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Fried motherboard, need help proving the cause.

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March 1, 2012 10:31:35 AM

Hi guys, I need some advice once again regarding a incident that happened close to a month ago now.

I bought a new psu from a online retailer after the one I had was making a whining noise, when i first heard it I switched the machine off and walked away and on another ordered a new one. I know the risks of buying a cheapish one but atm I dont have much choice in the matter after twice being made redundant.

Here's the problem, I replaced the psu (nothing was removed from the case apart from the old psu) I plugged it all in correctly (i've been building PC's for about 16 years so I know how to do it) I plugged in a new kettle lead flicked the switch on the wall and there was a white flash a bang and a burning smell. Through switching bits out i've established that its blown the CPU, mobo and memory but left the hard drives x 3 and the video card in tact as I've tested them on another machine and the drives and vid card worked fine.

I've been in contact with the retailer and they've said if i can prove that there psu killed the components they'll compensate me. I've provided them with 2 independent reports stating whats damaged and the probable cause. The faulty psu went back to the retailer they tested it and said yeah its faulty here's your money back.

But even after 2 reports they are still saying that it doesn't prove a thing k thanks bye.

Before I go to trading standards with this I was wondering if anyone knew of anything that could prove this. The motherboard itself has no blown caps no marks that I can see it just doesn't work, same goes with the CPU and memory.

I've done hours of research over the last month looking and from what I can see there is no way to prove it what so ever, I was just wondering if anyone on here could enlighten me because I'm left sitting here scratching my head.
a b V Motherboard
March 1, 2012 11:40:48 AM

only way i can think of is testing the board electrically where you test if each of the small tiny things is working right with an Avometer ....a power surge can fry some of those little things,fried my friend's onboard lan before....how exactly to test it i cant remember at all...but either ways probably if you managed to prove it they will blame it on human error and say its your fault cuz a fried board means a power surge and that can happen if you didnt take precautions
March 1, 2012 12:51:18 PM

Thanks for the reply,

I've looked into getting the board tested electrically and its prolly going to cost more than to replace the parts thats faulty. As for the power surge I'm in doubt over that, my pc was based in the kitchen and no other appliance has ever broken in there, 2 fridge freezer's, kettle etc add to that we had the place completely rewired about 10 years ago and have since had the electrics checked twice. (which is the councils policy to check it regularly).

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a c 716 V Motherboard
March 1, 2012 2:22:13 PM

Frankly, the root cause is a series of poor choices. Getting a cheap PSU that probably has no power protection worsened by I would easily conclude no UPS and at best with a very cheap power strip -- not to mention overloading a circuit.

Interesting, most of the time a blown PSU takes out the GPU(s) first then all the rest. This is probably why the retailer is questioning you...

The 'cause' is being penny wise and dollar foolish.

Look for black marks on the MOBO that's the starting point of the problem. There's no way to prove or disprove the PSU. Clearly, the lack of power protection of both the PSU and it's power source.
March 1, 2012 3:36:24 PM

jaquith said:
Frankly, the root cause is a series of poor choices. Getting a cheap PSU that probably has no power protection worsened by I would easily conclude no UPS and at best with a very cheap power strip -- not to mention overloading a circuit.

Interesting, most of the time a blown PSU takes out the GPU(s) first then all the rest. This is probably why the retailer is questioning you...

The 'cause' is being penny wise and dollar foolish.

Look for black marks on the MOBO that's the starting point of the problem. There's no way to prove or disprove the PSU. Clearly, the lack of power protection of both the PSU and it's power source.



Thanks for the reply, as I said I didn't have the money to get a nice expensive psu which would of been my choice, as i've stated I'm in between jobs atm so either had the choice of cheapish psu or no working PC. Although now I'm left without a working PC.

I agree with you though regarding the GPU I was seriously surprised about the GPU when it still worked afterwards, I ran it up on another machine and played a game on it for 20 mins or so without an issue.

Regarding the power strip etc. It was actually plugged into the mains and having them completely rewired a few years back with no problems since I figured I never needed any form of surge protection or UPS. In the 15 years since living in this house even before the electrics were replaced we never had an issue and surely if there was a power surge it would have taken out other appliances in the room where the PC was, in this case the kitchen?
a c 716 V Motherboard
March 1, 2012 6:36:18 PM

Not knowing your requirements, none are posted, the Corsair just had a 450W for $19 after a $20 rebate. I have money, I 'get' not having any, but I still shop and compare prices for 'good' components. A PSU is the WORST thing you can skimp on; saving $20 to kill $100's or more in components is bad -- skip a pizza or two.

You assume the guy who wired it knew what he was doing, and all too often I see electricians reverse polarities and poorly ground. If it's an older house with aluminum wiring and no ground then you are risking your stuff. Electricians do odd stuff, you kitchen and baths 'should' be 100% on their own GFCI circuit - period.

When you have $10 handy get one of these (61-501) -> http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/ideal/electricalteste... and test.
March 1, 2012 9:58:35 PM

jaquith said:
Not knowing your requirements, none are posted, the Corsair just had a 450W for $19 after a $20 rebate. I have money, I 'get' not having any, but I still shop and compare prices for 'good' components. A PSU is the WORST thing you can skimp on; saving $20 to kill $100's or more in components is bad -- skip a pizza or two.

You assume the guy who wired it knew what he was doing, and all too often I see electricians reverse polarities and poorly ground. If it's an older house with aluminum wiring and no ground then you are risking your stuff. Electricians do odd stuff, you kitchen and baths 'should' be 100% on their own GFCI circuit - period.

When you have $10 handy get one of these (61-501) -> http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/ideal/electricalteste... and test.



Well the specs were as follows.

ASUS M4n82 Deluxe mobo
AMD Phenom 9850 BE
4GB 1066 Mhz Ram (2x2GB sticks)
Nvidia 560 GTX
1 150 GB Raptor
2 x Maxtor 1tb drives.

The PSU in there was a 600W and the new one was a 700W cost £36 or about $45-$50 or there abouts. It wasn't a mega cheap one but it was alot less than I wanted to pay sadly.
When I actually plugged in the PSU I had only plugged it into the mains socket and flicked the switch unlike American sockets there's a switch to turn them on rather than just plugging it into the outlet. (Been to the states a good few times and never seen a on switch on them.) Also the house I'm living in is owned by the council and the government makes them do regular checks on them make sure things like the electrics are working ok.

I do get what your getting at mate, but from my point of view with the PC being on the same circuit as everything else in the kitchen I would of expected something else dying before now.
March 1, 2012 10:06:56 PM

Additionally, (soon as it wont let me edit my last post.)

I hadn't actually pressed the power button on the case, all i had done was plug it into the mains and flicked the switch to on. The machine was actually powered down except for being plugged in and turned on. This is why I think that the damage is less than you would usually associate with a power supply blowing.
a c 716 V Motherboard
March 1, 2012 11:06:24 PM

I don't know, and you still haven't post the PSU.

Here's an example of a 'good' PSU with power protection built-in -> http://www.corsair.com/power-supply-units/enthusiast-se...

"*Complies with the European Union ErP Directive (2009/125/EC) so the power consumption of the whole system, in either standby or off mode, can be less than 1W when used with a properly configured, ErP-compliant motherboard
*80 PLUS® Bronze certified, delivering up to 85% energy efficiency under real-world load conditions
*Active Power Factor Correction (PFC) with PF value of 0.99
*Universal AC input from 90~264V
*Over-voltage, under-voltage, over-current, and short circuit protection provide maximum safety for your critical system components
*High-quality Japanese capacitors provide uncompromised performance and reliability
*A five year warranty and lifetime access to Corsair's legendary technical support and customer service &Safety Approvals: cTUVus, CE, CB, FCC Class B, TÜV, CCC, C-tick"
a b V Motherboard
March 2, 2012 8:17:27 AM

Sounds like you have a problem. It's not the motherboard's fault that your PSU fried it.
March 2, 2012 8:21:56 AM

No I mean it was just sitting there and then this PSU gets plugged in and it gets killed.
a b V Motherboard
March 2, 2012 8:35:39 AM

You can't prove it. The reality is its not their fault. Its the PSU manufacturers product that failed and you no longer have the PSU so you can't try and get help from them. You may have had a case if the protection circuits failed or it was wired wrong, but for all they know you plugged something in wrong or bought the PSU and shorted it to try and scam them. Basically your out of luck.

Also if your building PCs you should have a PSU tester. Never connect a new PSU to a PC without checking it first or at least turning it on
a c 716 V Motherboard
March 2, 2012 10:36:46 AM

First EZcool PSU are extra low quality. According to the specs:

- Over voltage and circuit protection +3.3V; +5V +12V
- 100% burn in and hipot tested, short circuit protection

Clearly the PSU failed to protect the components, so my arguments would be from those (2) specs.

---

/edit - http://www.thermaltake.outervision.com/Power

The PSU if you OC the CPU to 3.2GHz @ 1.4v needs to be 600W, at 100%TDP and Load 700W with 25% Capacitor Aging. Problem with EZcool PSU's is they have the wattage but lack the appropriate amperage to sustain high loads. However, since I assume you're not @ 100%/100% + OC it should have been adequate.
March 2, 2012 11:59:55 AM

Awesome link i'll have to keep that around for the future thanks alot for posting it. :) 

Your right I never overclocked it, the last machine I overclocked was my AMD K6 i think it was took it from 500Mhz to 550Mhz heh.

But considering I never actually turned the machine on, it just went with just power going to the PSU.
March 2, 2012 12:54:06 PM

i havent bought a psu in along time but what about your voltage sollector im in america so im not sure if there is a difference on psu in other countries but could u of been sold a psu set for electrical standards of a different type of grid and tried to use it?..could your voltage switch been set on 220v versus 120 (just an example)
March 2, 2012 12:58:00 PM

You're correct mate, the UK uses a different voltage than the rest of Europe. But if i remember correct they should be auto switching, or just have a notice on the shipment container not to be sold in the UK for example, back in the day they did used to have switches on them and if you moved it over the PSU went boom.

But if you have just bought one (that didn't have a switch on it to check if it was set correct) you would expect that a UK retailer would sell a component fit for use in the UK, there wasn't any notices on the web page stating otherwise.
a c 716 V Motherboard
March 2, 2012 1:16:00 PM

I've never seen a 120V EZcool PSU, to my knowledge they're only 230V (European only). So there's no way input voltage was a factor, clearly you had a nasty voltage spike that your PSU passed through to the components.

As mentioned, Surge Protectors and UPS would have prevented the damage.
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