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Mystery - why did my drive(s) burn up?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I built a NAS back in 2011, and it's been running fine for two years.



Fast forward to tonight: I smell the telltale sign of burning electronics and go hunting through the apartment. I finally found that the NAS was the culprit and, sure enough, it had powered off. I initially assumed the PSU had burnt up, but after opening up the case I found that the 12v wires on the SATA power connector on one of the drives had melted. This was a small extension cable, not directly from the PSU. It's the one powering the top drive in the picture above.





After cleaning the drives up with some alcohol, neither of them appear to be very damaged. The one whose cable melted has a bit of melted plastic around the power connector, but the contacts look fine. The four ribbon cables to the motor don't appear damaged in any way (I assume this is where the 12v is going).

What happened? Is it possible the cable itself simply failed? This machine was sitting untouched when the event occurred and I hadn't opened it for a number of months. What should I test and how should I test it to ensure that other components aren't faulty?
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post #2 of 3
If the cable was damaged and most of the strands of wire were broken, then yes it could fail in this way, as the few remaining strands would overheat and burn trying to carry the current.

Do the drives still work? If not, you may have had a PCB failure and might be able to find a replacement on our favorite auction site.

I would not trust that power supply until tested fully load tested and measured with a multimeter...and unless I knew for sure the drive or cable itself caused the failure, I'd toss the PSU.
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Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
A swappable SSD for each OS (Win7, Mac, Linux) Kingston SSDNow 120GB Eluktronics 1TB SSD ASUS 18X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe and ... 
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ARCTIC Freezer 7 Pro Rev. 2, CPU Cooler - Intel... Windows7, Mac & Linux Insignia 32" LED 1080p HDTV (32D512NA15)  Rosewill Mechanical Keyboard with Cherry MX Blu... 
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CORSAIR TX Series CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS... AZZA Toledo 301 (CSAZ-301) Black SECC Steel ATX... Logitech MX 518 High Performance Optical Gaming... Oversized 17-1/4 x 13-3/4 
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Mouse PadAudioOther
HandStands 15S07 Super Mouse Pad Creative Professional E-MU 0202 USB 2.0 Rosewill RSV-SATA-Cage-34 Black 3x5.25" to 4x3.... 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD A4-5300 APU MSI FM2-A75IA-E53 AMD Radeon 7480D Kingston 1600C9D3/4GX 
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post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FastMHz View Post

If the cable was damaged and most of the strands of wire were broken, then yes it could fail in this way, as the few remaining strands would overheat and burn trying to carry the current.

Do the drives still work? If not, you may have had a PCB failure and might be able to find a replacement on our favorite auction site.

I would not trust that power supply until tested fully load tested and measured with a multimeter...and unless I knew for sure the drive or cable itself caused the failure, I'd toss the PSU.

Well I tore the machine apart and tested the PSU and the affected drives. Everything works. I really think it was just the crappy Molex to SATA cable that bit the dust, since no other cables were damaged. A quick google search shows that these adapter cables burning up isn't completely uncommon.

I bought new adapter cables tonight and they're a much snugger fit than the old ones. Here's hoping the problem is resolved.
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Cube
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