Lightning crack embedded into thermal paste

Posted on 2006-04-25
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-25

A couple of days ago I was cleaning out my water cooling system and accidentally got some water on the motherboard. Unfortunately I had mixed the coolant with tap water and I hear tap water doesn't do MB's much good.

Anyway, I let it dry for a bit and the system would only power on for 3 seconds, then it would shut off.

So I let it dry some more and the same thing happened, at that time I had the MB resting on top of my case (on metal) and i moved the motherboard a little bit and it created sparks and smoke and it shut off. After that I haven't been able to get any power into the system. Today I took the HSF off my CPU and I noticed that the paste had a crack in it, like a lightning fork going all the way through it. Would that indicate that the CPU is fried? I have a new MB coming today because i assumed it was the MB.

Athlon 64 4400+
Question by:yosh02
LVL 69

Expert Comment

ID: 16533633
I don't think that crack indicates the cpu is gone, though it might indicate an improper application of thermal paste, because the layer is supposed to be extremely thin, only enough to displace tiny air gaps between the two metal surfaces.  The sparks and smoke are a concern, because such an event may signal overvoltage or overcurrent in a spot where it wasn't supposed to be, and that could ruin a cpu.  In general, it is not a good idea to move parts around with power applied, because you may make or break a connection with disastrous results.

Author Comment

ID: 16534021
just installed the new mb, works fine, thanks =)
LVL 26

Expert Comment

ID: 16540065
Nor is it a good idea to set an energized circuit board down on metal.!!!!!!!!
Those little solder points on the down side have power to them and you could short anything to anything.

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