power supplies

Why won't my computer wake up?

Episode 1518

Vicki from Realto, CA

Vicki put her computer to sleep and now it won't wake up again. Leo says the usual culprit is the power supply. She should try turning her monitor off and back on. She can press and hold the on/off switch of her computer for ten seconds. That will turn her computer fully off. She should unplug it for a few minutes, then plug it back in and turn it on, to see if the monitor will wake up. If it does, sometimes it can fall asleep and not get the signal to turn back on. Then shine a light on the power supply fan and see if it's spinning. If it is, then it isn't the power supply.

Should I rebuild my PC?

Tower PC internals

Episode 1441

Ron from Charlotte, NC

Ron's PC died yesterday. He suspects the power supply went south. Leo says there's no sense in replacing it, as he can just replace the power supply. He should check the power cord itself first, though, just to be sure it wasn't just that. If he has to replace it, he could replace the processor too, since it's 7 years old, but then he'll have to replace the motherboard as well. Why not get a bare-bones system that he can get a new processor and motherboard with, and then transfer his SSD, GPU, and other options that he's added to it?

What does the blinking light mean on my computer?

Acer Aspire One

Episode 1352

Donald from Winnipeg, MB CAN

Donald has an Acer Aspire PC running Windows Vista and he's getting a steady blinking light. Leo says that the blinking can mean something. It's like the "Power On Self Test." The motherboard battery may have died, and the light is telling him to replace it. That's the cheapest and easiest fix. If that doesn't fix it, he should look at his desktop power cord. Then he can move on to the power supply.

Why does my PC shut down while I'm using it?

Episode 1313

Brad from San Jose, CA

Brad built a computer running Windows and now it just shuts down while he's still using it. Leo says it sounds like a bad power supply. Brad replaced it, though. Leo says that's the downside of building his own machine -- he'll have to hunt down the problem himself. Leo suspects that since the power supply didn't fix it, the motherboard is probably the culprit. It could have been from a power surge. He should try replacing the battery for the BIOS and see if that resets it. If that doesn't work, it could be the motherboard. The next thing to address would be the CPU.

Why doesn't my computer work after a power surge?

Episode 1286

Audry from Los Angeles, CA

Audry has an old HP desktop running Windows 7, but after a power outage, her computer won't turn on. She even had a surge protector. Leo says that even the best surge protectors won't protect against huge power surges. But it may also be that when the power came back on, it jumped across the surge protector in a rush. It could also be that the power supply shorted out. Leo recommends replacing it. A surge protector also has a fuse and if the fuse popped, then nothing will work until she pops them in. Leo suspects the power supply just blew out.

Why does my computer have a black screen?

Episode 1276

Ryan from Pittsburgh, PA

Ryan has an HP computer and it came up with a black screen. He tried to swap out the power supply, video card, removed all the USB peripherals, replaced the CMOS battery, and still has a black screen. He can hear the power supply running, and the fans are spinning up. Leo suspects it may be just a bad motherboard. Since Ryan has done all the easy stuff first, and then tried replacing peripherals, that only leads to the main motherboard. He should also listen for POST codes to see if the machine is letting him know something is wrong.

Should I repair my desktop or replace it?

Power Supply

Episode 1208

Larry from Petaluma, CA

Larry's desktop broke and he took it to get repaired. He was told that his power supply blew out, and his processor didn't have a fan on it. Should he repair it? Leo says that power supplies are an easy fix. Larry's also considering buying a new Dell. Leo says that with Windows 10 out, the older the machine, the more problematic the driver support. But power supplies are a very common failure that's easy to fix.

(Photo Credit: Danrok)

Can a laptop have static buildup?

Episode 1157

Robert from Lolo, MT

Robert is having issues with what tech support says is "static buildup" with his laptop. They advise unplugging it and plugging it back in, and that seemed to work. But it's happened several times. Leo says that can happen when the weather is really dry. That's why it's important to ground himself before he touches it. He can do that by simply touching the case side. Unplugging and plugging it back in, though, leads Leo to believe it isn't a static issue. Leo has a hunch that it could be power supply related, or the cable connector. It just sounds like a red herring.

How can I identify the problem with my home-built computer?

Episode 984

Matthew from France

Matthew built his own PC, but he's having issues with it. Leo says one of the problems with building his own computer is that he doesn't have anyone to turn to for support when something goes wrong. Matthew has been overclocking his PC and he suspects issues with the power supply. Leo says that power supply's are cheap and it sounds like it's just failing. Replacing it is easy and affordable. They are easy enough to pull out, but he should make sure he gets the right power supply that has the proper connections.