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New build: Pinched wire/fire or loose screw possibly fried MB? MB won’

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June 16, 2012 4:46:49 AM

Step two: The Opening

I need to know if there may be a way to fix what I have or if I should return components/buy new ones and if I do return/buy components which ones?

I think the motherboard RAM slots may be fried. Whereas I used to be able to get to BIOS and Win7, now all I get is 3 long beeps regardless of 0, 1, or 2 sticks of RAM from 2 different companies that BOTH worked the day before in this system. I also do not get any input to the monitor (same one that this build worked with yesterday). Fans from CPU and GPU fire up, mouse and keyboard both appear to be detected.

Step three: History
When was the last time the computer worked right?
I was able to reach BIOS and POST this morning, AFTER the fire in the case occurred with only: PSU, GPU, RAM, processor/heatsink, and monitor.

Was there something that happened right before things got bad?
See the full story below
Did you install some hardware?
No
Did you install some software?
Was in the process of updating drivers from the MoBo CD when I noticed the fire.

Step four: The Full Story:

I put all of the specs together (see below) based off of a build I saw Proximon post (Thanks for the ideas Proximon!). However, while attaching the GPU to the case, a screw fell into the PSU grate and I could not get it out. I went ahead with the build anyway.
I got into BIOS, passed POST, and installed Win7. After registering Win 7, I was updating drivers off of the MB disk, when I saw flames (literal flames) through the window panel on the case. After freaking out for about 2 seconds, I shut down the computer (via windows, not at the PSU) opened up the case, disconnected everything from the PSU and let it sit until the next morning.
Next morning I found that the 3 pin to 4 pin connector wire that was included and already attached to the stock fan and the PSU was melted and burned. Upon opening everything I noticed that the clamp on the side of the railing used to lock the Hard Drive in place had been locked down on top of this 3 to 4 pin connector wire. All other wires appeared to be without any visible signs of damage, even the wire from the stock fan. The next morning I breadboarded the system: PSU, GPU, RAM, processor/heatsink, and monitor, and reached BIOS. When I disconnected the stock fan connector from the 3 to 4 pin connector, it appeared to have no visible signs of damage.
I went ahead and went for a full build (probably naively). In addition to the breadboard build which had just reached BIOS and passed POST, I added: mouse, kb, HDD, all font panel connections, DVD R/W, AND the stock fan which I connected directly to the MB since I no longer had the 3 to 4 pin connector to connect it to the PSU.
Ever since this attempt which yielded 3 long beeps and no monitor input, I have only ever been able to get 3 long beeps and no input to the monitor. I believe 3 long beeps indicates MB detects no RAM.

Step five: The specs

CPU: Intel Core i3-2120 Processor 3.3 GHz 3MB Cache Socket LGA1155
MB: ASRock H61M/U3S3 Intel H61 Micro ATX DDR3 1333 Motherboard
RAM: Wintec Value MHzCL9 8GB(2x4GB) UDIMM Kit 2Rx8 8 Dual Channel Kit DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) 240-Pin SDRAM 3VH13339U9-8GK 1.5 volts --ALSO—Ballistix by Crucial 2 x 4 gig DDR 3 -1333 pc- 10600 CL9, 1.5 V
CPU cooler: Stock but I removed the included thermal paste and used quicksilver 5
Video Card: SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP (only the 1 card not the 2 x 1 gig 6850)
PSU: Corsair CMPSU-500CXV2 Builder Series™ CX500 Power Supply
HD: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB 7200 RPM
OS: Win7 64 bit Home Premium
Case: COOLER MASTER Elite 430 RC-430-KWN1 Black Steel / Plastic Computer Case
Keyboard: LITE-ON SK-1788/BS 2-Tone 104 Normal Keys PS/2 Wired
Mouse: Cooler Master CM Storm Xornet Gaming Mouse (SGM-2001-BLON1)
BIOS: P1.30

Step six: Steps taken to resolve the issue

1. After the fire, I did the bread build (see above) and reached BIOS and passed POST
2. Thinking PSU, RAM, MB, and processor were fine, I went for full build-got 3 long beeps/no monitor
3. Since initial 3 long beeps have tried original RAM (wintec) with both one and two sticks with GPU on the MB. Result 3 long beeps.
4. Used Ballistix RAM with 1 and 2 sticks and GPU: 3 long beeps
5. Tried original and new RAM with NO GPU: 3 beeps/no monitor
6. Reset cmos, removed battery: tried bread build w/o the GPU: 3 long beeps
7. Reseated RAM 1 & 2 sticks for both Wintec and Ballistix multiple times
8. Looked for any hair or debris on RAM cards or in slots.
9. Went through all steps of PERFORM THESE STEPS before posting about POST/boot/no video problems! Steps 1-23
10. Tested PSU 24 pin connector while NOT connected to MB and voltages seemed very close (within 0.35) volts of prescribed voltages.
11. Attempted to test PSU while connected to MB and MB turned on. Wasn’t clear on directions so only had the 24 pin connected . Do I also need to plug in the 8 pin when doing this test?
Long story short, its my first build and I suspect I made at least 2 big blunders, maybe more: 1 )screw dropping in PSU and going forward w/ the build and 2) Wire pinched against HD rail unwittingly.

I would just like to get the forum’s collective wisdom on if there is any hope at all of salvaging what I currently have. If not, what pieces I should return or re-purchase. I am afraid that even with a new MB, I may still fry it or the processor if something is wrong with the PSU or some other component. Thoughts?
a b B Homebuilt system
June 16, 2012 6:10:46 AM

the problem is when you dropped the screw into the power supply you should have stopped and taken the ps out and shaken the screw out. if i had to i would have broken open the case of the ps to get the screw out. would have been better to eat 70 dollar power supply warranty then 1000 in computer parts. the problem right now is how bad did the power supply short out and what spike it sent to the pc parts. right now it may be just the mb and ps that fried...but did it shorten the life of the other parts. right now i would go get a new power supply and rma the old mb if and this is a big if there no melting on the mb anywhere...any damage and the vendor going to send the board back to you. I then recommend you stress test the pc. prime 95 and some burn in programs...if after a few hours the pc is running fine...count your luck..what may happen is the pc boots and installs windows but parts will start to fail over time. ie hard drive...cpu..video card if there not damaged now. the only thing i will say is your better off using the vendor rma for this one time...for all the parts unless you can test them in another pc. i also recomed you pick up a mag tip screwdriver...it hold those screws on better.
June 16, 2012 11:08:09 AM

I see no signs of melting or damage to MoBo or any other component except the wire that was pinched. I may try to RMA the MoBo but am worried that another component may be the issue. I got the system to BIOS and passed POST started with MoBo, GPU, RAM, and PSU after the fire. However, AFTER I connected everything else: front panel connectors, front panel fan, DVD r/w, and HD that I can only get 3 long beeps and no monitor input. So I wonder if one of those components would do the same thing to a new MoBo.
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June 16, 2012 11:18:19 AM

Out of all these steps, correct me if im wrong, you did not replace the PSU or try and use another one?
June 16, 2012 11:30:16 AM

That is correct. Have not tried a new PSU.
June 16, 2012 11:52:53 AM

So you had flames coming out of your PSU while it was on and powering your system, and didnt think it was a good idea to replace it or try a different one? No offense but common sense is involved in building PCs. If you have none, have someone else do it. Why wouldnt you replace that the FIRST thing? Did it occur to you that flames coming out of a PSU is a bad thing?
June 16, 2012 11:56:53 AM

Well, the flames didnt come from the PSU. They were only on the 3 pin to 4 pin connector wire between the and the PSU 4 pin connector. I thought the fire may have been due to the pinched wire not necessarily the PSU. After all, the PSU had been used in breadboarding prior to the full build and even after the fire and I got to BIOS and passed POST.
June 16, 2012 12:29:58 PM

Did it completely boot up when it was outside of your case? Like to desktop or just to POST?
June 16, 2012 12:40:08 PM

Before the fire I got win7 installed and was installing drivers from the MoBo CD. After the fire, I took everything out of the case and breadboarded: PSU, GPU, 2 x 4Gig Ram,and monitor Monitor. It went to BIOS and passed POST. Since there was no HD it did not get to desktop.
June 16, 2012 1:54:31 PM

See if it will boot to desktop outside of the case again. And if it does id say you dodged a bullet and use some electrical tape to cover up and exposed copper wiring, if it melted due to being pinched. Or you can replace the PSU, personally id replace the PSU but you may not have to.
June 16, 2012 2:35:32 PM

vrumor said:
See if it will boot to desktop outside of the case again. And if it does id say you dodged a bullet and use some electrical tape to cover up and exposed copper wiring, if it melted due to being pinched. Or you can replace the PSU, personally id replace the PSU but you may not have to.


I really appreciate you taking the time to try to help me!

So, after the fire, I disconnected everything, took the Mobo (with RAM still in), GPU, and PSU and did the breadboard on top of the MoBo box, and got to BIOS and POST. "WHEW! It's gonna be ok" I thought.

Then I put everything back in the case, connected everything that wasn't connected before: front panel connectors, HD, DVD r/w, mouse, kb, and the the stock fan. However, I had to plug the stock fan directly into the MoBo because the 3 pin to 4 pin adapter wire that originally connected the stock fan to the PSU was burned and is totally unusable. From the time that I powered up the PC with everything connected and inside the case, I've only ever received the 3 long beeps and no monitor input.

Since I reached BIOS and got past POST with the breadboard AFTER the fire, it makes me think that it was one of the new components that I had added after that breadboard: stock fan, front panel connectors, Hard drive, or DVD drive that caused this whole problem of the MoBo not detecting the RAM. What is the likelihood that one of those components received some sort of spike due to the pinched wire that once connected to the MoBo again, damaged the RAM slot or ability of MoBo to detect RAM?

Also, would it be reasonable to buy a brand new PSU and just try building up from the breadboard again? If I still get 3 beeps with a brand new PSU, it probably means the MoBo cannot detect RAM anymore, right? If it happens to work, something happened to the PSU. What do you think?
June 16, 2012 2:47:54 PM

Hook it all up outside of the case. If it gets to deskptop you SHOULD be ok. But please, make sure that screw is out of the PSU. You got lucky there, it sounds to me like the pinching of the wires cause its to cut into one of the power leads and casued it to shorts against the railings of the case. Id be a bit leery of the PSU but if it boots into desktop it should be ok.
June 16, 2012 3:00:58 PM

vrumor said:
Hook it all up outside of the case. If it gets to deskptop you SHOULD be ok. But please, make sure that screw is out of the PSU. You got lucky there, it sounds to me like the pinching of the wires cause its to cut into one of the power leads and casued it to shorts against the railings of the case. Id be a bit leery of the PSU but if it boots into desktop it should be ok.


That's the problem though. Once it did not work with everything connected, I DID take everything outside the case and ONLY had the GPU, RAM, PSU, and Monitor connected and can't get to BIOS or POST now. I only get 3 long beeps indicating that there is no RAM. All screws are out of the PSU now.

So, the recap:
Right after the fire I disassembled everything and:
1) breadboarded with GPU, RAM, PSU, and Monitor outside the case on top of the MoBo box. Result: BIOS and POST
2) put everything back inside case, connected everything from #1 plus the HD, DVD, mouse, kb, and front panel connectors. Result: The three long beeps and no monitor input.
3) Took everything back out of the case and ran it JUST like I had from step #1. Result: 3 long beeps and no monitor input.

I'm going to try buying a new PSU to see if perhaps that solves the problem. If it does, I chuck it up to beginner's luck. If not, then would it be safe to assume there is a MoBo issue?

Anything I should try before getting a new PSU and breadboarding?

Best solution

June 16, 2012 4:01:48 PM
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Well its really tough to say. There is a guide here on TH about what you should do on your initial boot up. Read it thoroughly, follow the steps (which will require you to breadboard it) and then post what your results are. Itll have you remove RAM, put in 1 stick at a time etc etc. I dont have a link but its easy to find should be a sticky on the top of the homebuilds forum. Try it out.
June 16, 2012 4:38:14 PM

vrumor said:
Well its really tough to say. There is a guide here on TH about what you should do on your initial boot up. Read it thoroughly, follow the steps (which will require you to breadboard it) and then post what your results are. Itll have you remove RAM, put in 1 stick at a time etc etc. I dont have a link but its easy to find should be a sticky on the top of the homebuilds forum. Try it out.


Bought a brand new Corsair builder series CX500. Went through the breadboarding steps posted by JSC here. Did the trial with only brand new PSU, MoBo, PRocessor/heatsink and RAM that had worked the day before. Got three long beeps indicating no RAM. I went ahead and bought some NEW RAM also just in case and tried that with the new PSU and still got 3 long beeps. It seems as though something happened to the MoBo where it won't detect the RAM now. I think at this point I'm going to try to RMA the MoBo unless anyone has any other suggestions.
June 16, 2012 7:32:55 PM

Yeah, thats why I suggested going thru those steps, its a pretty comprehensive list of things to do to make sure everything is working. Id take back the stuff you bought locally and RMA the mobo. And make sure theres no flames next time :) 
a b B Homebuilt system
June 17, 2012 12:54:13 AM

let us know when your going to build again we want smores.... :kaola:  :kaola: 
June 21, 2012 12:42:58 PM

smorizio said:
let us know when your going to build again we want smores.... :kaola:  :kaola: 


So, here's where I stand now. I'm not sure what caused it because I got POST/BIOS after the fire but when I tried everything, it shorted the motherboard. I found the spot on the back near where the 24 pin connects that had bubbled a little and there was a gap in the copper(?) wiring.

Fast forward 3 days with the same model motherboard, and everything worked fine though I did use the new Power supply that I had purchased. I had even installed Win7 and was afraid it would give me problems but hadn't done any updates so it must have just thought it was the same motherboard. I used it last night for several hours, downloading, surfing the net, installing updates, and playing L.o.L. and the best part was there was no fire!

I appreciate you vrumor and smorizio for taking time to work through everything with me and not giving me TOO hard of a time about my stupid mistakes!
June 21, 2012 12:44:32 PM

Best answer selected by UtterNewbie.
June 21, 2012 2:17:17 PM

Glad its all good. Bare wire inside a metal case is never good. Enjoy your PC :) 
!