Anyone that’s worked with computer hardware knows there are some risks involved. Sharp edges inside a case can leave your hands and fingers looking like you lost a thumb-wrestling match with Edward Scissorhands not to mention the potential to short out or otherwise damage fragile hardware. But for one teenager in Shawnee, Kansas, the stakes were much greater as he lost his life while reportedly stripping a computer down for parts to build another.
Local news station KCTV-5 says the teen unplugged the computer before diving in. It’s unclear how long the system might have been powered off before he started working, however.
The incident happened on August 16 although an autopsy recently revealed electrical burns on his body. The official cause of death was deemed to be electrocution; likely the result of touching a loaded capacitor inside the power supply.
Captain Dan Tennis of the Shawnee Police Department said the unnamed victim was “one of those kids,” the type that’s always tinkering with computers and gadgets. Disassembling a computer is something he’d done multiple times before.
Full details haven’t been released nor do we know why he opened the power supply to begin with. The boy’s father arrived home to find his son dead. As the captain pointed out, power supplies typically have all sorts of warning stickers reminding users about the dangers that lie within.
About the only parts to salvage inside a PSU would be a cooling fan or two – cheap components that certainly aren’t worth risking your life to retrieve and reuse.