New PSU toasts Mobo

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New PSU toasts Mobo

Postposted on Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:02 am

I just bought a Corsair GS600 power supply for an old Athlon 64 X2 PC. Thing is, when I turned on the PC smoke suddenly came out of the motherboard, around the CPU area. Now, my hunch is that I made a mistake with the 4-pin power connector. You see, the GS600 comes with an 8-pin connector that can be split into two 4-pin connectors. The manual doesn't say anything about which half goes into a mobo's 4-pin socket. It only warned that a 24-pin connector's detachable 4-pin connector cannot be used in a 4-pin socket, which I didn't do. So now the mobo and the CPU are fried, and god knows what else is toasted. Upon visual inspection the PCB near the CPU socket is warped and the CPU itself leaked the black thermal interface between the heat spreader and the chip inside, which further suggests this has something to do with the 4-pin connector. What did I do wrong?
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Re: New PSU toasts Mobo

Postposted on Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:06 am

The 4-pin socket is keyed so you can only put the "correct" half of an 8-pin connector into a 4-pin socket. Had the old PSU died, prompting the replacement with the new Corsair? It's possible the old PSU damaged something if it died.
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Re: New PSU toasts Mobo

Postposted on Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:27 am

Thanks for the quick reply. Yes, the old PSU is dead and that's why I bought a Corsair. I did some reading on the 8-pin connectors and it seems either half of the 8-pin connector will work since both just supply 12V. Both fit into the 4-pin socket, so I just took a bet and plugged it in. Everything else is correct. Heck, I've been doing this since I was a kid and it's my first time to experience something like this. I'm really baffled.

So, going back, what are the chances the old PSU did something to the motherboard?
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Re: New PSU toasts Mobo

Postposted on Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:41 am

It's possible the old PSU died and took the motherboard with it, it's also possible the power circuitry in the motherboard went and took the PSU with it, and the new one just re-cooked the motherboard.

The EPS12v (8-pin) connector is definitely keyed, and only one half of the split plug should fit into the 4-pin ATX12v socket. If you take a look at the picture below (courtesy of Google image search & tomshardware) you can see that the two halves are keyed differently:

Image

It shouldn't have made a difference *unless* the connector was flipped 180 degrees, in which case the ground and +12v lines were reversed, which would almost certainly explain the smoke! However that'd probably take quite a lot of force. I suspect it's far more likely the motherboard was already dead, and the new PSU just flash-fried it a second time.
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Re: New PSU toasts Mobo

Postposted on Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:49 am

Both 4-pin halves go right in although both will fit only one way because of the keying. According to the link below, either half should work. So I guess your theory that the old PSU took the board with it or vice versa is possible. What an unpleasant night this has been. Thanks, bro.

http://www.playtool.com/pages/psuconnec ... #eps4plus4
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Re: New PSU toasts Mobo

Postposted on Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:14 am

Are you *sure* you didn't accidentally plug one of the 6-pin PCIe power plugs into the CPU power socket by mistake? It *is* possible to do this if you're not paying close attention; though the keying is slightly different, pins that have a rounded profile on the plug side *will* fit into square holes on the socket side without being forced!

And yes, unfortunately the polarity of PCIe and ATX12V connectors is exactly reversed, so making this mistake potentially has undesirable consequences for the PSU and/or motherboard. Whoever made this boneheaded design decision should be fired!

That said... I don't think even doing what I described would cause the CPU to melt. This does sound like a potential PSU issue to me. If you've got a voltmeter, hotwire the PSU (without connecting it to a motherboard), and check the voltage at the ATX12V connector.

Previous PSU killed the mobo is also a definite possibility...

Edit: Actually, if this PSU is one of those "single 12V rail" models, I *could* imagine the "plug the PCIe plug into the ATX12V socket" stunt literally causing a meltdown. A normal PSU will simply shut down in this situation (because it sees a short circuit). A single 12V rail PSU may never detect the short, because its overload protection circuit needs to have a *very* high trip point.
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Re: New PSU toasts Mobo

Postposted on Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:24 am

Just brew it: Thanks for the reply. No, I'm absolutely certain it wasn't the 6-pin connector. I used the 4+4 connector. Split it in half, plugged it in. Since it's keyed, there's no way I could have plugged it incorrectly. Besides, there's the clip that clicks in place once it's plugged in.

Now my dilemma is, if it's the PSU at fault, I could return it and argue that my components were fried because of it. If the PSU checks out fine, I'm certain the store won't even take the PSU back, leaving me with $80 down the drain and several components dead. I don't have a voltmeter and neither do I know how to use one so I can't really check.
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Re: New PSU toasts Mobo

Postposted on Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:31 am

ronch wrote:Just brew it: Thanks for the reply. No, I'm absolutely certain it wasn't the 6-pin connector. I used the 4+4 connector. Split it in half, plugged it in. Since it's keyed, there's no way I could have plugged it incorrectly.

OK, that leaves us with defective PSU, or motherboard was already dead (CPU voltage regulators fried), and the new PSU merely put the nail in the coffin.

ronch wrote:Besides, there's the clip that clicks in place once it's plugged in.

PCIe connectors have a clip too. (But that's beside the point now...)

ronch wrote:Now my dilemma is, if it's the PSU at fault, I could return it and argue that my components were fried because of it. If the PSU checks out fine, I'm certain the store won't even take the PSU back, leaving me with $80 down the drain and several components dead. I don't have a voltmeter and neither do I know how to use one so I can't really check.

Know anyone you can borrow a voltmeter from? (We can walk you through using it.)

Got a motherboard and CPU you don't care about that you can use as a guinea pig?

I guess worst case try to take the PSU back, and if it tests out OK then that's pretty good evidence that it *wasn't* the PSU's fault.
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Re: New PSU toasts Mobo

Postposted on Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:55 am

Just brew it: Ok, if I had a voltmeter, I'd still have to install the PSU inside a PC so I could turn it on, right? I need it plugged onto a mobo so the mobo could 'signal' it to turn on when I hit the power button. Thing is, I'm afraid to try this PSU on another mobo/PC already. I don't have a guinea pig PC here and even if I did, I'd be afraid to fry it too.

I could either:
1. Tell the store I simply want to get another brand and have an 'exchange item' done, but whoever ends up with this PSU, if it's indeed faulty, is gonna get a headache too, or
2. I could tell them exactly what happened, asserting that I did everything right. Problem is, they might insist it was my mistake and refuse having anything to do with me and the PSU. And even if it's the PSU's fault, I don't think they'd be willing to be liable for the fried parts.
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Re: New PSU toasts Mobo

Postposted on Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:03 am

You can turn on an ATX PSU on a test bench by using a short length of wire and shorting the green "standby" pin on the main ATX 24-pin connector to any one of the black ground pins. For example (gosh that's horrible page formatting) : http://imhdd.ms11.net/COMPUTER/dead_computer.html
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Re: New PSU toasts Mobo

Postposted on Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:22 am

Mentawl wrote:You can turn on an ATX PSU on a test bench by using a short length of wire and shorting the green "standby" pin on the main ATX 24-pin connector to any one of the black ground pins. For example (gosh that's horrible page formatting) : http://imhdd.ms11.net/COMPUTER/dead_computer.html

Yeah, that's what I meant when I referred to "hotwiring" the PSU. Sorry for not providing more detail. When I need to do this, I typically just use a paperclip!

ronch wrote:Just brew it: Ok, if I had a voltmeter, I'd still have to install the PSU inside a PC so I could turn it on, right? I need it plugged onto a mobo so the mobo could 'signal' it to turn on when I hit the power button. Thing is, I'm afraid to try this PSU on another mobo/PC already. I don't have a guinea pig PC here and even if I did, I'd be afraid to fry it too.

By "guinea pig" I meant something you don't care about frying. (But see Mentawl's post...)

ronch wrote:I could either:
1. Tell the store I simply want to get another brand and have an 'exchange item' done, but whoever ends up with this PSU, if it's indeed faulty, is gonna get a headache too, or
2. I could tell them exactly what happened, asserting that I did everything right. Problem is, they might insist it was my mistake and refuse having anything to do with me and the PSU. And even if it's the PSU's fault, I don't think they'd be willing to be liable for the fried parts.

Yeah, unfortunately they probably would not take responsibility for the fried parts. If the PSU is obviously bad, Corsair might though...
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Re: New PSU toasts Mobo

Postposted on Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:07 pm

I'm inclined to just do an 'exchange item' to avoid the hassle of arguing with the store as to what really caused the problem. If they want to test it before accepting it again, then by all means, they could go ahead and test it. If it's flaky, then returning it doesn't make me a jerk (in effect, anyway). If it tests out ok, then good, as long as they accept it and allow me to choose another brand.

As for the fried X2 PC, it's a bit long in the tooth anyway. It's my cousin's, and with her X2 fried, I just might hand her my Phenom II and get something else. Thing is, I'm not feeling particularly wealthy nowadays so it's a real bummer.
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Re: New PSU toasts Mobo

Postposted on Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:20 pm

There's a (admittedly slight) chance you might get some compensation for the damaged hardware if the PSU is at fault, and you RMA it direct to Corsair. Just some food for thought...
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Re: New PSU toasts Mobo

Postposted on Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:24 pm

There's also a chance that you might suffer a stroke from the aggravation of having to deal with Corsair's RMA procedures. :evil:
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Re: New PSU toasts Mobo

Postposted on Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:50 pm

Ok, bros. I've been doing some deep meditation about all this right now and here are some additional info I wasn't able to provide earlier. My sincere apologies.

it SEEMS I did nothing wrong, nor was it the PSU's fault.

Upon opening the chassis, we noticed that the CPU heatsink was loose. Upon closer inspection the mounting bracket (the plastic clips on the board that hold the heatsink in place) was shattered. After the smoke, I also noticed that the PCB near the CPU was warped, most likely by heat. The thing is, I remember touching it and it wasn't hot. Also, I've had around 3 instances before where in the bracket cracked, causing the heatsink to fall out of place (one PGA 478, two AM2+), but it always did so only in a certain spot; certainly not shattering the bracket in many pieces. This suggests that a violent explosion occurred prior to installing the Corsair GS600, causing the heatsink to blast off the mounting bracket, shattering it. And when the GS600 powered the system back up, it just re-cooked the mobo, just like Mentawl suggested.

What do you guys think?
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Re: New PSU toasts Mobo

Postposted on Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:58 pm

I worked in a small PC Repair store for almost a year, and we once had a motherboard catch fire. It's crazy the things you see when you spend time with a lot of other peoples computers. And some of it, shall we say, we did have to report to the authorities. Crazy stuff.
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Re: New PSU toasts Mobo

Postposted on Sat Jan 28, 2012 1:03 pm

Still a little confused about the timeline. When did you notice the heatsink was loose -- after the initial failure (before you installed the new PSU), or after?

Has the original PSU even been tested? Sounds like the HSF bracket may have been the initial failure here, not the (first) PSU.

Kind of makes me wonder if the system was dropped while being moved or something...
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Re: New PSU toasts Mobo

Postposted on Sat Jan 28, 2012 1:29 pm

Just brew it: I noticed the heatsink was loose when I opened the chassis prior to installing the new PSU. The reason why we bought a new PSU was that the PC wouldn't turn on anymore. I suspected it was the PSU. It was a generic, cheapo PSU, so I guess that suspicion is not ill-placed. And even if it wasn't the PSU, a new, quality PSU was in order, anyway.

We didn't knock the PC around, at least not enough to loosen the heatsink, much less shatter the bracket. My cousin doesn't remember the PC being whacked, and certainly not having fallen on the floor or something like that. I didn't really check the CPU for thermal compound leaks or anything like that prior to installing the Corsair PSU, but I have a feeling it MAY have been burnt earlier, because the PCB near the CPU socket was warped and didn't feel hot. The real clue, however, is the shattered bracket. It doesn't shatter like that.
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