Le PSU est mort, vive le PSU!
One Sunday you wake up, have some breakfast, do some house keeping work with your significant other's help, and then, just before the lunch, decide to check the mail. But, curious thing, the computer seems off, and you don't remember to have switched it off. The UPS LEDs bright green as usually, but the usual LEDs on the computer box are all off. First reaction after this quick check is, of course, pressing the button to switch it on. And, as expected, nothing happens. Then a couple of neurons inside your brain decide to collaborate and you remember about that burnt smell your significant other talked precisely to you an hour ago (more or less). Seems I'm not going to check mail in this computer for a while.
I watched some videos on the TV of the infinite channels and learned that just by putting the green and black cables of the 20/24 pin connector in short-circuit you can check whether the power supply is working. This makes me wonder how my knowledge about the hardware I own decreases exponentially as I grow older, but I rapidly forget this too ;-). That test failed so I had a culprit, it only remained to know if it was just the PSU or some other components had been affected.
Three days later I found a co-worker and Asturlinux fellow which kindly lent me a PSU for testing (well, in fact lent me two, but one had lower wattage than mine, so avoided to do experiments with it). My initial hopes were that nothing else had been damaged, so simply replacing the PSU would fix the problem. Of course, not.
First test, nothing boots, BIOS reports no hard disks and the orange LED of disk activity blinks regularly. Disconnected all of them (two SATA and one ATA) and removed the ATA disk (it's the booting one) from its plastic removable enclosure, attaching it to directly to the board instead.
Second test, the GRUB prompt appears! It fails to boot anything because the operating system is in the SATA disks, but at least the disk is OK and BIOS also recognizes it flawlessly now. The ATA removable enclosure joins the PSU in the waste bin.
Third test, reattach SATA disks. Ouch! blinking orange again, nothing boots. Well, let's try just one SATA disk. Phew! It boots again and shows the GRUB menu, ready to load the kernel list. At that moment, the new Space Fun theme could be shortly appreciated. Sweet.
Some tests later, I'm giving up. No matter which combination of the two disk and two SATA ports on the motherboard you made, once the two are attached nothing works. Leave only one and it boots. It's clear to me the motherboard has also been damaged, in a minor degree, but, certainly not reliable any more. Specially when the disk mirroring cannot be implemented again. Another piece on the waste bin.
Changing motherboard pushes things a little more than just a PSU. I've decided to try to keep all the existing pieces that work, so only the core is being replaced. But that is: motherboard (with integrated graphics card, as the AGP interface of my NVidia seems pretty obsolete now), processor, memory and, of course, a new PSU ;-)
This is, at least as I understand it, a new computer. So finally it seems I'm not going to check my mail in this computer any more.
P.S.: Yes, since last post and finally the Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 AKA Squeeze has been released!