Burning smell... - Techist - Tech Forum

Go Back   Techist - Tech Forum > Computer Hardware > Hardware Repairs and Troubleshooting
Click Here to Login
Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 06-16-2010, 02:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
Junior Techie
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 61
Unhappy Burning smell...

I built a gaming rig about a year and a half ago, and it's been working perfectly up until yesterday. I'll go ahead and list the specs:

Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
CPU: Intel Pentium D 3.02GHz
RAM: 3GB DDR2
Motherboard: Gigabyte 965P-DS3 (Socket 775)
Graphics: VW26L HDTV10F @ 1360x768 NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB
Hard Drive: 500GB Seagate ST3500630AS
Generic 550W PSU

Anyway, just yesterday I tried playing Tropico 3 (which really isn't a resource hog, I don't think) and it emitted a burning smell after a few minutes of playing. I instantly shut my computer off and the smell was completely gone within 15 minutes. A couple of hours later, I tried playing again and received the same results. I won't be playing any game or even running Pro Tools until I resolve this. Does this have anything to do with my recent upgrade to a 26" monitor? I've gotten this smell once before on my 22" monitor, but I blame The Sims 3 and how it absolutely hogs up every single resource on your computer. I haven't tried any FPS, although Fallout 3 worked perfectly on the highest settings for a good hour.... it just boggles my mind.

I assume I need a new PSU (I know I have a cheap MB), but I want to be 100% sure before I drop $70 on it. Anyone know what else could be the problem? I took the case off yesterday and cleaned most, if not all of the dust in and around the fans with a bottle of compressed air. It gets proper ventilation, and always has.

I'm just curious as to why it's done this three times in one and a half years, twice being yesterday... I took the case off approx 30 minutes ago so I could see where the smell is coming from specifically, but it's running fine thus far. Not even warm. The smell was very random.

Thanks in advance.
__________________

Sidewalk is offline  
Old 06-16-2010, 03:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
Junior Techie
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: La Crosse, WI
Posts: 57
Send a message via ICQ to TieFighter Send a message via MSN to TieFighter Send a message via Yahoo to TieFighter
Default Re: Burning smell...

It could honestly be a lot of things depending on where the burning smell is coming from. You should start diagnosing this problem by monitoring internal temperatures with some software like SpeedFan. If your core temps are looking okay, then it may be your graphics card and/or monitor. Has anything been spilled anywhere on the computer recently?
__________________

TieFighter is offline  
Old 06-16-2010, 03:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
Lord Techie
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: asdf
Posts: 8,887
Default Re: Burning smell...

With it off and power totally removed, smell around, every part emits a slightly different smell, also, look for discolored PCB's or solder joints... Look near the places on the PCB where the heat is felt the most, especially on your GPU PCB, look at the back, see if the smell is coming from there.

Also, try looking for a bad cap, they are supposed to be totally flat on top, and if leaning, check the base to see if it has poped..

Smell your PSU, mine emits a smell, but, I guess it's from my smoking and the age of the PSU.



ALSO, I recommend HWMonitor from CPUID.com as it gives more reliable readings of temps and the part it is reading, Speedfan around here just has a bad history of miss-reporting.
c0rr0sive is offline  
Old 06-16-2010, 04:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
Junior Techie
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 61
Default Re: Burning smell...

Quote:
Originally Posted by c0rr0sive View Post
With it off and power totally removed, smell around, every part emits a slightly different smell, also, look for discolored PCB's or solder joints... Look near the places on the PCB where the heat is felt the most, especially on your GPU PCB, look at the back, see if the smell is coming from there.

Also, try looking for a bad cap, they are supposed to be totally flat on top, and if leaning, check the base to see if it has poped..

Smell your PSU, mine emits a smell, but, I guess it's from my smoking and the age of the PSU.



ALSO, I recommend HWMonitor from CPUID.com as it gives more reliable readings of temps and the part it is reading, Speedfan around here just has a bad history of miss-reporting.
Wow, after seeing this, I'm thinking it was a petty dust issue...



Then again, I slid the window to my case off, so that will definitely alter it. What are the chances that it was merely dust built up in and around the fans? I only smelt it when running Tropico on ultra high settings. Once I smelt it, I sprayed everything to the best of my ability and let it rest for an hour or two. A decent amount of dust was built up around my GPU fan. What I don't understand is that it occurred once again when I played Tropico for the second time...

It smelt like it was coming from the PSU, but it could be anything since the window to my case was on. As of right now, I smell nothing and it's difficult to differentiate the components' smells.

Should I take the fan out and thoroughly clean it? Thanks
Sidewalk is offline  
Old 06-16-2010, 04:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
Techie Beyond Description
 
MindoverMaster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: /home
Posts: 12,212
Send a message via MSN to MindoverMaster
Default Re: Burning smell...

Dust is the #1 cause of heat, it can't cool the component that well. If you notice any odd sounds, the fan could be off balance.
__________________
Neowin.net Steam Account
MindoverMaster is offline  
Old 06-16-2010, 05:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
FoxMcCarther's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Rockford, MI / Harrisonburg, VA
Posts: 186
Default Re: Burning smell...

Well, I wish my system ran that cool...

There is a good chance it is the power supply, but if you do decide to open it, be very careful, I burnt my hand and got a really nice shock working in one once (was a stupid mistake where I had done some repairs, plugged it in afterwords to see if it worked, and noticed a loose screw in the bottom, I reached in to pull it out (Forgetting it was live) and, well, lets just say your hand creating a short in a power supply is one good way to try to kill yourself...), If it is no longer under warranty (as opening it does void any warranty it may have), make sure it is unplugged and wait a day or two (plenty of time to discharge, or just short it out), and remove the external case, from there, you can use some compressed air to clean everything out and inspect for burn marks or excessive dust (If you don't know what you are doing, don't remove any of the components or play around inside too much ) If you find bad components, you can bring it to a repair shop, or, If you really want it can be a learning opportunity, grab your solder gun, Identify the size of the bad components, and get replacing! (But honestly, please be careful you are working with electricity and I know first-hand it can hurt powerfully and even kill).

After you clean the power supply, clean off the dust from the fans of the case as well as the heat-sink on your processor as well as the processor fan (Again, compressed air works nice, just nothing crazy compressed that could cause damage). Next, while not everybody does, you should also try to clean off the motherboard itself a bit, just hit it with a few blasts of air.

I will say what I am about to a few more times after this, but the method below is only one way, and is not the best method for dealing with a situation like yours, but it is easy, just be careful...

Only try the below if extensive cleaning does not work, and you have fairly certainly ruled out the power supply or any bad circuits from being the problem (as you don't want fire and that is the most likely candidate) as there are better ways to find out what could be wrong, this one is just the quickest lol. (Depending on what is wrong with it, this method could cause damage to the system by burning up the bad component, If dust is a computers worst enemy, heat is a close second (In fancy terms, Dust = Heat), and you are going to make your computer rather hot...)

So, If the above does not work, and you have sort of ruled out the PSU and dust, you can try a controlled stress test, in other words run the torture tests and stability tests allot of over-clockers use to stress the system to check for stability (in your case heat)

Very closely monitor the heat settings to make sure nothing goes too crazy so as to cause damage. If you begin to smell burning, or if the temperatures got to uncomfortable levels, stop the tests IMMEDIATELY, then shut down your system and try to find the source of the smell (I still say it's probably the PSU). Also, using one of the two tests below, you will also be able to isolate (to an extend at least) what the culprit that is causing the excessive heat is.

For a graphics stress test, furmark will push any card to the limit.
FurMark: Graphics Card Stability and Stress Test, OpenGL Benchmark and GPU Temperature | oZone3D.Net

And the other one you may want to run would be Prime 95, which will heat up your processor rather quickly... (Have not used it myself, but it should do what you want)
__________________

http://folding.extremeoverclocking.c...00CC&c5=00FF22
<--------- If I helped you to your satisfaction, Rep me! (Its the green check)
FoxMcCarther is offline  
Old 06-16-2010, 05:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
Lord Techie
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: asdf
Posts: 8,887
Default Re: Burning smell...

Furmark will push a GPU beyond it's limit, it isnt a recomended tool for stock cooling systems....
c0rr0sive is offline  
Old 06-16-2010, 05:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
FoxMcCarther's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Rockford, MI / Harrisonburg, VA
Posts: 186
Default Re: Burning smell...

Again, that is why I put in place about 6 lines of warnings about how there are many better ways to do this and to monitor very closely lol. He should be fine though...

The purpose of this test is not long term stress test, rather short term rapid heat-up to isolate what component is about ready to burst into flames whenever he plays a game. Provided he does not leave the test running, he will be fine to use furmark. (The test should not need to run for more than a few minutes to assess weather it is the graphics component causing the burning)

I 100% agree with you that you should not use this program to stress a stock cooled GPU, but for its intended purpose for these tests, he will not be allowing it to reach maximum temperature, rather just heat it up to the point of simulating a game.

Most likely what will happen though is he will realize it is the dust and probably won't even have to test it. That, or it is the PSU malfunctioning, which he will identify as soon as the graphics card starts to draw more power.
__________________

http://folding.extremeoverclocking.c...00CC&c5=00FF22
<--------- If I helped you to your satisfaction, Rep me! (Its the green check)
FoxMcCarther is offline  
Old 06-16-2010, 05:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
Junior Techie
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 61
Default Re: Burning smell...

Well, I just played T3 for about 45 minutes, and smelt it again. I put my nose right behind the PSU and it's a very strong, distinctive odor. I'm pretty sure that's the culprit. The MOBO smelt fine, the GPU smelt fine, and there's a paltry amount of dust. The strange thing is, it isn't really overheating. It's still pushing fairly cool air out and the roof of my tower is cool... What's that all about?

Any recommendations? I want a fairly cheap one, but I also don't want a generic brand. I've heard great things about OCZ, Antec, Thermaltake, and Corsair. Anything else I should know? What kind of wattage are we talking, here? The PS I put in it was a generic 550w unit... I want my next one to last much, much longer this time around (I will be upgrading my RAM from 3GB to 4-6GB, if that makes any difference).

Thanks in advance.
Sidewalk is offline  
Old 06-16-2010, 06:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
Lord Techie
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: asdf
Posts: 8,887
Default Re: Burning smell...

I want to bet on your PSU, you said its a generic 550watt psu, I personally like Raidmax PSU's, though, I seem to be the only one that has luck out of them, I think you should look into a Corsair PSU, I haven't heard much of anything bad about them in awhile.
__________________

c0rr0sive is offline  
Closed Thread

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Free CD Burning Software Osiris Tips, Tricks & Tutorials 0 12-21-2009 11:45 AM
DVD Burning Software Imgburn Updated Osiris Tips, Tricks & Tutorials 0 07-28-2009 08:14 AM
The burning smell returns! Spit-wad Monitors, Printers and Peripherals 6 12-07-2008 12:10 PM
I sniffed a burning smell coming from my computer... Spit-wad Hardware Repairs and Troubleshooting 2 09-25-2008 10:29 AM
Burning smell coming from computer Matt23mm Hardware Repairs and Troubleshooting 16 05-09-2007 02:38 AM



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:16 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.