Today I had a job where someone had a computer that wouldn’t turn on. Naturally my first thought is that this gonna be a problem with the power supply or at worst, motherboard failure.

Anyway I packed up a spare PSU and brought along my PSU tester and went off to see the problem machine.

First off I checked the actual power button, which did absolutely nothing. Then I checked the power supply which made the nice sparking when plugged in (which is a good thing) so there was definitely power flowing.

So then the next thing is I looked at is the power button and its connections. The clicker seemed alright, and the cable was plugged into the correct location. I completed the power button circuit by bridging both pins with a pair of pliers and bam, it fired up. Therefore the problem was traced down to either the power button, or the cable/plug on the other end.

Getting at the button was a little annoying (the case was really small and held together with plastic clips) but in the end we (my old man helped out) got there and found no apparent problems with the button itself. Something internally must’ve gone bust so to test the cable, we snipped the wires and bridged the circuit causing the computer to boot, thus proving that the switch was at fault.

From there there aren’t too many options; it’s an older machine, and I would highly doubt the exact button would be found at Dick Smith or Jaycar for that matter.

Another option is to replace the case for about $50 or so, which isn’t too bad, though it may not work out considering the current case seems to be made for the hardware.

Dodgy option #1: get a new switch that doesn’t actually match but drill a hole or something into the case and wire it through.

Now dodgy option #2 is what I went for, and to be completely honest, I really think I’ve outdone myself this time; I realised when you plug in the power to the power supply, the fans spin up and turn off. This gave me an ingenious idea, I went into the BIOS and luckily it had the setting that enables the computer to turn on in the event of a power outage.

So basically I told the owner, pull the plug and plug it back in after a few seconds (so the capacitors drain) thus the BIOS thinks a power outage has occurred and on it goes; I’m amazed that I thought of it actually.

Anyway, its only temporary, but hopefully it will work until they get a new computer or maybe we find a replacement switch.