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Installed a new mobo/cpu, got a spark

Last response: in Systems
May 18, 2010 4:48:55 AM

Hey guys, like I said in the title I was installing a new mobo/cpu today, I had everything connected correctly, grounded myself and when I tried to boot the pc the Motherboard sparked and let off a burning smell.

The components are the AMD 965 black, Gigabyte 790XTA-UD4, Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1600, Visiontek 4870, and Corsair TX750 PSU.

After that point nothing would boot for a while, then it finally started, but the CPU fan would not run. I put my old stuff back in and connected everything, and it sparked again, but everything still works.

What would cause this? Is it the PSU? Did I not ground myself correctly? (I frequently touched the case). Could it be that I was installing this stuff on the carpet?

This PSU has never sparked like this until today, I've had it for two years.
a b B Homebuilt system
May 18, 2010 7:06:59 AM

Well ... You SAY you had everything connected correctly but that MAY not be the case.

... QUITE obviously ... "Sumpin' ain't right".

Most likely? ...

1) There is a standoff (that you cannot see) in the wrong place, behind your mobo.

2) The CPU power connector was rotated (wrongly) or the wrong pwr cnctr on cpu.

The carpet and static electricity have absolutely nothing to do with what happenned. Grounding yourself had absolutely nothing to do with it. You can clear your mind of those two concerns.

Where (exactly) was the smoke ... was it visible? ... did you SEE spark or smoke ?
... was there even any direction to the sound? Which side did the pop come from?

**** next up ?

NOW ... REMOVE the mobo ... yup ... Leave the RAM and CPU/cooler installed.

Inspect BOTH SIDES of the mobo for ANY signs of (unintended) balckness or "charring" ... Get a bright light and a really good magnifying glass and really look it over closely ... USE YOUR NOSE ... (do not do this where anyone can see you!) ...

SNIFF each square inch of the mobo, if visual damage was not apparent. ... Both sides.

... Look at all the ceramic "disc" capacitors and metal "can" capacitors ... look at everything.

SNIFF the vents on the PSU.

And, you really should walk carefully thru this checklist (and all links therein).

a b B Homebuilt system
May 18, 2010 7:12:02 AM

The previous post assumes that you do not know exactly where the spark came from.

= Al =
Related resources
May 18, 2010 7:13:00 AM

I think I saw a little flash, near the hard drive, there was no smoke just smell.

I'll look over the list there.
a b B Homebuilt system
May 18, 2010 7:16:25 AM

Hey ... I'm going to give some creedence to your "observation report" ...

... Disconnect any drive near where the flash came from. No pain, there.

= Al =
a b B Homebuilt system
May 18, 2010 7:17:35 AM

drive power and data connects ... "off" (dangle)

ALSO !!! IT COULD be something as simple as YOU BUMPED a power connector to a drive and/or GPU ... or even jarred a stick or RAM loose.

SO, ... BEFORE you pull the mobo !!!

Sniff the drives too ... reseat the GPU (if a card) and the GPU power cables (if present)

Try powering up after you reseat the GPU but with your drives (power and data) all disconnected.

... Themn ... if none of that sheds light ... we can talk about pullin' the mobo.

= Al =

a b B Homebuilt system
May 18, 2010 7:30:46 AM

Does that 4870 have a PCIe power connector cable ?? Did you hook that up?

If yes ... reseat and/or try the other (identical) power connector, (that would be used for a 2nd GPU card).
May 18, 2010 7:34:44 AM

No RAM was loose, but I may have bumped it at some point.

Going through that list:
Checked Manual
CPU power connector was plugged in
I believe standoffs were correct, but I could be wrong there, will have to check again
Video card was sealed, power connectors connected
Tried 1 stick of RAM
Installed RAM prior to putting mobo in case, installed properly according to manual
Used correct slots
no plastic guard
Installed CPU correctly
Using stock cooler
Cooler went straight from package to CPU, no foreign material on it
No loose screws
Was touching the case frequently with the PSU plugged in
No system speaker
Read instructions on LEDs, case only has the Power sw, reset sw, and HDD LED
PSU was on
Mobo came with the processor together, and supports the processor
Did not try to reset CMOS
It successfully POSTed but the fan would not run. Sometimes it would not even get to POST
a b B Homebuilt system
May 18, 2010 7:43:20 AM

*Which* FAN(s), would not run ??
May 18, 2010 7:46:55 AM

Only the CPU heatsink fan.
May 18, 2010 7:47:48 AM

It was mounted, snug, and solid. I did not apply the paste, I was using the stock heatsink which comes with the paste pre-applied.
a b B Homebuilt system
May 18, 2010 7:48:28 AM

What about the thermal junction?

Are you truly hip to the whole art and science of "thermal paste" application?

Is the CPU and cooler mounted snug and solid?

a b B Homebuilt system
May 18, 2010 7:49:57 AM

Ovreel said:
Only the CPU heatsink fan.

Only the heatsink fan WHAT?

a b B Homebuilt system
May 18, 2010 8:14:29 AM

Well ... look real hard at the photos that are published in that checklist, I posted.

The PSU fan is spinning like a champ?
a b B Homebuilt system
May 18, 2010 8:15:01 AM

GPU fan spinning? ... HDDs?
May 18, 2010 4:30:12 PM

a b B Homebuilt system
May 18, 2010 4:32:04 PM




May 18, 2010 4:36:28 PM


I could boot the computer and run the OS

The CPU Fan would not spin, causing overheating.
a b B Homebuilt system
May 18, 2010 5:39:35 PM


Remove all old/original thermal paste/compound carefully (razor blade and lint-free cloth or chamois.

Carefully apply new paste according to the links on the TS checklist or the paste or cooler instructions.

Be very sure not to get any dust/dirt/hair/finger-oils into the paste or junction/gap.

Read up ... many sources ... about the thermal mounting procedure ... until you are fully confident.

Go for it ... there is a decent chance of full recovery (decent chance CPU is not damaged).

= Al =
May 18, 2010 6:06:43 PM

The cooler worked on another motherboard, like I said. But another cooler would not work on this motherboard, like I said.

It's just the connection of the fan-to-motherboard.

Best solution

May 18, 2010 6:33:43 PM

Then RMA the board.
a b B Homebuilt system
May 18, 2010 9:09:10 PM

May 18, 2010 10:58:56 PM

Best answer selected by Ovreel.