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Determining what I've lost, after the PSU

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
So lightning struck our yard last night, loudest crack I've ever heard. Everything in the house, even things on the same outlet, is okay - except for my computer. PSU is totally shot. Debating jumping it. There was a smell coming from the inside of the rig, though, that I initally believed to be the PSU; swapped in an older one and the smell persists within ten seconds of the PC powering up. but! it does get power, all the lights come on, fans seem to be functional, and from what I see there is no interior damage or scorching. New PSU is first priority, but the stink makes me wary as it can be toxic. Is there any way I can determine where it could be coming from? It smells like burning dust/rubber/chemicals.

I was thinking it could be scorched thermal paste but I've never smelled any before. I am wary to continue troubleshooting with an unidentified (potentially toxic) odor.
post #2 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by enthusedpanda View Post
So lightning struck our yard last night, loudest crack I've ever heard. Everything in the house, even things on the same outlet, is okay - except for my computer. PSU is totally shot. Debating jumping it. There was a smell coming from the inside of the rig, though, that I initally believed to be the PSU; swapped in an older one and the smell persists within ten seconds of the PC powering up. but! it does get power, all the lights come on, fans seem to be functional, and from what I see there is no interior damage or scorching. New PSU is first priority, but the stink makes me wary as it can be toxic. Is there any way I can determine where it could be coming from? It smells like burning dust/rubber/chemicals.

I was thinking it could be scorched thermal paste but I've never smelled any before. I am wary to continue troubleshooting with an unidentified (potentially toxic) odor.
Rebuild the system, make sure to inspect each part carefully.

Also, were you using a surge protector?
    
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post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostintyme View Post
Rebuild the system, make sure to inspect each part carefully.

Also, were you using a surge protector?
I've stripped it down entirely except for unseating the mobo. I'll do that soon. Processor, circuits, HDD, video card, etc. everything in plain sight seems kosher.

I've got a surge protector. Only thing that took any damage on it was the PC.
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
Also, should I bother jumping the PSU for any reason, or would replacing it be more sensible?
post #5 of 24
Surge protectors offer very little protection. Battery back-up systems offer better line conditioning and protection from spikes and brown outs than any surge suppressor. Ask any IT administrator at a corporation with an onsite NAS or SAN system.

If you had been using a back-up battery system (which has TRUE surge suppression) your system would not have been damaged at all.

Update:

Quote:
Originally Posted by enthusedpanda View Post
So lightning struck our yard last night, loudest crack I've ever heard. Everything in the house, even things on the same outlet, is okay - except for my computer. PSU is totally shot. Debating jumping it. There was a smell coming from the inside of the rig, though, that I initally believed to be the PSU; swapped in an older one and the smell persists within ten seconds of the PC powering up. but! it does get power, all the lights come on, fans seem to be functional, and from what I see there is no interior damage or scorching. New PSU is first priority, but the stink makes me wary as it can be toxic. Is there any way I can determine where it could be coming from? It smells like burning dust/rubber/chemicals.

I was thinking it could be scorched thermal paste but I've never smelled any before. I am wary to continue troubleshooting with an unidentified (potentially toxic) odor.
  1. What you originally smelled was probably a damaged electrolytic capacitor and possibly also burned fuses and transistors, most likely in the power supply.
  2. What you are are now smelling is probably the electrolytic capacitors that are being too heavily taxed by your computer on the older power supply.

Edited by Majestic_Lizard - 7/24/11 at 5:34pm
    
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post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Majestic_Lizard View Post
Surge protectors offer very little protection. Battery back-up systems offer better line conditioning and protection from spikes and brown outs than any surge suppressor. Ask any IT administrator at a corporation with an onsite NAS or SAN system.

If you had been using a back-up battery system (which has TRUE surge suppression) your system would not have been damaged at all.
Good to know, thanks.
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by enthusedpanda View Post
I've stripped it down entirely except for unseating the mobo. I'll do that soon. Processor, circuits, HDD, video card, etc. everything in plain sight seems kosher.

I've got a surge protector. Only thing that took any damage on it was the PC.
Don't most surge protectors come with some sort of guarantee that if something gets fried they'll cover x $ of damage?
    
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post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Majestic_Lizard View Post
Surge protectors offer very little protection. Battery back-up systems offer better line conditioning and protection from spikes and brown outs than any surge suppressor. Ask any IT administrator at a corporation with an onsite NAS or SAN system.

If you had been using a back-up battery system (which has TRUE surge suppression) your system would not have been damaged at all.

Update:

  1. What you originally smelled was probably a damaged electrolytic capacitor and possibly also burned fuses and transistors, most likely in the power supply.
  2. What you are are now smelling is probably the electrolytic capacitors that are being too heavily taxed by your computer on the older power supply.
The smell came from within my PC, though. Friend's PSU was left out for convenience's sake, so it was a foot away. Clearly a smell originating from around the processor area. I can provide interior photos soon for reference.

Also worth noting. It is in fact the same smell, and it is not emanating from the older PSU.
post #9 of 24
Processor area?

Check if you've got burnt VRMs.
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post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
I've got a few general pictures for reference. Perhaps you guys can learn something from this, point out potential areas to check, or anything of note;













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