Exploding PC! (well nearly)

After plugging in some hardware into a firewire card on my PC, when I started the PC there was a loud pop.

I'm only concerned about my 4 hard drives in the machine. I don't know where the pop came from, but it left a burnt plastic type smell. Can you suggest what part of the machine blew? Can it have damaged any of the drives (it was starting up at the time).

The hardware device has 2 firewire ports, one of which was connected to a mac, so there could have been a charge going through the cable (doh!).

I will buy a new machine but want the data on the disks. I just want some suggestions on things such as enclosures for my original hard drives. Are there any which can be daisy chained together so I can access all of them from say a laptop? And can I use an enclosure for a startup disk when plugged into a laptop? The startup disk is windows XP.

Marco


marcomaAsked:
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MarkConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Sounds as if a capacitor blew, either on the motherboard or in the power supply.
They look like little beer cans. Here is a page showing what to look for.
http://www.badcaps.net/pages.php?vid=5
for the power supply you could open it up to check or just replace it to test.
With the issue of having one device plugged into 2 computers at the same time,I would bet on a motherboard component being fried.
For the 4 hard drives, you can pick up a NAS (Network Attached Storage)device that houses 4 drives.
What type of hard drives do you have -->SATA or IDE
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PUNKYCommented:
You can open the case and look inside, if components burned you will see them.
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achcheeCommented:
It is probably a capacitor on the motherboard.  As far as daisy chaining hard drives to you notebook, I would just swap them in and out when needed.
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marcomaAuthor Commented:
I can't see any burning. The pop was quite loud I would have thought any burning would be easy to see.

Whatever it is I assume the computer has had it. I wanted to change it anyway, but it is a bit of an inconvinience when considering the time it took to install all the software.

I really need to be able to put the main drive in an enclosure and use it as a startup disk on a laptop. Can PCs startup from a disk plugged into the USB socket or any other socket?
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marcomaAuthor Commented:
Hello sparkmaker

I think 2 of the drives are IDE, and the other 2 are SATA. I guess a single enclosure wont be sufficint unless you know of one which can take 2 types of disks at the same time.

What about using the drives in the enclosure as the start up disk for a laptop? Is this possible?


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MarkCommented:
That may be problematic as the operating system would have been installed on totally different hardware than what is in the laptop. This would require a repair install of the operating system on the PC hard drive  in order for the proper HAL( hardware abstraction layer) to be installed to run on the laptop. The other issue is the ability of the laptop to boot from an external drive like firewire or USB. You would have to check the BIOS to see if those boot options are allowable.

Check the power supply out, it may just be a simple replacement issue to fix the PC.
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MarkCommented:
What is the laptop model.
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marcomaAuthor Commented:
I haven't bought a laptop yet. Can you suggest one. I live in the UK so one that is available here will be useful.
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marcomaAuthor Commented:
I take it the only way to check the power supply is to replace it. Is there a way of checking my power supply before trying this?
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johnb6767Commented:
"What about using the drives in the enclosure as the start up disk for a laptop? Is this possible?"

You mean to boot from it?

No......
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achcheeConnect With a Mentor Commented:
If your motherboard has a little green led on it, then check to see if it is lit.  If it not lit with the power cord plugged in, then that is one indicator of a faulty power supply.  Seeing that it popped when you plugged into your firewire (which is plugged into the motherboard) I would again say that the motherboards components popped.
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marcomaAuthor Commented:
OK problem solved. It was the firewire card that had blown. A little piece came off it. Now my PC works.

I will administer the points.
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marcomaAuthor Commented:
Thanks. Useful advice there!
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PCBONEZCommented:
There are a couple things that will cause a pop like that.
LOOK IN THE POWER SUPPLY TOO.
Not just at the motherboard!

Usually such a noise is a Cap venting or a hole being blown in an IC chip.
On the IC chip the 'hole' may only be a lump or a shiny spot in the plastic.
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Both are caused by a power surge that may only be internal to the computer.
Those are generally caused by a capacitor, diode, or MOSFET failing suffenly creating a voltage spike.
LOOK IN THE POWER SUPPLY TOO.

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