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Power Surge. Computer fried?

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by TED, Feb 12, 2005.

  1. TED

    TED Millennium Member

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    Last night we had a massive power outage when a storm knocked out a section of power lines/poles.

    Now my computer will not eve turn on. My computer was on when the power outage occured (I always leave it on), but now it will not even turn on at all.

    The power light just blinks and nothing else happens. It doesn;t seem like it even tries to start. The light just blinks. Blinking is not normal, it is eiother on when the computer is on or off when it is off or nothing. I have never seen blinking before.

    The reall key issue here is my hard drive and data. I don't care about the computer itself, just the hard drive and data. The computer is under two full seperate warranties (manufacturer and Comp USA warranties).

    I think that probably the power management unit of the computer is fried. I also think everything elses, including the hard drive, is probably ok.

    It is very important to me that I recover some data on the hard drive.

    Now, if it is just the power management unit and I have that replaced, then it should start up as normal and everything still be there, I hope, correct?

    If it is something more, what are the chances of the hard drive still being good?

    If I send it in to the manufacturere (Compaq) for warranty service can they wither pull this dirve and put it in the new computer they replace this one with or download this drive to the new one in the new computer?

    Anyways, what do you guy think about all this?

    TED
     
  2. pyblood

    pyblood

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    Hane you tried to unplg the computer from the wall, plug it up again, and try to power it on. I wouldn't think that your hard drive should have been damaged. If your light is on, your power supply may be OK, but your motherboard may be fried.
     

  3. NetNinja

    NetNinja Always Faithful

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    BE very careful about sending your machine back.

    Compaq WILL MOST DEFINETELY FORGET TO TELL DUMBARSE NOT TO REFORMAT THE HARD DRIVE.

    I bet you a thosand bucks they will fluck it up.

    Tell them is it alright for you to pull the hard drive because of important files on the hard drive.

    Do you have another computer or a friends computer with a CD Burner?

    Hopefully they are running Win2k Pro or XP.

    Take your hard drive out and make it a slave and then attach it to a working computer.
    The computer should recognize it after 5 mins or so.

    Then start burrning your files over.

    Then when Compaq fixes your machine go get a APC surge protector from any office depot store or local CompUSA or Best Buy.

    Then go invest in some backup software.

    Good luck.
     
  4. fastvfr

    fastvfr Ancient Tech

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    People post until they are blue in the face (fingers? :D) about the NECESSITY of an Uninterruptible Power Supply, but some folks just don't listen...until it is too late.

    $40 spent on a budget-model UPS would have saved your rig, your data, and your blood pressure from a very nasty shock.

    As for where you are now, if you have an OEM warranty, I suggest you buy a new HDD and install that for the trip to the repair depot; remove the one you need to keep. There is a chance that a new PSU will fix it.

    Unfortunately for you, when a PSU pops it usually takes out all the drive controller chips--HDD included--along with the CPU, RAM, MOBO; I'm sure you get the point.

    How much did that system cost? More than $40, assuredly...

    So if the drive's circuitry DID happen to fry, you now will get to spend $500 plus for Data Recovery, compared to just $40 for one of these units.

    I run them on all machines in my place; by the way, did I mention that they have a $100,000 equipment warranty included in their purchase price?
    [​IMG]

    A pity. One hopes you have better luck in the future, and may you learn something from this experience.

    Best regards,

    FastVFR
     
  5. TED

    TED Millennium Member

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    I actually didn't know you could get uninterupablt power supplies. What is taht, how does it work? What makes it uninteruptable? Is it a big battery of sorts?

    TED
     
  6. btoler

    btoler

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    if you have another computer you can pull your hard drive and put it in the other computer to see if the hard drive is fried. If it isn't sent the rest to compaq but not the hard drive the will probly format it.
     
  7. Washington D.C.

    Washington D.C.

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    Usually a power surge will take out the voltage regulators in the power supply unit.This will normally cause an increase in voltage on the motherboard but not always.The voltage regulating transitors/IC's/diodes in the power supply almost always get zapped.
     
  8. Weaps

    Weaps Drives A Jeep

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    Yes, that is precisely what it is. With circuitry to seamlessly switch power from the wall to the battery without interruption. Cost of the UPS determines the size of the battery, and thus the amount of time they will keep you up during a power failure. The cheaper ones long enough for you to save stuff and shut down, the more expensive ones for a bit longer and with drivers that will automatically shut down your computer before the battery runs out. All of them have surge and brownout protection. Very cheap insurance. I have two of them, on on my tech stack, and one for the wife's computer stuff.
     
  9. Sinister Angel

    Sinister Angel I'd Hit It!

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    The only problem I can see about pulling the drive is this. Don't know if this applies in your situation, but I know local shops will throw a seal on the case that voids the warranty if it's cracked. Or maybe this is a thing of the past, I don't know.

    $500 for data recovery? That seems a bit on the cheap side..
     
  10. Colonel Klink

    Colonel Klink

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    Here's hoping an inexpensive repair will get you back on line. If you do replace your machine your present drive can be put in a the new machine as drive:D That will give you access to all your data and will also isolate any garbage on the old drive. Computer people will tell you it is a good idea to back up your drive and reformat every year or so. It gets rid of all that stuff that slows all our machines.

    UPS units have come way down in cost in the last year. Cheap insurance and easy to install (it's like adding an extension cord).
     
  11. Sinister Angel

    Sinister Angel I'd Hit It!

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    Actually, I like to re-os my windows machine every quarter. Backing up is good, and if you can afford it, invest in a DVD burner. I didn't follow my own advice for the longest time (backed my data on a seperate hard drive alone, instead of optical media) because of the hassle it would have been to burn all those CDs, but when I got my DVD burner, it's not a problem now.
     
  12. David_G17

    David_G17 /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

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    there's probably a 90% chance your data is still there.

    if you get another computer, you can take the hard drive out of your dead computer, and stick it in the new computer as a slave drive.

    then copy all the data from it.
     
  13. TED

    TED Millennium Member

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    Thanks for everything thus far guys. I will be buying a UPS shortly to prevent repeats of this incidnet.

    As for my damaged computer, CompUSA has already ordered a new power supply unit and mother board to be installed at no addittional charge under warranty service.

    More importantaly they offer a data recovery service for $100 up to 40 Gigs, which I am going to go ahead and use. The $100 for data recovery up to 40 gigs includes the purchase a of a new seperate hard drive and then they just download the data form the old drive to the new one. I was very happy about this. Is there any reason why I should NOT do this? If so let me know becaue I already ordered the service.

    TED
     
  14. ColoradoPacker

    ColoradoPacker What's a Glock?

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    I had this same thing happen, despite my APS uninteruptable power supply. I had to remove the power supply, motherboard, Athlon XP 2200+ CPU, DDR RAM and ATI video card - the only things I could re-use was the case and drives and 802.11g PCI card.

    I had an old PIII600 motherboard with integrated video I popped in, to verify my data was intact. I'm thinking since the APS is undamaged, it might have been a power supply failure instead?

    Anyways, I always keep a clone of my PC drive on an external drive with Acronis True Image, and a clone of my Mac drive with Carbon Copy Cloner, so I can boot off the backup in case the primary drive is damaged or stolen, etc... You should do that too, so that data is never in jeopardy.

    IIRC Compu USA here charges $119 for the 40GB backup service. I use a LaCie 160gb firewire drive I picked up for $149 for my Mac, so I can clone to one of the two 80gb partitions, and boot from the ext drive. My PC backup goes onto a USB case with 40gb drive that can be pulled and installed internally if needed.
     
  15. NetNinja

    NetNinja Always Faithful

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    TED

    If you don't know what you are doing then go ahead.

    If it were me I would do it myself.

    I trust nobody working on my car

    I definitely don't trust anybody working on computers.
     
  16. TED

    TED Millennium Member

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    I really don;t know waht I am doing, to be honest. I just use computers for e-mail, word processing, school, music, etc. I don;t actually know or understand anything about them.

    TED
     
  17. antipop

    antipop

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    try hard as i might, i cannot talk my boss into buying UPS's for all the computers here in teh office. so we only have one for the server.

    ted, go with one from APC, very good product. the batteries are replacable. after one power outage the battery on my servers UPS died. you'll want to keep that in mind since anchorage does get a lot of power surges/outages. the UPS should have a status light that will tell you if its operational.

    you may even want to see if you can get some software that will automatically shut down your system if you arent there when it happens.

    another thing, make sure the UPS has an audible alert when its using the battery, so if you are there, you will know it needs to be shut down.

    if possible, you could plug your router into it as well. that way if you're online when it happens you wont lose your internet connection.
     
  18. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear Protective G'pa CLM

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    This thread brings a question to mind. Is there any danger to a laptop? Does the power supply protect the computer from surges?
     
  19. TED

    TED Millennium Member

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    Since I also have a laptop I will second that question.

    TED
     
  20. dwhite

    dwhite

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    laptops should also be on a surge with battery back up
    your power plug is fine but even if running on battery and plugged into the wall or a phone line or network if a spike comes through there is still danger

    most power surge battery back ups have plugs for phone lines and network connections as well