It's a disaster - computer caught smoke

Discussion in 'Desktop Computers' started by Respital, May 11, 2015.

  1. Respital

    Respital Active Member

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    Ok so about 20 minutes ago I noticed a weird smell while I was on the computer and what seemed like smoke coming out of the furnace vent. I thought that was where it was coming from! But something felt wrong, I rolled back in my chair and looked at my computer, something was very wrong. By that point I smelled burning plastic and immediately jammed the power button down to shut it down, I flipped the switch on my PSU and then turned off the power outlet (it's on a switch). I unplugged all the cables at the back and rushed outside. It smelled to high heaven at this point. Pulled off the side panel and started looking around, didn't see anything on fire (not that I was relieved at all by that). So it turns out that a power connection melted (molex > sata) converter. It was plugged into my hard drive. At this point I'm thinking I'm screwed.

    I'm concerned about turning the computer on again even though I've removed the cable and the drive. The drive underneath it got a little stained but the connections seem ok. I wonder if this could be due to the fact I recently installed extra ram? My PSU is only 500w but I really didn't think this would happen. Pictures included below, any advice welcomed. I'm thinking the drive is a goner but maybe I can copy the important data somehow if I can clean the connection?

    Pictures:

    https://imgur.com/a/yeoNF

    Edit: Also would like some backup solution suggestions, probably something in its own little package and highly reliable. Maybe a NAS? I'm not sure. I'm pretty sure i backed up the drive onto my 2TB but i don't remember the last time it happened. :(
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2015
  2. johnb35

    johnb35 Administrator Staff Member

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    Well the one drive connection is shot. Don't hook it back up. If you need the data off of it, you will need to send it off to get recovered.
     
  3. Respital

    Respital Active Member

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    3,279
    Should the rest of the computer be okay to be reconnected? Could something else have caused it to melt or is it likely just a defective connector? I'm worried about turning the computer back on and something else going wrong.
     
  4. Shane

    Shane Super Moderator Staff Member

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    20,441
    Wow,Looks like it could have been that connector but id be wanting to make sure something isnt up with the PSU before you switch it back on.
     
  5. Respital

    Respital Active Member

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    Any ideas on what to do to make sure the PSU is okay?
     
  6. johnb35

    johnb35 Administrator Staff Member

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    I would say it was a bad connector or possibly vibration or something caused it to spark and catch fire. To be on the safe side, I wouldn't use that power supply anymore though.
     
  7. strollin

    strollin Well-Known Member

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    1,981
    Without the ability to examine the drive or the connector, it would be difficult to say what caused the issue. Something in the drive could have shorted out which caused excess current flow thru the power connector causing it to melt. It would be difficult for vibration to cause a spark unless the power connector was assembled incorrectly in the first place.

    My guess would be that the drive failed and caused the problem. If you have access to a meter, you might try testing the power supply: http://pcsupport.about.com/od/toolsofthetrade/ht/power-supply-test-multimeter.htm. If you have no way to test the power supply then I would replace it and the drive.
     
  8. Respital

    Respital Active Member

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    3,279
    Okay so I've gone ahead and replaced to the PSU and everything is working..except one thing. Another drive (HDD), which was 2 below the HDD that caught fire, is causing problems. Windows says that it does not recognize the file system on the drive. The drive in question is a WD Red 2TB, the BIOS says that it is 1000GB and GSmartControl concurs. Testdisk is also giving the same thing. I'm going to try and fix it using Testdisk but I need to disconnect the other 1TB drive that i have running, to tell them apart in Testdisk.
     
  9. StrangleHold

    StrangleHold Moderator Staff Member

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    19,543
    My guess is one of the contacts on the drive shorted, which in turn shorted the SATA connector out. The strange thing is, the power supply should have tripped out/shut down.
     
  10. Respital

    Respital Active Member

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    3,279
    Perhaps it's due to the age of the PSU? It's almost been 8 years since I bought and build it and I use it for many hours a day everyday.
     
  11. Respital

    Respital Active Member

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    3,279
  12. StrangleHold

    StrangleHold Moderator Staff Member

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    19,543
    Have you reset the bios since this happen? If you have any special setting you have changed, remember what they are. Or look under your hard drive section in the bios and see what that drive is set as
     
  13. Respital

    Respital Active Member

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    3,279
    Haven't done anything to the BIOS. I did boot into it to see the drive and it only recognized it as 1000GB instead of 2000GB. I haven't made any changes to the BIOS that I can remember.

    I'm running [email protected] Partition Recovery now and doing a SuperScan. I haven't any idea why it's finding so many volumes/partitions. When i originally formatted the drive I made it into a single large partition just for data storage.

    Findings so far:
    [​IMG]
     
  14. StrangleHold

    StrangleHold Moderator Staff Member

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    19,543
    Weird, your have two 1TB NTFS and a bunch of small FAT32 partitions. That's all on one hard drive?
     
  15. Respital

    Respital Active Member

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    Yup, and i only ever formatted it into one 2TB NTFS partition. I think it's the MBR gone haywire, because the first partition that's 1TB starts almost at the beginning of the drive and goes until the end. I'm suspecting that partition is the old 'real' partition.
     
  16. johnb35

    johnb35 Administrator Staff Member

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  17. Agent Smith

    Agent Smith Well-Known Member

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    I have never heard of an Antec Earthquake. Since it was so old I bet it did not have the over voltage and other protections that current PSUs have. It looked like it was the +5 volt side of the power adapter that was drawing too much power. If that drive is still under warranty I would send it in for a replacement. I have a felling that drive is as old as the computer thorough. What kind of PSU did you get? You haven't updated your sig.


    Don't know about the 2TB HDD. Looks like it got hit when the other drive went bad. If the data is very important a professional HDD recovery service would have to be sought after. This is why it is crucial you make backups.
    As to backup software I use AOMEI Backuper.
     
  18. Respital

    Respital Active Member

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    3,279
    Actually, the funny thing is, the other drive pictured that got hit indirectly was my other 1TB drive, the 2TB drive wasn't hit by the fire at all that I can tell. I'm not sure if the drive that got hit (500GB) is still under warranty, it might be.
     
  19. Respital

    Respital Active Member

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    3,279
    Okay, so I went ahead and burned the CD. I don't see the WD utility, I'm guessing I was suppose to add it or something? Not exactly sure.

    Edit: I did see the Seagate Utility however..
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2015
  20. Respital

    Respital Active Member

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    3,279
    Not wanting to screw anything up using the boot CD, i ran the utilities on windows and the drive passed the quick test.

    edit: I've continued the SuperScan with [email protected] Partition Recovery in the meantime, luckily because I can save my progress on my SSD. So far it's only showing good sectors and a few Boot Sectors. Perhaps it's simply the MBR that's faulty?

    edit2: Finished the SuperScan, it didn't find any bad sectors, although it did say that the MBR needs to be fixed on the drive.

    https://i.imgur.com/sRNA1NL.png
    https://i.imgur.com/vCtxs3L.png

    edit3: Found this http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-1905465/2tb-drive-recognized-1tb.html leading me to this http://www.users.on.net/~fzabkar/HDD/HDD_Capacity_FAQ.html which seems possible given that I do have a Gigabyte motherboard.

    edit4: The curse of having an old motherboard : http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=10866.0 if anyone has any tips on how to fix this or how to back up my data when I can't access the drive it would be much appreciated.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2015

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