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Worst PC Build Screw Ups

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September 27, 2006 7:36:59 PM

So I take it we all have built PCs and have had moments that we're all no to proud of. Screw ups, mistakes, blunders, and just plain foolness is par for the course.
So in short, what's your worst screw up when you've built a PC?
Mine was the time I built a P2 system. First ever build. I had everything set right, CPU, GFX card, sound card, jumpers set right, everything was good to go. I just forgot to use the standoffs when I was attaching the board to the case. Every contact on the board was touching the metal case. Needless to say, I fried both the board and the CPU.
First time I was ever greeted by the magical blue smoke. Not my last.

EDIT: Think of this as therapy for computer users.
EDIT 2: Now accepting all sorts of PC trouble woes, that includes Macs, iPods, hard drives, RAM, spilled liquids (including but not limited to beer, wine, coffee, water), VIA, electrical arcs and just about anything you didn't plan for. I'm just not taking any tech support stories. That's a category onto itself. :roll:
EDIT 3: Now added the Murphy's Laws on computing. To all, keep your posts relatively on the topic about tech woes or computing destruction. Don't spam the tread.

Murphy's Computing Laws Treat 'Em as Gospel Folks...

1. When computing, whatever happens, behave as though you meant it to happen.
2. When you get to the point where you really understand your computer, it's probably obsolete.
3. The first place to look for information is in the section of the manual where you least expect to find it.
4. When the going gets tough, upgrade.
5. For every action, there is an equal and opposite malfunction.
6. To err is human . . . to blame your computer for your mistakes is even more human, it's downright natural.
7. He who laughs last probably made a back-up.
8. If at first you do not succeed, blame your computer.
9. A complex system that does not work is invariably found to have evolved from a simpler system that worked just fine.
10. The number one cause of computer problems is computer solutions.
11. A computer program will always do what you tell it to do, but rarely what you want to do.
12. A computer makes as many mistakes in two seconds as 20 men working 20 years make.
13. The computer will work perfectly at the repair shop.
14. Never test an error condition you don't know how to handle.
And Finally:
15. Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable.
These are our 15 Commandments. Live by them or be prepared to put your head thru a wall in fustration.

Thanks to everyone for the submissions and please keep them coming. :lol: 
Big thanks to Wusy, verndewd, greenjelly, ches111, Clue69Less, StrangeStranger, angry_ducky and exit2dos and whoever my feeble mind fails to thank for responding to stories, providing feedback and giving topics for discussions.

More about : worst build screw ups

September 27, 2006 7:57:42 PM

F Lock. Didn't know there was one when trying to accept Microsoft windows xp license via F8.
September 27, 2006 8:01:45 PM

Atleast yours worked. In my youthful exuberance and stupidity, I wouldn't accept any help from my dad or listen to what he had to say. I ended up having to pay for the new components. Try paying for a P2 back in 1997 when you're only 9...
Lesson was learned well. He only made me pay $50 though so its all good.
Related resources
a b K Overclocking
September 27, 2006 8:01:56 PM

This wasn't a real bad one, but my first build I didn't turn the PSU rocker on the back from "0" to "-". I spent two days troubleshooting, disassembled everything, and took the PSU to CompUSA to have it tested.

Here's the real kicker: CompUSA's technician said the PSU was faulty. On my way home, however, I noticed that the rocker switch was on the "off" position and realized that the dummy at CompUSA tested it that way. I put the PSU back into the computer, flipped it to the "on" position and everything booted up. What a stupid mistake.
September 27, 2006 8:21:02 PM

I used to work in a pc repair shop, one of the biggest blunders I was involved in happened at this shop. I had just finished the burn in process on a pc I had just built. The burn in was a program we had that tested the pc for stability for 48 hours. I noticed the temps were a little high so i opened the case up to make sure all the fans were on. Now mind you im ina pc repair/building shop. We have canned air, cleaning spray, thermal paste all within arms reach. So i open her up to check the fans and notice a blob of dust on the cpu heatsink. So i reach over and grab what i thought was the canned air. Wrong! It was the highly flamable cleaning spray. Needless to say that pc went up like the hindenburg.
September 27, 2006 8:36:08 PM

Battery acid flames pale in comparison to the wonder and delight that comes from watching gases ignite. 8)
September 27, 2006 8:40:44 PM

With respect to PC builds specifically, I've been lucky, no horror stories. Now if you go back to the days of my first computer experience (PDP-8A) I've had a couple of little problems... If you ever find yourself designing printed circuit boards - double and triple check all of your circuit logic before you make the board. Then, when the board is in hand, beep out all of the power traces and re-check the schematics for the chips and other components you're about to solder on.

A good Burr Brown A/D converter is a horrible thing to waste...
September 27, 2006 8:41:09 PM

Well this isn’t a hardware screw up per say but I got sick of looking at my silver case so I spray panted it, not so well I might add. but it is no longer silver.

I guess I have been faily good at not frying any components (well sort of Ill explain later) the worst thing I have done is bent a pin on a cpu. not a prob to fix though.

now as for the not frying stuff I did eff up a psu once but it was one of those intentional "accidents." well in my computer hardware class I had in high school I didn’t like the teacher so well and I kinda wanted to cause him some problems. so I took an old at power supply crossed a power with a ground, poof went the psu and pop went a breaker. The whole class lost power and we had to call down a guy so he could reset the breaker, most defiantly worth it.
September 27, 2006 8:42:40 PM

Me worst misstake is not that bad, though it was on the last pc I put toghter (4 or 5 in the order). All when ok until I was to add the silence material on the inside of the chassie, is was sticky as hell and the first I did was the easy removable door and then the rest of the case, which in it self was tricky, and when I'm done I try to put back the door and realize I put the silence material so the door doesn't fit anymore =(
September 27, 2006 8:55:26 PM

My worst to date was when I replaced a motherboard that have a Nvidia chipset with one that was from Via. I couldn't quite read some of the wiring instructions, so I hooked up the wires the same as on the Nvidia. It lasted as long as the opening screen, then nothing. Getting out a magnifying glass, I found that the wires were supposed to be hooked up differently. Live and learn, and see a doctor for some new, more powerful reading glasses. I've also used only Nvidia shipsets since.
September 27, 2006 9:06:13 PM

My worst mistake was not that I forgot to connect the power dongle to my 6800 video card, but when I turned the computer on and got that warning tone and I quickly pulled off the side cover and plugged it in with the power still on. My video card was a goner.

hball
September 27, 2006 9:18:15 PM

When I used to work at a system builder, we always had the QA people at the end of our line to test every computer. I don't know if this was my mistake (Probably was since I was one of the few people who actually installed the CPU) but one of the QA people tested a computer, and a "jet of flame" shot up form where the CPU was... shrug... Everybody could use a jet of flame once in a while.
September 27, 2006 9:22:49 PM

Probably giving away my age with this one, but when I built my first PC it was an XT and the case I bought didn't have the power connections on the switch hooked up. So I hooked them up myself reading the color diagram on the back of the switch, bl for blue and b for black and w for white, etc. well I got the blue and black on the wrong connectors, which equals blue sparks and black smoke. And if anyone remembers the old power supplies before ATX were hot at the switch with 110 volts AC.

I got lucky though and only fried the switch and power supply, Mobo, CPU were good though.

Back then I really thought I had something with 10 Mhz Intel 8088 CPU, 640 Kbytes RAM, CGA graphics, two 5 1/4 floppies and a big 10 Megabyte hard disk. Anybody here remember what a Turbo button was?
September 27, 2006 9:27:12 PM

other than jamming in a molex upsidedown and cooking a hardrrive while the power was on, thats it. My bro though tried to put a thermal sensor between the cpu and the heatsink, POOF!! The heatsink still has the burnmark on it to this day. :lol: 
September 27, 2006 9:36:42 PM

One more:
This wasn't a build, but I was working on Computers at work once and my boss would jump my case if I unplugged a computer while working on it, because he said it wasn't grounded and static discharge would have nowhere to go if the cable was unplugged. I was upgrading NICs in some of the PC's one day and the first one I plugged in caused the Wake on LAN (WOL) to turn on the machine as soon as I plugged the new card in. No damage but it sure startled me and I said, 'screw the boss' and unplugged every computer I replaced NICs in that day.
September 27, 2006 9:37:48 PM

XT? As in PC/XT? As in the thing that was the direct sucsessor to the original IBM PC form factor? As in the first PC to have an internal hard drive? Did it use a 130W PSU?
September 27, 2006 9:50:20 PM

Quote:
XT? As in PC/XT? As in the thing that was the direct sucsessor to the original IBM PC form factor? As in the first PC to have an internal hard drive? Did it use a 130W PSU?


Yes. As in PC/XT. I don't remember the PSU rating but it was somewhere between 100 and 150 watts. And yes the first PC to have an internal Hard drive, as I recall the 10 Meg hard drive cost almost as much as the PC itself and occupied two 5 1/4 inch bays.
September 27, 2006 9:54:17 PM

Quote:
Probably giving away my age with this one, but when I built my first PC it was an XT and the case I bought didn't have the power connections on the switch hooked up. So I hooked them up myself reading the color diagram on the back of the switch, bl for blue and b for black and w for white, etc. well I got the blue and black on the wrong connectors, which equals blue sparks and black smoke. And if anyone remembers the old power supplies before ATX were hot at the switch with 110 volts AC.

I got lucky though and only fried the switch and power supply, Mobo, CPU were good though.

Back then I really thought I had something with 10 Mhz Intel 8088 CPU, 640 Kbytes RAM, CGA graphics, two 5 1/4 floppies and a big 10 Megabyte hard disk. Anybody here remember what a Turbo button was?


I did something similar when in the Air Force. The whole bench shut down instantly. A tech came in to repair what I had messed up. I said "It only was there a moment". He replied, "It only takes a moment. Be glad you're still alive."

Yes, I remember a Turbo Button. I also remember when the biggest hard disc around was a whopping 4 megabytes. The military had some. They weighed about forty pounds, had a rotational speed of 400 rpm as I remember, and were a couple feet in diameter. Used to have a picture of one someplace.
September 27, 2006 9:55:11 PM

Wow, thats old. Still don't know your age though :D  so I guess you're lucky.
September 27, 2006 10:01:15 PM

Quote:
Probably giving away my age with this one, but when I built my first PC it was an XT and the case I bought didn't have the power connections on the switch hooked up. So I hooked them up myself reading the color diagram on the back of the switch, bl for blue and b for black and w for white, etc. well I got the blue and black on the wrong connectors, which equals blue sparks and black smoke. And if anyone remembers the old power supplies before ATX were hot at the switch with 110 volts AC.

I got lucky though and only fried the switch and power supply, Mobo, CPU were good though.

Back then I really thought I had something with 10 Mhz Intel 8088 CPU, 640 Kbytes RAM, CGA graphics, two 5 1/4 floppies and a big 10 Megabyte hard disk. Anybody here remember what a Turbo button was?


I did something similar when in the Air Force. The whole bench shut down instantly. A tech came in to repair what I had messed up. I said "It only was there a moment". He replied, "It only takes a moment. Be glad you're still alive."

Yes, I remember a Turbo Button. I also remember when the biggest hard disc around was a whopping 4 megabytes. The military had some. They weighed about forty pounds, had a rotational speed of 400 rpm as I remember, and were a couple feet in diameter. Used to have a picture of one someplace.

It wasn't so many years ago every government building, school or bank you walked into you were told, "I'll be a few minutes...computer is down!" :D  It was like yesterday. The computer system was up for about 10 minutes every hour it seems! No matter where I went or who I called same story! LOL!
September 27, 2006 10:01:36 PM

Those were the days, computers have come a long way since then. I was cleaning out my attic a couple of years ago and ran across this very same machine and fired it up just for grins and it still worked. Space Quest from Sierra was still on the hard drive and I played it for a few minutes in cga's amazing three color graphics and then relocated it to the garbage can.
September 27, 2006 10:09:02 PM

Quote:
Those were the days, computers have come a long way since then. I was cleaning out my attic a couple of years ago and ran across this very same machine and fired it up just for grins and it still worked. Space Quest from Sierra was still on the hard drive and I played it for a few minutes in cga's amazing three color graphics and then relocated it to the garbage can.


A working machine of that era? You should have donated it to a computer museum. Amaze the kids with what we older types used to work with.
September 27, 2006 10:11:12 PM

my dad was showing me how to upgrade my mobo or somthing and was being all make sure you eath your self proberly, take your time and dont force anything and it will all be fine. When my power supply blue up it was like a gun shot there was a small puff of smoke and a burnt smell. the pc was all fine but my dad was a bit shaken but it was the funnyest thing!
September 27, 2006 10:19:54 PM

I did something similar once, but I wasn't working on a PC, someone else was. I was working for the US Forest Service a few years ago and the Techs were installing new hard disks in the mainframe, big disks about 2 -3 foot in diameter. Anyways I was walking thru the hall and the door to the computer room was open and someone called me on the radio as I was walking by and I reached down and grabbed my radio off my belt and just as I keyed the mike the the Tech came running out the door and yelled, "Don't answer that radio." it was too late. When I keyed the mike the whole computer system shut down and they were in the middle of formatting the new drives, it took them most of the day to fix it. I learned something that day and that is that radio waves and exposed computer eltronics don't play well together. And the Tech learned something too, next time you work around people with radios keep the door to the computer room shut.
September 27, 2006 10:25:52 PM

Quote:
A working machine of that era? You should have donated it to a computer museum. Amaze the kids with what we older types used to work with.


My kids were there when I fired it up they were completely unimpressed. As a side note I also had "Joust" on there and copied it to a floppy and tried to run it out of a DOS box on my current PC and it would srun and go by soo fast it said game over as soon as you hit enter.
September 27, 2006 10:52:11 PM

Kids these days have no respect for yesterday's technology.

I built this computer this summer, except the first time I built it I had a 7900GT from eVGA instead of the X1900XT I have now.

To make a long story short, I was trying to plug in one of my hard drives because I noticed it wasn't connected to the power supply, and in the process I bumped the 7900GT. I suppose it was pretty hard, because when I turned the machine back on it didn't output a signal to the monitor. The fan spun up on the card, so I could tell it was on, but the monitor stayed in standby.

Since I didn't have another PCIe machine to test the card in, I was forced to assume it was dead. So, I RMA'd it back to newegg, and in the meantime used an old PCI Radeon 7200. Fortunately, the game I played most of the time was World of Warcraft, which ran around 20fps with the details set to low at 640 x 480...which looked like ASS on a 20" widescreen LCD. Needless to say, that video card was holding the rest of my system back; it was a clearly defined bottleneck.

We were on vacation in Rhode Island shortly after the card died, so we placed the order on newegg, so I could go pick it up when I got back.

I ordered a new card in the hope that I didn't damage the PCIe slot. It would suck if I had to replace the motherboard. And fortunately, the sound card sitting below the video card was not damaged.
September 27, 2006 10:56:28 PM

Quote:
Kids these days have no respect for yesterday's technology.

We have respect, it's just more of a, "wow, will it even run soliaire" respect than a "oooh its so cold and stuff".
That being said its kind cool to see where our roots are.
September 27, 2006 11:09:48 PM

I think my worst mistake was disconnecting the hard drive power while the computer was on and running. Not sure exactly what motivated me to do something quite that stupid; it was back when a 6GB HDD would set you back a couple hundred bucks.

I have a close friend who managed to successfully install DDR RAM flipped around (can be done if enough force is used--it was dark in the case and he didn't want to go get a flashlight). He managed to let the smoke out and we got to hear a capacitor explode.
September 27, 2006 11:17:02 PM

I have a friend who managed to mount the motherboard without the standoffs. Saw smoke come out of the 12V cable. Yes, the cable, not the connector.

His stepdad helped him build it the right way, and it sill works. Yeah, it still works. Almost seems like he doesn't deserve it.
September 27, 2006 11:29:44 PM

The worst thing I ever did was on my first PC build about 3 years ago on an athlon 2500+xp machine.
I plugged in everything fired it up and installed Windows Xp and was on it for a few hours and I shut it down went to bed.
Woke up the next day and turned it on and it said I had to re-install windows and I'm like ok wtf so I checked the BIOS settings and it was on Boot from HD first then CD Drive.
Point is I re-installed Windows XP about 5 times before I realized that the jumpers for the CD drive and the Hard Drive were both on cable select and they were on the same IDE chain.
I felt like a dumbass but oh well.
Never experienced any smoke or anything like some of you folks.
September 27, 2006 11:38:13 PM

You lucky bastard [/envy]
Everyone should experience the blue smoke atleast once. It's a humbling experience
September 27, 2006 11:53:55 PM

Quote:
Well this isn’t a hardware screw up per say but I got sick of looking at my silver case so I spray panted it, not so well I might add. but it is no longer silver.

I guess I have been faily good at not frying any components (well sort of Ill explain later) the worst thing I have done is bent a pin on a cpu. not a prob to fix though.

now as for the not frying stuff I did eff up a psu once but it was one of those intentional "accidents." well in my computer hardware class I had in high school I didn’t like the teacher so well and I kinda wanted to cause him some problems. so I took an old at power supply crossed a power with a ground, poof went the psu and pop went a breaker. The whole class lost power and we had to call down a guy so he could reset the breaker, most defiantly worth it.


Only spraypaint something large with primer... Use a roller or a professional air sprayer, never use GLOSS with a roller... Ive learned this the hardway... but it wasnt with a computer... I did sand down the first layer of paint/gloss on my computer then primed it with flat white, it came out really good... I was going to brush on some semi-gloss yellow... but I then built this machine...

Which brings me to my worst experiance ever building a machine... But it comes to be expected when you are so agressive with the build... For Example, I replaced EVERY white power connector in the case with black ones... I used UV shrink wrap on EVERY WIRE!... I drilled special holes in my case for cable management... and I even built a controller for my pump, one of the special fans I bought, and the light/switches... Then came the watercooling...

Then came the hardware... and well when I went to turn it on... it didnt exactly work, and without another machine with PCI-Express I couldnt tell if the Video Card was bad or the MoBo... I now know that it was probably both.... The BIOS on the MoBo and a bad VC!
September 28, 2006 12:04:29 AM

If you meant not to do it... its a screw up. You qualify.
September 28, 2006 12:21:00 AM

Alrighty, here is a story (this is not really hardware but software related and not PC related and not and not and not :) ).

But I am going to share anyways.

This story is of a major screwup but luckily NOT by me.....

I came onto a project at the 50% IPR (software about 50% complete). The vendor stated during one of the meetings that they INSTALL and RUN their software as ROOT. (they said the performance was better that way :roll: :roll: ) We had ~40+ unix based servers running a RTOS (RealTime Operating System).

I told them immediately that I would NOT accept the software if the install kit and runtime environment were all under root. I was taken aside by my director and the vendors Lead Engineer and told that basically I do not know what I am talking about... Shhhhhh.... The vendor knows what they are doing. /me being new to the organization said OK???? :roll: :roll: :roll:

My director (not me) accepts the software and the vendor starts their install/upgrade scripts. One crucial part of the scripts, was the base directory that they needed to execute the scripts from. The script writer instead of at least hardcoding the $BASEDIR environment variable just expected people to know to start the script three levels down.

The first thing the script does is an (rm -rf *) as user ROOT to ReMove the previous installation. It also does this from WHICHEVER directory they start the script.

Since they were user ROOT and since they were at / (the ROOT directory) they totally deleted the entire system.

If this were not bad enough - they were supposed to have an ~45 minute validation period between the first server install and the rest of the 40+ servers. This validation would make sure the install went well and that the servers restarted with everything fine.

The best part about it was, they were SO confident in the scripts that they were were pushing and running the scripts on the rest of the 40+ servers at the same time they were doing the first install. 38 of the 40+ servers were totally dropped before they realized what they had done. :oops:  :oops:  :oops:  :oops: 

The second best part was they did this during busy hour because their engineers did not want to work late. The director that allowed all of this (mine) was reprimanded pretty badly. The vendor had to pay for "ALL" lost transactions that the customers would normally be paying. Roughly $150,000 and 16 hours later (engineers had to work late ;) ) they had all servers back online (OUCH). :oops:  :oops:  :oops:  :oops: 

Moral of the story:

Always be careful when doing anything as root.
Always assume that anything that you create will not run as root (drivers aside).
Never perform, ANY upgrade during busy hour or even close to busy hour.
Always check your work (kinda like the measure 5 times cut once mentality).
If you are an executive level manager (regardless of your previous experience) leave the tough stuff to your lower level managers/tech leads.

Last but not least:

ALWAYS remember that the new guy may actually have a good idea and may actually know what he is doing. (you can also extrapolate this to "always listen to Ches111 ;) ")
September 28, 2006 12:23:49 AM

On my very first home-build, I spent days agonizing over a non-functional video screen. The Mobo power light came on, the keyboard was responsive to numlock / capslock presses, and the HDs spun up - but the display stayed dark. I tried a PCI-slot GPU and was able to get that to work, but the new X1800XL GPU was just not happy.

Only when I took out the X1800XL card and set it down on the anti-static bag it came in, the third or fourth time, did I notice the small inductor sitting insolently inside the bag. And the empty spot on the card where that inductor was supposed to be. Nothing like spending dozens of hours troubleshooting only to find a mechanical failure.
September 28, 2006 12:30:38 AM

Ho..Ly Sh!t. 8O.
That is... quite a screw up. Nay, that qualifies as a f^ck up.
September 28, 2006 12:40:49 AM

Not sure how a LARGE group of engineers can miss something so simple...

By the way my director stepped out of the way after that, and if I said that "I" was not going to accept the software (WE ;) ) did not accept the software.
September 28, 2006 2:02:21 AM

Most i've done was the other day when i put everything in and closed her up. Little did i know the little cable that plugs in by the cpu was on top of the cpu fan. Comp. heated up to 95c but didn't fry the cpu, but the MOBO didn't work right after that.

A couple of times i've interrupted the XP install and wiped some partitions that had some good data.

Andy
September 28, 2006 2:50:10 AM

How about the dumbist thing I've done to my PC.

Few years, probably 6 or so, I was belting a back few beers playing warcraft. I had my beer next to the keyboard. For whatever reason I reached across and *tump* goes my 40oz into the keyboard. Fried mobo City.
September 28, 2006 3:10:27 AM

Quote:

My kids were there when I fired it up they were completely unimpressed. As a side note I also had "Joust" on there and copied it to a floppy and tried to run it out of a DOS box on my current PC and it would srun and go by soo fast it said game over as soon as you hit enter.


Dang ... where's that turbo switch when you need it!

And as far as my own stupid building mistakes. Just happened with my last build. Was moving memory around while trying to debug a post issue, well ... while swapping around memory one of the memory cards didn't seem to go in quite right but looked ok. What harm could powering up the system do? Yeah right, weren't any spectacular fireworks but the smell was interesting and the stick of memory almost needed a pot holder to handle. Good thinkgs I bought extra in anticipation of Vista. Live and learn.
September 28, 2006 3:16:14 AM

Quite a few rough stories lol. Anyways, I'm new to the forums and this subject caught me attention. My story starts way back in fall of 2003. I had an uncle who was in desperate need of a computer. He had plenty of of money but didnt want to spend it. I told him I could piece him together an inexpensive system. So i went 50+ miles to the closest computer shop to get the parts. I got an athlonxp 1800 and, i think, an asus A7V8X-MX motherboard. I had just been introduced to computers that summer and I had the confidence that I could to this. I didn't get a power supply for I had (what i didnt know was faulty at the time ) power supply. For that, I would still kick myself for doing. It was a psu from an old sony vaio pentium 200MHz i think, that had been in some pretty lousy conditions. I put the system together, and it powered on fine. Fine for two seconds. Well, I turn it back on, and noticed the PSU fan wasnt spinning. So I blow it out and while doing so, a curious metallic dust (intermingled with not dust bunnies but dust brontosaurases) from the fan is released ( I see it all in slow motion :lol: ) as it goes to the circuit board. Well, the damn thing sparks, hisses and finally, bursts into flames. The only fire extinguisher nearby was a dud, and I would up ruining a good shirt extinguishing the inferno. I thought maybe a couple of things could have been salvaged, like the cpu. Like an idiot, i used my fingers to depress the heatsink clip. I'm just gona stop there.
September 28, 2006 3:58:34 AM

Mine was quite a screw up... occured about 3 years ago. I was building a family PC that ended up being 80% mine.. anyways it had an Athlon XP 2000 w/ ECS K7S5A motherboard. The combo deal was for $100 at Fry's, and I was on a very tight budget. Unfortunately, the CPU was "bare" so i had to buy a heatsink/ fan. The Fry's guy recommended a Thermaltake one that was about $20 but I was feeling guilty about spending my dad's money so I went for a cheaper one that had no thermal tape on the bottom. I realized this when I got home, so I tried to apply thermal paste to the CPU core for the first time in my life. I didnt know you had to squeeze out a tiny drop, so I squeezed out the whole tube (it was like 3-4mm thick over the core). Needless to say the CPU went totally bust... I think when I put the heatsink on some of the paste overflowed onto the socket.

Anyways... I went to Fry's the next day and got a replacement and more thermal paste. Unfortunately the same thing happened again... and again... and again... and again. I'm not joking. I literally burnt 5-6 Athlon's in succession and got a replacement everytime. In the end I returned the cheap cooler and got the Thermaltake one. THAT particular Athlon XP replacement works to this day.

Other than that... I got exploded capacitors in a couple cheapo power supplies. Nothing happened to the rest of the computer, but the power supply went off like a gunshot and the capacitors were oozing this thick gooey stuff.
September 28, 2006 4:06:15 AM

Quote:
Mine was quite a screw up... occured about 3 years ago. I was building a family PC that ended up being 80% mine.. anyways it had an Athlon XP 2000 w/ ECS K7S5A motherboard. The combo deal was for $100 at Fry's, and I was on a very tight budget. Unfortunately, the CPU was "bare" so i had to buy a heatsink/ fan. The Fry's guy recommended a Thermaltake one that was about $20 but I was feeling guilty about spending my dad's money so I went for a cheaper one that had no thermal tape on the bottom. I realized this when I got home, so I tried to apply thermal paste to the CPU core for the first time in my life. I didnt know you had to squeeze out a tiny drop, so I squeezed out the whole tube (it was like 3-4mm thick over the core). Needless to say the CPU went totally bust... I think when I put the heatsink on some of the paste overflowed onto the socket.

Anyways... I went to Fry's the next day and got a replacement and more thermal paste. Unfortunately the same thing happened again... and again... and again... and again. I'm not joking. I literally burnt 5-6 Athlon's in succession and got a replacement everytime. In the end I returned the cheap cooler and got the Thermaltake one. THAT particular Athlon XP replacement works to this day.

Other than that... I got exploded capacitors in a couple cheapo power supplies. Nothing happened to the rest of the computer, but the power supply went off like a gunshot and the capacitors were oozing this thick gooey stuff.


You were a legend around Fry's. :D 
September 28, 2006 4:12:02 AM

The best one i came across was when my boss went off to an computer training seminar for IT people.

They were shown all the different components etc that make up a PC (the parts were all brand new parts too) then they were instructed o how it ll oest together.

They then were all put into groups to assemble a working box.

Well my boss was a techie like myself so he had no problems setting the box up and showing the others in his group how it was done.

When it came time for the lecturer to inspect the now assembled boxes all but the one in my bosses's group worked.

They did the old trace back your build steps etc to determine what was up and they came to the CPU.

The processor's pins on all the other groups boxes looked kinda like crop circles as they were all flat!

None of the other groups had noticed that you had to open the levers on the sockets to put in the CPU an had forced them down into the sockets so they would fit....

Boy am i glad i didn't have the job of trying to straighten out all the pins on a P233MMX processor lol
September 28, 2006 4:28:17 AM

Quote:
When I used to work at a system builder, we always had the QA people at the end of our line to test every computer. I don't know if this was my mistake (Probably was since I was one of the few people who actually installed the CPU) but one of the QA people tested a computer, and a "jet of flame" shot up form where the CPU was... shrug... Everybody could use a jet of flame once in a while.


Lemmie guess... Antec PS?

I've had PCs that I wished would turn into a jet of flame... What is your secret?
September 28, 2006 6:00:26 AM

My 3 Dumbest mistakes

#1 (pre-any knowledge of computers)I was trying to help a "lady friend" install a game on her computer, something messed up, i used what was labeled a "Rescue Disk" little did i know it was from Norton and i didnt know what format meant......she was a Mary Kay rep and kept all her stock/client info/other really important things on it...needless to say she wasnt happy with me after that...i did try and replace the Stock forms and also as an apology did the Inventory for her.....

#2: No standoffs. Fortunately something with the el-cheapo case/psu required me to jump the pins on the mobo to get it to start the first time, i did and it would power on but i never got past the bios screen, well after conferring with my then Tech Mentor and showing him the computer he noticed the lack of Standoffs, surprisingly it actually worked after installing them.

#3: Restarting the next build while about 40% into a Format.....had to RMA that HDD

also
Used Gateway Goback (now Roxio or someone else...)on my computer, formatted the primary drive...only to find it changed something on my Storage drive and couldnt get Winders to do anything with it so since i knew nothing of searching Yahoo/Excite(pre-google) or the likes I lost all my documents and stuff i had downloaded.


So with the exception of 1,3 and 4 i didnt hurt anything :oops:  . 2 was probably the dumbest though
September 28, 2006 7:54:46 AM

Great thread man. Haven't enjoyed one as much as this in about a couple of months. I also did a couple of really stupid things in my lifetime.

The first thing wasn't all that stupid but it was my first encounter with smoke. Me and a friend got a huge box (a fridge box or something) full up with old pc spares (mostly 486/P1 type spares). We wanted to try and build a rig or 6 to learn all about pc as we didn't know much at the time. First we tested all the PSU's. We didn't know of the setting at the back to adjust the power. Plugged in one after the other and to our amazement the first 6 or so worked fine still. Then the gunshots started firing. We blew about 4 on the day. Biggest fright of my life at the time. 8O 8O 8O

The second really silly thing was with my Duron 1200+. My dad had gotten some nifty hdd trays that you just pull out the front of the case because he had to swap lots due to the limited size of drives back then. I borrowed a drive from a friend to copy some music or something. My uncle told me they were hot swappable and with the pc on i just pulled out my drive and stuck in my friend's and put it back in. It wasn't detected so I shut down the pc with the new drive still inside. In doing so it wrote my FAT over his and his drive now showed all my files and that is was 40GB and not 20 even though I couldn't access any of it. He was kinda pi$$ed at me... :oops: 

The other time was a year or 2 ago when I offered to help my friend mod his case. Positive that I could do it (seems easier than it is) from all the rigs I've seen on overclockersclub and similar sites I started. Changed all the molex connectors to blue, sleeved the cables, hid the wires and put in his new lights. When we started up the rig, the LEDs on the fans would flash (like in a club) as the power wouldn't stay on. Smoke came from the hdd and we noticed that I had swapped some of the wires around while changing the molex connectors.

I once blew a brand new psu as well from not reading the required power for the mobo. It was a 250W and the mobo wanted 300W minimum.
September 28, 2006 8:38:52 AM

Was building a PC for a friend bout 5 years ago. Was a Duron if memory serves. Well he had gone out and bought all tha parts, and lets say he didnt get the best motherboard on earth (PC CHIPS anyone?)> Anyways after putting the whole machine together and setting all the dip switches as per the "manual" i turned it on and low and behold. Nothing, i spent the next 2 days on and off trying to get the heap running. Finally instead of having my friend read the manual i did it myself. The diagram for the dip configuration was arse backwards, on was up, whereas on the board on was down. Lets just say ive never trusted a manual again, or touched a board that didnt have a "DIP FREE" mode..
September 28, 2006 9:06:13 AM

hmm..first great forum dudes...nice work......
lets see ...... worst pc //accident// ever.............hmmm...few psu blown apart.....same burned hdds......screwed bios-es ..........mostly stupid accidents indeed...

ahh..i got it .... i remember now.........you`re gonna laugh boys check this out...
once ..... i started one pc...and quess what .... i forgot to put the cpu into it`s socket but i mounted the heat sink :tongue: ....

imagine what followed....bum..same capacitors arround the cpu socket blew up.......it was like 4-th of july..real nice..fireworks....
September 28, 2006 9:39:12 AM

Would've liked to be able to see that.
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