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Computer was SMOKING!

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
The weirdest thing I have ever seen any of my computers do happened last night... I really didn't know where to post this so I guess this category is as good as any. The purpose of this post is to get some opinions of some of you experts.

Last night, the computer gave off large amounts of smoke but still continues to work just fine! No components had to be replaced at all. Here's exactly what happened:

I was playing my online game for a few hours and decided to go onto online chat. I had to get to the back of the computer and plug in my headset. As I have done many times before, I grasped the rear and front of the computer snugly, headphone jack in hand, and began to slide the computer forward carefully so I could see what I was doing. The plug of the headphone jack that was in my hand, touched and tapped the rear panel of the case. At that exact moment, the computer turned completely off. Possibly just restarted, not sure which. When I heard the click, looked at the monitor, saw blackness, an "Awwwww oh no" was let out. Within about 2 seconds, a large amount of smokey steam was pouring out from the rear of the computer. "**** **** ****! NOOOOOO!" I quickly grabbed all cords in the power strip and was yanking them out. The steam slowly subsided. I say steam because it sounded like when water hits a burner on the stove. I know for sure that the switch on the power supply did not get flipped. My hand wasn't anywhere close to that or the power cord.

I sat there looking at it for a few moments thinking "What in the world just happened." Then the smell came. Not quite nasty enough to make you want to puke, but it was gross. It smelled nothing like burnt electronics usually smell. More like burnt pop corn, or maybe burnt butter.

So I took the computer apart piece by piece, looking for evidence of what happened. I found one drop of brownish colored fluid on only one area of the motherboard. Smelled it. Yep, burnt pop corn.. Everything else showed no evidence of damage. I have 6 years of experience in the electronic manufacturing industry and see many kinds of board damage daily. I just mention this to let you know that I know what to look for.

I get the PSU out. It's got much more of that fluid on it. When I looked inside, the fluid was everywhere. All over the wiring and heatsinks and the smell was terrible. I got out my flash light and started looking for blown caps. None of them showed evidence of any kind of being blown. The tops on all of them were perfectly intact. Transformers, caps, wires, fuse, everything looked fine, aside from this unknown fluid being all over everything. So with nothing being visibly wrong, i checked to see if it still worked. I hooked up an extra HD, plugged in the necessary cords and it powered it fine. Put the PC completely back together booted windows fine, and continued to play my game. The computer was on all night last night continuing utorrent downloads and my wife is using it for work right now. Not a single hiccup.

So if you read this, what do you think? I'm really at a loss as to what happened except for one possible conclusion, which I will leave out for now to see if anyone else has the same opinion.
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post #2 of 36
Did your power supply try to drink a soda? I have no idea what this could be.
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post #3 of 36
I think you had a gremlin inside ur case and he got fried to a goo puddle. Clean it up and keep on trucking I guess. Funny story though. Have no idea right off the top of my head.

Edit: On second thought. Are you sure someone didn't spill something on the computer, cleaned up the outside and didn't tell you? *cough* *wife* *cough*
post #4 of 36
This is definitely strange I have never heard of anything remotely close to this I'm subbing this to see what people come up with.

At least its still running right??




edit: how are your temps when your gaming? processor, gpu's, ext.
Edited by .theMetal - 2/29/12 at 7:24am
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post #5 of 36
Could it be a heat pipe that leaked headscratch.gif
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post #6 of 36

The only component that can leak is liquid electrolyte capacitor in PSU, motherboard, VGA card and monitor. Replace the PSU asap. The cap will still look good even it leak. It doesn't have to be blown to leak liquid. 

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post #7 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twinnuke View Post

Did your power supply try to drink a soda? I have no idea what this could be.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arimis5226 View Post

I think you had a gremlin inside ur case and he got fried to a goo puddle. Clean it up and keep on trucking I guess. Funny story though. Have no idea right off the top of my head.
Edit: On second thought. Are you sure someone didn't spill something on the computer, cleaned up the outside and didn't tell you? *cough* *wife* *cough*

Liquids are frequently by the computer, but the tower is in a cubby, sort of enclosure in the desk. I don't see how liquid could have gotten inside the PSU even if something was spilled on the case.
Quote:
Originally Posted by .theMetal View Post

This is definitely strange I have never heard of anything remotely close to this I'm subbing this to see what people come up with.
At least its still running right??
edit: how are your temps when your gaming? processor, gpu's, ext.

Yes, thank god. lol. CPU stays at 40-60 Celsius and the video card gets hottest with Skyrim, at 72.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ACHILEE5 View Post

Could it be a heat pipe that leaked headscratch.gif

This was my first worry. I checked the south bridge cooling pipe closely and saw no holes, or even fluid on it. I thought, "Maybe it dried already?" But it didn't feel sticky, or rough or anything. Perfectly smooth and shiny. Same thing on the CPU heatsink as I believe it also uses liquid filled pipes to aid cooling. That heatsink was quite dusty and the all the dust was completely dry. I cleaned it while I had it apart, too. Lung power did the job.
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post #8 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken1649 View Post

The only component that can leak is liquid electrolyte capacitor in PSU, motherboard, VGA card and monitor. Replace the PSU asap. The cap will still look good even it leak. It doesn't have to be blown to leak liquid. 

Could that produce this kind of smell? The weirdest part, to me, about all of this is the smell it produced. All blown caps that I've ever smelled have the classic smell of burnt electronics.
Edited by Sputtle - 2/29/12 at 7:45am
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post #9 of 36

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sputtle View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken1649 View Post

The only component that can leak is liquid electrolyte capacitor in PSU, motherboard, VGA card and monitor. Replace the PSU asap. The cap will still look good even it leak. It doesn't have to be blown to leak liquid. 

Have you ever smelled one of these? The weirdest part, to me, about all of this is the smell it produced.


No, but have seen the stain on some PLCs related control board. Seen electician measured the value then replaced the bad cap.

 

Replace the PSU now, don't wait to total failure which might damage other components.

 

 

Quote:

 I get the PSU out. It's got much more of that fluid on it. When I looked inside, the fluid was everywhere. All over the wiring and heatsinks and the smell was terrible. I got out my flash light and started looking for blown caps. None of them showed evidence of any kind of being blown. The tops on all of them were perfectly intact.

 

Can take picture inside the case to see the position of the PSU?


Edited by Ken1649 - 2/29/12 at 7:54am
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post #10 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sputtle View Post

This was my first worry. I checked the south bridge cooling pipe closely and saw no holes, or even fluid on it. I thought, "Maybe it dried already?" But it didn't feel sticky, or rough or anything. Perfectly smooth and shiny. Same thing on the CPU heatsink as I believe it also uses liquid filled pipes to aid cooling. That heatsink was quite dusty and the all the dust was completely dry. I cleaned it while I had it apart, too. Lung power did the job.

Hmm thinking.gif
Are your temperatures still the same as before???

I'm thinking the leak would have been from a split/join on the pipes! And so, not very easy to see!
So maybe you could load the machine up, and touch the heat pipes to see if they all get warm smile.gif
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