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New Crashes - From smoking :(

Last response: in Systems
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September 17, 2009 3:08:15 PM

So I built a new computer a couple of weeks ago and LOVE it. Then I leave town for a weekend and my roommate uses it while SMOKING CIGARETTES letting the smoke get sucked in by the fans. I had used the computer for weeks without experiencing one single crash. I come home to find a layer of smoke dust/ash covering the fan intakes and get hella mad. Ever since that weekend he used my computer, the pc has been crashing about once an hour or two. No blue screen, just a complete lack of responsiveness and the speakers start emitting very loud static. Could there be dust messing with an internal component? Please help, I'm sooo sad!!

More about : crashes smoking

September 17, 2009 3:37:58 PM

you could maybe clean it ?
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 17, 2009 3:41:04 PM

+1^. Go get an air car and shoot it crazy like, or have your roommate buy you a can. Anyway, if you get it cleaned out, at the least you can eliminate that as a problem if it keeps happening.
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September 17, 2009 4:08:00 PM

Would only a few days of smoking allow enough dust to build up to prevent what was more than sufficient cooling from being sufficient? Now the outgoing fan in the back is blowing out hot air and it never had before
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 17, 2009 4:14:37 PM

Honestly, probably not, unless he he was huffing and puffing his way into your case. It is highly unlikely. Something may have blown in the case. I would run some temp tests and see, you mentioned it was new, so its possible something was just almost DOA.

I would also just make sure that all of your fans are working in the case.
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 17, 2009 6:14:48 PM

The soot and smoke is much worse than just dust. It gets into connectors and other places and causes tarnishing and bad connections and all sorts of problems. I would pull out every card and cable and clean what I could with qtips and rubbing alcohol then put them back in.

Also do a thorough spyware/virus check to clear any bad software he might have picked up visiting "unsavory websites" while you were away. Its possible some malware he picked up accidentally is causing the problem.
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 17, 2009 6:49:23 PM

I agree with DNDHATCHER on all points. Back in the 80s when people could still smoke at work, I could always easily tell a smoker's PC from a non-smoker's by the amount of filth it quickly accumulated. Cigarette smoke is a sticky, nasty substance that gets onto any exposed surface, then attracts dust.
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 17, 2009 6:58:57 PM

I agree with the statements above, but I seriously doubt a single weekend would wreak that kind of havoc on a system, unless he had the ash tray right in front of your intake fan. I clean up old computers for a non-profit, and we see some really really nasty stuff, but the computer will still boot up and run fine. A single weekend of smoking, even non-stop shouldn't do it, and i"m sure the kid slept at some point, and ate too. If it is from the smoke it would have to be a serious intake of substantial material, like I said, ash tray right in front of the intake fan. - Or maybe he was smoking something really sooty and nasty, but i can't even think of anything that would pull that kind of amount, even a cigar or pipes.

Have you opened the case and looked inside? you mentioned the ash on the intake fans, but do you see it on the cpu cooler as well? If the smoke/soot is the problem, try a hard dose of canned air, and give that a shot, if nothing, you can disassemble, but i would just take the box outside and blast it.
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September 18, 2009 12:48:31 PM

I don't trust other people to use my computer. The reason? Those without a great amount of software knowledge can demolish software with viruses in a very small period time. I'd run a full virus / spyware / malware check, and a reformat isn't out of the question just to eliminate software as the problem.

Before you go to that trouble, crack open the case and make sure there isn't any evidence of spills or tampering the in the case. Also, check your bios and reset to default settings. Your buddy may have attempted some sort of overclock and botched it, especially if he's semi-tech savvy and confident...a dangerous mix.

Like jared, I've never seen a short term problem caused by smoking alone. Of course, the exception may be using the computer as an ash tray.
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 18, 2009 4:04:59 PM

cookies said:
I don't trust other people to use my computer. The reason? Those without a great amount of software knowledge can demolish software with viruses in a very small period time. I'd run a full virus / spyware / malware check, and a reformat isn't out of the question just to eliminate software as the problem.

Before you go to that trouble, crack open the case and make sure there isn't any evidence of spills or tampering the in the case. Also, check your bios and reset to default settings. Your buddy may have attempted some sort of overclock and botched it, especially if he's semi-tech savvy and confident...a dangerous mix.

Like jared, I've never seen a short term problem caused by smoking alone. Of course, the exception may be using the computer as an ash tray.


+1^ on the software checking. It is much more likely that he downloaded a ton of porn with viruses. Run lavasoft's ad-aware, and any other virus checker you have. Or if you have the time, a reformat is always a safe action to take - but remember to back up your important files and such first, and make a list of the programs and favorite websites, cause it is a bitch to remember them all if you have a lot.
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September 21, 2009 3:28:47 AM

Thanks for the advice all. It is not software. I just reinstalled my OS, had NOTHING installed, opened IE to download Firefox, and the problem happened again. This is after going through a whole can of compressed air. How do I perform a temperature test? I've never in years of computing ever had a computer just lock-up like this.
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 21, 2009 3:31:24 AM

Did you pull it all apart and clean everything with rubbing alcohol and qtips? That is seriously your best bet for smoke and tar seeping into your connectors.
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September 21, 2009 3:46:27 AM

So I think it's the video card that is overheating and killing the system? Does that sound like it could be the problem? I turned on the system again just now, and within 3 minutes, the card was blowing out VERY hot air. There is a fan that would have sucked in all the smoke that would have blown it right to the fan on the card. So.. I'm thinking the copper inside the card might be covered with smoke particles! Is it a bad idea to take apart the case of the card to thoroughly clean the innards? I'll swap out the card with another tomorrow just to verify.
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September 21, 2009 4:46:16 AM

I am a heavy smoker and pc builder. I smoke all day, every day in front of my computer, which I never turn off. My current machine is nothing special and has no special mods and a pretty average case. My room is pretty dusty which clogs up the intakes a little. I clean them with a vaccuume once in a while. Not had any problems related to dirty components yet.

As I have not done any serious analysis of this, I do not completely rule out that smoke may have damaged your machine but as you have not done any analysis I think it is wrong to assume that it is conclusively the smoke.

Even if you clean all components and re-seat them, it will still not prove that it was the smoke, possibly just needed to be re-seated.

Smoking is dirty, smelly and bad for you, but I dont think we (smokers) killed your pc. Pc's dont get cancer or emphesima.

We have too look out for each other my smoking brothers and sisters, we're a dying race ;) 

Quote:
Is it a bad idea to take apart the case of the card to thoroughly clean the innards?


Its a very good idea as long as you know what your doing or atleast careful.

Quote:
No blue screen, just a complete lack of responsiveness and the speakers start emitting very loud static


Your symptoms sound more like a PSU or motherboard related problem.
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September 25, 2009 12:33:29 AM

I had my roommate reinact how he was smoking, the mouse hand holding the cigerette was right beside the side air intake, which brings air in directly to the video card. So whatever the case may be, if the tower is on a table right next to the hand holding a smoke, and the smoke is being constantly blown right through the card, it will kill the copper's effectiveness. Or maybe the card was near-doa when I got it.

Trust me, I'm a huge fan of smoking. In one way or another.
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