Question Computer randomly shutting off or won’t turn on

Insane Potatoz

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Sep 22, 2019
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Hi everyone, I recently build a budget computer for a customer over Christmas, and now it’s starting to have problems.
One day, his computer started randomly shutting down, and since then it hasn’t stopped. It happens randomly, whether on the desktop, playing a game, or watching a video. Also, sometimes it won’t even turn on.
I took it over to my house to troubleshoot, and it worked fine! I had it running for three hours and ram multiple programs and games and restarted it a bunch, worked perfectly. But, again, when it’s at his house, it doesn’t work.
He doesn’t have it plugged into a power strip or anything.
Does anyone know what could be causing this? I’m heading over to his house in a few hours to look at it, but I wanted some second opinions.
Specs of his PC are:
i5-4690
12gb DDR3
Asus B85
EVGA Single Fan GTX 1060 3gb
Montech X1 case
240gb PNY CS900
1TB WD Black
Thermaltake Smart 500w

Thanks in advance!
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Look in Reliability History and Event Viewer for error codes, warnings, and informational events that correspond to the random shutdowns.

Wall outlet or the wall outlet's host circuit could be the problem.

Did he add any new appliances, TV's, audio systems/speakers to the circuit hosting the computer?

Try using different wall outlets at his house to provide power to computer and peripherals.

Any audio problems?

Double check all of his cables - ensure that there is not some sort of loop being created between power, audio, video, and network connections.

Sketch it all out.
 

Insane Potatoz

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Sep 22, 2019
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Look in Reliability History and Event Viewer for error codes, warnings, and informational events that correspond to the random shutdowns.

Wall outlet or the wall outlet's host circuit could be the problem.

Did he add any new appliances, TV's, audio systems/speakers to the circuit hosting the computer?

Try using different wall outlets at his house to provide power to computer and peripherals.

Any audio problems?

Double check all of his cables - ensure that there is not some sort of loop being created between power, audio, video, and network connections.

Sketch it all out.
What do you mean loop between power?
He’s tried a few different outlets I know
There are 3 computers connected in the same room at his house, I’ll see if there’s any new devices.
Where woulda I find reliability history?
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
In the "Type here to search" box type "Reliability History". ( Appears as "View reliability history".)

Ground loop:

https://www.siber-sonic.com/electronics/GLoopFix.html

https://diy.stackexchange.com/questions/200278/what-is-a-ground-loop-in-an-electrical-service

You can easily google for additional diagrams and explanations.

In your customer's case, where the problem just started, then my thought is that something changed.

Could be dependent on some other device being turned on and the loop is created.

Three computers - take a close look at how he is connecting everything.
 

Insane Potatoz

Notable
Sep 22, 2019
761
52
990
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In the "Type here to search" box type "Reliability History". ( Appears as "View reliability history".)

Ground loop:

https://www.siber-sonic.com/electronics/GLoopFix.html

https://diy.stackexchange.com/questions/200278/what-is-a-ground-loop-in-an-electrical-service

You can easily google for additional diagrams and explanations.

In your customer's case, where the problem just started, then my thought is that something changed.

Could be dependent on some other device being turned on and the loop is created.

Three computers - take a close look at how he is connecting everything.
So there's 3 computers in the room, 6 monitors. This person's computer is connected straight to an outlet, and his monitors + another monitor is plugged into a power strip. Next to that theres one monitor and one PC plugged into an outlet, and next to that one theres a power strip with a PC and two monitors connected.
Could this be creating a ground loop? How would I fix it? I actually just asked them for the third time about a different outlet and now they say they actually didnt try a different outlet.

I got this computer back over here and it works perfectly fine at my house.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Sketch out the connections being used in that "person's" residence.

All connections: power, video, audio, and ethernet. All outlets and power strips.

Ask about any problems with tripped breakers, blown fuses, etc..

Ask them what they do to recover from the random shutdowns and/or failure to turn on.

For you:

Take the computer that you know is working perfectly fine back to the user.

Connect it completely independently of all other devices, circuits, etc. that that have. Shutdown and unplug everything possible.

Use your sketch to start reconnecting other computers/devices one by one allowing time to ensure that 1) the subject computer remains stable, and 2) that the newly reconnected device is and remains stable.

Objective being to methodically add back devices one by one until the problem reoccurs.

If that happens, remove that device, check all other devices are stable, then and another new device.

Objective being to determine if one particular device or configuration of devices causes the original issues to reappear.

Be methodical and make notes.
 

Insane Potatoz

Notable
Sep 22, 2019
761
52
990
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Sketch out the connections being used in that "person's" residence.

All connections: power, video, audio, and ethernet. All outlets and power strips.

Ask about any problems with tripped breakers, blown fuses, etc..

Ask them what they do to recover from the random shutdowns and/or failure to turn on.

For you:

Take the computer that you know is working perfectly fine back to the user.

Connect it completely independently of all other devices, circuits, etc. that that have. Shutdown and unplug everything possible.

Use your sketch to start reconnecting other computers/devices one by one allowing time to ensure that 1) the subject computer remains stable, and 2) that the newly reconnected device is and remains stable.

Objective being to methodically add back devices one by one until the problem reoccurs.

If that happens, remove that device, check all other devices are stable, then and another new device.

Objective being to determine if one particular device or configuration of devices causes the original issues to reappear.

Be methodical and make notes.
What do you mean by sketch?
And you think a defective monitor could cause something like this?
Could plugging the computer into an outlet in a different room fix something like this?
 

Insane Potatoz

Notable
Sep 22, 2019
761
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990
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Sketch - just a simple drawing showing the devices and all connections.

Example:

https://www.siber-sonic.com/electronics/GLoopFix.html

If there is a loop, plugging a computer into an outlet in a different room could break a loop and fix things.

Or create a loop depending on the circuits.....
Alright, I’ll head over there tomorrow. I’m still having a lot of trouble understanding ground loops even after watching a few videos and reading those articles, I’ll send you the sketch though
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
And reference back to my Post #8.

Take your time and keep notes. Do not make too many changes too fast.

Suggestion: make copies of the original full sketch. Work from the copies. Preserve the original sketch.

If any given copy gets too messy from changes, mistakes, notes, you can easily move to another copy to record further changes and notes.

Use time and date notations to keep things in order.
 

Insane Potatoz

Notable
Sep 22, 2019
761
52
990
23
And reference back to my Post #8.

Take your time and keep notes. Do not make too many changes too fast.

Suggestion: make copies of the original full sketch. Work from the copies. Preserve the original sketch.

If any given copy gets too messy from changes, mistakes, notes, you can easily move to another copy to record further changes and notes.

Use time and date notations to keep things in order.
Could dust cause something like this? Maybe it’s getting in the PSU? I’m over there right now and it’s really really dusty I just realized
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Dust in heavy layers becomes an insulator and holds in heat.

Likewise dust in clumps ("dust bunnies") can restrict air flows through grids, fans, fins, etc..

Heat is not good for electronics.

Would not expect dust in the PSU to be a problem or the problem if the computer worked at your house.

If wires, cables, and cords are all in tangles and knots plus collecting dust that is something that needs to be addressed: aka "cable management".

Clean it all just as a matter of elimination.
 

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