Whats wrong with my system?

Posted on 2005-03-07
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-26
last evening I smelled a tipical electronic meltdown smell.
It turned out to be my PC.
Next, one of the cooling vans accelarated and the next thing the PC turned off.
It was no longer to start up. No beeps at all. Just vans starting.
I measured the powersupply which was 5/gnd/gnd/12
I changed the Processor without result.
I have no spare mainboard or power supply so I can't be more speciffic on the problem.

Though the voltage of the powersupply was OK, the smell came from the PSpply area...

Anyone on this?
Personally I think its the main board or something attached to it.
How can I check this?
Question by:Greenkodiak
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Expert Comment

ID: 13475610
it's my understanding that if the motherboard doesn't beep, thats where the problem lies.

it happened to a friend of mine before, the pc wouldnt boot and there was no beep, she found out her motherboard was broken, and she ended up buying a new computer.

Expert Comment

ID: 13475929
If the smell is coming from the power supply, that would be the easiest / cheapest place to start.  When it comes to things like that, it hard to take a good guess, as a power supply dying can take out other parts with it, and also if you had a bad part (motherboard) it could take out the power supply.  I would either see about borrowing a power supply from a friend, and see if your computer turns on then, if not, then you have more problems to dig into.
LVL 69

Expert Comment

ID: 13476699
Test your power supply using the instructions here: http://www.extremeoverclocking.com/articles/guides/Power_Supply_Guide_1.html

It is important to do it with a load connected, like a hard drive.  You can also purchase a dedicated tester: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=561263
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

ID: 13479269
the smell coming from the psu area is no pointer as the psu fan usually extraacts hot air from the inside so the smell could be almost anything

Author Comment

ID: 13481315
I will wil put this issue on hold for a short period of time.
Assuming the MB is the problem, I'll arrange a new one for comparances

Expert Comment

ID: 13482009
If the fans are working then power is making it to the board.  Take out the memory and turn on the system. If it beeps constantly then the processor is working and recognizing that there is no memory. If there are no beeps at all then the processor is could be dead. If the same happens with a known good processor then the board is the problem.

LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 13492778
Power supplies don't necessarily fry-n-stop. They can burn and go out slowly. The power supply is at the
top of most cases so "the smell came from the PSpply area" is not a sure fire diagnosis.

Remove the power supply from the case and then put it up to your nose, if it's the tell-tail electrical burn
smell you've got your culprit.

Either way I would not be putting any power to that system until the problem is solved. You take a chance
at burning everything else inside, because a failing power supply can surge and fry more expensive parts.

Expert Comment

ID: 13500195
Easy way to check if it's the power supply is see if the fan spins on it when you turn it on.  If it doesn't then that could be one of the problems.

Author Comment

ID: 13500697
Come on Guys!
The last reactions proof to me the lack of reading all of the topic.

I do not have a spare power supply.
I noticed a tipical smell of electronic overheating near the PSvan, which can also be declared as sucked up smoke. Thats indeed possible. Vans Suck... IanTh was right on that.
Maybe, -and this is the point where my own knowledge of electronics comes in- the powersupply is the bug. It delivers 3 different voltages. 3,3v 5v and 12 volt. Both 5 and 12 volt can be measured on the 4-pins plug used for CD-rom, DVD, HD, etc. The 3,3v however, might also have a problem.
Thsi can be measured on the big 20pins connector on the MB.
I figured that out, but due to all the collors, its hard to tell which collor has howmany voltage.
Made it a little more clear tx to Callandor. Tx

I'm Pretty sure the problem is in the MB. Therefor I ordered a new one. But if my PS DOES have a problem, other than the abcence of a certain voltage level, I will notice this by yet another bad smelling MB.
Ill try to find a scematic overview of what kind of voltage is offered on each pin of the MB Powerplug. Due to the reason that all the MBs are equal, this seems not so hard I guess.
Anyone on such a overview?
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 13501132
>>The last reactions proof to me the lack of reading all of the topic<<
>>this is the point where my own knowledge of electronics comes in- the powersupply is the bug<<
>I'm Pretty sure the problem is in the MB<<

You smell a burn and you don't know where it's coming from. Now (from reading your posts) you
claim two items are at fault. I not sure who's reading what.

Good luck with that.
LVL 69

Expert Comment

ID: 13502692
I think I provided you with instructions on how to test a power supply - have you looked at the links?
LVL 69

Expert Comment

ID: 13506294
Here's a description of the motherboard connector pinouts: http://www.informit.com/articles/article.asp?p=31105&seqNum=4

Author Comment

ID: 13510803
you missed the first word of that sentence, [maybe].
[Maybe, -and this is the point where my own knowledge of electronics comes in- the powersupply is the bug.]
This was to shut out the quote [Easy way to check if it's the power supply is see if the fan spins on it when you turn it on.  If it doesn't then that could be one of the problems] from Smoud8821. The spinning vans present, does not necessarily mean tha PS is OK.
Like I mentioned, I'm pretty sure about the MB beeing the bug, but, as you pointed out erlier, if the PS is the problem, you wouldnt recoment using it on a new MB.
A statement "the vans are spinning so the PS is OK" is a little to tricky.

I visited the mentioned sites and thay are usefull for detecting the right voltages on the right pins. I, however, see more than the 3 colors mentioned on the website. For Example white or
Green are also on the 20 pins connector. Do they also have a specific voltage or are thay mainly for control and "powermanagement" or something?
I'm looking for an overview of all the pins and their purpose.
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 13512068

>>Like I mentioned, I'm pretty sure about the MB beeing the bug<<
Yes that is very possible. Usually [though] on a motherboard it's the CPU that will produce the "smell"
especially if it's an AMD. AMDs burn and Intels don't. What I mean by that is AMDs actually produce
smoke, and there is not a safety-shut-down ability on AMD cpu when temperatures go extreme but
Intels will self shut down on maximum temperature exceeds. It's "where there's smoke there is smell".
The power supply is the culprit most of the time when it comes to smell.

A PS can read on a meter a outputting 5v and 12v after smoking but you will notice crashes/freezes shortly
after the smell. More so on a system that is drawing more power like a full 4 IDE device'd system or a heavy
USB peripheral'd system. PS testers come in may flavors and the cheaper ones just light up LEDs and beep
if they read 5v and 12v, the more expensive testers will also check impedance and give you digital ohm readouts.

I always test [of course] but in the end I bring all the culprits up to my nose and sniff. A "stinker" is unmistakable.

You'll be the best judge of what's going on though because you have the hardware in your hands. I can only
go from what is written here.
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 13512167
I should also add I've personally seen PSs go out in about 4 different ways. In the old days I though
they just smoked and you had about 4 seconds to shut the system down or you may have more damage
but as time passed and I saw more IRL (in real life) I learned they can "go" and still boot a system.

This is why I'm not so quick to abandon the PS as guilty. It's a really bad feeling when you've buck'd up
for mobos and cpus thinking you've nailed the culprit only to find out the PS is shot in the end.
LVL 69

Expert Comment

ID: 13523201
In http://www.informit.com/articles/article.asp?p=31105&seqNum=4, under Table 3.3 ATX Main Power Supply Connector Pinout (Wire Side View), it says Green is PS_ON.  The other 19 pins are also described, including voltages.

Author Comment

ID: 13530627
While trying to check out all of the right voltages according to the article on the site Callandor mentioned, I tried to power up the PS... It was compleatly dead... Worser than before.
One good thing was that in that case my MB might be in tact.
I Arranged another PS and just then I realized I did not hooked up the MB earlier, because I needed to access the 20pins plug... No wonder it seemed dead.
But anyhow, even with the new PS, no result other then spinning vans and power on all pins...
MB defenatly busted...
New MB wil arive probably tuesday.
Spiderfix, how big are the ods my Duron AMD processor survived this meltdown, assuming the PS was not the cause?

Tx by the way all, for the participation on this topic...
LVL 14

Accepted Solution

spiderfix earned 150 total points
ID: 13532375
>>how big are the ods my Duron AMD processor survived this meltdown<<
Pull the fan and heat sync off the CPU and look at the top. It's unmistakable to identify
a burned AMD CPU, it's all bubbly on the top and if you extract the CPU and pull it up
to your nose you can smell the electrical burn.

You can see a couple of AMDs burn in this video.

Author Comment

ID: 13538883
Thats a relieve then...
All looks OK to me. Unfortunatly I cannot check the AVI due to the fact I'm using a simple 500Mhz PC I still had lying around.
I'll wait for the new MB
More on this issue later...
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 13539911
>>I cannot check the AVI due to the fact I'm using a simple 500Mhz PC<<
That'll play on a 500Mhz just don't stream it (click on it), right-mouse and download it. It is 10Mb
so if your dial-up then don't bother.


Author Comment

ID: 13548927
Sorry, I was incomplete there. It was not the 500Mhz issue, its just that Mediaplayer shows the colorfull wirlpools etc. Probably a codec issue or something.
I believe your word.
Still angtious waiting for my new MB though. Should be (literal!) any minute now...

Author Comment

ID: 13640449
The Problem is finally Solved.
The error was indeed the MoBo

Tx For all the help Guys,


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