Mapping Out Electrical Failures For Commercial Computer Systems

When a computer has an electrical failure, it isn't as easily observed as a virus or incompatible software. There may be complete power loss, but there may be constant restarts, slow performance or other issues that could be confused for software failure. An analysis of key electrical components can help you troubleshoot electrical failures in an organized manner for efficient replacements.

Start With The Power Supply

The power supply is the first point of entry for electricity into the computer. It takes electricity from wall sockets (or any power source) and regulates the current to something that the computer can use.

When an electrical problem such as a power surge from an electrical storm or power company error threatens the computer, the power supply is the first potential victim and a fail-safe that may protect the rest of the system.

If a violently erratic electrical surge enters the power supply, it has a split-second chance to shut down and block the transfer of damaging electricity from affecting the rest of the system. The power supply may be completely damaged at that point, but it may need a simple reset.

To reset a power supply, follow a few basic instructions that work for most power supply brands:

  1. Unplug the computer. Make sure that the power is completely disconnected from wall sockets or other power sources. If possible, remove any detachable power cables.
  2. Hold down the power button. Press the power button for at least 15 seconds. There is no need to hold the button for more than a minute or two.
  3. Connect the power. Attach any power cables necessary.
  4. Press the power button. If the computer turns on, the reset is successful.

If the computer does not turn on, try a different power cable or wall outlet before moving on to the motherboard or discarding the power supply.

Motherboard Troubleshooting For Power Failures

If the power supply is turning on, but not the computer, move to the motherboard next.

The motherboard connects all other components in the computer. From the power supply, the motherboard distributes all raw power as well as data—which is still an electrical charge.

Make sure that the power supply is firmly connected to the motherboard. You may need to follow the cables for the power supply to the motherboard and press down enough to firmly seat the connection. Do not press too hard, as the connector should simply slip into the slot.

Consult your motherboard's manual for the proper connection location. If you're unable to find the right documentation, the general layout of motherboards is the same for most commercial and personal computers.

Contact a commercial electric repair technician or a company like Excel Electric Inc if you need help with deeper troubleshooting techniques.