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tracking down a possible electrical problem

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Newbie level 5
Jun 12, 2010
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I've got a small media server sitting in my electrical closet, a few feet from my panel, that's hooked up to an amp so that I can play music by logging into it remotely.

Every once in a while, I'll get a burst of static for ~1 sec while music is playing. In addition, every couple of weeks I'll find that the server has powered itself down.

I've tried to debug this from the computer end, reviewing the logs, upgrading the operating system, running a memory test, etc. without much luck. None of the other equipment in the closet (amp, video security system, router) seems to show evidence of power loss, and I don't notice the house lights flickering or anything. All of the equipment is plugged into a fairly decent surge suppressor / line filter, and the amp is on the same circuit as the server.

How can I track down the source of both the static bursts & the machine resets, from an electrical viewpoint? A cheap line monitor with memory would be a worthwhile investment, prior to calling in an electrician for what is an extremely sporadic issue. But googling either turns up relatively expensive & sophisticated test equipment, or kill-a-watt type things with no memory. I'd like to be able to narrow it down to definitely the computer, or definitely the power, before shelling out money for an electrician to come by and inevitably see that there are no problems at the time. At the very least, knowing it was a power issue would suggest a workaround (i.e. buying a UPS).

I thought about plugging a digital clock into the same circuit, but I suspect that any power issue that might exist is enough to throw my computer off without affecting other things (the amp, for instance) - so I was hoping for a slightly more sensitive test.

Check the CPU temperature and hope it is below 70'c pref. below 60C.. Unnecessary Windows tasks might cause it to overheat in the closet with poor ventilation.

Many programs can display CPU temp such as Speccy.
Disable the startups of unnecessary apps. Perhaps some scheduled task like File History, Backup or many other Maintenance tasks are one of the straws to trigger the CPU over-temp protection.

Otherwise. Test all RAM with MEMTEST86+ overnight from boot CD or flash for asoft RAM error that might never be used except once in a few weeks. THe System Event Log might indicate a Error code 10 or BSOD event.

Based on your observations of static & power-downs alone, I would suspect firstly a poor connection somewhere in your power cord/ power supply going to your music server. Second suspect would be the power cord/supply to your amp.

Try focusing on these first. Change power cords, change sockets, look for possible loose connections/ bad points.

Lastly (for now) I suspect that since you have such an elaborate system setup, that you are also pumping out some serious PMPO's ? If so, are any of your base units close to your server/ amp unit ? If you see what I'm getting at.....
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