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Old 30th April 2013, 03:40 PM   #1
Silly Green Monkey
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Power outage killed my computer---any hope?

Yesterday morning while I was reading through the Scandinavia and the World webcomic, our neighborhood lost power. It was restored less than an hour later, but my 2007 iMac remains dark and silent. I've checked the strip sockets to make sure it's getting power, did the unplug-and-hold-power-button for thirty seconds, but still nothing. I have a backup drive, so I won't have lost much, but I don't want to lose the computer...
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Old 30th April 2013, 04:11 PM   #2
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Good luck - not sure why an outage would unless it was preceded by an innage, but I am not a computer repairdoctor..........
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Old 30th April 2013, 04:43 PM   #3
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Did it let any magic smoke out? Computers can't work without magic smoke.
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Old 30th April 2013, 04:58 PM   #4
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If it was a PC I would suggest taking the power supply out and trying it with a new one but I'm not sure if you can do this with a mac.
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Old 30th April 2013, 05:13 PM   #5
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There have been problems with the power supplies on some models of iMacs. I've repaired a couple by replacing the power supply although on the last one I tried to fix it didn't work. There are detailed instructions for diagnosing and repair online.

But first, make sure that the plug on the back of your iMac is pushed in all the way.


ETA: opening the flat panel iMac can be tricky. The original has 3 screws on the bottom (but read the instructions as these are not ordinary screws). Later models use magnets to hold the front glass in place and require suction cups to pull it off. The latest models have delicate wires and connectors that must be carefully detached durring the disassembly.

Here's a video instruction for replacing a 2007 iMac power supply.

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
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A text message was found to have been sent at 8:35PM of November 1st by KNOX's number to that of her co-defendant Patrick, in which she wrote "Ci vediamo dopo" ["See you later" or lit: "We'll see each other after"] thus confirming that in the following hours KNOX would find herself with Patrick in the apartment where the victim was. -- Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini (Order for arrests)

Last edited by Dan O.; 30th April 2013 at 05:48 PM.
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Old 30th April 2013, 08:28 PM   #6
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Agree with Dano O

Regardless of computer. Mac/PC

Invariably, DARK + SILENT = POWER SUPPLY
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Old 1st May 2013, 02:37 AM   #7
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It was a six year old computer. I suggest it is time for a new one.
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Old 1st May 2013, 03:25 AM   #8
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It's hard to say what could be wrong with it without taking a look. It happened to me once, and it fried the gfx card and the processor.

(And mine is 12 years old, and still going strong! I built it to last.. )
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Old 1st May 2013, 10:23 AM   #9
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power outs often involve power surges as well, so a check of the power supply would be the place to start, then s systems check.
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Old 1st May 2013, 11:13 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ryokan View Post

(And mine is 12 years old, and still going strong! I built it to last.. )
Shameless recruitment:

What is your folding ID? That's where we test the real machines.



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Old 1st May 2013, 11:41 AM   #11
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Any chance it's just the fuse blown on the plug of the Mac's power cord?
...if it has fuse, that is.

Last edited by DickK; 1st May 2013 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 1st May 2013, 04:05 PM   #12
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Yet another "It's the power supply" vote. Replaced the one my beastie two months ago after a friend's "Hold my beer and watch this".
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Old 1st May 2013, 04:29 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
It was a six year old computer. I suggest it is time for a new one.
Was it on Apple's recall list? Mine is and I've not taken it in yet to swap out the hard drive.

The one problem I did have, 'blue screen of death', they fixed for free. And my son has always had good service taking in his notebooks.
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Old 1st May 2013, 04:52 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Was it on Apple's recall list? Mine is and I've not taken it in yet to swap out the hard drive.

The one problem I did have, 'blue screen of death', they fixed for free. And my son has always had good service taking in his notebooks.

Typically if there is a problem with the hard drive you still get the boot chime and a sad mac display.
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A text message was found to have been sent at 8:35PM of November 1st by KNOX's number to that of her co-defendant Patrick, in which she wrote "Ci vediamo dopo" ["See you later" or lit: "We'll see each other after"] thus confirming that in the following hours KNOX would find herself with Patrick in the apartment where the victim was. -- Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini (Order for arrests)
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Old 1st May 2013, 06:04 PM   #15
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I had a power supply die under warranty and the replaced both that and the motherboard.

You can replace your own power supply. http://www.ifixit.com/
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Old 1st May 2013, 06:09 PM   #16
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Assuming it was the 20" with the plastic bezel; http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Installi...+Supply/1098/1
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Old 1st May 2013, 06:35 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
It was a six year old computer. I suggest it is time for a new one.
Should you opt for a new one, can I please have your old one?
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Old 1st May 2013, 07:56 PM   #18
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It's well known that computer components run on magic smoke. If you didn't let the magic smoke out of the power supply, there may still be hope of recovery.
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Old 2nd May 2013, 07:51 PM   #19
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Still not on, there was no smell of magic smoke at the time. I can't afford to do anything with it, probably just have to stash it until something changes.
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Old 2nd May 2013, 09:07 PM   #20
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Sometimes the power supply isn't completely dead but just won't get started. I had one that I could kick start by forcing a hard shutdown and wait for the standby power to start to drop then hit the power button. It was like a magic incantation unless you had access to see the diagnostic LEDs. Unfortunately, you cannot see the diagnostic LEDs on the motherboard without opening the unit. And of course, the power cord is interlocked with the cover so you can't put it back together without unplugging it which shuts it down.
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A text message was found to have been sent at 8:35PM of November 1st by KNOX's number to that of her co-defendant Patrick, in which she wrote "Ci vediamo dopo" ["See you later" or lit: "We'll see each other after"] thus confirming that in the following hours KNOX would find herself with Patrick in the apartment where the victim was. -- Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini (Order for arrests)
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Old 2nd May 2013, 09:26 PM   #21
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Are you always plugging it into the same socket? I ask because if you are using a socket meant for a window AC, and its too cold for that, that breaker could blow and you'd have no other indication.
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Old 2nd May 2013, 10:30 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
Are you always plugging it into the same socket? I ask because if you are using a socket meant for a window AC, and its too cold for that, that breaker could blow and you'd have no other indication.
You can test to see if the socket is OK by plugging in something else and see if that works. If it does then you know it is the computer.
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Old 3rd May 2013, 05:47 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
You can test to see if the socket is OK by plugging in something else and see if that works. If it does then you know it is the computer.
An even better diagnostic is to pick up an inline power meter such as the kill-o-watt or Watts-Up and you can see if the computer is drawing power when you try and turn it on. The meter can also tell you how much you are spending to run that ancient window AC unit and computer.
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A text message was found to have been sent at 8:35PM of November 1st by KNOX's number to that of her co-defendant Patrick, in which she wrote "Ci vediamo dopo" ["See you later" or lit: "We'll see each other after"] thus confirming that in the following hours KNOX would find herself with Patrick in the apartment where the victim was. -- Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini (Order for arrests)
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Old 3rd May 2013, 05:48 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
It's well known that computer components run on magic smoke. If you didn't let the magic smoke out of the power supply, there may still be hope of recovery.
"It appears that I have released the mysterious blue smoke. Once the mysterious blue smoke appears we have to start over." Adam Savage.
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Old 3rd May 2013, 07:02 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
Are you always plugging it into the same socket? I ask because if you are using a socket meant for a window AC, and its too cold for that, that breaker could blow and you'd have no other indication.
All of the other computers on that outlet strip are running fine.
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Old 3rd May 2013, 08:04 AM   #26
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no smoke could mean there was a fuse somewhere in the power supply
smoke could mean there was a varistor somewhere in the power supply
Of course, everything could have fried before the varistor smoked, in which case, it is dead.
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Old 3rd May 2013, 08:43 AM   #27
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A fuse is an intentionlally weak point in the circuit that is intended to be the first to release its smoke. Fuses are often enclosed in glass so the smoke can be captured and recycled. Varisters are enchanted devices that magically contain the smoke in the circuit it protects even when a fool tries to force it out.
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A text message was found to have been sent at 8:35PM of November 1st by KNOX's number to that of her co-defendant Patrick, in which she wrote "Ci vediamo dopo" ["See you later" or lit: "We'll see each other after"] thus confirming that in the following hours KNOX would find herself with Patrick in the apartment where the victim was. -- Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini (Order for arrests)
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Old 3rd May 2013, 06:25 PM   #28
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Ah, this reminds me of the fun times I had in the military in the computer repair shop.

<csb>Had a ticket come in one day. "PC is buzzing and smoking." Now, so you guys follow me here, it was entirely commonplace for the staff on base to greatly embellish the nature of their problems to try to get a more prompt response. I took the ticket and went over to the office to check it out.

I'm led to the machine. I turn it on. And to my surprise, it's actually buzzing and smoking! I haul it back to the shop, pop the case, and sure enough, the power supply is shot. Not just shot, but actively arcing inside the case for the power supply!

A plan is hatched. All PCs on base were bought in the same lot. They all appear identical. We quickly remove our civilian bosses' PC and replace it with the defective one. We wait for him to arrive fashionably late as per usual.

He comes in, sits down, turns on his machine, and immediately freaks out as a minifog of electrical doom wafts everywhere.

We calm him down, replace his actual machine, and I get sent over to supply to "double check" the inventory. A process that takes fourteen gruelingly pointless hours.

Gotta love military life!</csb>
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Old 3rd December 2013, 01:12 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by DickK View Post
Any chance it's just the fuse blown on the plug of the Mac's power cord?
...if it has fuse, that is.
Might be the winner here. I finally took it in for service, he plugged it into the shop cord, and the computer booted right up. Now to find a replacement cable for an obsolete computer...
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Old 3rd December 2013, 08:52 PM   #30
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Had one of those in the neighborhood... took out all the power everywhere for about a mile around.
PC went blank.
Located the source....
DWP had the power back up in an hour.
PC came back up.
Brand new pole the next morning.
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File Type: jpg PowerOutage-061513.jpg (95.9 KB, 2 views)
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Old 3rd December 2013, 09:16 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Ryokan View Post
It's hard to say what could be wrong with it without taking a look. It happened to me once, and it fried the gfx card and the processor.

(And mine is 12 years old, and still going strong! I built it to last.. )
This is exactly what happened to mine with an outage as well. For what ever reason, the PC seemed to have no power and it turned out to be the graphics card and processor. I did the necessary repairs but my computer never returned to its former glory so I eventually had to replace it. I think sometimes there is a power surge when they turn the power back on again. These days when the power goes out I unplug my computer. A surge protector would be better.
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Old 4th December 2013, 05:19 PM   #32
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A replacement cord didn't work, and the RS guy checked the old cord and it was conveying current just fine. I have no idea why the mac store's cord worked and only the mac store's cord..........
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Old 5th December 2013, 04:04 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
Yet another "It's the power supply" vote. Replaced the one my beastie two months ago after a friend's "Hold my beer and watch this".
This. I'd say replace the PSU, but I don't know if that's even easily doable on a Mac. In either case, you could get your data back by mounting the disk back in a new/other machines or in a USB enclosure.
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Old 5th December 2013, 04:33 AM   #34
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With Macs, I would always suggest trying to contact Apple.

Hey, what's there to loose? More than turning you away, or asking too much money they cannot do. But there's a pretty high probability that they fix it. At least higher than with other dealers/manufacturers, from my experience.

Anecdotal: Both my last two service requests were accompanied with (paraphrased) "Well, it's not under warranty, but we do it anyway" (for free). One was a plastic MacBook that was chipped away where the lid touches the keyboard case (they exchanged the keyboard/top cover). The other was my iPad that I dropped. I even said it's my own damn fault. Still got a exchange one (a refurbished from all signs, but still runs strong after two years).
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Old 5th December 2013, 07:41 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Fishstick View Post
This. I'd say replace the PSU, but I don't know if that's even easily doable on a Mac. In either case, you could get your data back by mounting the disk back in a new/other machines or in a USB enclosure.
Being an iMac it requires suction cups, but it's doable: ifixit.com
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Old 5th December 2013, 07:48 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Silly Green Monkey View Post
A replacement cord didn't work, and the RS guy checked the old cord and it was conveying current just fine. I have no idea why the mac store's cord worked and only the mac store's cord..........
Hmmm.

Does the store use a battery back-up system?

If it's a PSU problem, then the only issue I could think of that would explain why the store worked was that they're using an in-line battery system connected to their outlets that provides stepped DC instead of true AC power. I don't know enough about the internal workings of power supplies to know if that would make a difference, but it's the only thing that comes to mind on the question of what might be different.

I'd also vote of power supply. With damage from surges/power outages, it almost always comes down to the power supply, modem, and/or network card. The are the components that actually connect to the outside power in some form or fashion, and they also usually "protect" the rest of the computer by failing first. Damage to other components can occur, but is much, much less likely.
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Old 5th December 2013, 10:32 AM   #37
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That would allow their cord to supply power to the computer, enough to turn it on, but not my cord plugged into the same socket?
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Old 5th December 2013, 01:25 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Silly Green Monkey View Post
That would allow their cord to supply power to the computer, enough to turn it on, but not my cord plugged into the same socket?
Ah, didn't know you plugged in to the same location. I assumed they used their cord at their place and you used yours at home. Misread your comment, there

I have no idea what the issue is in that case. But the cord shouldn't have anything to do with it unless it's physically broken. A cord generally doesn't fail unless it shorts out (the smoke is a giveaway on that one) or creates an open, neither of which is likely due to a power outage either.

I'd still guess power supply, perhaps a small open somewhere that was temporarily reconnected when they plugged in their cord, and jiggled apart again afterwards.

It's an unusual problem, I'll give you that one
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