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Help a newbie out..burning smell

Last response: in Systems
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May 26, 2012 1:39:22 PM

I'll try to make this short. This forum seems to be the only one with experienced users.

I decided to build a rig with fairly cheap parts and ran into a number of problems. After fully assembling the rig and turning it on for a couple seconds, I could smell a faint burning smell.

1. I discovered online that I had reinstalled the mobo incorrectly. (I used some mounting screws that came with it to install it on the case) This apparently fries the mobo somehow but I'm not sure if that was in fact the problem because...

2. When flipping the power switching NOTHING came on whatsoever. Not even the fan on the PSU itself.

So my question is...which parts are at risk of being damaged with this/is there a way to test them? I'm worried that the PSU could've damaged the entire thing, but I'm hoping that the cpu, ram, and other components are at least intact.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

More about : newbie burning smell

a b B Homebuilt system
May 26, 2012 2:35:06 PM

If nothing turned on at all, then there was a problem with power delivery. That implies that the PSU failed, although I'm not sure of exactly why it failed (assuming that PSU failure is the problem). If you skimped on PSU quality in favor of price, then that might be related to your problem. Very cheap PSUs are almost always junk that is worth even less than what they cost.
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May 26, 2012 2:44:21 PM

Yeah...a burning smell is never good. Check the psu for anything in it, check the wires are not kinked or cut, and check if there are any blown capacitors on the mobo. If there are blown capacitors, you need a new mobo. Did you use the standoffs that came with the case or motherboard? If you didn't, you had a short, which is why nothing turned on. If your lucky, it may still work.
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May 26, 2012 4:09:48 PM

Yeah I definitely skipped quality on the PSU. It was 30 bucks for a 585w HEC. I've already shipped it off for a refund, I don't even want a replacement. Everything inside of it looked correct so it's undoubtedly just cheap.

Yes I did use the standoffs unfortunately. They came with the motherboard so I assumed it wouldn't create an issue. Unless I'm imagining things I swear I can smell the scent near every location they were installed. So this probably means new MoBo as well.

Now all I'm really concerned about is the CPU, GPU, RAM, as I don't really have a way to determine if they were damaged too. I felt the CPU immediately after the incident and it was cool to the touch...I guess this means no power reached it? Maybe the other parts were lucky in the same way? I just don't wanna be a complete dick and mail every single item back.

Thanks for the input!
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 28, 2012 12:47:17 AM

pacemaker1280 said:
Yeah I definitely skipped quality on the PSU. It was 30 bucks for a 585w HEC. I've already shipped it off for a refund, I don't even want a replacement. Everything inside of it looked correct so it's undoubtedly just cheap.

Yes I did use the standoffs unfortunately. They came with the motherboard so I assumed it wouldn't create an issue. Unless I'm imagining things I swear I can smell the scent near every location they were installed. So this probably means new MoBo as well.

Now all I'm really concerned about is the CPU, GPU, RAM, as I don't really have a way to determine if they were damaged too. I felt the CPU immediately after the incident and it was cool to the touch...I guess this means no power reached it? Maybe the other parts were lucky in the same way? I just don't wanna be a complete dick and mail every single item back.

Thanks for the input!


Testing the video card, CPU, and RAM in a functional motherboard shouldn't cause problems, so if you get another motherboard and test the other components, you should be fine, but I'm not sure about whether or not they would work. Once a component is dead, it usually can't kill other components when you test it with other components, but I can't guarantee that it won't. If you want to, then test them with a new motherboard and PSU, but if you don't want to risk it, then you might get yelled at (figuratively) by the companies that you RMA them to if they're still functional. Personally, I'd test them with a new motherboard and PSU. If they are dead and they manage to break your new PSU and motherboard, then you could just RMA them all, including the new parts that die, but it's unlikely that a dead CPU, RAM module(s), and video card could damage an otherwise working system. Chances are that the CPU works and the RAM and video card might work too.
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