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Thread: Z68 Fatal1ty - randomly shutting down, refusal to turn back on until a few hours of being unplugged

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Default Z68 Fatal1ty - randomly shutting down, refusal to turn back on until a few hours of being unplugged

    Hi guys - I've been having this once problem that has gotten serious recently, and has been my bugbear for the last week.
    Basically, my computer randomly shuts down within 20-60min after turning it on, after which I'm not able to turn it on again until perhaps a few hours later, and only after turning off the wall socket/plug.

    Previously, the random shutting down did not occur as frequently, but I did realize that after turning on the power at the wall plug, and not turning my computer on within a minute or so (i.e. going to make a cup of coffee then coming back to turn it on) - it would not switch on - in other words, once turning on the power on the wall socket, I had to press the computer on/off button immediately to start it.

    I don't think it's heat related as I've been monitoring the temperature - barely hitting mid-40 Celsius, running a Corsair H100 CPU cooler and many fans in a well-ventilated body (now exposed due to the tinkering and probing required).

    I have an Asrock Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen-3 MB with an i7 2600K, 16GB (4x4GB) DDR3 RAM (Corsair Vengeance 1600MHz), Corsair AX850 PSU, Crucial M4 128GB SSD. I've since removed a WD Caviar Black 1TB HDD, a Sony DVD Drive and a Sapphire HD7950 to isolate the problem and give me more room in the casing. The initial build was done in December 2011, with the GPU only added recently. Running the latest BIOS since late last year. No overclocking, just using the default settings thus far.

    In March 2012, I had random freezes and random debug codes were being produced at the different stages of the post cycle. Somehow that problem disappeared - more here:

    I've also done the paperclip test on the PSU and it appears to run fine. Cleared the CMOS by removing the battery/resetting the CMOS button, etc. I've also removed all connections to the front panel thinking that it could be a power switch issue but no joy there. Same problem still persists.

    Initial impression is that it's a MB issue.
    1) Any other tests to isolate the problem?
    2) Suggestion of other possible causes?

    At my wits' end. Any feedback or ideas much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    West Central Gulf Coast, Florida, USA

    Default Re: Z68 Fatal1ty - randomly shutting down, refusal to turn back on until a few hours of being unplugged

    If it were my build, I'd tear it all down and test each individual component separately with other known-good parts from another system, if available. Obviously this depends on having another system handy. Without another one, the problem becomes harder to diagnose. If I had to guess, I'd say it would be either the motherboard or the PSU, with a possibility of RAM on the side. It's almost certainly not a GPU issue, so you can probably check that off the list of suspects. My gut tells me it's probably PSU related. I know you've checked it but it sounds really fishy to me. Almost up there at the top of the list would be the motherboard. If there is any way you can test the PSU on a separate system, do so. If you can definitely eliminate one of the two, you'll almost certainly have your answer. I'd be very surprised if it turned out to be something totally different.

    That's my opinion, and mine only. But with countless builds behind me and untold numbers of systems troubleshooted in my time, this is what my experience tells me. Good luck and please let us know if you do find the cause as I'm insanely curious...

    "Now we gave you a promise and we are bound by that promise and damn you for asking for it! And damn me for agreeing to it! And damn all of us to Hell, because that is exactly where we're going! We talked about peace. You didn't want peace. We talked about cooperation. You didn't want cooperation. You want war! Is that it? You want a war?! Well you've got a war!" - John Sheridan, 'And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder', Babylon5

  3. #3
    parsec's Avatar
    parsec is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Third stone from the sun

    Default Re: Z68 Fatal1ty - randomly shutting down, refusal to turn back on until a few hours of being unplugged

    In the Storage Configuration screen in the UEFI, do you have a setting called "Aggressive SATA Link Power Management"? If so, and if it is enabled, disable it, it is trouble with SSDs.

    Next, in whatever Windows Power Plan you are using, open Advanced settings and find Hard disk. Set "Turn off hard disk after" to 0/never.

    What firmware do you have on your M4? The most recent versions have issues with the SSD not being detected, which may be related to your problem. Are you still using IDE mode, as you said in your other thread? What are you using for the SATA driver?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Default Re: Z68 Fatal1ty - randomly shutting down, refusal to turn back on until a few hours of being unplugged

    Thanks Lumarra, parsec for the replies.

    I had more time today to delve a little deeper into things. And based on the following empirical observations (with precious few hard data to back them up), I think it could be the PSU (Corsair AX850) - but since this is an Asrock forum, I'll refrain from too much details but will update this thread in the interest of the continuity of the topic.

    I tried isolating the PSU again, removing all power connectors to the other components, leaving only the fan connections.

    Did the paperclip test to power on the PSU - and interestingly, the fans shut off after a random amount of time (between 5-15min - shorter than when all the build components were connected). And after it goes off, turning the PSU switch off and then on again doesn't work in turning the fans on. They will not turn on again until maybe 20-30min later (this 'rest' period where the PSU switch is in the off state is again shorter than when the build components were connected).

    Unless there a timing element in the PSU, the fans should be perpetually running up till I turn the PSU switch off - correct me if my interpretation is wrong here.

    Thanks for any forthcoming thoughts or ideas.

  5. #5
    profJim's Avatar
    profJim is offline Chief Munchkin + moderator
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Tacoma, WA. [USA]

    Default Re: Z68 Fatal1ty - randomly shutting down, refusal to turn back on until a few hours of being unplugged

    Your AX850 is based on Seasonic's X-series power supply.
    I bought a Seasonic SS-660XP2 power supply several months ago and gave it a one hour break-in test by connecting two 120mm case fans using the molex connectors. The fans ran continuously during this test. I perform this low load test with new power supplies to ensure that there are no out of the box problems before I connect the power supply to my system.

    It sounds like one of your power supply's protection circuits is shutting down the power supply and won't let it restart shortly after it powers off. Your power supply might have a circuit that is over heating or has problems with output voltage or current. Will your system remain on for more than an hour or two if you boot to the desktop and let your system idle? A useful test would be to connect your power supply to another system and see if there are any problems similar to your current system. I'm puzzled by the problem when you initially power on your system and you've had A.C. power to your power supply for more than a minute.

    It's OK to discuss any hardware issues in this thread that relate to your system.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Default Re: Z68 Fatal1ty - randomly shutting down, refusal to turn back on until a few hours of being unplugged

    Thanks profJim - after the problem cropped up, the system on one occasion did allow me to remain in the 'on' state for about an hour; I shut it down with no problems then. That however, was last weekend, after which the problem started manifesting itself more seriously. Since then, it's become more erratic with shorter 'on' times - I'd be lucky to get 30min (and even shorter roughly ~10min, when the PSU is disconnected from the rest of the system).

    I've since (as of yesterday) removed and singled out the Corsair AX850 PSU, and will try to find time at some point later this week to send the PSU back to the distributor and hope that the 7-year Corsair warranty is honored. Right now, I just run the paperclip test for the PSU to get some 'samples' of MTBF (mean time between failures)...

    Frankly a little perplexing as my usage, despite my system specs, has largely been limited to mostly web-surfing (GPU only put in in March this year - 15mths after the initial build in Dec 2011). I had great things planned for the system but somehow life (and work) got in the way. As I mentioned earlier in a separate thread, the MB gave me all kinds of error debug codes during the posting process at that point in time (the problem disappeared on its own somehow) so my initial suspect this time round was the MB acting up again. Hopefully this is an isolated component incident and not caused by a cascading series of failures e.g. the MB messing up the PSU.

    Thanks for the replies, will update when I have more information/observations but happy to hear any thoughts or comments in the meanwhile.

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