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Something FRIED... ( picture attached )

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September 2, 2006 6:12:14 PM

My PC has been acting up today,so I opened it up and found this:





What happened was the display went from normal to suddenly a garbled mess of vertical lines. I opened the case to discover things were really hot inside. The CPU heatsink was hot to the touch well after it was shut off.

While taking off the heatsink & cleaning things up in the case I discovered those black melted spots on the power connector above.

What causes this -- should I get a new power supply, or could it possibly be something else such as the motherboard ? I wonder if its okay to boot back up & just leave it be.

More about : fried picture attached

a b V Motherboard
September 2, 2006 6:16:48 PM

Quote:
My PC has been acting up today,so I opened it up and found this:





What happened was the display went from normal to suddenly a garbled mess of vertical lines. I opened the case to discover things were really hot inside. The CPU heatsink was hot to the touch well after it was shut off.

While taking off the heatsink & cleaning things up in the case I discovered those black melted spots on the power connector above.

What causes this -- should I get a new power supply, or could it possibly be something else such as the motherboard ? I wonder if its okay to boot back up & just leave it be.


Were you running with increased voltages? Your going to need a lot of new things. PSU and MB. Possibley a new CPU and video card. You'll just have to troubleshoot with new parts till you acess to what extent the damage is.
September 2, 2006 6:50:46 PM

You're definitely going to need a new motherboard. That sort of burn is usually caused by something on the board itself failing, usually in the plug. I'd also recommend that you get a new PS, just because the corrosion that is going to happen now, not to mention the soot, will cause those pins to not function properly, possibly causing arcing, which is what probably caused this whole problem in the first place. This is also probably what caused the excess heat. You may also want to check for a failed cooling fan somewhere.

Think of it this way: Its a good excuse to get an A64! They are really cheap now! You can do the switch (provided you have good DDR) for less than 100 bucks now.
Related resources
September 2, 2006 6:55:11 PM

Three possibilities, or combination thereof. Your video card may have pulled some overvoltage or have been damaged by an overvoltage shock to it. If you can, try it in another computer and see if it works. Same with the cpu. The garbled mess on your display could be from a bad video card, motherboard, or both.

My first guess is the motherboard shorted out and the connector got fried. With luck, all you need is a new connector and motherboard. If you have been overclocking/increasing voltages, you probably pushed things beyond the limits. Other than that, a power surge in the wall A/C line may have gone through the psu and burned up the connector. The psu may have survived, may not.

Like Badge said, you're now into a time of troubleshooting piece by piece until you know for sure what all is dead.
September 2, 2006 7:14:02 PM

Wow. That's probably one of the most severe cases of power related damage
that I've seen. You typically see this when there's been excessive current
draw due to a bad power supply or a failed component drawing excessive
current through the mainboard connector. It's entirely possible that all
components may have been damaged; power supply, mainboard, video,
and even the hard drives. Although you may not see physical damage to
these components, they may have been exposed to voltage / current spikes
that will shorten their lifespans or cause additional problems if installed in
a new setup. I would at a minimum, replace the mainboard and power
supply without question and be wary of any components that you decide to
keep. 8O
September 2, 2006 7:27:59 PM

If the computer was acting wonky before, likely the mobo was failing and pulling lots of current. Now the psu is damaged too, and cannot be trusted with a new mobo. Sorry, but they'll both have to be replaced. I doubt anything else is fried, but the video card (and the cpu) could be damaged. Undervoltage will kill too.
September 2, 2006 7:44:11 PM

Bloody hell... from what I can make out, those are the 5v lines you've fried... something has gone horribly wrong there.

Personally, test all the components with another rig, but leave the mobo out. That will most certainly have been damaged by the current surge though that. It takes a fair bit to melt the connectors like that, I'm surprised it wasnt on fire.

Either a short, or a fault component could have caused this. Excessive current draw usually only occours when a short is present, or the beginnings of one. If the system was overclocked, then that could certainly have been one cause, but other than that, it could have been anything.

What brand of mobo is it, out of curiosity? Maybe look around and see if anyone else has had this problem. If so, it could have been a batch of dodgey components.
September 2, 2006 9:15:02 PM

What specific PSU was it?
September 2, 2006 9:15:22 PM

Away from the system right now but I believe the mobo brand is Epox & the CPU is an Athlon XP +1800.

No overclocking was done. The one suspect I have is the video card. It is one of those giant GeForce Ti cards. The powersupply is a no-name brand, probably no more than 280 - 300 watt. The pair have not been together for any more than 5 - 10 hours total. So that could have something to do with it.


Thanks for all of the great feedback.


Will replace that power supply & may just look around on Ebay or something for a motherboard compatible with this Athlon XP processor. Please post or PM if you have a decent Athlon XP compatible motherboard kicking around so I can pay you for it.

Been holding out on buying new parts until I can pour some dough into a huge new rig after Vista is out.


Hope the video card is not damaged. That & the hard drives. Will test it out after I find another board & post the results.
September 2, 2006 9:45:48 PM

Newegg has some socket A boards for cheap. I even saw a couple open box ones for less than $20. I believe there was one with the same chipeset (albeit a different brand) for 17.50 or something like that. Other than that, I didn't see any of them for over $50, with most in the $30-$40 range. I'd sell you my old one, but I sold it already :)  .

Here's a link for those socket A boards. Any one should work with the 1800+.


Just so everyone knows, the brand/model number of this board is in the second picture: EP-8KHA+. If I'm not mistaken, this is the one with the little LED readout on the lower corner of it.

Edit:
Oops! Just saw the one thats $77.99 :oops:  .
September 2, 2006 9:55:49 PM

Your board is an Epox 8KHA+. I had one myself for the last 4.5 years. Actually I had two, the first one met with the same fate as yours, and probably for the same reason. I mated it with a cheap power supply, and ended up with burned power connectors.

The 8KHA+ is notorious for problems with the 5v lines. They always read low, even if your PSU is putting out the proper voltage. A cheap PSU may not even put out the expected 5v to begin with, so the board's low voltage problem could combine with that to result in the problem you've had.

All hope is not lost, however. What is the condition of the power connector on the motherboard? If it is not melted so that it prevents insertion of the plug from a different PSU, you may still be able to use the board.

When mine fried itself, the MB power connector was burned so bad one of the pins was damaged, so I had to replace the board. But I couldn't afford to do it right away, so I cleaned the connector as best I could and plugged in a spare PSU, and it worked fine for another month or so, until I could get a new board.

I tried not to push it too hard, however, by avoiding 3d games, since the video card I had at the time (Geforce 3) would pull extra power through the board.

Based on my own experience, I doubt you killed anything completely dead other than maybe the PSU. The motherboard may still work, but whether or not you want to risk using it is up to you.

If you were planning to upgrade, now is not a bad time, but you may still be able to use you current machine awhile longer if you have to. (Well, minus the PSU of course)
September 2, 2006 10:25:39 PM

Yeah, Epox 8KHA+ thats the one! Thunderfox, can't deny your experience with this mobo, thanks for your insight - this is obviously the exact same issue.

The motherboard connection is not looking as bad as the PSU connector, thats for sure. No melting, only some browning.

Those socket a boards on Newegg are darn cheap - may consider ordering one. However, I will try using the existing motherboard after I get a new PS.


Will probably use this as a chance to invest into a beefy new power supply so it can be used in my next rig. My next system Im looking at all high end components along with 4GB RAM --- something like a 600 Watt Thermaltake should do, but are there any recommendations ?
September 2, 2006 11:43:41 PM

I was an intern for a place that had Epox MB. We had about 40 to 50 motherboards go bad within a year or two. Then some of the CPU's had to be replaced. Plus they had issue with the memory blowing up. So I try to stay away from Epox.
September 3, 2006 12:11:19 AM

You know, I'm not going to be all doomsday prophet like the rest of the guys here.

What I think happened is you had a bad connection on several connectors, and dust or even moist in there, causing massive elecetrical corrosion.

Clean them off, use a small screw driver to tighten the clamps and clean them, and just plug it all in and see if it boots again...

Can't get worse, right?
September 3, 2006 4:33:46 PM

Quote:
Yeah, Epox 8KHA+ thats the one! Thunderfox, can't deny your experience with this mobo, thanks for your insight - this is obviously the exact same issue.

The motherboard connection is not looking as bad as the PSU connector, thats for sure. No melting, only some browning.

Those socket a boards on Newegg are darn cheap - may consider ordering one. However, I will try using the existing motherboard after I get a new PS.


Will probably use this as a chance to invest into a beefy new power supply so it can be used in my next rig. My next system Im looking at all high end components along with 4GB RAM --- something like a 600 Watt Thermaltake should do, but are there any recommendations ?


A loose connector can cause that too. maybe the cheap PSU was not giving proper grip to the pin, that in turn caused overheating (because of increased resistance) that in turn, could burn the connector, without causing problem to the motherboard, but killing the PSU.

If you can still plug a PSU into it, try it.
September 3, 2006 5:38:08 PM

Then again, depending on the PSU; some short (in this case did) and take some of your components with it.

As for PSU recommendations; ( I'm gonna make a damn sticky now)

FSP, Thermaltake, OCZ, Enermax, Antec, Zippy, PC&P, Silverstone, Seasonic and Sparkle all make decent units.

If I get the time, I'm going to write up a PSU guide based upon need/price range. This question is asked more often than I can answer.
September 3, 2006 6:01:40 PM

Quote:
What I think happened is you had a bad connection on several connectors, and dust or even moist in there, causing massive elecetrical corrosion.


I dont think thats the case here, to be honest. If arcing was occuring, then you'd certainly hear it. the 5v line carries some major current, and the distinctive sound an electrical arc makes would be heard very easily.

What it looks like it the board has been pulling way too much current on the 5v lines, and the connectors cannot cope with it. This causes them to heat up, burning the plastic surround. This explains the charred plastic.

As for dust and moisture being a cuase, hightly unlikely. The contacts generally make such a snug connection, that it will displace any dust when you first insert the plug intot he socket. As for moisture... unless he lives in the tropics, and was routingly dousing his machine in liquid while building it, that can be rules out too. Otherwise, why arent any of the other lines affected? The 12v also carries a hefty current, and should display the same burning if moisture was the cause.

All in all, it points to the board components being at fault, and as others have reported that these boards are known for this problem, that confirms it. Replace the board, and assuming the CPU isnt dsamaged, it should be all good after this.

My personal recommendation would be to get a decent power supply though. Cheapy no-name ones can fail all too easily, and I certainly wouldnt run a machine using one. They're cheap for a reason, and are prone to self destruction if you try and put them anywhere near their rated load. Do yourself a favour, and get a decent Seasonic. You wont regret it.
September 3, 2006 6:08:40 PM

Well time for an upgrade.

You can build a killer system for $800 even buying a new Coolermaster case.
September 5, 2006 4:33:26 PM

Since the motherboard connection looked fine, I decided to go ahead and just replace the power supply.

Everything is working great, including the video card.
September 5, 2006 5:27:42 PM

on your picture it seems that the ground is burned 2 and when that happens you ground is not working propertly i suggest that you check you ground plug because if the ground is not working that cause that the red wires (+5v) burn. If that was the problem your mobo should be fine(only if the problem was the psu and is not mobo related)
September 5, 2006 5:29:32 PM

Quote:
Since the motherboard connection looked fine, I decided to go ahead and just replace the power supply.

Everything is working great, including the video card.


That type of burn is not actually caused by excessive current as such, but rather higher current than normal may have started an arc over a bit of corrosion or a weak contact, and that arc built up as the contact carbonized and reduced conductivity. Things may have been perfectly normal in fact and ONLY a loose or dirty contact started the arc. This type of arc causes a strong carbon smell so I'm assuming the computer was unattended since the smell would have been frightening. The MB and power supply are probably both ok, it's just cosmetic. I've encountered this type of problem several times in dealing with high-current digital equipment, the blackened connector LOOKS awful but in fact is less serous than it looks, as long as the connectors are cleaned up afterwards so there is a good contact before using again. However the female connector pin may have to be replaced. You DID clean the connectors on the MB?! If it were an expensive supply replacing the bad pins is a better solution than getting a new cheaper supply. There is no possibility at all that the supply itself would have caused this problem. A too-high voltage would completely destroy the computer long before it would have any effect on the connector.

You said that the CPU was excessively hot, and since that pin provides power to the CPU I'd say a bad heatsink contact caused the CPU to overheat and draw excessive current, thus starting the arc. The one part you may have to consider changing is the CPU. not the power supply or MB. And for HEAVENS sakes make sure the CPU cooler is doing its job!
September 5, 2006 5:30:19 PM

looking at the pics you have posted, you need to clean out the dust that collected over the years. Your hard drives are installed upside down. And the video card has to many wires around the back, looks like the card is flexing. I would manage the cables a little better and give the video card some room. just my .02
September 5, 2006 5:57:01 PM

Quote:
looking at the pics you have posted, you need to clean out the dust that collected over the years. Your hard drives are installed upside down. And the video card has to many wires around the back, looks like the card is flexing. I would manage the cables a little better and give the video card some room. just my .02


Look again, the PICTURE'S upside down. The cards would be below the CPU, and the components of the video card are underneath the board in a tower. The HDs would be to the right of the MB. The HDs are the right way up.

I'll simplify my own post, a poor connection on the ATX connector caused a spark, that spark developed into an arc that carbonized the connector and melted the plastic. A computer is a low-voltage/high power device. You want to know something else that depends upon low voltage at high power? an electric welder. :twisted:
a b V Motherboard
September 5, 2006 6:04:36 PM

Bummer...your rig is fried...at least gonna need a new mobo, proc, and psu...maybe even new gpu or memory...looks like the perfect opportunity for an UPGRADE!!!!!
September 15, 2006 4:36:50 AM

Hey Guys,

I just had the same thing happened right after I tried to clean the system of dust really well with compressed Air.

I could smell the burn!!! Connector was not as dark as RedSmurfs. I knew the system was going (sudden resets). I tried replacing the PSU and still got the same thing. No power to anything. Fans on the PSU and the Processor would just flinch.

System was 4 yrs old (self built). OLD Socket A.

First instinct was to replace the mobo. Got myself a ASRock (K7VM3). (Can not afford to rebuild a new system at the moment.)

Other Specs:
AMD Athlon XP 2000+ Palomino 1.667GHz
DDRAM 512M64X64 PC-2700 OCZ
Does not matter what the rest of it is because I am not getting any video either off of the OnBoard or AGP Card.

System is powering up. Processor Fan is going. No power to USB Optical mouse or PS2 keyboard. (Mouse works on my work laptop - which I am using now.)

Anyone have ANY idea of what could be next? Memory? Processor? Karma?
September 15, 2006 5:06:32 AM

The only thing I can think is Mobo or a ground...
September 15, 2006 2:04:28 PM

What kinda of Ground would it be? one of the connectors I should unplug and see what works?

I am thinking the Processor is fried too.
September 15, 2006 10:25:55 PM

This type of damage is caused by an arc, low voltage-high current, like an electric welder. I suspect the connector was not pushed home, the electrical connection was weak and began carbonizing thus developing an arc, it overheated an burned. Maybe the connector was disturbed while cleaning. The damage should be confined to just the connectors, but an arc causes high static voltage which could indeed damage other components.
September 15, 2006 11:19:49 PM

...... i HAD THE SAME EXACT FCKING THING HAPPENED

when i bought the 6800GS AGP, i unlocked 16/6 + over clocking with coolbits to like 405/1100

i played like 3 days of GREAT GAMING until MASSIVE VERTEX LINES, aka artifacts, i thought it was unlocking the artifacts, it turned out i had a perfectly fine 6800GS unlockable, too bad i RMA'd it just to find out the mother board had the same exact BURN. it took me 3 weeks to figure out everything else was working fine and it was just the MB that was fried..

it was sad i was very frustrated when i thought it was my whole computer because every video card i plugged in, it didnt work or had massive artifacts

better buy a new MOBO =o
September 17, 2006 6:16:42 AM

Ack, that sucks.

Just goes to show you though, that a lot of problems arent what they seem. What could be dismissed as a program crashing could very well be a fault in memory or a power issue. You just never know until you have a look at everything.

If in doubt, do a thorough check on the mobo. Check caps, resistors, plugs and sockets, and even the IC's for signs of damage. If its brownish, chances are its overheating badly, and itsnt going to last much longer.

Even if its fine, an inspection of the mobo will usually reveal dust and cack in places you dont want em, so take the time to clean it out.

A clean PC is a happy PC.
(Mine is currently a depressed wreck based on this rule...)
September 17, 2006 5:10:56 PM

I replaced my board. Now it is powering up. But I think that the Processor or memory are gone also. My next bet is to replace the Processor. Luckily they are pretty cheap with Socket A.
October 4, 2006 4:37:46 PM

Replaced the Processor and BINGO!!!!! Did not replace the Power Supply.

I plan to replace the machine and build a new one in the near future (once I get the $$$)
October 4, 2006 5:22:50 PM

So....

Your athlon fried your computer and you went out and bought another one?

"You know you're a fanboi when....."
October 4, 2006 6:22:26 PM

Quote:
Bloody hell... from what I can make out, those are the 5v lines you've fried... something has gone horribly wrong there.

Personally, test all the components with another rig, but leave the mobo out. That will most certainly have been damaged by the current surge though that. It takes a fair bit to melt the connectors like that, I'm surprised it wasnt on fire.

Either a short, or a fault component could have caused this. Excessive current draw usually only occours when a short is present, or the beginnings of one. If the system was overclocked, then that could certainly have been one cause, but other than that, it could have been anything.


This guy has it here.
To the guy who was talking about arcing, NO WAY. There is not enough voltage for the PSU to arc from the inside of the connector. And even if it did, how would it jump from one pin to another accross the connector?
You have yet to mention that you have OC'ed it, so that does not seem to be it. Even then, that color on the plastic would sujest something else is amiss.
I do not think it is the PSU that is bad (it is now though!). If it were a short in the PSU, the damage would most likely be to the PSU itself, as electrons take the path of least resistance (FYI, a short is like crossing 2 wires causeing MAXIMUM current (the sutff that causes heat, not voltage) to flow). I would guess maybe the voltage regulator on your mobo. I think a new mobo and PSU and you should be set. Spend a bit on a good PSU too. A low grade PSU may be what caused the issue in the first place. And from what others are saying, try something other than EPox.

To CableTwitch, you must be a computer technitian or should be. Good post.
October 4, 2006 6:27:46 PM

Are your Hdds spinning? Your not getting any Post what so ever? If not then the board you got is bad I would try reseating the board in the case or take it out and do a test without it in the case being carefull to not ground it out. It could be somethng simple like that or it could be you just got a bad board. Try clearing the CMOS o nthe board also.
October 5, 2006 3:04:57 AM

The processor lasted almost 5 years. past couple months I was getting sudden restarts. I knew something was going.

When the arc happened, I had just taken the system apart and gave it a complete Compressed air cleaning. Took the mobo out, fan off the processor. The processor was running a bit hot so I figured the heatsink and the fan needed a really good blow.

I put it all back together. something I did must have caused the arc.

I replaced the mobo: ASRock K7VM3

When that did not work I replaced the processor:
AMD Sempron 2600+ Thoroughbred 1.833GHz

I do not have the $$$ to build a kickin system, but this does pretty well for me. It was only $100 for the parts above.

HDDs are spinning everything is fine. They only thing I need to do now is upgrade the Memory because it is holding back the system. It is a OCZ DDRAM 512M64X64 PC-2700. The procsssor & mobo can go up to 333 so I need the memory to match. That should only take another $50. if i only go with 512.

I'll save up so that in Jan I'll get a new complete system together. Prices will be down and Vista and Directx 10 (I believe) will be out.
!