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Hard drive smoking....literally.

By vegasgmc · 19 replies
May 1, 2004
  1. For 3 months Ive been trying to build this computer. Yes, 3 months. Had 3 motherboard failures, hard drive failure and somehow a screw made its way on top of the video card and when I hit the power button the screw shot up like a bullet and the card and mobo are history. So I just got the new card and mobo put in, tripple checked everything and I press the power button and nothing happens except for smoke pouring out of at the hard drive power connector. I know the drive was good because I used it for a while before the last mobo failed, and according to my power supply tester, its good. Can hard drives do this on their own? Ive built 20 computers and this is the first time Ive had any trouble.
    Foregot the specs, Raidmax case and PS, ECS mobo, WD hard drive, new Apollo FX5200, 256 mb Apacer DDR, Apollo 6 channel sound card, 52x DVD/CDRW combo, 52x CDROM, XP 2100.
  2. vassil3427

    vassil3427 TS Rookie Posts: 633

    Oh my, you mean actual smoke came from the Hard Drive, never heard of this....
  3. vegasgmc

    vegasgmc TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,372

    Actual smoke and lots of it.
  4. Liquidlen

    Liquidlen TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,070

    Obviously your replacing the hdd but I was curious if your PSU tester gives the actual Voltage\Amp rate at the terminal end? I would think that only a power surge or excessive power level could fry a good drive like that.
  5. vegasgmc

    vegasgmc TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,372

    Its the kind of tester with just lights. I tested every other component in the computer and everything is ok except the motherboard. It wont post. Maybe a faulty PS is what caused the other mobos to go out.
  6. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 4,909   +8

    I don't know what the problem is but this thread is scaring me a great deal.
  7. xtrmn8r

    xtrmn8r TS Rookie Posts: 51

    have you checked the connector with a multimeter to see if its all the correct voltage? and is it actually the hard disk smoking or is it the connector?

    personally....i would get a new psu and hard disk, then go from there. its not worth buying one new part, and then finding out it was the other that wrecked it in the first place. better safe than sorry!
  8. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 4,909   +8

    Yeah there is something common here that is causing things to blow and its got to be something wrong with the power supply in some way. Hell - are you always using the same wall socket?
  9. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,519

    Poor quality switch-mode PSUs can create output spikes when they go faulty, and no meter will pick those up. Hard drives connect directly to the PSU output and don't have regulators to protect them from voltage spikes, unlike mainboards (which do have regulators). I'm not saying that your PSU is faulty, but judging by the amount of bad luck you are having, it is a possibility. I had this type of problem once (I've also seen it many times in other peoples cheap PC's) and now I only fit high quality PSUs in every system I build. I'd never use a cheap PSU that came with a cheap case, as it isn't worth the risk.
  10. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 4,909   +8

    I never use cheap PSUs. You should always get a quality, high Wattage one that comes in a nice box with instructions and a guarantee.
  11. vegasgmc

    vegasgmc TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,372

    Im just going to replace the PSU. The HD smells like burning rubber and I saw the smoke was coming from the electrical connector. I dont have much faith in any brand though. The fan in my Antec went bad after a few months and I just had to return a 2 month old Enermax.
  12. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 4,909   +8

    If that turns out to be it, can you please post and tell us an estimate of the total cost of the kit it has destroyed?

    We don't want to laugh or anything - it scares us as much as you - but I think it would be important to know.
  13. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,512   +65

    Is it not possible the HD could have also gone bad?

    Something could have burned and melted together, creating a short.
  14. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,218

    Thats what it sounds like to me.
  15. Godataloss

    Godataloss TS Rookie Posts: 476

    This is the same reason I dont work on my car.
  16. vegasgmc

    vegasgmc TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,372

    No one touches my truck except me!
    I think the damages have come to under $100. Only because I didnt know about the power supply sooner and got warranty exchanges on most of the damaged parts, except for the video card. It was pretty obvious that was damaged by the consumer...me.
  17. Goalie

    Goalie TS Booster Posts: 613

    Based on what I've read, I'd say you're looking at a mulititude of problems which have mostly been mentioned...

    1. The wall socket is giving you dirty power.
    2. The PSU, maybe already cheap, take dirty power and gives crap back too.
    3. The hard drive, as a result of repeated boots on bad power, may have finally got mad and given up.

    I'd suggest when you get a new mobo to plug it, the processor, and ram in and boot that without cards/peripherals, see if it posts. Then add components one by one and examine any irregularities. Slowly, you should wean out the bad parts. With all of the power problems you've had, especially if you've been using the same RAM through the whole process, I'd recommend running memtest86 (or memtest86plus) on the ram and be sure it's not gotten shocked to death.

    And also, if you find a cheap and faulty part, I"d recommend going out and hammering it after replacing it. Might make you feel better. ;)
  18. Prohandyman

    Prohandyman TS Rookie

    Sounds like a possible short in the connector itself of the power supply, or hard drive. Check each for shorts by visual inspection using a magnifying lense.

    Reading your ongoing symptoms sure sounds like a power supply, or grounding problem to me. I gave up on the power supply testers that have a single OK light, and have gone to one that tests all rails, and has a multi-meter probe area for actual readings.
  19. Icurus

    Icurus TS Rookie

    Adding some surge protecting extention leads may also be benificial to your systems longevity?

    They are pretty cheap and do a good job.
  20. SaiTokoKeimei

    SaiTokoKeimei TS Rookie

    Check your wall outlet, your house's fuses or breakers, and the house wiring. I don't know as much as these other guys, but the house I lived in before this one was really old, and I went through 4 power supplies in a few months and my dad and 2 family electricians said it was the house's wiring. The ceiling fan in that room also blew about 2 bulbs a week and eventually shorted out completely in a month. Also, do you guys know anything about static in a house? This house is burning out every tv and monitor screen in it, my eyes, joints, and bones ache, and I know it's the static because of all the stuff I've tried. There's so much, you can take a piece of paper, and stick it to the wall like you do to a tv screen or monitor sometimes, and it sticks there. No joking. Guess this guy that started this thread and me both have dumb problems.
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