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Sporadic boot problems with a pelted system?

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Arctic Silver Senior
Dec 19, 2000
Those of you that are attentive may note that this week I thought I lost another KT7A-R, not so. Normally my box runs 24/7. I have shut it down for a few hours twice since installing the dual 120 watt pelts. The first time I had to reset the CMOS to get it to boot. The second time, no chance, so since Sunday night I have been racking my brain to find the problem. Everything looked perfect and the no beep no post lead me to believe the motherboard was dead.

Let’s think about this for a minute. The machine runs fine when warm but won’t boot after cooling down. Perhaps a marginal trace in the motherboard that only connects when the board is warm? I usually dream about problems and come up with solutions in my sleep. On a side note, way to many dreams about computers. :) Upon waking up this morning I also realized that too much dielectric grease in the pinholes of the ZIF socket could cause the symptoms my system was exhibiting.

This afternoon I removed the CPU and thoroughly scrubbed it with Dawn dish soap and a toothbrush. As an added precaution I swabbed the CPU die with Goof Off and then alcohol before applying Arctic Silver. I put it all back together and poof, it booted just fine. The moral of the story? Apply dielectric grease sparingly. If you have a pelted system and are experiencing sporadic cold boot problems, you might want to clean the dielectric grease off your CPU pins. Too much grease can prevent the CPU pins from making good contact with the ZIF socket.