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Thread: 24/7 PC suddenly not working, clicking noise - any ideas

  1. #1
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    Default 24/7 PC suddenly not working, clicking noise - any ideas

    our HA 24/7 miniITX has been fine for ages - until today …

    it's an EPIA EK 10000G, and the screen is blank and its making a very regular ticking noise at something like 0.6s intervals …

    the noise is a bit like something light is catching a slowish fan …

    first thought was that the hard-drive had failed in some way …

    we've had the lid off & lifted the DVD & HD drives out (still connected) and removed the IVC 200G camera digitiser card (no longer connected), so we can see & hear things separately …

    both the CPU & power supply fans seem to be running normally …

    the DVD drive was uncooperative, until we unplugged its IDE cable, after which pushing its button did eject its disc …

    we can hear the (SATA) HD drive whirring normally …

    in other words, the clicking noise has to be coming from the buzzer on the motherboard (reflections make it difficult to locate the sound but, having separated things, it’s clear this is the case - putting a finger onto the buzzer makes it quieter, too) ...

    we reconnected the DVD drive & tried removing the RAM card - no change, still the clicking …

    lots of Googling, yields no clues …

    so, please, any ideas ?

    Chris
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 27th November 2014 at 08:30 PM.

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    Automated Home Guru Vangelis's Avatar
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    Can you access the BIOS? Can the motherboard see all the peripherals?

    Check the PSU outputs under load i.e check the volts with a meter when powered up (obviously respect there will be mains voltage!)

    Vangelis

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    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    no, even with pressing Delete during start-up, to enter BIOS mode, the screen stays blank & its power LED stays orange, never changing to blue …

    did try unplugging & replugging most connectors …

    miniITX boards are fairly popular, SFAIK, so was surprised Googling brought no ideas, and the manual has no trouble-shooting section, either, which also seems odd …

    will check PSU outputs - need to open it up again, and work out what's what, lead-wise !

    thanks

    Chris
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 27th November 2014 at 11:31 PM.

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    Automated Home Guru Vangelis's Avatar
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    If the PC has an on-board monitor connector (as opposed to a graphics card), try plugging the monitor into that on boot

    Sounds like it's failing its POST which could be terminal

    If the clicking noise starts immediately after you turn on then this doesnt sound good either

    Vangelis

  5. #5
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    no graphics card, so already in that situation ...

    will get a chance to open the top again this afternoon, and will then check voltages on the power supply ... the clicking does start pretty much immediately, and SWMBO says she thinks it could be a capacitor failing to keep charge ... seems logical and, if so, the power supply would seem a likely location !

    Chris

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    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    OK, separated it out again - voltage from the external power supply seems fine (steady 19.4Vdc, under load) …

    it’s a bit tricky to check the internal power-supply board - its connectors do too a good job at protecting the terminals !

    but … trying it with & without the various add-ons (or should that be add-ins) it clicks once & then is silent & then checks-out the DVD drive, when we have the HD disconnected …

    reconnecting the HD, and trying again, it clicks away - putting a finger over the buzzer to reduce its noise to v.quiet, and putting the HD to our ear, we can just hear it clicking internally …

    ie: seems it's the HD repeatedly hitting its stop, and the buzzer is simply relaying the sound …

    hmm, if we bought a new one, could be reload Windows XP using the codes we used for the failed one … ?
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 28th November 2014 at 09:09 PM.

  7. #7
    Automated Home Guru Vangelis's Avatar
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    Sounds like disk stiction in that case.....

    Remove the HD. Give it a tap on the side a few times with something hard

    Replace and retry. Weird your not seeing BIOS as you don't need a disk for that? Some maybe your motherboard is still on its way out

    Vangelis

  8. #8
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    no monitor connected - cable not long enough, it being fixed in Node0, and the separated PC being on the worktop in the kitchen !

    PS: tried tapping the HD with a screwdriver - hard as we dare (so not silly) - no change …
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 28th November 2014 at 09:36 PM.

  9. #9
    Automated Home Guru Vangelis's Avatar
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    Hmm. Just for reference, the last time I encountered a server with disk stiction, I kicked it to resolve the issue. Maybe try holding the drive and giving it a firm level tap on the kitchen work surface (at the end of the day getting data off a failed disk without forensic equipment is nearly impossible)

    Ok, so another plan. If you have a laptop with cd writer, download and burn an ISO boot image of Linux (Redhat or Debian), then plumb the computer back together, but do not connect the HD. Put the cd in the tray and see if it will boot off CD? This should tell you definitively if it's the HD or not

    Vangelis

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    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    unfortunately, our laptop doesn’t do CDs or DVDs ... but we do have the disc on which Windows XP came, so tried that instead ...

    we contrived to move the separated PC back into Node0, and connect the screen ...

    without the HD connected, it now wouldn’t start - front panel button works, and the optical drive whirred etc, but the fans stayed off & the screen stayed dark ...

    with HD connected, we get the clicking again, and starting-up with & without Delete pressed on the keyboard makes no difference (fans come on, clicking starts, but screen stays dark) ...

    inserting the Windows XP disc into the slot, without the HD, it’s taken from us & spun up, but screen stays dark & nothing happens, fans stay off ...

    insert the disc with the HD connected, it’s not taken from us & not spun up, but the fans come on & we get the clicking ...

    hmm, not sure what this all means - if we get a new HD, will it all work as it should, and will MS allow us to load ‘XP onto it & get going again ...

    http://pcsupport.about.com/od/operat...tallxpnew1.htm

    Chris
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 28th November 2014 at 11:13 PM.

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