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Old 04-14-2009, 09:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My computer is on fire!!

I'm not sure if what happened was my fault or the hardware's fault. I plugged my computer into the power socket, neglecting to notice that I had left the power switch to the "On" setting on my computer.

As soon as I plugged it in I saw an orange flash inside my computer case so I unplugged it quickly. It smelt like smoke or something burning.

Now when I power the computer, the fan comes on but I can't boot it up with the power button, which leads me to believe that the power supply and motherboard are fine.

I think that my graphics card is fried, but I'm not 100% sure. I guess it could also be the processor... How can I conclusively know what went wrong with my computer so I replace the correct parts? Is it safe to test out a friend's graphics card and see if my computer will boot up?

Thank you!

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Old 04-15-2009, 12:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: My computer is on fire!!

I've narrowed it down to either my RAM or processor being the culprit. I want to try out a friend's RAM in my computer to see which is the problem, but I'm scared that maybe my PSU somehow ruined whichever thing got fried and I don't want my friend's RAM to be ruined too.

Is it possible for a PSU to destroy hardware without failing itself? Or is this not an issue?

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Old 04-15-2009, 12:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: My computer is on fire!!

Sounds like something has shorted out. Did you just build your computer?

I doesnt sound like its the CPU, as it would still boot (and a CPU wouldnt normally short anyway), if it were the GPU, it should still boot as well. It could be the ram, but seems unlikely, ive never heard of ram shorting out before. That leaves the motherboard, which if shorted out will not boot.

Have done anything unusual that could create a short circuit?
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Old 04-15-2009, 01:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: My computer is on fire!!

I built the computer about a year and a half ago. If it could still boot with a bad CPU or GPU and ram failure is unlikely, then that just leaves the PSU and the motherboard. I hadn't been doing anything unusual with the computer... I had just hauled it over to my friend's house before this happened, but that's pretty common.

In my last post I didn't think the PSU was messed up because it was still able to power the fan, but someone I talked to about it mentioned that even though the fan is working, the PSU still might be the problem; and that the PSU would be the most likely thing to suffer.

I think the motherboard is okay because the fan is running off of it, but I might just be making the same wrong assumption that I did with the power supply.

I'm going to look for a PSU and other parts to swap in until I figure out the problem. Thanks for the help, I'll be back here soon.
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Old 04-15-2009, 10:41 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: My computer is on fire!!

i'd blame the PSU myself. if the flash was truly orange as you say, that is a bit strange. i would associate orange with perhaps a fuse blowing. blue/white would be arcing.
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Old 04-15-2009, 03:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: My computer is on fire!!

I'm with Nitestick. I think it's probably the PSU. There are ways to test the PSU to see if it is working properly. Here is a site that takes you through it step by step: Overclockers Hardware - How To: Test PSU Voltages. If the PSU is good, the only other thing I can think of is the mobo. It sounds like you had a surge when you plugged it in with the power switch on which could easily fry your mobo or any number of other components.
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Old 04-15-2009, 07:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: My computer is on fire!!

Take a voltage tester if you have one and plug PSU in to wall and main power in the motherboard (because it completes the circuit). Set it over to 200ohmz and test the power connectors. You should read out .5's 12V's and some others.

Personally I think it is the Mobo. That's just me.

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