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Plastic burning smell...?!

Last response: in Systems
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July 25, 2010 8:58:00 PM

Hi all,

after building the system with few worries, except an initial heat problem (but I didn;t use the PC except to see the temps) where I found it hard to install my heatsink properly, I have had no worries.

Except now. I've got a plastic burning smell.

After doing some reading I tried to smell the source and it's really hard but my nose tells me (not clearly) that it's the GPU.

Lots of posts I read said it is often the PSU but the smell does not seem to be coming from that but a while back there was a slight whirring sound from the PSU.

Has anybody got any suggestions on what tests I can do? And to what bits?

Have I set up the voltage right for all the components?

I read something about testing capacitors...anybody know how to test them?

I'm gonna turn off the PC for a while to let it cool down (maybe an hour) then I'll be back

GinZ

More about : plastic burning smell

July 25, 2010 11:20:22 PM

Update: My temps, using Real Temp GT, are: 39, 37, 38 C, only using internet and

I did 2 PRime 95 tests once I had the HSF fan on correctly. Both tests were for 2 hours and they maxed at 60ish. I thought that would be ok.

I've read just now that maybe I should have done 6-7 tests. I'll do that once I know I'm not frying anything.

There is no burning smell right now with the PC on for approx 10 mins.

I updated my GPU driver at the ATI website just before the burning smell happened. Could that be anything to do with it?
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July 26, 2010 4:32:33 PM

New systems may have excess lubricant which will burn off after a short time.

Take a look at GPU load temps under furmark and if those aren't too high, it should be fine.

Use HW monitor from CPU ID to check GPU temps.
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July 26, 2010 5:24:02 PM

^^Bump to Ban,
New systems often have the plasticky burning grease smell for a day or two, Psu's are the worst ime, just leave the unit switched on for a few hours, on your desktop is fine,
and open a window if you can to let the smell out the house :) 
Check back to see how your doing in a day or so :) 
Moto
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July 26, 2010 11:02:19 PM

Hi,

thanks. I've downloaded furmark 1.82. Before I use it, er, the pc was built a few weeks ago.

It's been running fine with no smell till now. Will the excess grease/lubricant still be the issue?
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July 27, 2010 5:46:55 AM

Yes, you may have built it a few weeks back but how much has it been on?
the pc may not have been running hot enough all that time to heat the grease up,
Moto
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July 27, 2010 6:59:04 AM

Make doubly sure all your fans are spinning; if the fins are blocked, say by a stray wire / connector, then the fan will not spin and could itself overheat
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July 27, 2010 3:44:02 PM

Fantastic. Thanks for putting my unending worries (slightly) at ease. Tis true that I hadn't used it much except for web browsing but for last 5 days has been used a little more. Even then it was just to play Civ4, which from I've been told is not heavy use.

I had a look inside whilst it was running but couldn't appear to see any wires that were actually touching. They are close so I will continue to check that. Thanks for the suggestion.

I will run the furmark (well I'll try and locate the 'HW monitor from CPU ID' first) and let you know how it goes.

thanks y'all
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July 27, 2010 4:15:25 PM

Sorry for double post tried amending previous but it won't let me!

Any suggestions on how long I should run the furmark test? and how many times?

Plus, what temps on the HW (obviously the GPU) should I be concerned about and at what temp level should I abort? (fingers crossed I won't have to).

It's been running for 22mins and temps are levelling out at 65C

( :??:  how do I insert an image of my HW image?)
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July 27, 2010 4:37:29 PM

GinZ said:
Hi all,

after building the system with few worries, except an initial heat problem (but I didn;t use the PC except to see the temps) where I found it hard to install my heatsink properly, I have had no worries.

Except now. I've got a plastic burning smell.

After doing some reading I tried to smell the source and it's really hard but my nose tells me (not clearly) that it's the GPU.

Lots of posts I read said it is often the PSU but the smell does not seem to be coming from that but a while back there was a slight whirring sound from the PSU.

Has anybody got any suggestions on what tests I can do? And to what bits?

Have I set up the voltage right for all the components?

I read something about testing capacitors...anybody know how to test them?

I'm gonna turn off the PC for a while to let it cool down (maybe an hour) then I'll be back

GinZ



You Could have blown a capacitator i the power supply take a look and see if it smells! ALso maybe a wire is stuck in the fan and a fan is overworking due to jammage! Take a look at your other fans too!
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July 27, 2010 5:14:23 PM

Best way to post a pic on here is take the photo with camera/Mobile phone, upload to photobucket or similar, then paste the img link from there into your message and
Voila, mes ami, cest un pictogram :p 

Moto
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July 28, 2010 7:36:09 AM

had another smell around. It seems to be eminating from near the HS. I really do hope it is just something like excess grease from somewhere on the mobo.

Smelt around the PSU. If it is that it isn't distinct.

I did this whilst the machine was on. Any other ways to test/smell/etc?

Oh and the furmark load test maxed at 62C.

thanks all.

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July 28, 2010 8:56:16 AM

Did you remove the thin plastic film from the heatsink? :D 
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July 28, 2010 9:24:46 AM

Yes I did take off the thin plastic film on the heatsink. It was so nice and shiny underneath, 'twas a shame to have had to put thermal gwease all over it. Nice to tick it off though. lol
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August 3, 2010 11:47:11 AM

Update: I've checked the fans - nothing seems to be impairing them.

The smell comes and goes. Sometimes from the off when I switch it on, sometimes after a few hours.

I occassionally hear a tiny whirring sound from the PSU.

Smell is not distinctly coming from the PSU but it does seem to be blowing out very warm air (- is supposed to right?)

Smell seems strongest near the heatsink area/motherboard. They located near the top of the case, but it's also where the fans are blowing out.

I can't really figure out where the smell is coming from.
(dammit where is my mobile phone lead to upload photos - I knew I shoulda bought a bluetooth thingy for the pc!)

I am so tempted just to RMA the PSU just in case. ISn;t there a danger all my pc parts will be ruined as a result of a potentially busted PSU?

thanks
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August 3, 2010 5:11:21 PM

yup, Psu blows out hot air, this is good and normal :) 
Could you maybe try a household fan blowing into the side of the pc for a day or two? then ramp it up with prime95 or similar to get 85%+ Cpu usage, see if we cant cleanse your pc of the fetid stench (Of Doom)tm

There is the risk that an exploding psu can take out other bits, If you can Rma it and reassure yourself with a new one, go ahead, just bear in mind the new one one will have the travel grease on it too :) 
Moto
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August 3, 2010 5:22:33 PM

the plastic burning smell usually comes from the PSU, some manufacture states that new psu will give off some plastic smell and will go away shortly after some usage

but if your computer starts acting weird like shutting off by itself, freezing and all, then I suggest you to check your psu
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August 3, 2010 10:12:24 PM

update: I noticed that my CD drive wasn't working. The power lead (serial) had come out of the PSU.

Maybe a stupid question but that couldn't have anything to do with any of this right?

Ok, so the smells don't worry me until they start really ponging. Or when at the same time the smell comes the tiny whirring sound seems to happen at the same time inside the PSU.

Although I did notice the whirring sound also there from time to time with little smell at all.

Again the smell it makes is not consistently tied to being hot. Sometimes it's first thing, sometimes after a few hours. Is my PC moody?

I've already done about 3 Prime 95 test a few weeks ago, which is why I mentioned the fitting issue I had with the Scythe Mugen 2 on this mobo. I was warned against it and it has brought me plenty of 'experience'. However I ran it I think 3 times after successfully installing the HS and fan for 2 hours each time.

Teddyjai0614 - are you saying that only when my pc starts shutting down randomly should I start getting worried. If that's the case I would rather learn to go through this worrying smell phase if just to prove that my installation went quite well and to experience this phase without 'wussying' into an RMA.

Er - Moto - the '(Of Doom)tm' what does the tm mean and I really hope with my fingers crossed you are being jokey when you say Doom.

At what point should I start getting worried (check against noticing if it ever turns off unexpectedly) it is a dodgy psu (or anything else for that matter) that I should RMA something to avoid my first ever and most expensive pc ever being blown to smitherines?

Glad I don't bite my nails, regularly,
GinZ
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August 3, 2010 10:23:23 PM

If you're hearing whirling sound inside the psu as well as the power lead had broken off of the psu, I suggest you RMA that power supply or better yet get a better quality one.

Like you said this is you first experience and you dont want it to be a little too late to take action, get the psu replaced. What you listed is more than enough reason to RMA your psu.
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August 3, 2010 10:32:22 PM

ah, the power lead did not break off - it was an extra attachment I needed to be able to manage my cabling. It was attached to the extra power slots and it simply came out of the slot. No breakage, just unconnected.

but yeah the occasional whirring sound did not happen initially, so thanks. I will give Scan a call tomorrow and see what they say.

thanks.
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August 4, 2010 6:40:37 AM

^^Of Doom tm? The tm is short for trademark in the uk, means I've claimed it for me and anyone else who uses the Suffix (Of Doom) must pay me royalties hehe :p 
Well, It would be nice if they did :) 
hope Scan are nice to you man,
Moto
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August 4, 2010 6:44:54 PM

oh right tm - didn't know we could tm anything?! Scan have given me an RMA. Seeing how they messed me about when they sent the wrong case, I'll wait a few weeks to see whether it all went smoothly.

I'll be updating y'all. Erm solution wasn't found in the end though was it? It's a shame to let a mystery go unsolved...

edit: I did confirm with Scan that since the whirring sound was happening on a daily basis that it was a good reason to return. Hope they agree. I'll in that place called Cognito until they send a replacement PSU. Wish me safe travels.
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August 4, 2010 7:39:47 PM

I'll keep checking back to see how you get on mate,
the tm thing is a normal business practice, like I could start a pc modding company, call it Psycho Systems, and have a tm by my Logo, but to protect it from misuse, I'd have to registered the trademark, which would be signified by a little 'R' in a circle,instead of tm, thats all another convo though hehe
Stay cool,
Moto
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!