Check Your Motherboards
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Thread: Check Your Motherboards

  1. #1
    The Doctor Und3ertak3r's Avatar
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    Exclamation Check Your Motherboards

    HAd a customer come in today, he had just completed a marathon with a major computer manufacturer..
    For the past 3 months his computer would occasionaly lockup, or bring up strange errors. After various tech visits and numerous call to tech support. The final sujestion was to update the BIOS.. Now due to his caution, and it being a charge job for the tech (some 100km away) he decided to pay me instead..hehe.

    Now to the Crux of the story:
    Brand Name PC (Acer)
    CPU : Celeron 1100
    Mem: 384MB SD-RAM
    HDD: 20Gb

    While he had said the machine would run for between one and 3 hours before the problem would occure. I couldn't get more than 10 mins before a BSOD..
    Tried with a UBD .. same period of time.. b4 a lock
    HAd a quick look at the Motherboard before testing the PSU.. Bingo..Cause found..

    This is where my warning comes:

    His problem?

    On All motherboards (well all that I have worked with) The Power supply's are filtered by "Electrolytic Capacitors" .. These are a Aluminium "Can" sheathed on the length in a plastic shrink wrap, leaving a rubber seal end with two "legs" soldered to the Circuit board, the other end is bare and visable to the observer.. (I am getting to it OK)..
    In this case and many others in various parts of the world, the bare end of the "Can" had ruptured and the Electrolyte had leaked..
    The net result is that the Capacitor is no longer capable of doing its task of filtering the Supply rails.. this leads to Noise/spikes interfering with the operation of the CPU, RAM, and Motherboard Chips.

    Most users of quality Motherboards will probably not encounter this problem.. As the problem is partly to do with the quality of the Capacitors themselves. BUT heat, and power fluctuations can cause even the best of these components to fail in this manner.

    So next time your computer seems a little Ill.. just check the electro's out.. Just incase..

    BTW: good idea for a check, post summer, in your home computers. Especially if they are running long hours..


    Cheers

    The attached is a Pix of an example of the faulty components.. if it helps for those who don't know an Electrolytic Capacitor from a Torx driver..(one is a Electronic component the other is a"funny looking" star screw driver)
    "Consumer technology now exceeds the average persons ability to comprehend how to use it..give up hope of them being able to understand how it works." - Me http://www.cybercrypt.co.nr

  2. #2
    Senior Member ShippMA's Avatar
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    Cheers for that, different problem but same cause. I think i put it in a thread elsewhere in general discussion, one day while i was taking the front panel off my pc i knocked the on off switch on and off twice in quick succesion, i thought nothing of it at the time as i had already done it and any damage would most likely already be done, so i continued what i was doing and finished.

    When i came to turn the computer on it turned on for maybe a couple of seconds before the trip in the power supply went. This had never happened and i attributed it to the accident. I left it for a day and it turned on fine, oh well i thought, i used it and next time i turned it on it again wouldn't stay on for more than a couple of seconds. I decided the power supply was probably gone and took it out and opened it up, one of the capacitors had this brown stuff on top so i figured that was the problem. Didn't know what it was but common sense told me that it was that. Now i'm 100% certain.

    Anyway the moral to my story is never work on your pc with the power in no matter how small the alteration is (i was just taking the front off to clean it properly), i know common sense but i found out the hard way, fortunate i've got a spare power supply.
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  3. #3
    Just a Virtualized Geek MrLinus's Avatar
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    **Thread moved from Misc Security to Hardware**

    This issue about the capacitors was recently published in Maximum PC under the "Dog House" section, IIRC. It's pretty scary to think that these poor capacitors got released and unsuspecting users/admins have to deal with this.

    http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleID=195 (another mention of the same issue)
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  4. #4
    The Doctor Und3ertak3r's Avatar
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    Damd... I did it .. couldnt figure out why it didn't show where I expected..

    Rule 73. When viewing several sites with more than 4 open windows.. remember which thread/forum belongs to which window.. posted on the wrong forum... wrong site.. oh well.. still helps

    Sry MsMittens

    Cheers
    "Consumer technology now exceeds the average persons ability to comprehend how to use it..give up hope of them being able to understand how it works." - Me http://www.cybercrypt.co.nr

  5. #5
    Senior Member IKnowNot's Avatar
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    Sounds like the old days when the soldered on batteries would leak on the motherboard and etch the printed circuits!
    " And maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be" --Miguel Cervantes

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