So my Alienware Aurora died the other day after a power failure, in the past it would happen and when pressing power it would just turn on and right back off after less than a second and wouldnt let me hit power until I unplugged it, plugged back in, and tried again. After 2-3 tries it would always start back up so I wasn't too worried about it although I felt something was coming - sure enough! Power went out the other day and I probably tried a good 15 times and no go, I unplugged everything except 1 cable (which I now know goes to the master board[not motherboard]) because it was a pain to get to and typically power supplies require something plugged in to start anyway, I bridged the green and a ground wire with a paper clip on the mobo connector to test if it would power on - same thing, so I thought it was the power supply. I bought a new alienware power supply online come to find that wasn't the issue :( So after testing everything I came to find that when the master board has the power plug in it from the PSU - it wouldnt boot. I got it to boot by unplugging that master board and quickly turned it off when I realized that's what powers not only all the fancy lights but also the CPU pump/etc... so before i go and buy a new master board I wanted a second opinion haha. I am NOT talking about the motherboard, I'm talking about the master board labeled MS-4194 v1.1.
Anyone have any other ideas or is it indeed the master board? I've had this for years now so wouldn't be surprised if it somehow got surged, throughout all this I also dropped a good 500 on 2 backup power supplies so when the power flickers as it sometimes does it won't cause issues and my office will stay online. I appreciate any feedback you guys could give! Thanks!!
You had your chance to install a good UPS (like APC). People seem to think they are un-necessary. I guess you know better now.
Press little button on PS. If the green light on the back of the PS comes on, it's suppose to be good (so says the Owner's Manual). You can also test PS with a digital PS tester
Machine will run with MIO-Board disconnected from USB-1 header on motherboard. Pump and radiator fan are actually controlled by motherboard but the wiring is complicated. For only those 2 pieces, MIO-Board is only a monitor.
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It is what it is, I didn't have 500 to drop on good UPS prior as was barely making it, fortunately now things have turned around. And I tested the PS just happened to keep it plugged into the 1 piece that was preventing it from booting up - my bad oh well, I can return the power supply no problem so am not worried about it. Regardless I followed the wires and the CPU pump was wired into a small thin board on the top of the case, which is wired with a power cord into the master control board, the big radiator fan in the back was not spinning nor was any other fan with exception to 1 small one next to the processor (which is wired direct into the mobo). It turned on but the BIOS showed the CPU at 1.6ghz which is way off and was extremely sluggish so I figured that was due to that board not having power. Again 0 fans were running including the radiator fan which I could hear doing something but making odd/off noises, all these fans are ran into that master control board. Is the MIO board you're referring to the same thing I am? It powers the USB ports on the top as well as the SD card reader and just about every fan in the case, including the smaller board which powers the CPU pump on top of other critical components, according to the labels on the board.
Assuming that is the MIO board and that it doesn't handle all that, why would it be acting as such? And I can just disconnect the USB-1 header and bootup no problem? I reset CMOS so that may have attributed to weird stuff going on in cmos? I'll try unplugging that USB1 header and see what happens booting into windows while watching everything on the inside - like I said my primary concern was that 0 fans were running and the only change was disconnecting the PWR connector from the PSU -> Master Control Board/MIO/what have you. Plugging it back in all fans would start to start before shutting off immediately, which is what caused me to assume on top of all the connections that those are wired through that and weren't getting power without that. I could care less about the USB/SD cards in the front, and maybe those are also routed elsewhere. To say the least yes the wiring is overly complicated lol.
Edit: Reconfirmed, the SYS-Fan (behind radiator), MEM-Fan, and CPU-Pump (coming direct from the CPU pump) are wired to the thin board on top which is wired with a power cord from that thin board to the MIO board, also on the MIO board is the HD Fan and Video card fan, all not being powered because that PWR connector from the PSU to the MIO board is not plugged in??
Has to be the MIO board that fried from the power surge, right?
A power failure would just shut the system down. Worst case there would be corrupted data and lost work resulting in an OS reinstall.
A power surge which can accompany a power failure would have the chance to fry something. This has to be what happend to you, right?
You should wire it back, set everything back to default and try reinstalling everything. If/when that fails buy another MIO and something to prevent this from happening again. If something is fried no amount of messing with wires will change that. Exchange that PSU for some type of UPS.
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Thank you morblore, Yea absolutely that's what I'm thinking, the whole problem is it won't start while the MIO has power into it - I unplug the MIO power and it starts no problem however all the system fans and CPU pump are not powered (because of the MIO from what I can tell by the wiring). My original question was just to verification that I needed a new MIO board, I live in the mountains with shanty wiring so am not surprised if it surged even though it's on a surge protector that doesn't always help. I'm glad to see some attempted help vs criticism :P
Everything I'm seeing tells me to I need a new MIO board but I have not worked on the internals much let alone a dedicated MIO board, I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing anything else! But obviously I don't want to turn it on even though I can get it to boot without the MIO powered because of all that above - the CPU pump/sys fan/etc are not starting so would not want to risk damage. I did reset the CMOS battery so unless that could do something like me needing to install the MIO board drivers again I believe I just need a new MIO.
Here is something else you may not know. The power company may replace your system if you can prove a surge did it.
I had a power surge two years ago that fried two of my UPSs and a TV. I called OUC and they replaced it all. All I had to do was show I owned it and then I had to give them the old UPSs and TV. In my case it was a utility worker that caused the surge. If it was lightning or some other act of God then I don't think they will take the responsibility.
Thanks for the heads up morblore, that was recommended to me by a friend as well, there WAS work being done by a utility worker and there was no storms or anything like that so there is a good chance there, if anything I'm going to call them and will get them to pay for the parts I purchase etc... If it turns out more damage is done i'll pursue further. And yes I got a backup UPS so that in the case this happens again, everything will be fine :)
In my case I had to show them my receipts and they sent me a check for the exact amount.
I'm glad to see some attempted help vs criticism :P
I'm glad to see some attempted help vs criticism :P
Look. I was try to help you ... are you saying I wasn't? If so, I'll stop now.
I don't know how else to make you realize how important a real UPS is. What you SHOULD do is un-plug the machine until you get one. Even if you get lucky and fix it now, it's just going to blow-up again.
Again ... me trying to help you.
And I really hate repeating myself, but ... yes, the machine will run fine with the MIO-Board un-plugged. I have done it. You are not noticing the wires that go to the motherboard (where a normal CPU fan would connect)
MotherBoard MB_CPU_Fan (3-pins of the 26-pin cable that goes to MB_MIO)
A bad/blown/un-plugged MIO-Board WOULD-NOT make your processor run at the wrong speed.
I know you were trying to help but the first 80% of that post sounded extremely condescending, the power supply issue was already out of the way and you reaped on how I had my chance and I should test the power supply. I get it, I'm out my primary computer for a few days, it sucks, last thing I need when askin for some help is that :P But I do appreciate you posting as that is trying to help, I wasn't saying otherwise, I was just saying most of that seemed to be criticism - thats all. I think I realized the importance when this happened and immediately purchased UPS's as now I can afford them, before I couldn't so was SOL unfortunately.
Regardless moving onto the issue, thank you for your post, like I said my main concern is that theres a wire going direct from the CPU pump to the smaller thin board at the top of the case into a "CPU_PUMP" the same board that has SYSFAN, MEMFAN on it, then theres a power long and thin connector going from that board to the MIO, that same MIO board also as the HD_FAN etc... All of those fans are NOT working, that is my entire concern here and why I'm asking for confirmation on what's happening, I've built compuers my whole life but have never dug into the internals of an alienware so a standalone MIO is new to me, and as far as I can tell the PWR going from PSU -> MIO not being plugged in would be the cause of all of those fans not working and therefore lead me to believe the CPU pump is not fully powered? I guess my question should be: should I be worried about running it without the radiator/hd/mem fan being on leading me to believe the CPU_PUMP connection which is the only other connection also on that thin board is not working? I believe you that you can run without the MIO, so apparently I may be having a different issue - all I know for sure is the computer will not boot for more than half a second with the MIO plugged in - and without it plugged in there are 0 fans running including the radiator fan which led me to believe the CPU pump is also not working (nothing else on that board is running)?
Here's the start to finish:
Power flickers, comp stays off as it should in case of rolling brownouts/what have you. I go in, turn it on, it turns on all the fans/etc startup for 1/2 second and shut down, have experienced this problem few times in the past even on a shutdown and power back on. Usually I can unplug, wait a min, plug in, and power on - no problem.
So this time obviously it doesnt power back on, I test the power supply and usually plug into a fan but just kept it into the MIO as it was a pain to get to (although it really wasnt but as I said I was new to the deep internals of an alienware). Anyways long story short it wasnt the power supply, I didn't have a manual to tell me that there was a test on the back. Power supply is fine. I start debugging today via pulling out all RAM and components and going through the cycles, RAM wasnt the issue, reset CMOS battery, soon find out by unplugging the MIO it will boot, however, I notice that no fans are powering on. I follow the connections, I see that from the MIO goes a power connection to the thin and long board attached to the top of the case holding SYSFAN, MEMFAN, CPU_PUMP. None of which seemed to be working although I can feel the CPU pumping, didn't want to risk it without getting confirmation here. The HDFAN and Video Card FAN which are direct into the MIO are also not working. This leads me to believe it's a MIO issue and at the time I thought the MIO was a critical component (based off it wiring to the CPU_PUMP/etc...). I do see the CPU_FAN on the mobo is wired but it does not go into the CPU it goes down and looks to go into the MIO but may be wrong there.
It starts into BIOS which is now cleared, I reset to optimal defaults, set to RAID, notice under SYS info my i7 quad core 2.86 i believe is showing 1.6ghz, RAM which is 6GB is showing 2GB - weird. I shut off and come here. I just went down and tested again, RAM showed 4GB this time, I reset, then it showed 2GB before shutting off on its own - my knee jerk reaction would be the CPU overheated but I may be wrong. My initial knee jerk reaction on CPU speed is that, it being low on power or coolant or what have you, it downgraded to its lowest operating range, I may be wrong this is an assumption based on what i'm seeing.
SO my question: any ideas on whats going on? Mobo issue? What is that power cord into the MIO for? My knee jerk reaction is to power the fans, and that top thin long board? Why is there a cord going from the CPU pump direct into that long thin board labeled CPU_PUMP, yes I do see the CPU_FAN connection but that seems to go elsewhere - possibly to the MIO. Regardless it would seem the MIO is not passing along anything, i do get the orange light on the MIO showing power but that power cord is not plugged in and obviously nothing plugged into it seems to be functioning. Should I replace the MIO? I'm asking because I plan to order one in the morning and have it overnight for Friday. I DO appreciate ANY help and that you responded right off the bat, I felt it was condescending and unnecessary for someone looking for help, if I was wrong in that assumption I apologize - as I mentioned I am no newbie to computers or hardware, I am however a newbie to alienware specialty parts which as you pointed out can be confusing as hell.
The RAM thing is common with these systems. You have to pull all the sticks and boot with just one. Then shut it off, install the other 2 and boot back up. Do this over and over until you see all 6gb.
Thanks again morblore good to know, I'll give that a shot. My next concern would be the CPU frequency being so low, like I said I still believe that the pump is not getting its full power and/or something additionally is going on. I think eitherway I'll be ordering a new MIO board tomorrow just to be safe. Like I said in the last time I tried it, while I was in BIOS it just shut off - leading me to believe the CPU overheated and hit a failsafe mechanism, hopefully getting a new MIO will solve all these problems, my secondary concern being all the fans not running which are connected into the MIO telling me that it's not passing along power correctly since nothing plugged into it is working, of which is that small thin board on the top of the case which holds the SYSFAN, CPUPUMP, MEMFAN, etc... Hoping just replacing that will solve all of that which was, in a nut shell, my question. The RAM I'm not surprised and and am fairly sure doing what you recommended will solve that since I went from testing with 1 stick to all 6 at once. Hoping friday i'll be back up to normal, and with these UPS's this won't be an issue again :)
CPU Clock and Shutting Off While In BIOS....Was it overclocked before? Did you set it back after defaulting the bios? I wouldn't worry about the CPU atm. I think its fine. I could be wrong but I don't think you can just fry a CPU and then it only runs at half speed. I'm gonna call this one user/driver error until we know more. What are the temps? How do you know it overheated? You need to start watching it to confirm. Maybe the PSU really is bad and that is why it shut off?
Fans Not Running....The fans should default to max speed when no MIO is detected or has failed. For them to not run at all is weird to me and I'm not sure why. This could mean the MIO is really FUBAR. I don't know.
You can buy the MIO board on-line for $100. Try not to let someone charge you a lot more then that. If you want to play it smart you can buy another case with the mio already in it and have yourself some extra parts. Just an idea. Check Ebay for that. If I needed a new MIO that is what I would do. I can get a Area 51 case with the MIO for well under the $100 off Ebay. The case is just the frame but it's still a great deal.