Question Damaged or Loose Power Cables -- Cause of Random "Power Events" -- A Simple Question . . .

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,351
1,222
126
I think my spring panic of troubleshooting is at an end. It started here, and I can see the thread I initiated is still up at the top of the "recent" page.

It then moved to RAM, then motherboards, then CPUs. It all started with a vaping-pen/static-charge on a USB port more than a year ago. Motherboard definitely needed replacement, and I obtained two -- eventually swapping in the RMA replacement early this month/late last month. I'd replaced the PSU, the RAM, the motherboard, the graphics card -- lucky I have spares of everything.

I think I've resolved the random power events, although a bit early to tell. But a "Ten Forum" thread by a guy complaining about his kid putting games on his shared system had identical symptoms to mine -- not just similar but identical in every way. His problem wasn't Win 10; it was damaged or bad cabling to the PSU.

I'm not 100% sure which cable was my problem. I didn't want to screw around, and replaced all the power cables and the PSU as well. The 24-pin motherboard cable had been twisted and stressed for "cable management". Another SATA power cable was also twisted into a pretzel. In the process of following the opportunity to do a big makeover of cabling in my case, I discovered one SATA power cable was not fully locked into the modular PSU. But that cable had been thrown in the mix just to anticipate additions of hardware, and wasn't even connected to any drives.

Is it possible that a loosely connected SATA power cable without drive connections could create my random power events? Like I said, I replaced all of the cables, and I don't know if that particular cable was the cause of my problem. But I was stunned to find that cable not fully locked into the Seasonic.

I could write a list of do's and don'ts for installing and maintaining a "modular" power supply.

Anyway, crossing my fingers that this resolved all my troubles, but it all looks pretty good and I'm confident.

MORAL OF THE STORY: You can damage your computer to require replacing the motherboard. It is an opportunity to do sloppy work, and cause additional problems. And if you're troubleshooting hardware, don't forget the freaking power cables! If you're going to replace the PSU, don't use the old cables, even if two Seasonic Titaniums use the very same cables.
 

igor_kavinski

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2020
3,797
2,255
106
I think the real moral of the story is: GIVE UP VAPING! :D

Side note: I lost one of my Thinkpad's USB ports because I got into the habit of charging my mobile phone with it. Now it only works sometimes and my WD USB 3 HDD doesn't seem to be getting the required power from that port anymore. Thank God, I have two other ports.

Lesson learned: DO NOT charge from a USB port unless it specifically states in the manual that the port can be used for charging. If it doesn't, for the sake of preventing loss of port, stick with charging from USB adapter.
 
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BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,351
1,222
126
Igor! I stand with you on all of it, and I am beyond humiliation! I think I was kicking myself as soon as I realized what I'd done. About a week or two thereafter, with the system unpowered and ready to take apart, I bought a 10-port USB (3?) QC bus that fits into a single wall socket.

I could pose a theory, and I add my sense of a probable first-hand inclination. People accumulate so many devices with little power bricks, and the wall sockets are so fully occupied that they may be driven to that front-panel computer port.

At this point, more than 24 hours has passed and the problem computer has yet to throw an unwanted shutdown. The last power event had occurred less than a day after the previous one. As I said, the trend of the intervals seemed to change noticeably after I'd made another motherboard swapout.

I'm confident, but I'll continue to have reservations until the computer passes two weeks without a power event.

Even so, I'm surprised that I could be careless enough to try and connect cables to the PSU that went into the box last November and only after I'd installed it. I should've unraveled the cables or replaced them, then put them in the PSU sockets before sliding the PSU into the case. I don't have baby hands, and the PSU ports are in cramped case space.

It was all just carelessness and laziness.

Couple years ago, I had a routine appointment with my physician, and in the casual conversation I mentioned my computer and that I enjoyed building my own. So the doctor asked "Is that the way you keep sharp?"

I think I'm losing my edge. That's what I think . . . .
 

WilliamM2

Golden Member
Jun 14, 2012
1,858
155
106
If the cable had nothing attached to the other end (drive end) then there is no possible way it would cause ANY issue by being loose. It's the same as not being plugged in at all, no load.
 

lakedude

Platinum Member
Mar 14, 2009
2,490
220
106
If the cable had nothing attached to the other end (drive end) then there is no possible way it would cause ANY issue by being loose. It's the same as not being plugged in at all, no load.
I agree, unless the cable happened to touch some metal/conductive stuff... Unlikely because of the plastic but not impossible. Also unlikely but the extra cable could act like an antenna of sorts. Better for it not to be there.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,351
1,222
126
I agree, unless the cable happened to touch some metal/conductive stuff... Unlikely because of the plastic but not impossible. Also unlikely but the extra cable could act like an antenna of sorts. Better for it not to be there.
Maybe that eliminates the SATA cable as a cause; it was just installed in the box anticipating other storage additions that never materialized. Therefore, the cause of my power events must have been the main cable to the motherboard -- twisted into a pretzel. All I can say about this is that the problem is fixed. I'm pretty sure of it. I'm into my fourth day of smooth running, and the last three power events had shorter intervals -- the last two less than a day apart. Of course, there was another SATA cable that was badly deformed, and it was connected to drives. But I didn't have any sort of HDD hardware problem, corruption or any similar indication.
 

john3850

Golden Member
Oct 19, 2002
1,429
19
81
Many years ago I got into a habit of putting masking tape over all my open cables which cleans up easy with alcohol.
 

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