System fails on startup


Feb 26, 2009
PC specs:
Mobo : gygabyte GA-MA78GM-US2H
CPU : AM2 2.8 GHz
PSU : 380 W "Earthwatts"
Vid- Card: Integrated

I put my system together and attempted to boot. The front panel LED glowed blue and the fans spun for about 0.2 seconds before the whole system failed. The case speakers didnt make any sounds. My first thought was that the front panel plug-ins werent properly connected, I checked them and they are connected properly. My next thought was that the packed-in PSU i recieved was dead. I replaced it with a friends PSU (both PSU's are 380W). Again I tried to boot, same problem. I then switched the red switch at the back from 155 to 230, as i heard this could be a common problem. This time when i attempted to boot the whole system turned on, fans spun and the LED in the front panel glowed blue, however the monitor remained dead. After about a minute of fan-spinning blue LED action the system died again. My thoughts now are that the 380W PSU doesnt cut it, although it SHOULD.

I'm wondering if anyone else has encountered a similar problem, or knows of a solution that would save me purchasing a bigger, meaner PSU.

- The_Witchalok
First of all, what is your line voltage? The little red switch at the back of the PSU should be set to your line voltage. Bad things will happen if a PSU set to "115 volts" is plugged into a 230 volt socket.

Go through the checklist:

then try this (the following is my standard reply to the "dead computer" problem - you have integrated video, ignore the references to the video card):

Pull everything except the CPU and HSF. Boot. You should hear a series of long single beeps indicating memory problems. Silence here indicates, in probable order, a bad PSU, motherboard, or CPU - or a bad installation where something is shorting and shutting down the PSU.

To eliminate the possiblility of a bad installation where something is shorting and shutting down the PSU, you will need to pull the motherboard out of the case and reassemble the components on an insulated surface. This is called "breadboarding" - from the 1920's homebrew radio days. I always breadboard a new or recycled build. It lets me test components before I go through the trouble of installing them in a case.

If you get the long beeps, add a stick of RAM. Boot. The beep pattern should change to one long and two or three short beeps. Silence indicates that the RAM is shorting out the PSU. Long single beeps indicates that the BIOS does not recognize the presence of the RAM.

If you get the one long and two or three short beeps, test the rest of the RAM. If good, install the video card and any needed power cables and plug in the monitor. If the video card is good, the system should successfully POST (one short beep, usually) and you will see the boot screen and messages.

Note - an inadequate PSU will cause a failure here or any step later.
Note - you do not need drives or a keyboard to get this far.

If you successfully POST, start plugging in the rest of the components, one at a time.



Apr 19, 2004

Yah, for sure!



Nov 4, 2008
Did the psu smell like it burned up? soder ussualy has a smell to it. Ussualy if you make that mistake the psu will get damage...ussualy. It ussualy will melt a connection because its receiving way more current where its not expecting (causes large amounts of heat very fast). For you Electrical engineers out there you're probally laughing but here's the math behind it Ohms law: voltage = Resistance * Current. This also relates to freqency of the voltage as well (god i love electro magnetic ...ick). The US uses a lower current and higher freqency (someone correct me if this backwards) and Europe uses lower freqency but higher current i think? Been a while since i was in those text books.