Computer popped


M

Metspitzer

My nephew said his computer popped he smelled smoke. I took it
upstairs and opened it up and unplugged the mobo and hard drives and
powered it up and nothing happened. I wish I had thought to check and
see if the mobo light was on, but I didn't. I pulled out the power
supply and checked the connections with a tester and everything seemed
to be working.

I took some compressed air and blew all the dust out. I put the
powered supply back in and connected it all back up. It worked!

Dust? Really? I think that may have been the actual problem.
 
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V

VanguardLH

Metspitzer said:
My nephew said his computer popped he smelled smoke. I took it
upstairs and opened it up and unplugged the mobo and hard drives and
powered it up and nothing happened. I wish I had thought to check and
see if the mobo light was on, but I didn't. I pulled out the power
supply and checked the connections with a tester and everything seemed
to be working.

I took some compressed air and blew all the dust out. I put the
powered supply back in and connected it all back up. It worked!

Dust? Really? I think that may have been the actual problem.

A capacitor blew. There might be nothing left to see of the capacitor
as it blew up. If you knew where to look, you might all of a couple
wire stubs, very short, sticking out of solder joints. There might be
some black residue there but not always.

If it is an old motherboard, some of them were manufactured with
defective capacitors. It was espionage gone bad in stealing only half
of the formula.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_capacitors

Even if it wasn't one of those bad formula caps on an old mobo, parts do
fail. If the kid said he heard a pop and then smelled something like an
electrical burn then something did fail inside the case. Could be a cap
on the mobo. Could be a cap inside the PSU.

Dust shorts under high voltage, like inside TVs. The voltage is too low
inside a computer. Even then when a dust bridge fries, the smell is of
something stale, not electrical or plastic. If you've ever had a space
heater sitting around for awhile to gather dust and then turn it on,
it's the same stale smell of burnt dust. It's similar to when dust on
the fins of baseboard radiators get hot. That's not the same as the
plastiky smell of a blown cap.

It might work after the cap blows. Depends on what the cap was for. If
it was for voltage regulation to the CPU (look at the caps around the
CPU location) then there is loss of regulation which means the CPU might
be receiving the wrong voltage or too much ripple in it. If it were
inside the PSU, an output voltage may not be correct anymore. Testers
and meters look at average voltage, not at ripple.

After reading the above article, look again very carefully at the
motherboard, especially around the CPU where there is often a band or
row of regulation caps. Read the article on how to determine if you
have bad caps. Look for any scorch marks on the mobo but they may be
small or not present. I've seen caps blow where there is nothing behind
to identify there was a cap that exploded other than a couple tiny stubs
of wire used to wave solder the cap to the PCB (think of a person hold
10 sticks of dynamite and after the explosion all you see are the soles
of their shoes). If you can't find where the blown cap is now missing
from the mobo, the next best candidate is inside the PSU.

No, it wasn't dust as you hoped - unless your nephew has a CRT monitor
but you didn't mention that.
 
P

Paul

Metspitzer said:
My nephew said his computer popped he smelled smoke. I took it
upstairs and opened it up and unplugged the mobo and hard drives and
powered it up and nothing happened. I wish I had thought to check and
see if the mobo light was on, but I didn't. I pulled out the power
supply and checked the connections with a tester and everything seemed
to be working.

I took some compressed air and blew all the dust out. I put the
powered supply back in and connected it all back up. It worked!

Dust? Really? I think that may have been the actual problem.

I wouldn't reuse a power supply that had done that.

There's got to be a reason for that noise.

Dust is not the problem. It would take a seriously dirty
install location (computer next to deep fat fryer in restaurant)
to get enough greasy/salty mixture, to cause the main cap to
arc over. ATX supplies are good, but they're not conformal
coated for extreme conditions. But they should be able to
handle a dry dust OK. Excessive dust or hair ball, will
cause things to overheat. But arc-over requires something
to go with the dust, such as high moisture, or grease/salt.
For example, microwave popcorn exhaust is excellent for
ruining AC powered circuits. Nice mixture of grease/salt/water
to go with any dust present.

*******

In fact, I wouldn't have reassembled with that supply and tried
powering it again. The thing is, it could "pop again", and if
some protection circuit inside had failed, damage some
computer hardware.

I have a load tester (and not the crappy kind you can find at
retail for $20 either), and I'd connect the supply to that. It's
a simple circuit consisting of a set of power resistors, an ATX
main wire harness, and it puts a load on a power supply. Mine is
not set up to draw hundreds of watts, and is not intended as a
stress tester. It's more of a circuit I can use to simulate an
idle computer loading. Then, I run for two hours or more, and
check the output voltages with a multimeter. A bat-handle switch
between PS_ON# and COM, is used to turn the supply on and off
when desired. An 80mm fan blows over the resistors to remove
some of the heat.

I have a supply here, that is perfectly functional. I could
power a computer with it. It passes the "visual inspection test".
It passes my two hour load box test (meter shows voltages are OK).
And yet I don't use it inside a computer, and it's not in my
"pool of spare parts". The problem with that one is, it
injects noise into the AC line at a phenomenal rate.
I checked inside, and it has the usual filter network on
input. And it creates so much noise, it causes my ADSL modem
to lose sync, over and over again. My ADSL modem hasn't lost
sync since that ATX supply was removed from the computer room.

Any time a supply misbehaves here, I change it out.

*******

The power supply may have a warranty. Check the date of purchase.
If you remove the top plate on the power supply, one of the
screwed can be covered with a "warranty invalid if screws removed"
sticker. The sticker is so they can tell you've tampered with it.

If the warranty has expired, you can inspect it. What you want to do,
is a visual inspection of the inside. It could be, that there is a
leaking capacitor inside. You'd be looking for the "brown-orange
rusty stuff". If the domes on the cylinders with the plastic sleeves
(capacitors) are cracked, the electrolyte will come out. And the rusty
looking material is the result. One of my Antecs (Channelwell)
failed this way. If it looks like this, it's cooked and headed
to the landfill. Yes, some hobbyists repair them, but you need
access to a good supply of replacement caps, to contemplate fixing
a failure of that nature.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/PSU_Caps.jpg

*******

To select a replacement supply, go to Newegg, list all the ATX
supplies, then "sort by rating", to get the best ones at the
top of the list. Scroll down, until you find the best price and
rating compromise. For example, I found a Sparkle brand supply
that was a pretty good balance, and saved me a few bucks. The
Sparkle was bought, based on the Newegg rating, but was
purchased from a Canadian supplier carrying the same model.
Two of the other supplies I got, were clearance items at a local
computer store, and now I'm sorry I didn't buy more of them
(Enermax, last generation stuff). When you read the reviews
on Newegg, take note of the DOA rate, as it's an indicator of
stuff to stay away from.

And no $20 supply, is worth buying. It is going to cost
more than that. Try around $50 or so.

Paul
 
M

Metspitzer

My nephew said his computer popped he smelled smoke. I took it
upstairs and opened it up and unplugged the mobo and hard drives and
powered it up and nothing happened. I wish I had thought to check and
see if the mobo light was on, but I didn't. I pulled out the power
supply and checked the connections with a tester and everything seemed
to be working.

I took some compressed air and blew all the dust out. I put the
powered supply back in and connected it all back up. It worked!

Dust? Really? I think that may have been the actual problem.


I took the machine back down stairs and hooked it up. It didn't
work. The location is in the center of a very large room. There only
outlets are along the wall. The computer was plugged into a power
strip and then a 25 ft drop cord. The drop cord may be 12 Gauge, but
I am sure it is at least 14 Gauge. I measured the voltage and it was
119.

I brought the machine back upstairs and it works again.

The power supply is still under warranty. The mother board is not.
Since both are working now, I have no idea which is bad. I did look
at the mobo for signs of smoke, but didn't find anything. My nephew
has better eyes than I have, but has less interest in finding the
problem. He didn't find any signs of smoke either.


The power supply came from NewEgg. How can I know which failed?

I think what I am going to do is take it back down stairs. If it
works, I will leave it and if it doesn't I am going to send the power
supply back.

Like you guys have said, the pop is pretty good sign that a cap died.
The mobo doesn't look like it has a bad cap, that gives the PS more
weight as the problem.
 
V

VanguardLH

Metspitzer said:
I took the machine back down stairs and hooked it up. It didn't
work. The location is in the center of a very large room. There
only outlets are along the wall. The computer was plugged into a
power strip and then a 25 ft drop cord. The drop cord may be 12
Gauge, but I am sure it is at least 14 Gauge. I measured the voltage
and it was 119.

You measured the voltage where? At the power strip into which you
plugged the computer? If so, are you using the same power cord to the
computer downstairs that you use upstairs? When you plug the computer's
power cord (just that) into the power strip, do you see normal voltage
at the end of the computer power cord?

How did you measure voltage? With a meter? How about an outlet tester
(to make sure the wall outlets are wired correctly)? Is it a grounded
outlet? If so, did you test the ground is grounded, like checking
continuity to a water pipe?

Can you plug a working lamp into the same wall outlet and again into the
power strip to make sure the circuit can handle a load? How about a
vacuum cleaner? Just because you measure voltage doesn't mean the
circuit can handle the current load. I've seen fuses that blew.
Normally the metal strip blows apart; however, in one case, there was
just a crack in the metal strip and they were touching. So voltage
measure fine until I put a load on that circuit whereupon voltage
dropped to zero or very low. I could get some things to work, like an
LCD clock but a radio or lamp would fail. Check the fuse for that
circuit in the downstairs room. If you have breakers, flip the room's
breaker twice (off-on-off-on).

Does your electrical box have a whole-house surge protector? How about
the power strip? Get rid of any surge protectors if possible and use
unprotected wiring to power the computer. Surge protectors that use
MOVs work by shorting when there is excessive spike voltage. This
breaks down the MOV over time. Eventually the MOV fails first by
shorting and then burning open (and why MOVs can cause fires in surge
protectors if the short isn't quick to blow open). Get rid of the surge
protected power strip and use an unprotected one for now. Surge
protectors have been determined to cause some house fires. I had a
video link at one time that showed what happens to too many so-called
[cheapie] surge protectors that are continuously spiked to break down
the MOV (in a short time instead of the long time normally experienced
by a MOV in shorting the spikes) and the power strip burning up. It was
dramatic and scary. See
at
its 0:50 timemark and again at the 3:00 timemark (the MOV has already
been shorting catastrophically for awhile and getting host before you
see a fire like what is shown). Most "fires" are internal to the surge
protector's case so you might only see some scorching or carbon smudges.
Some protectors use fire retardant encased MOVs because of how they
catastrophically fail after an excessive number of spikes getting
shorted through them.

Their description of a MOV as a "sponge" to absorb the spike is wrong.
It *shorts* across the pads of the MOV to short the spike to ground
although some surge protectors also have MOVs across the hot and neutral
to handle those spikes. A coil will absorb and nullify. A MOV shorts.
The vast majority of consumer-grade surge protectors are surge arrestors
in that they short the spike. Some (more expensive surge *suppressors*)
absorb the spike and then span the overage over a longer time. One
example of a surge suppressor can be read about at zerosurge.com under
their tech info section. A MOV is a ceramic wafer with a metallic
scintered screen inside that reduces impedance on a spike (which looks
like high frequency). The spike punches (burns) through the screen from
one side to the other. There is NO absorbing of the spike. It gets
shorted across the MOV. This shorting burns a path through the MOV so
it degrades over time. Eventually it cannot handle a spike and can
short for too long before completely opening. The high current during
the extended short causes fires. Hopefully if you have a protector
using old MOV technology that it also is fused to cut out when the MOV
catastrophically shorts to prevent the high current that generates heat
and a fire. Alas, again, cheapies using MOVs aren't fused (fuselink or
circuit breaker). Some of the better ones put a lamp across the MOV.
If the MOV is open (its normal condition) then the lamp is on. If the
MOV is shorted, the lamp is off (because there's no voltage across a
short). Alas, the lamp being on showing the MOV is open could also mean
it has catastrophically failed, shorted and burned into an open
condition, and the lamp will be on. The only way to know for sure the
MOV is working is by testing it but testing is destructive in that
you're shorting and burning out small pieces of the scintered metal
within, so don't test too often.

Here's some aftermath pictures and videos of cheapie protectors going
ablaze:
http://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&q=surge+protector+fire
(*)

(*) This guy really isn't demonstrating spiked voltage that these
protectors are supposed to short or absorb; however, remember that the
protector is getting zapped many times over its lifetime (before
catastrophic failure). Whether the protector gets hot enough to cause a
fire or itself burst into flames depends on what components were use
inside, insulation, fire retardants, and type of enclosure (the plastic
housing could be flammable but then a metallic housing would get hot and
catch something on fire against which it pressed, like the carpet, wood
desk, etc).

If you're going to go cheap on a surge protector/suppressor then don't
bother buying one and just get a power strip. Either pay for good
protection or don't pay at all.

You think it has 14-guage wire in the power strip's cord. Does it
really? Did you buy an $80+ surge protector or an under $30 cheapie?
The cheapies are often nothing more than an extension cord and that is
18 guage (i.e., lamp cord). Although some sites say 18-guage is okay
for a 16A load and 16-guage okay for 22A, I still find cords getting
warm enough to detect with my hand that are under these max loads. If
the cord feels warm then the cord's wire is undersized. The load
ratings are for a free standing wire (in air and by itself), not when
you bundle them inside a vinyl case with other wires, run along the
carpeting, or shove together with other power wiring behind your desk or
entertainment center. Another term for chassis wiring for amperage
rating is the free-air amperage rating. Once you bundle the wire with
others, the max current rating goes down to about 60%, or less. So your
14-gauge single-wire free-air rating of 32A goes down to 17A when
bundled; see http://wiki.xtronics.com/index.php/Wire-Gauge_Ampacity.

How about the extension cord you used between the wall outlet to the
surge protector? Most cheap extension cords are just 18 guage and
they'll get warm or hot if you use all their outlets for big power
devices connected to it. Plus using an extension cord with a surge
protector is ALWAYS a no-no. Get a surge protector with a longer cord.
10 feet of power cord can induce a 400V spike during a surge, and then
add the length of cord for the power strip. Also, for surge protection,
make sure you use the same wall outlet for all protected devices. Don't
run a surge protector from one wall outlet to your computer, another
surge protector from a different wall outlet to your stereo, and then
connect your stereo to your computer. The length of interior wiring
between the wall outlets plus the lengths of cords to the surge
protector provide an impedence to a voltage spike that can induce high
voltage.

How many other devices did you have plugged into the same wall outlet
that were drawing power? You might only have a 15A circuit for the
room. Current load and wire heating is based on the interior wiring to
the wall outlets and the fused load for that circuit, not to a bunch of
extension cords plugged into the wall outlets. Did you feel if the
extension cord was warm?

How many into the power strip? Did you feel its cord's temperature to
see if it was warm?

Did you check the power strip's cord end, each end of the extension cord
(just get rid of that to be safe), and the wall outlet for scorch or
carbon marks from arcing? Making you have crappy connections. Look at
the prongs on the cord ends to make sure they aren't oxidized, corroded,
or pitted. You'll need a flashlight to look into the female cord ends
and into the wall outlet. Arcing will deteriorate the connection, up
the resistance, and the arcing itself makes noise (and blue arcs if it's
dark enough in the room).

Since you say the computer sits in the middle of the room, were are the
power cords routed? Under foot? If so, the constant stepping on them
can damage the insulation or connectors and cause shorts. If you cannot
route them overhead in a suspended ceiling, through the walls, or under
a raised floor then get a cord protector. You slide the cords into the
protector which is hard rubber that won't crush underfoot. Use a strong
one (http://www.discountramps.com/hdImages/floor-cable-protector-10.jpg)
that is heavy-duty and doesn't crush under the weight of you standing on
it with both feet. The lightweight soft vinyl cheapies
(http://ak.buy.com/PI/0/500/205675672.jpg) are just for show to tidy up
a room's look and do nothing to prevent damage to walked-on power cords
since the protector crushes to then crush the cords within. Of course,
this means you'll be tripping over the sturdy cord protector if it's in
an well travelled area and why some are bright yellow so you don't
forget it's there.

Check for any frays (scrapped off insulation) on the cords?

Got mice in the house? They chew on wiring insulation inside the walls.
Squirrels, too.

If you have GFI outlets, did you check if they popped?
Like you guys have said, the pop is pretty good sign that a cap died.
The mobo doesn't look like it has a bad cap, that gives the PS more
weight as the problem.

Since you say it works upstairs and not downstairs, I'm now thinking you
have a bad surge protector, damaged cords, blown GFI outlet, slightly
shorting near-blown fuse, or some wiring problem downstairs.
 
F

Flasherly

I took the machine back down stairs and hooked it up. It didn't
work. The location is in the center of a very large room. There only
outlets are along the wall. The computer was plugged into a power
strip and then a 25 ft drop cord. The drop cord may be 12 Gauge, but
I am sure it is at least 14 Gauge. I measured the voltage and it was
119.

I brought the machine back upstairs and it works again.

The power supply is still under warranty. The mother board is not.
Since both are working now, I have no idea which is bad. I did look
at the mobo for signs of smoke, but didn't find anything. My nephew
has better eyes than I have, but has less interest in finding the
problem. He didn't find any signs of smoke either.

The power supply came from NewEgg. How can I know which failed?

I think what I am going to do is take it back down stairs. If it
works, I will leave it and if it doesn't I am going to send the power
supply back.

Like you guys have said, the pop is pretty good sign that a cap died.
The mobo doesn't look like it has a bad cap, that gives the PS more
weight as the problem.

I've replaced PS units to fix computers. More or less, in determining
my problem was I was actually feeding the MB power supplies,
predominately, replacing them over time as they failed;- there were,
as well, other issues I won't get into. The most single interesting
thing to note about all this is current draw. My electrical bills
dropped by an amount I'd be ashamed to publicly mention;- I do, rather
I should say, have a couple meters and the ability for determining
what an electrical device is averaging for prolonged electrical
costs. Smoking power supplies, towards the end, yes, even that, too.
It was unacceptably a state disproportionately out of hand when I
heartily shit-canned that errant motherboard. . . .Just a passing
mention, aside from fixing known recidivist computers, in case you
notice an escalating whiff of unjustified power bills.
 
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M

Metspitzer

Metspitzer said:
I took the machine back down stairs and hooked it up. It didn't
work. The location is in the center of a very large room. There
only outlets are along the wall. The computer was plugged into a
power strip and then a 25 ft drop cord. The drop cord may be 12
Gauge, but I am sure it is at least 14 Gauge. I measured the voltage
and it was 119.

You measured the voltage where? At the power strip into which you
plugged the computer? If so, are you using the same power cord to the
computer downstairs that you use upstairs? When you plug the computer's
power cord (just that) into the power strip, do you see normal voltage
at the end of the computer power cord?

How did you measure voltage? With a meter? How about an outlet tester
(to make sure the wall outlets are wired correctly)? Is it a grounded
outlet? If so, did you test the ground is grounded, like checking
continuity to a water pipe?

Can you plug a working lamp into the same wall outlet and again into the
power strip to make sure the circuit can handle a load? How about a
vacuum cleaner? Just because you measure voltage doesn't mean the
circuit can handle the current load. I've seen fuses that blew.
Normally the metal strip blows apart; however, in one case, there was
just a crack in the metal strip and they were touching. So voltage
measure fine until I put a load on that circuit whereupon voltage
dropped to zero or very low. I could get some things to work, like an
LCD clock but a radio or lamp would fail. Check the fuse for that
circuit in the downstairs room. If you have breakers, flip the room's
breaker twice (off-on-off-on).

Does your electrical box have a whole-house surge protector? How about
the power strip? Get rid of any surge protectors if possible and use
unprotected wiring to power the computer. Surge protectors that use
MOVs work by shorting when there is excessive spike voltage. This
breaks down the MOV over time. Eventually the MOV fails first by
shorting and then burning open (and why MOVs can cause fires in surge
protectors if the short isn't quick to blow open). Get rid of the surge
protected power strip and use an unprotected one for now. Surge
protectors have been determined to cause some house fires. I had a
video link at one time that showed what happens to too many so-called
[cheapie] surge protectors that are continuously spiked to break down
the MOV (in a short time instead of the long time normally experienced
by a MOV in shorting the spikes) and the power strip burning up. It was
dramatic and scary. See
at
its 0:50 timemark and again at the 3:00 timemark (the MOV has already
been shorting catastrophically for awhile and getting host before you
see a fire like what is shown). Most "fires" are internal to the surge
protector's case so you might only see some scorching or carbon smudges.
Some protectors use fire retardant encased MOVs because of how they
catastrophically fail after an excessive number of spikes getting
shorted through them.

Their description of a MOV as a "sponge" to absorb the spike is wrong.
It *shorts* across the pads of the MOV to short the spike to ground
although some surge protectors also have MOVs across the hot and neutral
to handle those spikes. A coil will absorb and nullify. A MOV shorts.
The vast majority of consumer-grade surge protectors are surge arrestors
in that they short the spike. Some (more expensive surge *suppressors*)
absorb the spike and then span the overage over a longer time. One
example of a surge suppressor can be read about at zerosurge.com under
their tech info section. A MOV is a ceramic wafer with a metallic
scintered screen inside that reduces impedance on a spike (which looks
like high frequency). The spike punches (burns) through the screen from
one side to the other. There is NO absorbing of the spike. It gets
shorted across the MOV. This shorting burns a path through the MOV so
it degrades over time. Eventually it cannot handle a spike and can
short for too long before completely opening. The high current during
the extended short causes fires. Hopefully if you have a protector
using old MOV technology that it also is fused to cut out when the MOV
catastrophically shorts to prevent the high current that generates heat
and a fire. Alas, again, cheapies using MOVs aren't fused (fuselink or
circuit breaker). Some of the better ones put a lamp across the MOV.
If the MOV is open (its normal condition) then the lamp is on. If the
MOV is shorted, the lamp is off (because there's no voltage across a
short). Alas, the lamp being on showing the MOV is open could also mean
it has catastrophically failed, shorted and burned into an open
condition, and the lamp will be on. The only way to know for sure the
MOV is working is by testing it but testing is destructive in that
you're shorting and burning out small pieces of the scintered metal
within, so don't test too often.

Here's some aftermath pictures and videos of cheapie protectors going
ablaze:
http://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&q=surge+protector+fire
(*)

(*) This guy really isn't demonstrating spiked voltage that these
protectors are supposed to short or absorb; however, remember that the
protector is getting zapped many times over its lifetime (before
catastrophic failure). Whether the protector gets hot enough to cause a
fire or itself burst into flames depends on what components were use
inside, insulation, fire retardants, and type of enclosure (the plastic
housing could be flammable but then a metallic housing would get hot and
catch something on fire against which it pressed, like the carpet, wood
desk, etc).

If you're going to go cheap on a surge protector/suppressor then don't
bother buying one and just get a power strip. Either pay for good
protection or don't pay at all.

You think it has 14-guage wire in the power strip's cord. Does it
really? Did you buy an $80+ surge protector or an under $30 cheapie?
The cheapies are often nothing more than an extension cord and that is
18 guage (i.e., lamp cord). Although some sites say 18-guage is okay
for a 16A load and 16-guage okay for 22A, I still find cords getting
warm enough to detect with my hand that are under these max loads. If
the cord feels warm then the cord's wire is undersized. The load
ratings are for a free standing wire (in air and by itself), not when
you bundle them inside a vinyl case with other wires, run along the
carpeting, or shove together with other power wiring behind your desk or
entertainment center. Another term for chassis wiring for amperage
rating is the free-air amperage rating. Once you bundle the wire with
others, the max current rating goes down to about 60%, or less. So your
14-gauge single-wire free-air rating of 32A goes down to 17A when
bundled; see http://wiki.xtronics.com/index.php/Wire-Gauge_Ampacity.

How about the extension cord you used between the wall outlet to the
surge protector? Most cheap extension cords are just 18 guage and
they'll get warm or hot if you use all their outlets for big power
devices connected to it. Plus using an extension cord with a surge
protector is ALWAYS a no-no. Get a surge protector with a longer cord.
10 feet of power cord can induce a 400V spike during a surge, and then
add the length of cord for the power strip. Also, for surge protection,
make sure you use the same wall outlet for all protected devices. Don't
run a surge protector from one wall outlet to your computer, another
surge protector from a different wall outlet to your stereo, and then
connect your stereo to your computer. The length of interior wiring
between the wall outlets plus the lengths of cords to the surge
protector provide an impedence to a voltage spike that can induce high
voltage.

How many other devices did you have plugged into the same wall outlet
that were drawing power? You might only have a 15A circuit for the
room. Current load and wire heating is based on the interior wiring to
the wall outlets and the fused load for that circuit, not to a bunch of
extension cords plugged into the wall outlets. Did you feel if the
extension cord was warm?

How many into the power strip? Did you feel its cord's temperature to
see if it was warm?

Did you check the power strip's cord end, each end of the extension cord
(just get rid of that to be safe), and the wall outlet for scorch or
carbon marks from arcing? Making you have crappy connections. Look at
the prongs on the cord ends to make sure they aren't oxidized, corroded,
or pitted. You'll need a flashlight to look into the female cord ends
and into the wall outlet. Arcing will deteriorate the connection, up
the resistance, and the arcing itself makes noise (and blue arcs if it's
dark enough in the room).

Since you say the computer sits in the middle of the room, were are the
power cords routed? Under foot? If so, the constant stepping on them
can damage the insulation or connectors and cause shorts. If you cannot
route them overhead in a suspended ceiling, through the walls, or under
a raised floor then get a cord protector. You slide the cords into the
protector which is hard rubber that won't crush underfoot. Use a strong
one (http://www.discountramps.com/hdImages/floor-cable-protector-10.jpg)
that is heavy-duty and doesn't crush under the weight of you standing on
it with both feet. The lightweight soft vinyl cheapies
(http://ak.buy.com/PI/0/500/205675672.jpg) are just for show to tidy up
a room's look and do nothing to prevent damage to walked-on power cords
since the protector crushes to then crush the cords within. Of course,
this means you'll be tripping over the sturdy cord protector if it's in
an well travelled area and why some are bright yellow so you don't
forget it's there.

Check for any frays (scrapped off insulation) on the cords?

Got mice in the house? They chew on wiring insulation inside the walls.
Squirrels, too.

If you have GFI outlets, did you check if they popped?
Like you guys have said, the pop is pretty good sign that a cap died.
The mobo doesn't look like it has a bad cap, that gives the PS more
weight as the problem.

Since you say it works upstairs and not downstairs, I'm now thinking you
have a bad surge protector, damaged cords, blown GFI outlet, slightly
shorting near-blown fuse, or some wiring problem downstairs.

OK.

I will ship the PS back.

Thanks
 
V

VanguardLH

Metspitzer said:
Metspitzer said:
I took the machine back down stairs and hooked it up. It didn't
work. The location is in the center of a very large room. There
only outlets are along the wall. The computer was plugged into a
power strip and then a 25 ft drop cord. The drop cord may be 12
Gauge, but I am sure it is at least 14 Gauge. I measured the voltage
and it was 119.

You measured the voltage where? At the power strip into which you
plugged the computer? If so, are you using the same power cord to the
computer downstairs that you use upstairs? When you plug the computer's
power cord (just that) into the power strip, do you see normal voltage
at the end of the computer power cord?

How did you measure voltage? With a meter? How about an outlet tester
(to make sure the wall outlets are wired correctly)? Is it a grounded
outlet? If so, did you test the ground is grounded, like checking
continuity to a water pipe?

Can you plug a working lamp into the same wall outlet and again into the
power strip to make sure the circuit can handle a load? How about a
vacuum cleaner? Just because you measure voltage doesn't mean the
circuit can handle the current load. I've seen fuses that blew.
Normally the metal strip blows apart; however, in one case, there was
just a crack in the metal strip and they were touching. So voltage
measure fine until I put a load on that circuit whereupon voltage
dropped to zero or very low. I could get some things to work, like an
LCD clock but a radio or lamp would fail. Check the fuse for that
circuit in the downstairs room. If you have breakers, flip the room's
breaker twice (off-on-off-on).

Does your electrical box have a whole-house surge protector? How about
the power strip? Get rid of any surge protectors if possible and use
unprotected wiring to power the computer. Surge protectors that use
MOVs work by shorting when there is excessive spike voltage. This
breaks down the MOV over time. Eventually the MOV fails first by
shorting and then burning open (and why MOVs can cause fires in surge
protectors if the short isn't quick to blow open). Get rid of the surge
protected power strip and use an unprotected one for now. Surge
protectors have been determined to cause some house fires. I had a
video link at one time that showed what happens to too many so-called
[cheapie] surge protectors that are continuously spiked to break down
the MOV (in a short time instead of the long time normally experienced
by a MOV in shorting the spikes) and the power strip burning up. It was
dramatic and scary. See
at
its 0:50 timemark and again at the 3:00 timemark (the MOV has already
been shorting catastrophically for awhile and getting host before you
see a fire like what is shown). Most "fires" are internal to the surge
protector's case so you might only see some scorching or carbon smudges.
Some protectors use fire retardant encased MOVs because of how they
catastrophically fail after an excessive number of spikes getting
shorted through them.

Their description of a MOV as a "sponge" to absorb the spike is wrong.
It *shorts* across the pads of the MOV to short the spike to ground
although some surge protectors also have MOVs across the hot and neutral
to handle those spikes. A coil will absorb and nullify. A MOV shorts.
The vast majority of consumer-grade surge protectors are surge arrestors
in that they short the spike. Some (more expensive surge *suppressors*)
absorb the spike and then span the overage over a longer time. One
example of a surge suppressor can be read about at zerosurge.com under
their tech info section. A MOV is a ceramic wafer with a metallic
scintered screen inside that reduces impedance on a spike (which looks
like high frequency). The spike punches (burns) through the screen from
one side to the other. There is NO absorbing of the spike. It gets
shorted across the MOV. This shorting burns a path through the MOV so
it degrades over time. Eventually it cannot handle a spike and can
short for too long before completely opening. The high current during
the extended short causes fires. Hopefully if you have a protector
using old MOV technology that it also is fused to cut out when the MOV
catastrophically shorts to prevent the high current that generates heat
and a fire. Alas, again, cheapies using MOVs aren't fused (fuselink or
circuit breaker). Some of the better ones put a lamp across the MOV.
If the MOV is open (its normal condition) then the lamp is on. If the
MOV is shorted, the lamp is off (because there's no voltage across a
short). Alas, the lamp being on showing the MOV is open could also mean
it has catastrophically failed, shorted and burned into an open
condition, and the lamp will be on. The only way to know for sure the
MOV is working is by testing it but testing is destructive in that
you're shorting and burning out small pieces of the scintered metal
within, so don't test too often.

Here's some aftermath pictures and videos of cheapie protectors going
ablaze:
http://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&q=surge+protector+fire
(*)

(*) This guy really isn't demonstrating spiked voltage that these
protectors are supposed to short or absorb; however, remember that the
protector is getting zapped many times over its lifetime (before
catastrophic failure). Whether the protector gets hot enough to cause a
fire or itself burst into flames depends on what components were use
inside, insulation, fire retardants, and type of enclosure (the plastic
housing could be flammable but then a metallic housing would get hot and
catch something on fire against which it pressed, like the carpet, wood
desk, etc).

If you're going to go cheap on a surge protector/suppressor then don't
bother buying one and just get a power strip. Either pay for good
protection or don't pay at all.

You think it has 14-guage wire in the power strip's cord. Does it
really? Did you buy an $80+ surge protector or an under $30 cheapie?
The cheapies are often nothing more than an extension cord and that is
18 guage (i.e., lamp cord). Although some sites say 18-guage is okay
for a 16A load and 16-guage okay for 22A, I still find cords getting
warm enough to detect with my hand that are under these max loads. If
the cord feels warm then the cord's wire is undersized. The load
ratings are for a free standing wire (in air and by itself), not when
you bundle them inside a vinyl case with other wires, run along the
carpeting, or shove together with other power wiring behind your desk or
entertainment center. Another term for chassis wiring for amperage
rating is the free-air amperage rating. Once you bundle the wire with
others, the max current rating goes down to about 60%, or less. So your
14-gauge single-wire free-air rating of 32A goes down to 17A when
bundled; see http://wiki.xtronics.com/index.php/Wire-Gauge_Ampacity.

How about the extension cord you used between the wall outlet to the
surge protector? Most cheap extension cords are just 18 guage and
they'll get warm or hot if you use all their outlets for big power
devices connected to it. Plus using an extension cord with a surge
protector is ALWAYS a no-no. Get a surge protector with a longer cord.
10 feet of power cord can induce a 400V spike during a surge, and then
add the length of cord for the power strip. Also, for surge protection,
make sure you use the same wall outlet for all protected devices. Don't
run a surge protector from one wall outlet to your computer, another
surge protector from a different wall outlet to your stereo, and then
connect your stereo to your computer. The length of interior wiring
between the wall outlets plus the lengths of cords to the surge
protector provide an impedence to a voltage spike that can induce high
voltage.

How many other devices did you have plugged into the same wall outlet
that were drawing power? You might only have a 15A circuit for the
room. Current load and wire heating is based on the interior wiring to
the wall outlets and the fused load for that circuit, not to a bunch of
extension cords plugged into the wall outlets. Did you feel if the
extension cord was warm?

How many into the power strip? Did you feel its cord's temperature to
see if it was warm?

Did you check the power strip's cord end, each end of the extension cord
(just get rid of that to be safe), and the wall outlet for scorch or
carbon marks from arcing? Making you have crappy connections. Look at
the prongs on the cord ends to make sure they aren't oxidized, corroded,
or pitted. You'll need a flashlight to look into the female cord ends
and into the wall outlet. Arcing will deteriorate the connection, up
the resistance, and the arcing itself makes noise (and blue arcs if it's
dark enough in the room).

Since you say the computer sits in the middle of the room, were are the
power cords routed? Under foot? If so, the constant stepping on them
can damage the insulation or connectors and cause shorts. If you cannot
route them overhead in a suspended ceiling, through the walls, or under
a raised floor then get a cord protector. You slide the cords into the
protector which is hard rubber that won't crush underfoot. Use a strong
one (http://www.discountramps.com/hdImages/floor-cable-protector-10.jpg)
that is heavy-duty and doesn't crush under the weight of you standing on
it with both feet. The lightweight soft vinyl cheapies
(http://ak.buy.com/PI/0/500/205675672.jpg) are just for show to tidy up
a room's look and do nothing to prevent damage to walked-on power cords
since the protector crushes to then crush the cords within. Of course,
this means you'll be tripping over the sturdy cord protector if it's in
an well travelled area and why some are bright yellow so you don't
forget it's there.

Check for any frays (scrapped off insulation) on the cords?

Got mice in the house? They chew on wiring insulation inside the walls.
Squirrels, too.

If you have GFI outlets, did you check if they popped?
Like you guys have said, the pop is pretty good sign that a cap died.
The mobo doesn't look like it has a bad cap, that gives the PS more
weight as the problem.

Since you say it works upstairs and not downstairs, I'm now thinking you
have a bad surge protector, damaged cords, blown GFI outlet, slightly
shorting near-blown fuse, or some wiring problem downstairs.

OK.

I will ship the PS back.

Thanks

Is "PS" supposed to be PSU (power supply unit) or "SP" for surge
protector? Have you looked at the surge protector yet? Is it switched
on? Did it circuit breaker pop? Does anything else work when it's
plugged into that surge protector?
 
M

Metspitzer

Metspitzer said:
Metspitzer wrote:

I took the machine back down stairs and hooked it up. It didn't
work. The location is in the center of a very large room. There
only outlets are along the wall. The computer was plugged into a
power strip and then a 25 ft drop cord. The drop cord may be 12
Gauge, but I am sure it is at least 14 Gauge. I measured the voltage
and it was 119.

You measured the voltage where? At the power strip into which you
plugged the computer? If so, are you using the same power cord to the
computer downstairs that you use upstairs? When you plug the computer's
power cord (just that) into the power strip, do you see normal voltage
at the end of the computer power cord?

How did you measure voltage? With a meter? How about an outlet tester
(to make sure the wall outlets are wired correctly)? Is it a grounded
outlet? If so, did you test the ground is grounded, like checking
continuity to a water pipe?

Can you plug a working lamp into the same wall outlet and again into the
power strip to make sure the circuit can handle a load? How about a
vacuum cleaner? Just because you measure voltage doesn't mean the
circuit can handle the current load. I've seen fuses that blew.
Normally the metal strip blows apart; however, in one case, there was
just a crack in the metal strip and they were touching. So voltage
measure fine until I put a load on that circuit whereupon voltage
dropped to zero or very low. I could get some things to work, like an
LCD clock but a radio or lamp would fail. Check the fuse for that
circuit in the downstairs room. If you have breakers, flip the room's
breaker twice (off-on-off-on).

Does your electrical box have a whole-house surge protector? How about
the power strip? Get rid of any surge protectors if possible and use
unprotected wiring to power the computer. Surge protectors that use
MOVs work by shorting when there is excessive spike voltage. This
breaks down the MOV over time. Eventually the MOV fails first by
shorting and then burning open (and why MOVs can cause fires in surge
protectors if the short isn't quick to blow open). Get rid of the surge
protected power strip and use an unprotected one for now. Surge
protectors have been determined to cause some house fires. I had a
video link at one time that showed what happens to too many so-called
[cheapie] surge protectors that are continuously spiked to break down
the MOV (in a short time instead of the long time normally experienced
by a MOV in shorting the spikes) and the power strip burning up. It was
dramatic and scary. See
at
its 0:50 timemark and again at the 3:00 timemark (the MOV has already
been shorting catastrophically for awhile and getting host before you
see a fire like what is shown). Most "fires" are internal to the surge
protector's case so you might only see some scorching or carbon smudges.
Some protectors use fire retardant encased MOVs because of how they
catastrophically fail after an excessive number of spikes getting
shorted through them.

Their description of a MOV as a "sponge" to absorb the spike is wrong.
It *shorts* across the pads of the MOV to short the spike to ground
although some surge protectors also have MOVs across the hot and neutral
to handle those spikes. A coil will absorb and nullify. A MOV shorts.
The vast majority of consumer-grade surge protectors are surge arrestors
in that they short the spike. Some (more expensive surge *suppressors*)
absorb the spike and then span the overage over a longer time. One
example of a surge suppressor can be read about at zerosurge.com under
their tech info section. A MOV is a ceramic wafer with a metallic
scintered screen inside that reduces impedance on a spike (which looks
like high frequency). The spike punches (burns) through the screen from
one side to the other. There is NO absorbing of the spike. It gets
shorted across the MOV. This shorting burns a path through the MOV so
it degrades over time. Eventually it cannot handle a spike and can
short for too long before completely opening. The high current during
the extended short causes fires. Hopefully if you have a protector
using old MOV technology that it also is fused to cut out when the MOV
catastrophically shorts to prevent the high current that generates heat
and a fire. Alas, again, cheapies using MOVs aren't fused (fuselink or
circuit breaker). Some of the better ones put a lamp across the MOV.
If the MOV is open (its normal condition) then the lamp is on. If the
MOV is shorted, the lamp is off (because there's no voltage across a
short). Alas, the lamp being on showing the MOV is open could also mean
it has catastrophically failed, shorted and burned into an open
condition, and the lamp will be on. The only way to know for sure the
MOV is working is by testing it but testing is destructive in that
you're shorting and burning out small pieces of the scintered metal
within, so don't test too often.

Here's some aftermath pictures and videos of cheapie protectors going
ablaze:
http://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&q=surge+protector+fire
(*)

(*) This guy really isn't demonstrating spiked voltage that these
protectors are supposed to short or absorb; however, remember that the
protector is getting zapped many times over its lifetime (before
catastrophic failure). Whether the protector gets hot enough to cause a
fire or itself burst into flames depends on what components were use
inside, insulation, fire retardants, and type of enclosure (the plastic
housing could be flammable but then a metallic housing would get hot and
catch something on fire against which it pressed, like the carpet, wood
desk, etc).

If you're going to go cheap on a surge protector/suppressor then don't
bother buying one and just get a power strip. Either pay for good
protection or don't pay at all.

You think it has 14-guage wire in the power strip's cord. Does it
really? Did you buy an $80+ surge protector or an under $30 cheapie?
The cheapies are often nothing more than an extension cord and that is
18 guage (i.e., lamp cord). Although some sites say 18-guage is okay
for a 16A load and 16-guage okay for 22A, I still find cords getting
warm enough to detect with my hand that are under these max loads. If
the cord feels warm then the cord's wire is undersized. The load
ratings are for a free standing wire (in air and by itself), not when
you bundle them inside a vinyl case with other wires, run along the
carpeting, or shove together with other power wiring behind your desk or
entertainment center. Another term for chassis wiring for amperage
rating is the free-air amperage rating. Once you bundle the wire with
others, the max current rating goes down to about 60%, or less. So your
14-gauge single-wire free-air rating of 32A goes down to 17A when
bundled; see http://wiki.xtronics.com/index.php/Wire-Gauge_Ampacity.

How about the extension cord you used between the wall outlet to the
surge protector? Most cheap extension cords are just 18 guage and
they'll get warm or hot if you use all their outlets for big power
devices connected to it. Plus using an extension cord with a surge
protector is ALWAYS a no-no. Get a surge protector with a longer cord.
10 feet of power cord can induce a 400V spike during a surge, and then
add the length of cord for the power strip. Also, for surge protection,
make sure you use the same wall outlet for all protected devices. Don't
run a surge protector from one wall outlet to your computer, another
surge protector from a different wall outlet to your stereo, and then
connect your stereo to your computer. The length of interior wiring
between the wall outlets plus the lengths of cords to the surge
protector provide an impedence to a voltage spike that can induce high
voltage.

How many other devices did you have plugged into the same wall outlet
that were drawing power? You might only have a 15A circuit for the
room. Current load and wire heating is based on the interior wiring to
the wall outlets and the fused load for that circuit, not to a bunch of
extension cords plugged into the wall outlets. Did you feel if the
extension cord was warm?

How many into the power strip? Did you feel its cord's temperature to
see if it was warm?

Did you check the power strip's cord end, each end of the extension cord
(just get rid of that to be safe), and the wall outlet for scorch or
carbon marks from arcing? Making you have crappy connections. Look at
the prongs on the cord ends to make sure they aren't oxidized, corroded,
or pitted. You'll need a flashlight to look into the female cord ends
and into the wall outlet. Arcing will deteriorate the connection, up
the resistance, and the arcing itself makes noise (and blue arcs if it's
dark enough in the room).

Since you say the computer sits in the middle of the room, were are the
power cords routed? Under foot? If so, the constant stepping on them
can damage the insulation or connectors and cause shorts. If you cannot
route them overhead in a suspended ceiling, through the walls, or under
a raised floor then get a cord protector. You slide the cords into the
protector which is hard rubber that won't crush underfoot. Use a strong
one (http://www.discountramps.com/hdImages/floor-cable-protector-10.jpg)
that is heavy-duty and doesn't crush under the weight of you standing on
it with both feet. The lightweight soft vinyl cheapies
(http://ak.buy.com/PI/0/500/205675672.jpg) are just for show to tidy up
a room's look and do nothing to prevent damage to walked-on power cords
since the protector crushes to then crush the cords within. Of course,
this means you'll be tripping over the sturdy cord protector if it's in
an well travelled area and why some are bright yellow so you don't
forget it's there.

Check for any frays (scrapped off insulation) on the cords?

Got mice in the house? They chew on wiring insulation inside the walls.
Squirrels, too.

If you have GFI outlets, did you check if they popped?

Like you guys have said, the pop is pretty good sign that a cap died.
The mobo doesn't look like it has a bad cap, that gives the PS more
weight as the problem.

Since you say it works upstairs and not downstairs, I'm now thinking you
have a bad surge protector, damaged cords, blown GFI outlet, slightly
shorting near-blown fuse, or some wiring problem downstairs.

OK.

I will ship the PS back.

Thanks

Is "PS" supposed to be PSU (power supply unit) or "SP" for surge
protector? Have you looked at the surge protector yet? Is it switched
on? Did it circuit breaker pop? Does anything else work when it's
plugged into that surge protector?

I checked those. I was using a multi meter to check the power at the
desk. I was an electrician for 20 years. I am a rookie at
electronics, but I did check all the power. Nothing tripped except
for the computer. The Power Strip light was still on. Monitor,
speakers, lamp all still worked. PS = Power Supply

When it happened, I didn't try to power the computer back up. I just
unplugged everything and brought it up stairs where the light was
better and I unplugged everything inside the computer before trying
the power supply again.

Thanks

The pop, I think, is a big clue. I may go ahead and order a Power
Supply tester.
 
L

Loren Pechtel

When it happened, I didn't try to power the computer back up. I just
unplugged everything and brought it up stairs where the light was
better and I unplugged everything inside the computer before trying
the power supply again.

Thanks

The pop, I think, is a big clue. I may go ahead and order a Power
Supply tester.

So there was probably something loose in the machine that you fixed by
unplugging/replugging. That still doesn't identify what went pop,
though.



What you learned as an electrician is *MOSTLY* relevant but there are
big differences--with computers you care about not abusing the wires.
Pushing line power though a wire it doesn't matter if it's a bit
roughed up, at worst you'll get a little bit of heat.

With computers you're trying to push very high frequencies through
wires, kinked wires or wires that got tugged too hard might not carry
signals right. Handle things like ethernet and SATA cables with a bit
of respect.
 
L

larry moe 'n curly

Metspitzer said:
The pop, I think, is a big clue. I may go ahead and order a Power
Supply tester.

Have you tried the paperclip test, where you bend a paperclip into a
"U" and plug it into the big power connector so one leg goes to the
green wire and the other led to any black wire (either wire next to
the green)? That should turn on the PSU, but you'll have to measure
voltages.

I wouldn't buy a power supply tester because unless it has a digital
readout, it will give only a very rough indication of the PSU's
condition and may say the voltages are OK even if they're too low to
operate the computer. Testers with digital readouts cost more than a
multimeter and a bunch of power resistors that can test the PSU more
realistically.
 
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M

Metspitzer

My nephew said his computer popped he smelled smoke. I took it
upstairs and opened it up and unplugged the mobo and hard drives and
powered it up and nothing happened. I wish I had thought to check and
see if the mobo light was on, but I didn't. I pulled out the power
supply and checked the connections with a tester and everything seemed
to be working.

I took some compressed air and blew all the dust out. I put the
powered supply back in and connected it all back up. It worked!

Dust? Really? I think that may have been the actual problem.

Update
I guess my mobo is bad. The machine has a new PSU but is displaying
the same symptom.

The computer will come on and web surf, but playing a video or sound
is choppy. The machine is used mostly for web surfing. Am I risking
damage to hard drives or the new PS by just using the computer for
surfing?

Since I know the PSU is good now, it really does have to be a bad
mobo, right? There are no signs of smoke, but I don't see too good. I
even looked with a magnifying glass.
 
F

Flasherly

Update
I guess my mobo is bad. The machine has a new PSU but is displaying
the same symptom.

The computer will come on and web surf, but playing a video or sound
is choppy. The machine is used mostly for web surfing. Am I risking
damage to hard drives or the new PS by just using the computer for
surfing?

Since I know the PSU is good now, it really does have to be a bad
mobo, right? There are no signs of smoke, but I don't see too good. I
even looked with a magnifying glass.

Choppy video may depend on the video program installs, codec links,
raw processing power, to include a video card.

Choppy sound only, however, is pretty hard to screw up for duplication
across a wide range of audio players, although calling choppy sound an
audio track underlying simultaneous video feed is something of a
misnomer in that regard.

A failing MB is a very nasty customer, as well will exhibit all kinds
of failure behavior linked to running programs, to include difficulty
in keeping the Windows OS stable. A randomness to reboots or locking
the OS may be somewhat difficult to pinpoint at first, as severity
increases when power supplies prematurely age, not to rule out failure
of associative hardware devices, such as HDs or memory modules.

The Golden Rule of Age: At some point everything becomes so dated,
it's not longer relevant or particularly worth noting its manufacture
date. When nobody knows to cry when you bury it with honors, it's
probably because they're all too busy fiddle farting about on facebook
with a tablet on the highway at 90mph.
 
P

Paul

Metspitzer said:
Update
I guess my mobo is bad. The machine has a new PSU but is displaying
the same symptom.

The computer will come on and web surf, but playing a video or sound
is choppy. The machine is used mostly for web surfing. Am I risking
damage to hard drives or the new PS by just using the computer for
surfing?

Since I know the PSU is good now, it really does have to be a bad
mobo, right? There are no signs of smoke, but I don't see too good. I
even looked with a magnifying glass.

So the computer is actually working. Think about all
the things that have to be working right, for you to
even see any video plus audio.

Choppy playback can come from too low a CPU speed.
Like, the CPU isn't running at the right clock setting.
Check the BIOS, and see if the basic settings are correct
or not.

It could also be caused by a competing process, like the
AV scanner running at the same time as you're viewing video.
Or the file Explorer computing thumbnails or video preview.

Open Task Manager, while your video test is running.

Sometimes, when I've got a problem like that, I enter the
BIOS and disable Intel SpeedStep. On my current motherboard,
to keep the CPU running full stock speed at all times, I also
have to disable some C-state options. And then it stays at
3GHz. I use that, if I've got some multimedia issue, and
I want to verify it isn't being complicated by a power state
issue.

If you're in a giant rush, you can go out buying new hardware
components, but without any assurance things will be better
later.

One flavor of hardware issue, is an "interrupt storm". It's possible
for a piece of hardware, to keep asserting an interrupt signal, even
when no interrupts are present. I might use Process Explorer to check
for something like that, as I think it has an interrupt counter.

Other than that, make sure the processor is running full speed,
and there isn't a cooling issue causing the processor to
throttle back.

Processor throttling can be viewed with RMClock if you want.

http://cpu.rightmark.org/download.shtml

"RightMark CPU Clock Utility (RMClock)"

Article on using it...

http://ixbtlabs.com/articles2/cpu/intel-thermal-features-core2.html

Paul
 
M

Metspitzer

So the computer is actually working. Think about all
the things that have to be working right, for you to
even see any video plus audio.

Choppy playback can come from too low a CPU speed.
Like, the CPU isn't running at the right clock setting.
Check the BIOS, and see if the basic settings are correct
or not.
Checking the BIOS (like I would know what I was looking for :) ) is a
good idea. But the computer popped. Would that be the CPU? I sure
don't have another CPU to swap.

It did have a video card in it, but I took it out after the pop. How
would you go about cleaning up the video drivers? The videos I was
testing with are avi quality that should play in the slowest computer.
It could also be caused by a competing process, like the
AV scanner running at the same time as you're viewing video.
Or the file Explorer computing thumbnails or video preview.
I am not sure the computer even has AV software but I can check that
too.
Open Task Manager, while your video test is running.

Sometimes, when I've got a problem like that, I enter the
BIOS and disable Intel SpeedStep. On my current motherboard,
to keep the CPU running full stock speed at all times, I also
have to disable some C-state options. And then it stays at
3GHz. I use that, if I've got some multimedia issue, and
I want to verify it isn't being complicated by a power state
issue.

If you're in a giant rush, you can go out buying new hardware
components, but without any assurance things will be better
later.
I never have any assurance things will be better. :)
One flavor of hardware issue, is an "interrupt storm". It's possible
for a piece of hardware, to keep asserting an interrupt signal, even
when no interrupts are present. I might use Process Explorer to check
for something like that, as I think it has an interrupt counter.

Other than that, make sure the processor is running full speed,
and there isn't a cooling issue causing the processor to
throttle back.

Processor throttling can be viewed with RMClock if you want.

http://cpu.rightmark.org/download.shtml

"RightMark CPU Clock Utility (RMClock)"

Article on using it...

http://ixbtlabs.com/articles2/cpu/intel-thermal-features-core2.html

Paul
Good suggestions.
Thanks
 
S

Skybuck Flying

"
"Metspitzer" wrote in message

My nephew said his computer popped he smelled smoke. I took it
upstairs and opened it up and unplugged the mobo and hard drives and
powered it up and nothing happened. I wish I had thought to check and
see if the mobo light was on, but I didn't. I pulled out the power
supply and checked the connections with a tester and everything seemed
to be working.

I took some compressed air and blew all the dust out. I put the
powered supply back in and connected it all back up. It worked!

Dust? Really? I think that may have been the actual problem.
"

What did you expect to happen by unplugging the mobo ? Ofcourse then nothing
is going to work ?

Anyway it sounds to me like a power surge of some kind, a similiar situation
is when the power supply is configured at 120 volts and receives 220 volts.

Bye,
Skybuck.
 
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P

Paul

Skybuck said:
"
"Metspitzer" wrote in message

My nephew said his computer popped he smelled smoke. I took it
upstairs and opened it up and unplugged the mobo and hard drives and
powered it up and nothing happened. I wish I had thought to check and
see if the mobo light was on, but I didn't. I pulled out the power
supply and checked the connections with a tester and everything seemed
to be working.

I took some compressed air and blew all the dust out. I put the
powered supply back in and connected it all back up. It worked!

Dust? Really? I think that may have been the actual problem.
"

What did you expect to happen by unplugging the mobo ? Ofcourse then
nothing is going to work ?

Anyway it sounds to me like a power surge of some kind, a similiar
situation is when the power supply is configured at 120 volts and
receives 220 volts.

Bye,
Skybuck.

Skybuck. Your WLM 15 client, doesn't quote USENET articles properly.

We can't tell where the original post ends, and your comments start.

Try another news client. Thunderbird is an example.

Other examples of clients that quote a little bit, are WLM 14
(the older version), or use the procedure to enable the hidden
copy of Windows Mail and use that instead. But with so many
third party news clients, there are better choices than WLM 15.
It sucks as a tool for USENET.

Paul
 
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