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I've got an issue going on with my notebook PC. For a couple of months now I've been experiencing random shutdowns on my PC.

It all started when my previous power adapter got fried. Nothing really happened, the cord just melted through in the place where it goes out of the black box, a common issue.

I replaced it with a new adapter, not an original one, though. So it had a slightly loose plug. Sometimes I lost power when moved the PC too much. There's no battery inside, so power intterruption turned it all off. I fixed this replacing the faulty plug. But the PC shuts down from time to time.

It happens usually when I'm working with it. It never happened when I left it to download something over a whole day or a whole night. Some days it doesn't happen. Some days it happens twice within an hour and then nothing. On other days, from time to time I suffer from a shutdown.

There is no warning on the part of the system, no freeze, no system log message (apparently), it just dies.

What may be the issue and how to diagnose such a thing? ? ?

EDIT: Could it be a mechanical issue? Like a broken solder? After all, it's a "mobile" device.

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Have you tried testing the memory and making sure that they didn't get fried with all of the power surges? – KronoS Sep 7 '10 at 17:28
Could you suggest any decent memtest application for Ubuntu? – Cyrylski Sep 7 '10 at 17:32
I would use memtest 86+... it's a bootable program that tests the memory. Here is my blog on how to setup a bootable flash drive that uses pendrivelinux which comes with memtest 86+ Since it's bootable, then the OS doesn't matter – KronoS Sep 7 '10 at 17:35
It could be a SMPS issue.. voltage/power fluctuations often cause such issues. But before starting investigating the hardware, make sure (as someone suggested) that you run the memtest.. Boot Ubuntu -> Press escape during GRUB loading -> Choose memtest that's it ! – peakit Sep 7 '10 at 17:56
It ain't memory problem. Memtest didn't give any error messages. – Cyrylski Sep 7 '10 at 19:22

You state that it happens when you are "working with it".

What types of things are you doing with it, exactly, when it shuts down? I'd suspect and rule out overheating first, but it's hard to advise without knowing what types of things you are doing.

I've not dealt with Acer in years. Perhaps the next time it shuts down you can check the bios to see if there's a thermal sensor/reading. If you can open it up... maybe you can make sure the heat sinks are snug, etc.

You could also use some of the OS/thermal tools like this, for example.

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The point is it nothing really specifically power-consuming. Sometimes it's just SSH console operation, the other times it's youtube. Sometimes I'm running a Virtualbox Photoshop and Illustrator for a whole day at work and nothing happens... Also, haven't noticed any thermal funny things, it's stable at ~60 C degrees. But I'll dive in and look for some dust or anything like that. – Cyrylski Sep 7 '10 at 17:43
Gotcha. Have you checked your OS logs to see if they are picking up anything before or after restarting? Might be worth picking through /var/log/messages or even try dmesg. – Matt Sep 7 '10 at 17:51
I will have a look next time that happens. I'm also thinking it might be voltage fluctuation. The adapter I've got is not a branded product, rather some cheap replacement. I've order a new one just for curiostiy. – Cyrylski Sep 7 '10 at 19:37
  • Have u tried re-installing your OS , it could be a OS problem too.

  • If the processor overheats then some motherboards shut the system automatically

  • If the problem persists it could be a hardware problem related to your SMPS, motherboard, or sometimes Hard-Disk.

I had a similar problem like this, my SATA cable connecting the primary Windows Loaded Hard-Disk was loose.

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Thank you for this tip about the cable. I'll check this out. I can't afford an OS reinstall - what if dies in the middle and messes up my current installation? I had a Windows installation but when Windows XP dies on shutdown it damages the hard drive. No such problem with Ubuntu. – Cyrylski Sep 7 '10 at 17:46

Anything is possible. But if it turns itself off, could be a few things, do you get any error messages when it starts up? This would indicate a type of error usually with the hardware. Does it blow very warm air out of the vents, this would indicate a problem with cooling, a hardware cooler could do the trick. Otherwise make sure no programs are stuck in memory causing the machine to work extra hard, specially with programs that test Internet connection like iplogger or some other type of monitoring software. Other thing, is keep your security and critical updates up to date, with the latest recommended updates, but not for the 3rd party type. One other thing to test out if none of that works, is run a test with a Live-CD, other than Ubuntu like PCLinuxOS to see if you get the same results. Maybe it is just an incompatibility issue.

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After all it turned out to be the power adapter which did not keep the proper voltage. After replacing the junk, it works smooth back again. – Cyrylski Dec 13 '11 at 12:30

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