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Help on which Desktop P.C.


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Hi guys,

I need help. I went out to my obsy last night only to find the P.C. is dead.

Tested the harddrive on P.C. at work and all is fine. I haven't a clue why the P.C. is dead?

I'm looking to upgrade desktop and need help and suggestions on what to look for or what models are decent.

I'm looking to run CduC, Sharpcapture or Firecapture( QHY5LII) and APT.

I'm not too worried about image processing (a bonus)  but really need something that can handle the QHY5LII and max.

Suggestions please?

Many thanks


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May seem simple but check any fuse.

I recall someone many years ago was given 15 dead PC's, they checked the fuse in all of them and then they had 12 working PC's.

At this time I would check what any PC offers, Microsoft in effect only have Windows 8.1 (8.2??) which had concerns and are bringing out soon Windows 10. If W10 is pants then there are problems as Win7 is obsolete and unsupported, Win8 seems to have concerns, Win9 was dead before it escaped Microsoft and now Win10 is still unknown.

You should get W10 free but check as an automatic update.

It also means that you could have a new OS in a month or two that you then need to get things operating on.

If there is a small place that could do a half hour check for £10-15 I would be tempted to say try them as it fix could be simple.

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Thanks Ronin for the suggestion of the fuse.

There is power to the motherboard (LED on board), the DVD operates as do the fans and even the HD starts up (initially) but the HD doesn't continue and the LCD screen says "no signal".

I've removed and reconnected all boards and internal leads just in case a connection problem.

The HD is perfectly fine on another P.C. 

my conclusion would be a failure on the main motherboard.

This means I'm in the market for an upgrade (birthday in a few weeks).


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The number of beeps from bios power on self test usually indicate where issue is. I've had a number of power supplies fail on desktop PCs

Listen to the beeps.  It is a bit like morse code in that they transmit a message.  Google the bios beep codes.

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I would also check the psu as it will be delivering different voltage rails and this could mean that the low voltage rails are ok hence the led's on the mobo are on.  I would suggest that it is as you say the mobo or the psu. The motherboard or psu is a simple replacement and should take competent pc  repair shop an hours charge. It would also be easy for them to provide the correct diagnosis.

You need to check any forms of beeps as the pc attempts to start. This is the POST (power on self test), and may give a clue as to what is going on.

if you want a replacement then as above I would avoid anything but W7. W8 & W8.1 have had poor take-up and whilst the main mmi is keyboard and mouse are ineffective. As W7 is effectively unsupported you can still get hold of it and have it installed. So if you are after a new machine with w7 you will need to go to a pcbuilder.

Edited by damnut
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I take it the monitor works okay on another PC?

Have you tried getting into the BIOS setup screen?

It's usually one of the Function keys, keep tapping it when the PC starts until you get rapid beeping.

If it gets that far and you have a display then try booting in Safe Mode, keep tapping F8 this time. 

Go for basic VGA for the monitor, just in case it's a monitor driver issue.

If the onboard video chip is blown I think the PC would still boot all the way and play the Windows welcome music, even without a video output.

So probably something more major.

My observatory housed PC died recently, there were eight electrolytic capacitors on the motherboard with their tops blown open.

I have just bought a used motherboard off the bay for a tenner, comes with processor and memory.

I've also bought replacement Caps for a fiver, so I can try and repair my board, then I have a spare, worth a try. 

An observatory is a hostile environment for a PC.

Baking hot in summer, freezing and damp in the winter.

So spending a wedge of money on a brand-new PC is a gamble.

Do you really need Windows 7 or 8?

Does it really need a super fast processor and huge RAM?

Maybe if you're capturing at 30fps

So a cheap used XP PC will last a few years, and when it dies, it's no big deal.


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 If W10 is pants then there are problems as Win7 is obsolete and unsupported.

Windows 7 is still available to buy pre-installed on desktops (Lenovo and HP) from our supplier with the option of a Windows 8.1 licence (although getting harder to source) and extended support for Windows 7 i.e. Security Updates will be available until 2020 should you not want to dabble with Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 when it appears as final release, which as suggested will probably be free for Windows 8.1 users. Have you tried pulling the memory out and then running it with the minimum of memory dimms in case one has gone duff?

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I've had very good luck with laptops - as opposed to PC's. I have one which is dedicated for use outside. It's used for astronomy purposes only, and everything is backed-up onto an external HD which remains disconnected when not being loaded/updated. The only times I've had problems with my laptops - which are running Windoze 7 Pro and 8.1 respectively - is from installing MSN security-updates. Those killed the OS in each recently. But my luck with PC's has been far worse. Which explains why I no longer have a PC.

I don't leave a computer outside when I'm not using it. And laptops are easy to move about when compared to a PC. Many of todays laptops have about as much power/RAM/storage etc. as PC's.

Terrabytes Ho,


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You should be able to pick up a nice cheap secondhand/refurbished desktops from a variety of sources.   From the description of the spec your are after,! would guess around £100 for a basic Win 7 desktop.

Many local (not the multiples) computer dealers may be able to help. If, not people there are loads of people on line who sell this sort of thing.

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If your PC is kept in the obsy full time, have a look at the following:

 - does the PC come back to life if it's warmed up?  I have one that (like me :grin:  ) won't start working if it's too cold.

 - whip the lid off and pull-out & reinsert all the "connectable" parts. Start with the RAM, give the gold connectors a rub with a sheet of copier paper. It's mildly abrasive and might remove any muck that's built up on the pins. Be careful not to rub too hard and look out for small surface-mounted components near the connector.

  - try blowing a hair drier over the MB, on a low heat setting. There could just be some condensation / moisture bridging some connections.

 - brush the MB with a small, soft, brush - a lens cleaner is a good one to use.

Remember to observe all the usual anti-static precautions. Esp. don't wear woolen clothes and don't work in a too-dry environment.

Edited by pete_l
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A big THANK YOU to all the suggestions about the P.S.U.

I tried a different P.S.U. on my desktop and what would you know, it all works again.

I've now ordered another one ( I don't think work would be too happy if I installed theirs, lol )


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