Multiple motherboards fried... need suggestions.

Posted on 2005-04-30
Last Modified: 2008-03-06
We have approx 120 workstations deployed and working well in our circuit. At one location, everything was fine until about 6 weeks ago. Their PC motherboard was fried. Since then, we have replaced numerous UPS's, PCs, even had the wiring (both network and power) re-wired and we have gone through 6 motherboards in the last 6 weeks.

The PC is a standard PC that we deploy to our circuit consistantly with the same image and never had an issue.

Any suggestions as to where to look or things to try would be appreciated.

Thank you in advance.
Question by:r_i_x
    LVL 4

    Accepted Solution

    I knew of a case like that onec before, it was purposful sabatoge.

    The only thing i can suggest if to place a videocamera and observe what happens to the pc's in the meantime, see if you can have the elertical outlets replaced...or perhaps the circut breaker as well..
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    Yeah, I was suggesting the video last night in a meeting. Thanks for your response. I'll keep fishing for ideas though. That's a good thought about electrical outlets as well. I know it was re-wired but not sure on the outlets... I will check.
    LVL 14

    Assisted Solution

    One more thing u can do is change the main cord powering the CPU unit. I have seen cases where the cords seem fine and are in fact short from inside. To confirm pick up any one of these PC's which is giving this problem and run it at ur office.

    Also the chances of sabotage do seem high and on purpose but the simplest way for that is that all machines shud have blown or fried in almost identical manner. Normally the PSU will blow out in case of a power surge which is the most likable cause. Also any chance u  guys have reverse earth flwoing thru the power mains?

    Any case where a PSU burnout has been reported? Any chance that the employee stationed there can be changed? DO they powr many devices thrugh the same power line? Try to give them an isolated power line so as to eliminate any load or shorting problems caused by any other device. Dont attach any printers or external devices besides keyboard and mouse. Its possible some other external device can cause this too. I have seen internal modems cause this cause the phjone line had excessive current in it.

    LVL 91

    Assisted Solution

    another thing, apart from sabotage or ufo's, is a grounding issue. You mentioned the wiring being redone, but was the earthing checked and measured? One machine with a ground problem, can cause this when kicked into life .
    I suggest hooking an AC monitor with a printing station in order to see if it actually is an AC issue.
    LVL 7

    Assisted Solution

    This is one site out of 120 that's killing things, right?  Frying UPSes and such sounds like external power problems - something is causing the incoming voltage to spike and spike well beyond the capacity of the surge protectors to handle things.

    If I had to GUESS, it will be a tree intermittently touching the power cable up by the transformer ... allowing some voltage from the higher voltage cable to leak into the branch line.

    Talk to the Power Company.  They should be willing to place a monitor on site for a couple of days to check the incoming voltage and then they'll know to check their lines.

    LVL 4

    Assisted Solution

    Is it frying ONE machine in particualr or random machines?

    When the motherboards are getting fried, what is the problem? Any noticable damage?

    Has the Temperature in your location gone up and is the cooling system in these machines coping with the increased temp?

    Is your stock of replacement boards a FAULTY batch?

    LVL 63

    Assisted Solution

    Some good suggestions have been made.

    I would also use an APC UPS and have it log all activity within a narrow range of voltages.

    Fom the logs you should easily be able to see if it is a power problem.

    I hope this helps !

    LVL 5

    Assisted Solution

    How old are these computers?  There was a rash of motherboards years back with faulty capacitors in them... maybe your motherboards are reaching their end of life.  Also, you'll want to make sure you have good quality power supplies... if not, faulty power to the motherboard may be frying components as well.... and possibly other parts too.

    Even with a UPS (which you should have), a faulty power supply can still kill your PC... so it's always best to get good quality power supplies (which never come with a computer... it's an upgrade for sure.)

    I have an exchange student who leaves his computer on all the time... and since I've had him (4 years) he's gone through 2 computers... all of which have killed themselves. Mine keeps running and running with good parts.

    Also... I was working in a hospital one time where a training room with lots of comp0tuers was on... until some electrical guy reefed on a power cable up in the ceiling and took out 12 computers in 1 blow... lol.  Electrical supply isn't a problem if you have a personal sized UPS for each machine.

    LVL 2

    Assisted Solution

    suggestions :
    1-change the power supply before any thing.
    2-get a power cable with fuse
    3-be sure nothing is cover the motherboard and keep a place for the hot air to comes out from the pc

    hope that helps

    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    Thanks to all who commented. We are still not sure what caused it but we haven't had an issue since the 6th PC was installed. Sorry for the late response.

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