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Old 04-16-2005, 08:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Computer producing plastic smelling smoke=not good

Hello I have just built my first computer, and have encountered a very scary problem!
I will walk you through everything I have done, as that will be the easiest way for you to understand the situation!

I assemble the computer;
Intel P4 3.2 Prescott
Gigabyte GA-8IPE1000 Mobo
512Mb Crucial RAM
500W PSU
Radeon AGP Video card
CD writer, DVD writer, 120gb SATA Maxtor HDD, floppy drive
A cheap Firewire (IEEE 1394) PCI card

and wire everything up. I boot it up, configure BIOS, everything running smoothly, install Windows XP. It installs, fine and I'm running windows. I check on the Device Manager to see if the Firewire card has been installed.. I cannot see it on the list, and Add hardware finds nothing. Then as merely a test to see if it was installed (I didn't think this could damage a PC in anyway), I inserted a firewire cable into the PCI card, which I was gonna hook up to my camcorder. As soon as this cable is inserted into the PCI card, the computer just turns off. About 5 seconds later, the power returns and smoke begins to come out of the PSU fan, and a horrible smell of burning plastic. I quickly knock off the power, pull out power cables and the firewire cable. I check inside the case some hours later, and I can see NO sign of damage to anything (i.e. the source of the 'burning' which caused the smoke), no burnt cables or burnt parts on motherboard.

I reconnect power cable and (without firewire cable in) turn on the little switch on the PSU to put the power back on. This then turns on the power supply, and thus computer, but CD drives will not open, and my HDD LED on the case is on. Nothing appears on monitor, so I hit the power switch on the front of the case. It sounded like the CPU heatsink fan came on at this point, but it was now I noticed the return of this smoke, so quickly knocked off the power.

Has anyone got any idea what is wrong? Is it a faulty PSU? Or is it the (probably fried) motherboard, as maybe the front control panel input was playing up, as it seemed to turn on with the PSU.

Please, somebody shed some light!

Any input appreciated greatly, I spent a long time saving to build this computer and now, the same day I switch it on, the thing starts burning (or something)!!!

Jon.
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Old 04-16-2005, 10:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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OK, try turning it on for a ONLY FOR A SECOND with the side panels off (as much siding off as possible) and try to see where the smoke is coming from. Take the Firewire card out too (I think I have heard of them giving problems). If the smoke is only coming from the PSU, take it out of the case (actaully, you might want to try this first), and if the smoke is only coming out of the PSU with it out, then it the PSU is to blame; if it is the problem, RMA the one you have and email me at Yan.N.Booth@gmail.com when you get a new one (always assuming that the PSU is the problem), and if it is the same thing, then, email me and I will see what I can think of, if I can't help, then you will have to come here...

GOOD LUCK!!


Yan
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Old 04-16-2005, 10:54 AM   #3 (permalink)
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No, inserting a cable into a card should not kill a computer (that I know of), unless maybe you camcorder draws a lot of power from it's firewire connection, which seems highly doubtful. Try a friend's PSU to test everything. I woldn't turn the thing on again with your power supply. Did any lights come on on the CD drives? If you found no damage on the mobo or anything else, then it seems logical that the smoke out of the PSU was from that unit itself, and I hope you didn't open it to find out (it voids the warrantly on the thing). I have opened up a very cheap (came with a $35 case) PSU and noticed some plastic the had been dripped over soem of the components as a sort of glue, so that might be what was buring. If the HDD light comes on and the CPU fan comes on, then I would think that the mobo is functionning at leas to some degree. The good part is that if something is dead, it is probably covered under warranty, so it was better this happened soon rather than later. Good luck.

EDIT: two people posting at the same time...
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Old 04-16-2005, 10:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Off topic/not related to problem...
BTW, which vid card do you have in it?
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Old 04-16-2005, 11:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
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firewire gives power to any device plugged in. the extra power drawn from the PSU was obviously too much for it

lesson to learn: never go cheap on PSU's
you will need to get another PSU to replace your now dead PSU
I would suggest an Antec, Enermax or Thermaltake, with 420W
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Old 04-16-2005, 11:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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420 PSU for a prescott??? they use up about 100 watts by themselves...

a *GOOD* 500 watt...
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Old 04-16-2005, 11:14 AM   #7 (permalink)
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you won't need 500W unless you are running a really high end video card, such as an X800 or 6800, 420W should do you fine. get 480W if you wanna be careful though
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Old 04-16-2005, 11:39 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Hello, thank you all so much for the help.

My video card is a Hightech ATI Radeon 7000 32MB DDR TV-Out

Supports 2 monitors, which is ideal for what I wanted to do, DV editting and also music production!

I thought it most likely to be the PSU, and it was indeed quite a cheap one, but it's reviews seemed sound, so I went for it.
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I'll try a replacement, and if it works I'll get a decent one... I'm just hoping whatever the PSU is doing hasn't damaged anything else...

And the CD/DVD drives' LEDs are on once I flick the switch on the back of the PSU, along with the power and HDD LEDs. This led me to think it could be some sort of problem with the Front Control Panel, thus the motherboard being affected..
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Old 04-16-2005, 12:00 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Oh my, you defiantly need a better PSU, that is the source of the problem.

As for the reviews looking good, none of them are detailed and it looks like the website cut out bad reviews.

Also, I hope it's just your PS and not your motherboard as well I have had cheap PS's take out ENTIRE computers -kb, monitor, mouse.
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Old 04-16-2005, 12:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Well, ur optical drives might not b werkin coz the power connectors must have blown too.A non responsive drive could mean that no power is being supplied to the drive.Just replace ur psu.
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