It’s early Monday morning and I’m enjoying a little videogaming before work. Suddenly the whole show powers down. Poof.
I hope it’s not the motherboard. Last time I saw a motherboard die the symptoms looked just like this. Sigh. I start running tests to find the problem, and while I’m doing that I’m running the numbers in my head and figuring out how I might be able to afford a replacement PC.
I start at the wall and work my way out. If I plug something else into the same outlet it works, so this isn’t the fault of the power strip. I take the power cord out of the back of the PC and feed it into a spare monitor, which turns on. So, the cord isn’t the problem. The problem is inside the case, as I feared.
I pop it open. Nothing scorched. No burning smell. Time to test the power supply.
My home office is a PC graveyard. I have a half dozen or so dead PC’s entombed in the unused space under my desk. all of them varying stages of completeness. Most of them are so old I can’t hope to make use of them, but one is a PC I got in 1999. It’s been stripped of drives, but the power supply is still there. Geeze. Will an eight year old power supply even work?
I pull it and set it inside of my new PC. I hook it up to the motherboard, plug it in, and hit the power button…
Whew. This would have been an expensive mishap if that didn’t work. I pull the old power supply and install the new one. But wait a second… I seem to be missing some plugs. The dead one had plugs to spare, but the “new” one has exactly enough to power the existing drives. I’ll need to replace the power supply if I ever add something. More troubling, is that the dead power supply has this mysterious plug going into the motherboard that has no match on the new one:
What is that? It’s square. Odd. I’ve seen it before, but I have no idea what it is or what it powers. I can’t imagine why I need two plugs going into the motherboard. I hook everything up aside from the mystery square outlet on the motherboard, which is now empty.
It turns on. Everything seems to work. Drives. Graphics card. Memory card reader. USB devices. It’s all good. The lights on the front of the case light up the way they should. Sound works. Headphone jack works.
So now this is bugging me. What in the heck was that plug for?
Still, glad the machine is working. Yikes.
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