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Did I just kill my motherboard?


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#1 HaterSlayer

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:41 PM

Today I was doing a minor RAM upgrade on my computer. I connected everything to make sure it was working. When I do this I leave the computer tilted out the bottom of the computer desk so I have fast access if any cables got crossed. Everything seemed good to go and then I needed to use the restroom. Of course as soon as I walk away the computer falls over on its side and turns off. I turn it back on and all it does is flashes an amber light. The computer is a Dell something or other and I googled to see if there was any way to fix this. The common issue is usually the power supply, but I opened up the PC to make sure everything is still connected internally and I think I may have blown some capacitors on the motherboard. I'm not sure if this is normal though:

 

0505144023_zps137cece5.jpg

 

 

Three of them have black stuff on them(sorry about assy picks) which I'm assuming isn't good. Is this what it looks like to you guys? Is there any way I can test the computer to get a definitive answer? Thanks for any help.


Edited by HaterSlayer, 05 May 2013 - 02:47 PM.


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#2 MrBruce1959

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:06 PM

Hello and welcome to Bleeping Computer.

Although your image is somewhat blurry, I can plainly see that the electrolyte has oozed out of the air vents of your electrolytic capacitors.

You stated that you were doing a RAM upgrade to your computer, so I am assuming this motherboard has been in use for sometime now.

Since this is probably the case, it is hard to determine if the leakage is from normal ware or if you shorted something out and the leakage is caused by that. Often times, caps will explode if shorted out.

Have you noticed this condition before you started working on this system?

An amber flashing light in Dell computers indicates a system board error, does your computer case have a model number on the case front?

You can identify a Dell motherboard by the service tag number found on the computer case. If this number is missing or if the case is not the original case, you can post the numbers on the bar code located on the motherboard and I'll see if I can identify the motherboard.

Those leaking capacitors can be replaced with new ones, this however, takes knowledge of electronics repair and good soldering skills.

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#3 rotor123

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 08:48 PM

Just to ad to what Mr. Bruce said, You have Bad capacitors for sure and they look like they died from old age.

 

If You feel skilled enough go to this forum http://www.badcaps.net/ main page.

This page http://www.badcaps.net/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=8

is called "Recapping Your Motherboard"

It isn't hard, In the last few years I probably did around 100 motherboards. Most important is taking your time and being gentle.

 

Read the pages and decide if you want to try it yourself or send it off for repair to there or there are also several places that advertise on Ebay.

 

Good Luck

Roger


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#4 HaterSlayer

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 10:12 PM

Thanks for the help guys. First of all the computer is a Dell Dimension C521

 

As far as the capacitors go I want to say I did think that I noticed stuff on them before. If it was the motherboard would that stop the fan in the power supply from coming on?



#5 rotor123

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 02:08 PM

Hi, Service manual is here ftp://ftp.dell.com/Manuals/all-products/esuprt_desktop/esuprt_dimension_desktops/dimension-c521_service%20manual_en-us.pdf

 

From the diagnostic section.

Blinking
Amber
 
A possible power supply failure has occurred. The system has not
received a Power Good signal from the power supply
 

 

 

However that is not 100% sure. I know I wouldn't put a new power supply into it until the bad capacitors were fixed.

Do any of the four diagnostic lights come on.

 

They can cause unreliable operation or not turning on as in Your case.

 

Good Luck

Roger


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#6 HaterSlayer

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 05:06 PM

Where are the diagnostic lights supposed to be? The only lights I see is the flashing amber light and there is an amber light on the mobo that I guess is supposed to signal it's getting power. I'm not sure if that light should be green or amber though.



#7 rotor123

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 08:44 PM

According to the Service manual I linked

Diagnostic Lights
 
 
 
To help you troubleshoot a problem, your computer has four lights labeled "1," "2," "3," and "4" on the front panel. When the computer starts normally, the
lights flash. After the computer starts, all four lights display solid green. If the computer malfunctions, the color and sequence of the lights identify the problem.
 

 

Page 49 of the manual shows results and what they mean. They also may not light.

 

I'm sorry for the delay, I had meant to include this information in the earlier post and a family emergency came up and I had to go.

 

Those bad capacitors may be throwing everything off.

 

Good Luck

Roger


Edited by rotor123, 07 May 2013 - 08:45 PM.

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#8 HaterSlayer

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 05:57 PM

Thanks a lot guys. It took me a while to respond because I've had to use my PS3 to post here and it can't read PDF. I'm on a laptop now and checked out the error lights and nothing is coming on so it seems like there is an issue with the power supply. How hard is a power supply to install? I'm somewhat of a neophyte with installing hardware. I installed some RAM(as we all know) and a hard drive on this PC. I'm assuming it's basically just unscrewing the old one and screwing in the new PSU and plugging it into the mobo. Am I right? I did a search for prices and I see some used ones from $30 and some refurbished ones that are $80. Should I be highly suspicious of the cheap ones? Oh and is there any way to tinker with the PSU I have to see if I can bring it back to life?



#9 caperdog

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 10:28 AM

 I know I wouldn't put a new power supply into it until the bad capacitors were fixed.

Ditto that.

That being said, you sound like you would have no problem installing a power supply. New for that machine would be less than $100 so why look at refurbished. I would not be scared of used but the trick with used is you need a KNOWN working supply for your test.

Can you borrow one from another machine ?

 

To answer your last two questions, I have had issues with cheap no name supplies and if time and money mean anything don't tinker, just put the new component in.



#10 Anshad Edavana

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 10:37 AM

Hi

 

Did you replaced the bad caps first ?. If not, use a good quality brand (like Rubicon) and make sure the heat capacity is 105 C.

 

Here are some reputed brand's list. http://www.badcaps.net/forum/showthread.php?t=414


Edited by Anshad Edavana, 12 May 2013 - 10:40 AM.


#11 HaterSlayer

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 12:09 AM

Wait, so the bad caps could be causing this issue?



#12 Anshad Edavana

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 03:06 AM

Hi

 

Bad caps can cause the issue. A shorted cap create overload in the SMPS output and as a result the SMPS overload protection may shutdown the SMPS. 

 

Even if your SMPS is actually bad, i don't recommend replacing SMPS without replacing that caps. Due to the unfiltered voltages, system may restart. freez or may shows blue screens. So replace the caps and SMPS together (if it is bad ). You can test the SMPS by disconnecting it from the motherboard. After removed all connections, short the green pin of the SMPS with any black (ground) pin using a piece of wire and the Fan will start to spin.

 

http://www.wikihow.com/Start-a-SMPS-Without-a-Motherboard

 



#13 rotor123

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 02:05 PM

Wait, so the bad caps could be causing this issue?

 

Of course, that is why it was suggested to fix them first.

 

Just to add the reason I said it looked like old age, is if they were hit by a voltage that killed them instantly 1 or more would have shot the outer casing off and given a loud pop at the time.

 

Bad capacitors can cause many problems from instability to keeping a computer from powering on.

 

If you replace them or have them replaced use the right Nichicon or Rubycon or Sanyo line of capacitors.

 

Good Luck

Roger


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