the BESTEC PS even if it does work fine.

"Oh -and the CPU fan now doesn't turn at all when the computer is turned on "

It may not spin if the mboard or the cpu are damaged when the PS is connected to your original mboard.

Try it connected to a three pin fan header on another desktop mboard - for a case or PS fan. If it doesn't spin, your problem is most likely to be the cpu has fried because that fan wasn't spinning.

In that case, remove the cpu heatsink, wipe off the top of the cpu, and take a close look at the cpu.

Pictures of blown capacitors, other components, power supplies, Athlon cpu's, etc.:

E.g. purple cpu core = it's probably fried

"...can I order a replacement MOBO and find someone to replace it for a total cost of ~ $125?? I think I found the MOBO online for ~ $80..."

Even if you did find a mboard for $80 (which probably doesn't include the shipping charge) the tech's labour charge would probably bring the total well over that.
It's relatively easy to replace the mboard yourself if you're careful.

If you get the same mboard with an emachines bios version, MAKE SURE the info says the mboard has been tested.
It should have an emachines bios version, otherwise you may NOT be able to use the Recovery disk(s) for your model to re-load the original software that was on the system, because it's likely the Recovery program will quit when it discovers the bios version is not an emachines version.

Examine the mboard to see if you have bad capacitors, and/or other findable signs of mboard damage .

This was the original bad capacitor problem - has some example pictures.
History of why the exploding capacitors and which mboard makers were affected:

What to look for, mboard symptoms, example pictures:
Home page that site
- what the problem is caused by
- he says there are STILL bad capacitors on more recent mboards.

Pictures of blown capacitors, other components, power supplies, Athlon cpu's, etc.:

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