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  #1  
Old 01-14-2008, 06:36 PM
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Default 550VX random reboots

Recently, about one and a half to two weeks ago, I installed a new hard drive in my PSU upgraded Dell Inspiron 530 w/ Vista Home Premium. That went ok, past the fact that it's tough to move around in such a small case! It's very cluttered, especially with a giant mass of cables from the new PSU crowding around the memory and 24 pin connector area.
With the new hard drive, my system specs were this:

E6550 @ stock
Foxconn G33M02 Motherboard
8600GT OEM @ 635/897(I think), reverted to stock later on.
2 gigs of 667mhz Dell/Kingston Ram
TSST corp DVD burner/Rom drive
2 Seagate Barracuda 320 gig 7200.10 ST3320620AS SATA II drives

However soon after that, while late at night chatting with someone online, I heard a whining sound coming out of the PSU area. I had heard of this being a problem in some Corsair units so I decided to reboot, which fixed the problem. This marked the beginning of my troubles, because I do remember that soon after I began getting an occasional random reboot in WiC among a few other things like artificating. Reinstalling my drivers fixed the artifacting problem, but the random rebooting remained and got more serious as time went on, infact it got so bad that often times in the MS loading it would reboot itself. Somewhere along the way I also updated my BIOS while this was happening. Well, that ruled out it being a software problem, so I thought it might have been a minor PSU problem, like maybe there was something wrong with putting two hard drives on the same cable(silly with a Corsair 550VX and it's 41 amps on the 12v rail, I know). Then I thought it might have been an OS problem, perhaps some sort of virus, so I backed up my files to my new HDD, formatted, and reinstalled Vista. This fixed the problem...for a day. Then it came back with a vengeance.

I tried a few more ways of getting around the problem, including taking out and inspecting the right side ram stick with little luck until I decided that if there was a virus, it might have been taken along into the new HDD. Reluctantly, I wiped everything on both drives(I actually got a reboot when I was almost finished formatting C again), but that still didn't seem to work. Not even removing the new hard drive altogether worked. Finally I managed to get memtest working, and was roughly halfway through the first test with no errors when the reboot thing kicked in. Subsequent tests revealed that the computer would pretty much be guaranteed to reboot before the test was finished.

So to me that left two options, either bad 550VX or bad Dell/Kingston memory. I still had my old 300 watt PSU that came with the system lying around, so I decided that I could more easily try another power supply. Sure enough, after putting the old Power supply in and booting up, I received no rebooting problems with the old PSU for the entire weekend that I had it in there and running. I wanted to make absolutely sure that it was a power supply problem so I tried the 550VX again, but this time I put the unit OUTSIDE of the case and hooked it up from there. It ran a full test in memtest ok, and I decided to boot onto Vista and try doing various activities there, which it did with no problems.

Encouraged, I thought about the possibility that the there may have been some sort of grounding problem before and it would be alright to hook the 550VX up inside of the case again. My luck ran out though, because after I did that the computer started randomly rebooting again. That was the issue then, a bad 550VX.

So what do I do now? What's going on here? Could cable clutter really cause a PSU to do this kind of thing? Why did this not happen sooner, instead of after 2 months of smooth and quiet operation?
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  #2  
Old 01-14-2008, 09:30 PM
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If its working fine outside of the case, then there is probably not an issue with the PSU. I would recommend that you check with Dell or Foxconn to make sure that an ATX 12v 2.01 PSU would be compatible with this board. Are you able to test the unit in a different system?
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Old 01-14-2008, 09:52 PM
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I doubt I could test it in another computer, but I'll see if I can check with Dell to see if that works(though going by past testimonials from others I doubt they'll be very helpful, nor right). I'm pretty sure I've heard of people with similiar aftermarket units in Inspiron 530/531s, and like I mentioned before if it isn't compatible, why have I been running it since early November to last week without problems? How the heck does it being in a case and it not being in a case determine whether it randomly reboots or not if the unit fits?

Infact, looking at the Dell forums now, there is at least one case of a person saying that they have a 450VX in their Inspiron 531. Granted it's not the exact same model, but knowing Dell the differences between the two are going to be very minor even with the differences between Intel and AMD. Other people have reported putting things like Antec Truepower Trios with little issue in their 530s and I doubt there's an enormous difference between a 550VX and those ATX spec wise. In addition, I also admit the test wasn't perfect, it seems this problem manifests itself the most at night for some reason while I tested during the day(though it still can happen during the day). I'm usually quite busy at night and just can't do the disassembly required for exterior testing at night. I'll do a bit more investigation on those fronts though.

Don't think I'm trying to be disrespectful btw, I'm thankful for any help at all for this problem. I'll try to report within the next few days about the situation with a bit more testing and maybe try asking at the Dell forums themselves for any help in this.

Last edited by Anvil; 01-14-2008 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 01-15-2008, 01:55 PM
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Have you added anything else to the system other than the PSU? How much space is under the PSU with it mounted inside the case? Is the PSU normally hot when the system shuts off?
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Old 01-15-2008, 02:49 PM
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Well like I said, the new 320 gig HDD. As for space, there's only half an inch or so of clearance between the PSU and the CPU fan because the geniuses over at Dell had the awesome idea of diagonally mounting the fan to the CPU HS in the most space inefficient way possible in what is already a fairly cramped SFF case. I have to bump against the CPU fan switching power supplies, and it's a pain but I think I got it down.

The PSU never gets hot. There is never any hot exhaust and the unit from my experience is always cool to the touch.

There are also multiple tabs on the PSU area which apparently serve no purpose other than to discourage installation of a new PSU. I bend those tabs though now after finding out how many there are(quite a few), which makes installing the unit much easier. Could it be some sort of grounding issue?
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Old 01-15-2008, 03:18 PM
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You may want to consider a new case if the MB uses standard ATX format that might help provide more clearance for the CPU.
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Old 01-15-2008, 03:23 PM
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I'm working on that, there's a Nine Hundred sitting in my basement and has been since after Black Friday. I've been a bit hesitant though because of the strange and perhaps proprietary layout of the front panel connectors. Haven't been able to build up the courage to try a case swap even after tracing the wires from the power button to the connector.

Would the distance between the PSU and the CPU fan make that much of a difference after months of use?
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Old 01-15-2008, 03:55 PM
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Yes it could but I was basing that suggestion on what you had posted previously about the system working out of the case.
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Old 01-15-2008, 04:00 PM
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Whoops, I worded it wrong, I mean in terms of the PSU's operation. Would having the plastic edge of the HS fan about half an inch(the HS is really a bit less than an inch from the PSU) really cause the PSU to not work correctly? Is there some sort of interference or heat issue?
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Old 01-15-2008, 05:37 PM
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If the PSU works outside of the case, and it does not work when its inside of the case, there is most likely a heat, or grounding issue. Dell will usually use proprietary PSUs and you are always taking a chance when using an aftermarket PSU in the system, because they are not designed for these types of systems. Its also likely that the motherboard could be operating out of spec and tripping the overcurrent or overvoltage protection circuits in the PSU, however this is unlikely if the PSU works fine outside of the case.

Bottom line is we can replace the unit if you like, however you may run into the same problems with a replacement. If you would like to get it replaced, please use the On Line RMA Request Form
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Old 01-15-2008, 06:17 PM
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Thanks for the offer, I'll keep that in mind as I further examine the issue. Who knows, it might not work outside of the case either, which would make it a serious issue.

For what it's worth, someone at the Dell forum is saying it went bad. I'm not too sure about that yet though: From what I can tell, this is the first instance of a 550VX doing this.

On the other hand, I've heard that Dell has moved away from proprietary PSUs, and this line supposedly uses standard ATX PSUs. If it was still proprietary, I would have supposedly fried the motherboard when I plugged it in. This isn't the case here, it's a tight fit but it fits and like I've said previously the unit was working fine for months before it started doing this so I don't know what's going on here. The fact that noone else has had a similar problem with a 550VX is just bizarre.

Last edited by Anvil; 01-15-2008 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 01-15-2008, 08:05 PM
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I would encourage you to test it in another system. If the same issues arise then we know the VX550 is the culprit, however if the system stays on and no crashes occur, then there is some other problem.
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Old 01-15-2008, 08:31 PM
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All the other systems available to me are also Dells, older models that may actually have the proprietary connectors so that's probably not a good way to test that. For now I'll just sit on the problem and test, to tell the truth I probably don't really need any action taken at least until I do the case upgrade.

On the other hand, it has been suggested that it may be a problem from the wall. This computer is connected to a power strip, so I may try to switch that out and see what happens.

Last edited by Anvil; 01-15-2008 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 01-15-2008, 08:47 PM
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Let us know how it goes! You might even want to try plugging the PSU directly into the wall and see if you have the same results.
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Old 01-15-2008, 08:59 PM
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The wall socket is actually two pronged, but there's a three-pronged adapter for the power strip and conceivably the PSU cable if I choose to try connecting it to the wall(though the wall socket is a bit close to the floor so the cord might not reach it). Someone suggested that I try a wall socket tester, but I don't have one handy so we'll see how it goes.
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