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Burning smell coming from computer


Aug 4, 2007 @ 8:50 PM Burning smell coming from computer    
scorpiogirl36


Posts: 3,414
Twice in the past month and a half, I've detected a slight burning smell coming from my computer. I've removed the sliding panel to make sure there was nothing overheating (at least to the eye) and that the fan was moving freely. I try and keep it as dust-free as possible. It's completely open on all sides for circulation. To be honest, I'm afraid of a fire.
Does anyone have an idea what might be causing this problem?
Also, what would be a good pc to invest in, should I need to purchase a new one.
Thanks for any help any one can offer.
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Aug 4, 2007 @ 9:08 PM Burning smell coming from computer    
sealacamp


Posts: 5,092
The first computer I ever had went into a melt down. It looked like the whole computer caught on fire but the fan merely burned to a crisp. Of course that made the computer unusable at that point. Similar to what you describe I smelled the familiar electrical fire smell and was wondering where it was coming from, not thinking it was the computer at all since it was brand new. Then I heard this weird crackling sound and I looked at the computer and flames shot out of the back and scorched the wall. I was really freaking out for a few minutes there because I had no idea what was going on. It was only the fan but I made Dell send me a new one anyway.

Now that I have learned a few things about computers I would recommend that you have one build or build one yourself. You can make a better computer than you can buy for less money than it would cost for a comparable unit. The one I am using now would cost me around 3000 from Dell or Gateway but I only spent 2000 on parts. Makes my old Dell look like a snail too.

S
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Aug 4, 2007 @ 9:20 PM Burning smell coming from computer    
scorpiogirl36


Posts: 3,414
The odd thing about this smell, is the fact it's intermittent. If something were indeed on fire or burning out, wouldn't it be obvious in the functioning of the computer?
I usually put it on "stand by" rather than shut it down completely if I plan on going back on with in an hour or two. Would it better to shut down completely so it'll cool off?
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Aug 5, 2007 @ 1:37 AM Burning smell coming from computer    
DawolfLover


Posts: 524
Depending on the make and model of your computer, there might be a few different fans running in it. For example there may be fans that control exhaust for your case, there may be one on the processor and there also might be one on the video card depending on how new your computer is. I'd suggest that you check all the fans again.

I'd also agree with Seal and say taht you're better off getting a custom pc that's built from the ground up rather than spend the money on Dell or one of those companies.
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Aug 5, 2007 @ 8:34 AM Burning smell coming from computer    
007shark76


Posts: 1
my first guess, would be the power supply. I have had several burn up on me. Whenever i buy a new desktop computer, I always end up replacing the power supply. I have had to replace fans too, but I always had an indicator when they were about to go out due to the increase noise.
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Aug 5, 2007 @ 2:13 PM Burning smell coming from computer    
scorpiogirl36


Posts: 3,414
I always had an indicator when they were about to go out due to the increase noise.
I have noticed an increase in noise. The computer has always been relatively quiet until lately. All this makes sense.
I guess I'll go out and look around for a new pc this afternoon.
I don't have a technological mind to build my own.
Thanks for the info.
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Aug 5, 2007 @ 3:34 PM Burning smell coming from computer    
_CQ_


Posts: 85
scorpiogirl36 said:
I have noticed an increase in noise. The computer has always been relatively quiet until lately.

Did you recently remove the sliding panel? That would allow you to hear normal noises from the disk drives and fans.

When a cooling fan has a dry bearing, it makes a weird noise when it's running, and will usually spin slower than normal. If they spin fast with a gentle whir, they are fine.

Are you sure the smell is coming from the computer? It could be the monitor. Or something else.

Find out what is really happening before purchasing a new computer.
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Aug 5, 2007 @ 10:25 PM Burning smell coming from computer    
scorpiogirl36


Posts: 3,414
Thanks CQ, The burning odor is definitely coming from the computer and I noticed the noise increase a while back but didn't think too much of it. One of those things where you sit and wonder, if your ears just came unplugged after swimming
I did take the panel off to make sure the fan was moving freely and wasn't clogged with dust or something. That doesn't seem to be the problem. The two problems together sounds like it's time to consider a new one.
Can anyone help on what would be the ideal pc to consider? I'm not interested in Dell or an E-machine.
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Aug 5, 2007 @ 11:49 PM Burning smell coming from computer    
ToucherinSparks


Posts: 4,300
Why buy a PC? Replacing a fan or power supply is very cheap, just a few bucks.
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Aug 6, 2007 @ 12:35 AM Burning smell coming from computer    
waterfire


Posts: 3,289


Put your nose up next to the power supply, see if that is where the smell originates.

Oh no bugs, yes it happens, bugs do crawl into this or that and get fried

Bit of history here:

Memory used to be just plain old on or off switches, contacts, I mean memory rooms were big enough you could walk in them! So if some program or another was acting up the first thing they checked was the memory and once in a while they would find a real life bug stuck in the contacts, thus "buggy software"

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Aug 6, 2007 @ 9:10 PM Burning smell coming from computer    
scorpiogirl36


Posts: 3,414

Why buy a PC? Replacing a fan or power supply is very cheap, just a few bucks.
Ok, exactly what does the power supply look like?
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Aug 6, 2007 @ 9:51 PM Burning smell coming from computer    
uab_5


Posts: 4,725
It's the box that your power cable plugs into from the outside. It has a big cablethat attaches to the motherboard and smaller cablesthat attache to the drives.
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Aug 6, 2007 @ 9:55 PM Burning smell coming from computer    
sealacamp


Posts: 5,092
Laptop Power Supply

Desktop Power Supply

There is a photo of each. Hope that helps.

From what I saw most laptops have external power supplies so they are easily replaceable. Desktop power supplies are internal and are just as easily replaceable. Good luck

S
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Aug 7, 2007 @ 4:41 PM Burning smell coming from computer    
_CQ_


Posts: 85
sealacamp said:
From what I saw most laptops have external power supplies so they are easily replaceable. Desktop power supplies are internal and are just as easily replaceable.

The desktop power supply requires opening the case, unplugging various connectors, unbolting the power supply and then reversing the whole process. How is that "just as easily replaceable" as an external laptop supply, which is basically a battery charger and AC adapter?

Scorpiogirl36, if you're not sure what the power supply is, I would not recommend that you yourself do the replacement. It is however, in the grand scheme of all things technical, an easy job and not rocket science. A good technician should be able to swap out a power supply in an hour, including a thorough test of the working system. You could probably be taught how to do it in an afternoon.

Click these links for some how-to examples:

http://www.fonerbooks.com/r_power.htm

http://www.pcnineoneone.com/howto/powersupply1.html

[Edited on 8/7/2007 4:50 PM]
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Aug 7, 2007 @ 6:38 PM Burning smell coming from computer    
sealacamp


Posts: 5,092
The desktop power supply requires opening the case, unplugging various connectors, unbolting the power supply and then reversing the whole process. How is that "just as easily replaceable" as an external laptop supply, which is basically a battery charger and AC adapter?

Well lets see two plugs that have orientation points so they can't possible be screwed up, two screws, oh and then there is the difficult task of opening the case. Gosh that is so darn hard isn't it?

One takes a few seconds, and the other takes oh maybe two minutes. Either way it is still easy. Various connectors? What is that? I know lets discourage someone and keep the mystery in what it takes to do something so simple.

S
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Aug 7, 2007 @ 8:29 PM Burning smell coming from computer    
_CQ_


Posts: 85
sealacamp said:
Various connectors? What is that?

Many have various connectors going to hard drives, optical drives, floppy drives, other peripherals and the power switch, depending on the user and the age of the system.

My unit has four screws holding the power supply in place.

There is no way you or anyone else could tear down my system, replace the power supply and have it reassembled in two minutes. A good tech takes his time to do things right. I know. I've been one since 1979.

sealacamp said:
Let's discourage someone and keep the mystery in.

Did you not read my entire post and view the links? Did you read all her posts?

My post has links that show her how to change a power supply, or at least, help her become a better educated service customer.

Yoda said:
Anger, fear, aggression. . . the dark side are they. Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.

To Yoda, listen you must, sealacamp.
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Aug 8, 2007 @ 6:34 AM Burning smell coming from computer    
sealacamp


Posts: 5,092
Many have various connectors going to hard drives, optical drives, floppy drives, other peripherals and the power switch, depending on the user and the age of the system.

My unit has four screws holding the power supply in place.

There is no way you or anyone else could tear down my system, replace the power supply and have it reassembled in two minutes. A good tech takes his time to do things right. I know. I've been one since 1979

I am with you on the tech part, maybe five minutes then. If you doubt it I could make a believer of you. Seems like a simple operation to me. One of the simpler ones in a desk top. Now MB connections are a different story. I still think you are over complicating the issue. And obviously you think I am over simplifying the issue. Guess it is a matter of perspective isn't it?

Opening the case and replacing the power supply does not equate to "tearing down the system" now does it? That is what I mean by creating complications where none exist. If you truly are a tech then it would seem that you would want to encourage someone instead of discourage them. Should your statement be factual then you are certainly outside the bounds of the majority of people I have met that deal with computers on a regular basis. To date you would be the first professional I have met with the proverbial "discouraging word."

S
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Oct 6, 2007 @ 6:56 AM Burning smell coming from computer    
duwant1


Posts: 558
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Oct 29, 2007 @ 2:25 PM Burning smell coming from computer    
Kenn159


Posts: 3,656
I've been trying hard to follow this thread ,but one little thing is hanging me up.
What is a computer?
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Oct 30, 2007 @ 7:24 AM Burning smell coming from computer    
sealacamp


Posts: 5,092
What is a Computer ?
A computer is a electronic machine capable of solving problems by processing or manipulating information according to instructions that have been given to it.

When we say processing or manipulating, we mean that information is changed in some way. If we have typed in a list of employees into the computer, and we want to alphabetize the list, the act of placing the names in alphabetical sequence is considered as processing.

Electronically all computers work pretty much the same way. Even though there are several categories of computers, we will concentrate only on the Microcomputers in this tutorial (commonly known as " Personal Computers").

There are four basic categories of computers:

# Microcomputer (PC) A small desktop or laptop. Common desktop PCs are Gateway 2000, IBM Dell, Micronics, etc. Common LAPTOPs are Toshiba, IBM ThinkPad, etc. Their cost as new devices may range from $600.00 to around $5000.00.


Minicomputers. Mid-size computers, non-portable types. Common minicomputers are DEC Vax/750 models. They often appear as mainframes. They are gradually disappearing from the marketplace.


Mainframe Computers. These are large computers, often occupying a large room. They are generally used by banks, universities, and some government functions such as IRS, etc. They lost sales during the 1980-1991 era, but were predicted to regain some leverage in 1993 and 1994. They may continue to lose ground with the advent of some smaller computers such as the Zenith Z-Server, DEC AlphaServer, and other multi-CPU products housed in small cabinets.

Supercomputers. The most powerful computers. They are very fast, and have extremely high storage capacity, probably in the terra byte range. Used in research, weather forecasting, modeling or simulations, etc.


What is a computer

S
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