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Help!! In deep trouble!

Last response: in Motherboards
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August 12, 2004 10:55:30 PM

I'm somewhat amateurish when it comes to hardware (in the context of this forum, very amateurish). I've built myself many computers in the past, and done many upgrades...there's always some kind of minor setback, but I've never destroyed a computer component before.

Now I'm in deep trouble. My computer is my primary source of entertainment, and my last little "operation" didn't go so well...and to beat that, I don't have the money to re-purchase much, so I may be toast. I'm putting this on the Motherboards forum because, well, I'm not sure where else to, and given the number of issues I'm having this is just my best guess.

Here's what happened:

My computer (A7N8X-X Asus motherboard, ATI Radeon 9600 Pro Sapphire model with 128 megs video RAM, 512 megs DDR Ram, AMD Athlon XP 2500+ processor with 333 mhz FSB, and some crappy old Soundblaster sound card) was having some overheating issues that I blelieved might be the source of some crashing issues I was having - I was occasionally crashing to my desktop out of certain programs. So I purchased a new fan and heatsink (Thermaltake Silent Boost) and a tube of Arctic Silver thermal compound to help alleviate the problem.

Here's everything I can remember from the installation, before which things were working fine. First I removed the old fan and heatsink. I used rubbing alcohol on a rag to carefully remove the old thermal stuff from the CPU. I then added a thin layer of the Arctic compound to the CPU. I placed the heatsink/fan on the CPU but realized the fan was so large I would need to remove either the motherboard or the power source (250w) to get it locked into place...I picked the power source.

Now, I accidentally unscrewed one thing I shouldn't have - there are two screws that hold the 110/220 volt switch in place...I unscrewed those accidentally, but managed to screw it back in. I'm not sure if that could have affected anything, but I thought I would include it in case.

I replaced the power source (I never changed any of the plugs on the power source, aside from unplugging the power). I plugged the computer back in, and...

AAAH! Chaos ensues. A bad snap-crackle-pop sound happens, and a terrible electric-burn smell starts coming from my computer. Note that at no point did the computer LED lights come on, and none of the fans turned on. After I switched the power source off, turning it back on did absolutely nothing.

I unplugged it quickly, took the new fan/heatsink off and checked the CPU - no obvious sign of damage. I then opened up the power source itself - no obvious damage, but the "electric burn" smell seemed to be coming very strongly from there.

I had an old 200w power source kicking around, so I hooked that up instead, and I did get SOMETHING - a very high pitched constant whistle sound. Nothing else, no LED lights, no fans, nothing.

I swapped the new fan/heatsink for the old one. Nothing. I replaced the new one (each time checking the layer of thermal compound). Nothing.

Now, here's where it REALLY gets bad.

I hook up the original 250w power source. I decide maybe it couldn't handle the pressure of the new fan or something, so I DON'T hook any of the power cords to anything but the connection to the Motherboard (the hard drive connection, the CD Rom connection, floppy, etc.).

But wait! The power source fan is on! And so is the CPU fan! And so is the...FIRE! Yes, sparks and fire started spewing forth from my Radeon 9600 Pro video card - they originated one of the many raised little black panels on the underside of the card (which is actually facing upwards when in my computer - imagine my surprise when my face was almost burned off). I tried one more time to hit the power, very briefly, and found the not-so-neat fact that the power switch has indeed turned into the Flamethrower switch.

Now I've stopped trying anything. I do have older video cards I could put in, to see if the entire rig works with a different card...but I'm just not an expert enough to be able to guess the results. I don't even know what the problem is.

Thanks in advance for any help you can all give =)

More about : deep trouble

August 12, 2004 11:49:25 PM

I wrote a post like this along time ago just to be funny. If you're not trying to be funny, the only thing you didn't do is pour beer on the motherboard to put the fire out. Fire is not good! Sparks are not good. Probably all of your components are not good! :frown:

Abit IS7 - 2.8C @ 3.5ghz - Mushkin PC4000 (2 X 512) - Sapphire 9800Pro - TT 420 watt Pure Power
Samsung 120gb ATA-100 - Maxtor 40gb ATA - 100
Sony DRU-510A - Yellowtail Merlot
August 13, 2004 1:02:54 AM

Heh, no, I'm not trying to be funny - I'm very distressed, and am feeling quite lost at the moment.

And just for the records, the fire/sparks came directly from that one spot on the video card - I haven't seen anything yet that would indicate damage to the motherboard...but I'm scared of it nonetheless.
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August 13, 2004 1:35:07 AM

To start, you need a new power supply and graphics card.
Try this, though chances are, you've fried everything.
Buy a good (like fortron source 400) power supply.
Take the mobo out of the case. Attach the power supply, cpu, hsf, graphics card (an old one is fine) and one stick of ram. Set it up on bricks, or some nonconducting non-flamable material. Hook up the monitor, and put a jumper on the power switch. Turn the power on, and if the fans turn on, pull the jumper off. If it posts, spend the next 4 hours in the religious centre, thanking whatever god you choose.
P.S. your floppy and the case may be OK.
August 13, 2004 1:36:28 AM

Consider your MB toast. You need a bigger power supply anyway. Maybe, if you're lucky, you can salvage your CPU. I'm going to say that if you're MB overvolted your AGP slot enough to set your card on fire, forget it. I know the 9600 doesn't have the 12v Molex so all the power had to come from the AGP slot. If you can, send the MB to someone like Crashman who may be able to checkout or repair it. You need to check all the voltage outputs before you risk any more compnents on it.

Abit IS7 - 2.8C @ 3.5ghz - Mushkin PC4000 (2 X 512) - Sapphire 9800Pro - TT 420 watt Pure Power
Samsung 120gb ATA-100 - Maxtor 40gb ATA - 100
Sony DRU-510A - Yellowtail Merlot
August 13, 2004 2:01:14 AM

Quote:
You need to check all the voltage outputs before you risk any more compnents on it.

I don't know what that means, or how to do it o_O heheh...

Ok, here's my question: After removing everything from the system and hooking up the 250w power source I can get the little green light on the Motherboard to come on...hitting the power switch doesn't do anything, but at least it's not dead, right? Does that mean it'll survive...or does that not matter? =/

So, if my motherboard is toast, can I send it with an angry message to Asus telling them to give me another one? It's pretty aggravating that my Motherboard destroyed my video card and died itself after less than a year...I can't see that I did anything wrong in the pretty minor installation of a new heatsink that would cause it to do all that. =/
August 13, 2004 2:44:39 AM

Hey, DooD, you know you did this when you shorted the power supply switch and fed it 220v. If it's still under warranty though, I would try and RMA it. If you have a good multi-meter, you can measure all the output points on your socket, your agp slot, your PCI slots, etc. I would not try and use the old supply though.

Abit IS7 - 2.8C @ 3.5ghz - Mushkin PC4000 (2 X 512) - Sapphire 9800Pro - TT 420 watt Pure Power
Samsung 120gb ATA-100 - Maxtor 40gb ATA - 100
Sony DRU-510A - Yellowtail Merlot
August 13, 2004 4:59:58 AM

Quote:
Hey, DooD, you know you did this when you shorted the power supply switch and fed it 220v.

What are you saying? I never switched the power supply to 220 - I'm always very cautious about that. And where can I find a multi-meter? I've never even heard of it o_O

I just want to find out what happened, at this point. It seems pretty clear that I'm out about $300 that I don't have...when I do finally manage to have that kind of money to spend again, I don't want to buy new components and have them explode once again.

I didn't set the power supply incorrectly...the only thing I changed was the heatsink/fan and thermal grease, which I removed with rubbing alcohol and replaced with Arctic Silver.

How does that destroy a motherboard, a video card, and a power supply?

And how can I avoid it next time??
August 13, 2004 5:34:19 AM

Now, I accidentally unscrewed one thing I shouldn't have - there are two screws that hold the 110/220 volt switch in place...I unscrewed those accidentally, but managed to screw it back in. I'm not sure if that could have affected anything, but I thought I would include it in case.
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Ya know, I have a funny feeling "therein lies the problem". I can't think of any other scenario that would cause all these problems. You had to have shorted something out.



Abit IS7 - 2.8C @ 3.5ghz - Mushkin PC4000 (2 X 512) - Sapphire 9800Pro - TT 420 watt Pure Power
Samsung 120gb ATA-100 - Maxtor 40gb ATA - 100
Sony DRU-510A - Yellowtail Merlot
August 13, 2004 10:40:17 AM

I agree. It was when I read that that the alarm bells started ringing.

I know that switching a PSU from 230V (Europe) to 110V (US) and then switching it on here in europe results in the ol' BANG! scenario - A friend of mine accidentally did this while moving his computer - but with luck this kills only the PSU (He only needed a new PSU, the rest was fine).. I suspect that the really big mistake here was in then plugging it back in again, after it'd blown up :frown: ...

I don't really know what to suggest. If everything had just stayed dead, then I'd suggest finding a friend to swap components around with to try and see what's alive, but there' s no way in hell I'd stick anything of mine into that motherboard, after what you've described.

Maybe try to get a cheap Athlon XP board from a computer fair, or off ebay - if it supports DDR and your proc then you should be able to test those components out on it, and use that while you save cash. Or of course try to RMA the board and claim it just blew your graphics card up? :eek: 

---
Epox 8RDA+ V1.1 w/ Custom NB HS
XP1700+ @200x10 (~2Ghz), 1.4 Vcore
2x256Mb Corsair PC3200LL/1x512Mb Corsair XMS PC4000 2.5-3-3-7
Sapphire 9800Pro @412/740
August 13, 2004 6:29:52 PM

Yeah, I got nervous when I accidentally unscrewed that bit...the first computer I built, I accidentally blew out the power source by leaving it to the Euro setting, heheh...luckily it was the cheapest PS in the world and nothing else was harmed.

Well, I do have a bunch of old graphics cards and such that I'm never using again...maybe if I can claim warranty on the MB and get a new power source I could just try everything one step at a time, with older cards, to make sure that nothing exploded...heh.
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