Byte Me Article 212 – Power surge presents problems

Power Surge Presents Problems

Since last week all we are doing is going flat out as the dead PC’s keep coming in courtesy of Marcia.  Possibly the most interesting point of the last week is that if you get a power surge in a desktop PC or a server then how far do you go with the repairs?

This problem was highlighted this week when we had one of our customers bring a PC in that had been ‘fixed’ elsewhere.  In this case the customer had called me in on the Monday after the cyclone and needed a dead PC looked at.  Unfortunately without any power to our shop we were unable to help until an estimated Thursday when we should once again be on the mains power grid.

This looked to be too far away for our customer as they ran a business and needed to issue invoices and book work in immediately.  They took it to another computer shop who diagnosed it as a power surge but just replaced the power supply (about a $200 job) under the customers insurance.  After 2 days of waiting for a power supply to come into stock they got the PC booting up into Windows and so the customer headed home.

2015-03-07 Byte Me Artilce 212 - Dead PC's

A day later when the customer found that they couldn’t print they called us (as we had power once again).  It was soon diagnosed that regardless of the PC booting into windows, they had several dead USB ports.  These ports are built into the motherboard and cannot be replaced without replacing the entire motherboard.

The customer brought the PC to us and we ended up replacing the motherboard, CPU and ram – most of the internals of the PC and once again, under the customers insurance.  After the cost of the initial repair at the first shop and then the secondary repair with us, it would have been cheaper and far less disruptive for the customer to have had a full new PC replacement in the first place.

When you get a power surge in a PC or server then how far has it gone?  Without testing each and every individual component on mega dollar testing apparatus – no one would know!  Computer techs don’t have x-ray eyes and the labour cost of this amount of testing would outweigh the cost of replacement parts as well.

There have been many times when I have seen the problems associated with a power surge take several months to manifest themselves and become obvious.  At other times damaged electronic components only become evident as system instabilities and blue screens.  In these cases are you going to be able to go back to your insurance company in 3 months’ time and ask for the extra repairs under the same claim number – I doubt it!

If your computer has coped a Marcia power surge or water damage and you have insurance to cover these events then you need to be very sure that you are getting a fully functional PC back from your repairer.  In many cases the only way to guarantee this is to get a full replacement PC.

The next thing to talk about is data recovery and restitution and how this is done and who pays for it – which will have to wait until next week’s article. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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