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Totally fried computer! Make your guess as to what caused it. With Pictures!

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Old 12-29-03, 12:23 AM Thread Starter   #1
Aktunka
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Totally fried computer! Make your guess as to what caused it. With Pictures!


Ok, here is the machine that a customer brought in to us recently. You guess what caused this cause we are not sure either hehe.



The next two are the motherboard in this thing...note the cracked and burned ethernet controller chip




This is what also happened to the hard disk in the same machine


And this is a pic of the hard disk next to the mainboard of course hehe


So, what do you think caused this? According to the customer they moved the computer into an office to do some database work on it and plugged it in, then after a few minutes he saw smoke start pouring out of the back of the machine so he turned it off and unplugged it. He didn't notice it until the smoke because he had a bad cold and couldn't smell anything lol. Anyhow, a couple of us are theorizing that maybe they plugged the digital phone line into the ethernet port and had a call ring through or something, but that is just guessing. We thought maybe that because of the particular damage done to the network controller on board, but who knows. What would be your guess?!

Oh yeah, and to make matters worse for this very cheap and less than savvy customer they ignored what they were told when they bought the system many moons ago when we said they should have at least a different tape for each day of the week. Well, in theory that would have provided them with a good backup for their database, but no, the tape you see in the picture is the same tape they got at install like 6 years ago, and has never been changed. What makes matters even worse is that they had the lock enabled on the tape so it wouldn;t have been able to write to it anyhow. But that is really of very little consequence seeing as how the tape apparently broke at some time in the distant past and when you flick the little door open on the tape itself there just isn't any tape there lol. Anyhow, hope you enjoy

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Old 12-29-03, 01:15 AM   #2
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I would say he plugged it in and a volt surge ran thru teh pc .. Example - plugged it in to the wall directly and not thru a surge protector .. ??
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Old 12-29-03, 01:17 AM   #3
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OMFG!!!

Hardware doesn't do that just by "moving it".

Backups are like air, they're not important unless you don't have any.
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Old 12-29-03, 01:19 AM   #4
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dude, there is *no* way that a phone could do anywhere close to that type of damage.

there had to be some MEGA over-voltage running through that machine for it to char the living crap out of the mainboard, AND the hard drive...

i dont know where the customer lives, but i have seen lightning strikes to similar things. is the machine still under warranty or something from you guys? is the customer trying to juke you by lying about what happened? (i own a computer buisness, and i've seen similar things)

it seems strange that it would do that just by moving it into a new office, unless there was something inherintely screwy with the wiring...

i dont know.. anyone else care to hypothesize? :P
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Old 12-29-03, 01:26 AM   #5
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Lightning could deffinately enter through the phone lines and that would explain the massive damage.

It is winter though... Not alot of lightning this time of year.
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Old 12-29-03, 01:30 AM   #6
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Stupidity is most likely the culprit.
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Old 12-29-03, 01:31 AM   #7
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hmm, don't know.

What he said "Lightning"
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Old 12-29-03, 04:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by 9mmCensor
Stupidity is most likely the culprit.
Thats gotta be my vote.

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Old 12-29-03, 05:27 AM   #9
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Well from these pictures there's little I can tell. Perhaps he held a lighter next to that chip on the mainboard and punched a nail at the harddisk 'because it was cool'.

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Old 12-29-03, 08:49 AM   #10
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Oops I just dropped my pliers.

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Old 12-29-03, 09:02 AM   #11
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Unlikely story.

My guess is that they had the computer hooked up to a poorly wired outlet, most likely one of those that aren't ungrounded via an extension cord. They had a powersurge and poof, the computer is toast.

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Old 12-29-03, 09:49 AM   #12
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Well, I had a similar problem with my power supply. I had taken the side panel off to do a RAM upgrade. When I was finished, I put the side panel back on and plugged it in. I then saw smoke coming out of the PSU. I rushed to unplug it. I opened up the PSU and I saw a few burned resistors. I guessed that there was an overvolt in the circuits of the main breakers, but I never found out foresure. I just went out and bought a new PSU and the thing worked perfectly fine. I'm glad it didn't damage my motherboard or CPU or even Hard drive.

Here is a pic of the burned resistors.



It's a little blurry, but you can still see the black resistors.
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Old 12-29-03, 11:22 AM Thread Starter   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Chambers
dude, there is *no* way that a phone could do anywhere close to that type of damage.

there had to be some MEGA over-voltage running through that machine for it to char the living crap out of the mainboard, AND the hard drive...
Well, if we were talking about a straight up analog phone line I would tend to agree, but in our theory we were thinking a digital line, and if what I was told is true, *supposedly* when a digital line rings through it is like 240 volts or something like that. Of course it is just one of many possibilities. Not saying it is likely even, but just kinda crazy hehe. As for where this is it was from the Oregon coast so lightning would be a possible explanation as well, although the customer never mentioned that a storm was there when we asked. Also no way is this thing under any sort of warranty or anything hehe. The customer, being cheap cheap cheap, brought it in and wanted an estimate to fix it instead of just getting a new one...The estimate was buy a new pc hehe. I know I sure wouldn't want to waste any time with this old piece of junk anymore.

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Old 12-29-03, 02:03 PM   #14
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lol, that looks like a 486 to me, difinatly no higher than a Pentium 1. Why is it even worth taking to the computer repair shop? My guess is his pyromaniac son took wires from the socket and jambed them into the ethernet port and he is too embarrased to say. Honestly, im sure he did something stupid and is too embarrased to tell you what lol. Maye i should try making my old 486 look like that!.

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Old 12-29-03, 02:38 PM   #15
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Check the inside of the PSU for similar damage. That should at least help to rule out a power surge over the outlets or a problem with the PSU.

I personally think given the damage to the ethernet controller that your theory is probably correct. A digital phone system could toast an ethernet controller not designed to handle it I would think. Analog phone systems probably not, especially since its pretty damn hard to plug a 4 lined (actually 2) rj11 cable into an 8 lined rj45 jack and have it stick.

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Old 12-29-03, 03:38 PM   #16
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looks like fun
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Old 12-29-03, 04:54 PM   #17
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Out of curiosity, pull the m/b loose and see if you find a stray screw floating behind it that could cause a direct short to the case.
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Old 12-29-03, 05:54 PM   #18
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Looks like a p1 to me....


....Power surge - must've sent a huge voltage over the system, and some chips melted or cracked cause of the sudden temp change.
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Old 12-29-03, 06:28 PM Thread Starter   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Zerileous
lol, that looks like a 486 to me, difinatly no higher than a Pentium 1. Why is it even worth taking to the computer repair shop?
OMG! How dare you insult this screaming machine! This is in fact a PII 300!

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Old 12-29-03, 06:50 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by PingSpike
Analog phone systems probably not, especially since its pretty damn hard to plug a 4 lined (actually 2) rj11 cable into an 8 lined rj45 jack and have it stick.
people are capable of doing anything if they put thier mind to it. Example: People next door did exactly what you said, put the rj11 into there rj45 jack when they move thier computer, told me they could not get on the internet for a week. Sure enough when over thier and they did exactly that. And yes it was locked in.
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