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Computer sparks and loud bang


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#1
GT2012

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The power was down for over 24 hours, once the power came back, the computer started to make violent noise and smoke came out, per the info below.

The computer was off and connected to a surge protector strip. When the power came back on (computer still off), suddenly it started to spark and smoke which I'm guessing was from the computer power supply unit, but I am not sure as I've never experienced this. The spark, loud bangs and smoke happened at two incidents one after another.

At this point what are my options?

Should I try to turn on the computer or would that potentially damage it further?

Is there much hope of getting the computer fixed or replaced through the surge protection strip insurance policy? No other devices connected through it were damaged only the computer (not sure about the monitor yet).

Thank you for your help in advance.
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#2
mgabriel

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Sounds like the power supply. Replace the power supply prior to turning it on again.
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#3
ranchhand3

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The loud pops that you heard were probably the capacitors exploding. Could be the power supply, could be also on the motherboard. If you are super-lucky it was the surge protector taking the hit and the computer was saved. After a power outage, when the power comes back on there is a primary surge over 120 volts which probably blew your surge protector and may or may not have hit the computer. Many folks don't realize that low-cost strip power bars with multiple sockets many times advertise themselves as "surge protectors" when in reality they have no protection at all. A serious protector should have a joules rating of 1000 or higher, 10,000 is desirable in my opinion. You can try to turn on your computer, but be ready to kill the power if any problem pops up. I doubt it will work but at this point I don't think anything will be additionally damaged. Power Supplys are super-easy to replace and don't cost a lot. If you have an extra one hook that up first to test before replacing it. To save some money, you could first purchase a power supply tester from Newegg.com. If you have no experience at all in repairing computers it would be best to take it to a private shop for inspection. Find out what their charges are first, it could end up being the same as just purchasing a new unit. Avoid the big box retail stores, they will rip you off. It won't hurt to contact the "surge protector" manufacturer, but don't get your hopes up on that one. Your homeowner's insurance ( if you own a home) usually will cover this, but check what your deductible is, many times it is higher than the repair. If you have renter's insurance you can check your policy to see if you are covered. Also make sure any other appliances are damaged or not. Sorry for your misfortune, wish you the best.

Edited by ranchhand3, 13 October 2012 - 08:22 AM.

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#4
westom

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The computer was off and connected to a surge protector strip. When the power came back on (computer still off), suddenly it started to spark and smoke which I'm guessing was from the computer power supply unit, ...
At this point what are my options?

One probable scenario: a power transient preceeded and cause the blackout (ie a stray car hitting a pole). An adjacent protector did what its manufacturer specifications said it would do. Would ignore and not avert that type of damage. Learn from your resulting damage.

Restored power (voltage only slowly increases to a normal voltage - restored voltage does not spike higher) then powered damaged parts inside the PSU. You saw damage before power off cause further damage and smoke when power was restored.

If a PSU was smoking, that PSU probably needs to be replaced.

It smoked. We could say much more if specific damaged parts were identified. Currently we can only speculate what caused the damage. But the original damage was not caused by power restoration. A power strip did the near zero protection that is claims to provide.

Edited by westom, 13 October 2012 - 06:56 PM.

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#5
ranchhand3

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Westom said:

Restored power (voltage only slowly increases to a normal voltage - restored voltage does not spike higher)


Westom, I suggest that you research your material before making statements. This guy was hit by a power spike, that is why surge protectors are a hot sales item, at least in the USA. Read this, among many, just Google the subject. Second paragraph from the bottom:
http://www.natpow.co...rces/power-101/
and:
http://insurance.fam...trical-outages#
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#6
westom

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Westom, I suggest that you research your material before making statements.

You would tell someone who even designed them to go learn? Two completely different devices are both called 'protectors'. Only one actually does protection. He had damage because he had the other one ... that only claims to protect from transients that typically cause no damage.

He had damage because the protector did exactly what its numeric specs said it would do. I suggest you research your denials. Rather than knowing something only because others told you what to believe. Please post the manufacturer spec number that claims that protection. And good luck.

Damage may have been created by a transient that also caused a blackout. Existing damage caused more damage and smoke 24 hours later when power was restored. A protector did what the manufacturer said it would do. If ranchhand3 knows otherwise, then he can post those spec numbers rather then subjective denials. Then he can explain whyt the OP had damage with that protector.
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#7
GT2012

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Thank you all for the informative answers.

One question, is it still safe to use the outlet or the surge protector strip (outlets) which this surge went through? I'd hate to have another device damaged for no reason. The surge protector seems operating like normal, but I haven't connected anything to the open slots that I removed the computer from post-incident.

Thanks again.
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#8
westom

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I'd hate to have another device damaged for no reason. The surge protector seems operating like normal,

That strip protector connected your computer directly to AC mains. Sometimes a transient, too small to harm a computer, will overwhelm protector circuits. Protector circuits disconnect as fast as possible. Leaving a computer still connected to AC mains.

If a protector has failed (some indicate this with a light), then it is now equivalent to a non-protector strip. Does nothing to harm a computer. Nothing was posted to suggest a destructive transient even existed.

As ranchhand3 noted, a manufacturing defect may have caused capacitors to explode. Even a tiny diode failure (a manufacturing defect) could have caused it. Power strip would still connect that computer directly to AC mains. Computer (with a new PSU) should still work fine.
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#9
ranchhand3

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GT2012, please post the specs of your surge protector. As I said, the low-cost type you can purchase in a hardware store is not going to protect your computer properly. If this one did not protect it, why would you still want to use it?
Next question: have you inspected your computer yet, and is it still operating or not?

Edited by ranchhand3, 16 October 2012 - 07:12 PM.

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