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Faint Burning Smell

Last response: in Components
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October 23, 2012 10:07:31 AM

Hello, about 2 days ago I noticed a very faint burning smell coming from my exhuast fan. I checked all tempatures in the computer and all are average. GPU 34c idle and CPU 30c idle, PSU/HDD/SSD all were all extremly cool, (Felt them while grounded) and determined it might be dust problem. I maintain my computer very well so there wasn't much dust. I stripped down the computer and dusted it and rebooted the computer and the smell is still there. Very faint, but I still wanna take proper percaution. Any things I should look for or test? Could it be one of the case fans burning out?


Built March 2012:

i7-2600k 3.4ghz (no overclocking)
hyper evo 212
GTX 560ti
Corsair 850w modular PSU
Western digital 700gb HDD
Intel 520 SSD 64gb
AsRock z68 extreme 3 gen 3
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB
LIAN LI Lancool PC-K63 Black Steel

More about : faint burning smell

a b ) Power supply
October 23, 2012 10:16:30 AM

not cracking wise................. maybe it's the "new" burning off ?
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October 23, 2012 10:24:07 AM

Check the components and the case for any scorched marks. Id have a good smell of each fan, not just the case ones but all of them too see if you can pinpoint where it is coming from. Also are you sure that its not coming from something else nearby?
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a b ) Power supply
October 23, 2012 1:19:33 PM

swifty_morgan said:
maybe it's the "new" burning off ?

The "new" usually burns off within hours/days of turning on new electronics. It does not mysteriously start smelling several months later.

Not many components in PCs get hot enough to cause burning smells, particularly if this happens even at idle.
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October 23, 2012 1:27:40 PM

Maybe a long shot, but I don't suppose you're still using a CRT monitor? I had one that used to emit a burnt dust smell after adjusting the contrast (yes, I'm probably dangerously irradiated now).
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October 23, 2012 1:59:18 PM

In my experience, cheap case fans will burn out and die very quickly, compared to quality parts.

Unfortunately, until something starts not working, you can't really tell exactly where the smell is coming from.

I would examine and smell everything once for burn marks or the smell. if you come up with nothing, use ur PC like normal and check it every once in a while to see if anything doesn't seem to be working quite right...
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a b ) Power supply
October 23, 2012 2:02:49 PM

sam_p_lay said:
Maybe a long shot, but I don't suppose you're still using a CRT monitor? (yes, I'm probably dangerously irradiated now).

lol

The reason CRTs are ridiculously front-heavy is because they have 1" thick leaded glass in front to block the X-rays emitted when electrons strike the metal mask/wires. There isn't much radiation coming out of 'em, at least not from the front. The big "EMI craze" in the mid-90s was mainly about the electronics and magnetics behind the CRT.
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October 23, 2012 2:22:15 PM

InvalidError said:
lol

The reason CRTs are ridiculously front-heavy is because they have 1" thick leaded glass in front to block the X-rays emitted when electrons strike the metal mask/wires. There isn't much radiation coming out of 'em, at least not from the front. The big "EMI craze" in the mid-90s was mainly about the electronics and magnetics behind the CRT.


What about alpha particle radiation in the dust inhaled? The radiation part of the post was clearly a joke anyway :-P
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October 23, 2012 2:29:03 PM

You could have a bearing on one of the fans going bad, that's what it sounds like to me. I would think if a vital component was affected you would see problems elsewhere (if the MOBO, PSU, or CPU were being damaged I think it would be fairly obvious in the overall performance of the PC).
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a b ) Power supply
October 23, 2012 3:12:27 PM

chugot9218 said:
You could have a bearing on one of the fans going bad, that's what it sounds like to me. I would think if a vital component was affected you would see problems elsewhere

A failed bearing in a fan would not heat up enough to cause a burn smell unless it was a very high power fan in which case the failure would be painfully obvious due to noise.

There are some "non-critical" components that may not pose any problems until they completely fail. One example of such a component in bulk-regulated PSUs is the bleed resistors or shunt regulators manufacturers might put on their outputs to provide the minimum level of load required to prevent PSU outputs from drifting upward when external load on a rail is too low. In some PSUs I repaired, the shunt resistors do run hot enough to cause resistor and PCB discoloration. Ceramic resistors and power semiconductors can "safely" operate at temperatures exceeding 150C.
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October 23, 2012 4:17:02 PM

Thanks for all the replies. I am going to take everything into consideration considering I'm not sure what the problem is.
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