View Full Version : Computer + Smoke = Bad

11-01-2005, 06:49 PM
Hey all, I could use some help identifying my problem.

Yesterday my computer blew up. It was running along and then I heard something click in the box and everything shut down. Confused, I brilliantly hit the power button to turn it back on when I heard a grating sound and bad smelling smoke started coming out of the back. Since then the power button is completely unresponsive.

I built this computer myself and it had been working great for several months now. It was an nForce4 Ultra mobo with an athalon xp chip, antec sonata case if that matters. Also, I change houses from time to time and carry my computer with me. It's possible something came loose or was damaged during transit. I had just changed locations right before it broke.

I need help figuring out what to do next. I need to fix this, but I'm not sure how. First off, I'm not sure what went wrong. Does anyone have a guess whether it's the processor, the mobo, or the power supply that 'burst'? (I'm assuming those are the main culprits). Also, can anyone speculate as to what caused this to happen? I don't want to go buy another processor/heatsink just to have the same thing happen again.

I know this is limited information, but I really need some help here. If you have any questions, I'll do my best to respond quickly. Thanks,

11-01-2005, 07:37 PM
A grating sound indicates something mechanical as in fan or hard drive or other drive. And since the power won't come on at all, you either have a fuse blown if there is one, or the fan went out and caused other parts of the computer to overheat and go bad as well. At the least the this will mean a new fan and power supply most likely, and at the worst you will be lucky if all you salvage is the data on the hard drive and the dvd/cd drives that weren't affected by not being in use. This could of course have all been caused by a surge in the first place.

11-01-2005, 07:37 PM
power supply blowouts due to power supply fan failures (and subsequent overheating) are very common

11-01-2005, 07:41 PM
I think it would be pretty obvious if your motherboard or processor are fried. Open the case - are they scorched? If not go buy a new power supply. This is pretty common and the grating sound seems to indicate a grinding fan.

11-01-2005, 08:03 PM
Ok, thanks guys. I'm hoping it's the power supply as that would make things so much easier.

After the crash, I opened it up and aside from some dust everything seemed fine. The fans over the cpu, bios chips, and case spun clean. I'm hesitant to take the heatsink off the processor to look at it because I don't want to worry about having to reapply thermal paste to the cpu (if it's still good).

I'll start by looking into getting a new power supply (and a better surge protector). If that doesn't fix things, I guess the heatsink is coming off.

Thanks for the replies.

11-02-2005, 02:53 AM
start smelling stuff. whatever smoked stinks.

if the CPU fried, just get a new mobo/cpu combo... wouldn't want to fry a new cpu with a bad mobo. If the cpu/mobo fried be sure to use a multitester to verify the power supply... wouldn't want to fry a new mobo.......

11-02-2005, 10:48 AM
Most smaller computer stores have a plug in for the power supply cable that will quick test it for free.
You could use a multimeter, but (someone correct me if I am wrong) the power supply won't turn on until the soft switch wires are jumpered. The cables is standard, but I don't remember which pins to connect off the top of my head.

11-10-2005, 07:16 AM
Thanks for the help guys. I opened it up and the processor and mobo were still clean. Got a new power supply from newegg and I'm back up and running. Never knew a power supply could produce so much smoke.

11-11-2005, 01:22 PM
Computers run on smoke. There is only a certain amount of smoke in them. If you let too much smoke out, they stop working.

Glad you got it up and running /images/graemlins/laugh.gif