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im not sure but...


shadow1100mfp
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am i safe in assuming that if my computer starts pouring out smoke only seconds after turning it on that something is wrong? by pouring, i mean it was going out of every hole on the case, even the holes on the side of the front cover (theres a plastic face plate on the computer, and it goes about 1/2 inch past the actual side of the case, and there are holes in  it to allow air into the case).

i immediately unplugged it and took the cover off to see what was smoking (burning and melting) but it smelt strongly like mice (or hamsters) and was full of smoke and still smoking 5 minutes after i unplugged it, so i just left the cover off and put a big room fan next to it in front of a window (the fan pointing out the window to get the smoke out of my house).

if this is bad, which im most certain is (i know that when wires burn in cars the fumes from the plastic can be deadly), what can i do besides take it to someone who can look it all over and upgrade everything causing problems? really all i want from the case is the hard drive, but something is wrong with something in side the case, and im most certain its the power supply still. when i took the computer out of commission it was because it had no ventilation, (the fan on the power supply burned out, the bearings on it are gone), and that was it. but i plugged it in in my basement and this happened, so im thinking maybe one of the wires of the power supply melted, and it's not really the fan, just that wire? in either case the power supply is bad, but i don't know if thats the only thing thats bad and i don't know how to tell if that is the only thing wrong with it other then taking it to a computer tech.

the only problem i have with doing that though is the guy doesn't know much (i read online that your not supposed to use wd 40 on fans as medium engine oil can cope with the rpm much better, and he said he just dipped the fan in wd 40 after he dusted it the last time i brought it to him). also, he way overcharges, i know computer techs are expensive, but he charges for every hour its at his house (its someones home business), and he usually doesn't call until the day after even if i request he call as soon as its done. but, he does get it done quick usually within 2 days (not including the "grace" 1 day period he gives), and hes never busy and gets right on fixing it before i even leave. also at the end he tells me what he did and why he didnt do things, but he gives stupid reasons (such as "i didnt have any 80mm fans in stock" when theres a cheap computer ware house with pretty much everything ever, not 30 minutes from his house)

the computer ware house also fixes computers, but they charge $100 down, flat rate fee, even if they just replace a $6 fan or something. i don't want to retire this computer, but i don't want to pour half a weeks pay check into it at one time. i take that back, i do want to retire this computer, but i want to replace it with one of better quality and have the hard drive of this one as a spare storage /backup on the new one, but i don't really want to buy a whole new computer unless this thing cant be fixed for less then 50-60 (a power supply twice the wattage currently in it will cost me 40 dollars, on tiger direct, and another 20 for a 5 pack of fans).

if anyone has suggestions with what to do with my situation id love to hear them, because im perplexed as to how the parts that are failing are the ones that he replaced and said id have no trouble with them. (power supply, vid card, eithernet card, usb slots, he replaced these all with things he had laying around in computers that are from the windows95 era.. when i took the computer to him originally, i told him "replace the parts that don't work, but make sure it's of equal quality, i don't care what the price is" because at the time this was my only running computer, as i was making other repairs to the Compaq, and what i got was this p.o.s. that ran worse then my 10 year old Compaq (Compaq has half the memory, 1 15th the storage, and a much older main board of what he put in it).

when i bought the computer brand new just 5 years ago, it had 512 memory,nice video card with triple monitor out and an extra card that had just dvi and component,  eithernet card that had both eithernet and dial up (the one he put in had just 2 eithernet), 4firewire ports, 8 usb ports, 1 case fan, and was the hard drive and os was all profiled for the hardware installed and optimized for it all, he only put the replacement parts in an old case and swapped the hard drive, and called it good he didn't even optimize it, and this repair alone ran me about $300 which was ridiculous.

aside from telling me to get a new tech and throw away everything that looks melted and replacing it myself (i start school again in one week and i still have to clean my house and finish various stuff that i havn't done this summer, including that pool table), any advice as to what to do?

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when a computer dies like that you really should scrap the whole thing because the one thing you keep will fry the new components you add to it.

my suggestion trash the whole thing it could end up costing you a lot more in the end.

i was thinking of doing that, but it has an almost new 250gb highspeed western digital hard drive with thousands of songs on it, hundreds of movies, and also thousands of pictures that i hadn't gotten a chance to back up before it died. it also has an almost new dvd burner in it. would it be of any elevated risk to save just those specific parts for my new computer, and not use the rest of the computer? i don't want to throw it away, but id like to save everything from it because im getting into welding and soldering and that kind of stuff, and i think that would be the perfect thing to learn precise soldering on, since i wouldn't use it anymore. im almost positive the guy wont fix it anyway because just in parts, it will cost me about 500 to replace the m/b, the powersupply and all thecards in it, and he won't do anything over 200 unless your really set on it, and im not in this case (pun not intended).

also, just to throw this out there: im looking around now for a new computer to replace this one (it's not a huge priority since i have many computers but i like to have spares because things are always breaking at my house, many do to the amount of power outages i have, and because last year my house was hit by lightning and things are just dieing ever since, so i love having spares of everything, even if they aren't top quality).i found a good computer on the circuitcity website for $370, by good i mean it's a basic computer, but it's better then the one that died, and it has plenty of power for me as far as i can tell, if anyone wants to take a look at it (http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Compaq-Presario-Desktop-PC-SR5102HM/sem/rpsm/oid/188987/catOid/-12962/rpem/ccd/productDetail.do)

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I would keep the HD and get an IDE(sata) to usb, and use it externally to start if it's safe and reliable you can use it later internally if you nice to it.

The DVD might be safe too, again test it externally first.

ram MoBo PSU and PCI(-X)/APG cards you should treat as infected with computer ebola you might be able to use them so long you don't care if they screw over anything they touch

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I would keep the HD and get an IDE(sata) to usb, and use it externally to start if it's safe and reliable you can use it later internally if you nice to it.

The DVD might be safe too, again test it externally first.

ram MoBo PSU and PCI(-X)/APG cards you should treat as infected with computer ebola you might be able to use them so long you don't care if they screw over anything they touch

haha, as i mentioned, this is a very horrible pc as far as speed and performance goes, so i wouldn't save anything other then the dvd drive and the hd anyway, not to mention that the ram is rd, and everything in it is pci only (i dont have an agp installed and it doesn't have pcie slots). the psu is total shit anyway i am almost certain that that is what is causing all the trouble. the m/b is not recent enough to do much other then get on the internet and run word and such applications. but i will still keep the parts just so i can practice my soldering on them before i go to the big expensive stuff lol. though the case is still in perfect working condition so i will be keeping that, as i was planning on building a music and video server for my rec room anyway so this cuts out about 100 bucks from the price of that project =]. atleast something good came from this.

i didn't breath in too much of the smoke, i got it all ventilated pretty quickly, but i did end up getting a few good lung fulls while transporting it to the stand where it is now with the fan on it (about 75 feet away, and down a flight of stairs). is this anything i should be worried about? like i said, i know that burning wires in a car is toxic and after 6 seconds of breathing in those fumes you could be dead, but im not sure if this WAS the wires, im just convinced it is the wires of the power supply as that is already fucked, so it wouldn't surprise me if it was. im not experiencing anything bad like dizzyness or lightheadedness and i havn't from the time i was exposed to the smoke. should i just keep an eye on myself for a couple days and if something strange does occur just go to the emergency room? i've never delt with wires burning before, or smoke for that matter (other then second hand smoke but thats different smoke, although just as deadly in some cases).

thanks for all the help also! i wasn't expecting someone to help me i was expecting someone to laugh at me and call me a dumb ass and i just had to do this easy task and it wouldn't smoke anymore, but i got an answer with some substance to it! i was somewhat shocked lol. but im ready to let go of that system i think, i never really liked it from when i got it because i was lied to when i got it for $1200 brand new at staples (i didnt know much about computers at the time and they said it would play all high end games, and i got home and it couldn't even play games like lord of the rings on low settings). im also ready to get a new computer, the first computer i will be buying while i know a good deal about computers =] this time ill be able to tailor it to my needs and not have to buy some stock one and leave it stock, illbe able to change it around, change parts and stuff and it will really be MY computer =]

ill post some pics of my 2 main workstations when i get the new computer and im done with all the changes ill be making to it (first one ill be making is adding the second hard drive, second is adding the 2 32 inch monitors i bought (they are tvs, but they can also be monitors). i know my stuff isn't quite top end, but its still better then most average homes have (3 42 inch plasmas,  2 32 inch lcd monitors/tvs, 3 computers, 3 laptops, 3 ipods, 1 40gb mp3player, 2 20gb mp3players, 5 digital cameras, alltogether more then 10000 watts of speaker power, and more cables then they sell at the local department store (and thats alot of cables! lol) isn't it strange when you get rid of a computer? i know they were just doing a skit for evil server signal interuption, but you have to admit, you feel kind of like ally acts in that skit, it's kind of like a car, but more because it's in your house 24/7 and you do all your work on it. maybe its just me. oh; sorry about the long replies lol

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If your shit is on fire then it is generally a good indication that its beyond an easy fix.

You could trying taking it out of the case, running it on a desk and seeing which bit is actually burning (academically worth it at this stage) but in all honesty I would just get a new one. One thing you may want to check is that a molex connector didn't get catch on anything, I set a PC on fire that way once so I always tape the end of unused power connectors now (this was back when the ISA bus ruled and the electronics were a good deal more chunky)/.

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If your shit is on fire then it is generally a good indication that its beyond an easy fix.

You could trying taking it out of the case, running it on a desk and seeing which bit is actually burning (academically worth it at this stage) but in all honesty I would just get a new one. One thing you may want to check is that a molex connector didn't get catch on anything, I set a PC on fire that way once so I always tape the end of unused power connectors now (this was back when the ISA bus ruled and the electronics were a good deal more chunky)/.

the connecters also may be the culprit, as i have an extra chain of 6 comming off the powersupply, and i just zip tied them together and threw them ontop of the dvd drive. but im pretty sure i can just look and see what was burning now, it smoked for a while after words so thats why im pretty sure it was something to do with the power supply, as that retains power for a while after its unplugged, correct? in any case, what ever burned melted (obviously), so i should be able to tell what it is without testing it again. how would i go about testing it outside of the case? i know it cant be on anything conductive, but i don't know how to litterly take everythign out and test it because there are alot of parts in there that are really sensitive, aren't there? anyway, im pretty sure im going to put it away in my garage somewhere just to practice soldering and such on it, as  i found a new computer and im going to go pick it up tomorrow or the next day ( i think its an hp, but i had 3 comuters so it might be a compaq or a gateway. 3gb ram, 750gb hard drive, nvidia 7150se i think, 19inch wide screen lcd) and to go with that since i had originally thought it was going to cost much more, (the computer itself runs for about $800 this week at best buy, on sale), im picking up a 22 or 24 inch monitor, which at my local store is $260 for the 22 inch, and $350 for the 24 inch, which combined  with the cost of the computer is what i expected to pay for the computer in the first place.

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haha, so if i just put the guts on a counter top  hooked up like usual it will be fine? or would i need to ground it to the case or something... in my work shop in the basement (cement walls and floor of course), i have a counter made of mdf base and a regular counter top (mdf), if i just put it on that it would be fine? ill try it out tonight when i get back from picking up a few parts for another computer and another project of mine (arcade cab. i was jealous of yours! lol). im not at all worried, except maybe the hard drive  but thats rugged enough when its not in operation. but like i said, new computer tomorrow or the day after so this one is pretty much something to do on the weekends (or maybe the basis of the arcade cab. or another project? maybe i can hack it up and put it in my car, since i wanted to make a car computer anyway)

anyway, thanks for allthe help!

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how about the cement floor then? or i have a big rubbermaid container, i can put it on the top of that can't i, to insulate it? but that would just melt wouldnt it? air would also just make the fire bigger so compressed air wouldn't help me. i think im going to keep it in the case but try it with the side off, unplug everything but the m/b, then shut it off, add a card, try it, shut it off, add another card, etc etc. untill i find out whats happening. though im almost certain i can find it without testing it, and i bet it is that cable i have on top of the dvd drive. if it is im glad because i get another spare computer andi still just have to replace the powersupply! HOORAY FOR SPARE COMPUTERS!

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i doubt thats all there is to it, and you even proved my point. i can't put it on laminated mdf, so what should i put it on? ive never done testing on a pc outside of a case before, so excuse me if i don't know all the tricks of doing it. i know i have to take it out of the case and put it back together and i know how to. i understood that from the start but what i don't understand where im supposed to do it, what im supposed to do it on and how i would ground it, or if theres even a need to in this case.

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I ran a Mini-ITX with two harddisks for 2 days by simply placing the stuff on a notebook (you know, the paper kind).

You shouldn't worry about the machine not being sufficiently grounded, the PS should deal with that. You should only worry that it's grounded too much, or something being present on your working surface that conducts and can thus cause shorts.

Start by connecting the bare minimum: PS, MoBo, Memory, CPU and vid card. You'll probably want to attach the front panel of the case so you can use the on-off and reset switches, as well as have a PC speaker. Attach a monitor and see if the BIOS gets past POST. Add more parts when things work.

When the machine doesn't get past POST:

If fans don't spin up when you turn on the box, your PS is dead.

If fans spin up but you get no video and there is beeping from the MoBo (normally 2 short followed by 1 long) means the vid card is dead, or its slot on the MoBo is fried. The beeps mean the BIOS couldn't initialise the vid card on boot.

If fans spin up but you get no video and there's no beeping from the MoBo, it's either the MoBo, CPU or memory. If you've got a spare box that can take it, put your memory in it and see if it sees it on POST. If it doesn't, toss the part. If it does, just be a bit weary of it. CPU same story, though I doubt your alternative MoBo will be able to work with it. You should bring your MoBo and CPU to a shop, explain your situation, and tell them you want to buy a new CPU or a new MoBo or even both if they turn out to have both died. That should make the clerk sufficiently willing to try the parts and see if they're dead or not. Once you know which parts need to be replaced, have the decency to actually buy the parts there rather than fetch them from the internet. Alternatively, just buy a new CPU and MoBo. Just go with low-end modern parts and you should be fine. Hell, you'll probably be better off than with the crap that tech prick found in a landfill and sold to you.

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i was planing on changing a bunch of stuff in that case anyway, i just didn't plan on doing it this soon.  i was also planning on doing just bare minimum at firs tand attaching one thing at a time, but as i said, i am positive its the power supply, not only becaus the fan is already burned out but because the only thing that has changed in that case is the placment of the extra power cable, so the cable from the power supply is causing trouble somewhere, be it just the cable itself or the cable touching a part in the computer.

low end parts will be enough to run windows xp and make an arcade cab out of the computer? because thats what im going to do with this computer if i can save it rather cheaply, but i want it to retain some use for me (ie keeping winxp on the harddrive, and storing backups of my music on it if i can save it, if not then practice my soldering on the parts in the computer).

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i haven't gone to the magnificent wally world yet to buy some parts, I'm leaving in an hour (I've been working since this morning), when i get back ill test it out, if it doesn't boot ill take my air gun to it (450fps), and see if what kind of art i can make.

(if your a little kid and reading this, don't play with guns or fire, and if you do, wear safety glasses when shooting pellets at hard objects such as computer components.)

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