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Sparking from motherboard (near 24-pin ATX)

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#1 m0arpheus


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Posted 24 September 2013 - 10:10 PM


Hi everybody, long time reader, first time poster. Could you guys/gals help me out on this problem? Let's get to it:

I'm a tech at a computer repair shop and am working on a kid's gaming PC build that sparks when RAM is in and displays the red CPU LED consistently with RAM in or out and does not run video out (though components seem to be functioning - fans running, PSU supplying power, HDD powering on, etc.). Here are the specs:

Asus m5a99x mobo
AMD FX CPU (can't remember just this moment what model, I know it is compatible with the mobo)
4x2gb Corsair vengeance DDR3 1600mhz RAM
Antec 500w PSU

What I've done so far (in order, just my process, please feel free to let me know if I've done something horribly wrong here):

1. Put the mobo in the case(IBM server case)
2. Put 1 RAM module in the slot closest to the CPU
3. Got all the standoffs in (not brass, just black-looking ones that came with the case apparently) and checked for damage to board or stray bits lying around
4. put in the CPU, cleaned and reapplied thermal paste and cooler (kuhler 620 water cooler)
5. Plugged in the power sw, reset sw, power led, hdd led, etc (no speaker came with this board, but tested with one and no POST codes came through)
6. Put in the 4/8 pin power connector AND the 24-pin ATX power connector since the PSU has both and the mobo seems to require them both
7. Plugged the power cable into the black and flipped on the switch, with RAM in the slot closest to the CPU, BOOM spark and crackle, red CPU LED still on
8. Turned off power, removed RAM, tested again; no spark, but red CPU LED still on
9. Powered down, tested different RAM in different slot; no spark, red CPU LED still on
10. Post to Bleeping Computer because I'm out of ideas. Maybe the CPU or PSU?

As always, thanks everyone for any help you can provide to me. Bleeping Computer hasn't steered me wrong before. As I said, I'm stumped at this point and I've got that tech rage/mad curiosity building to figure out what's going wrong.



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#2 Chris Cosgrove

Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 04:17 PM

Don't call me a pessimist, but I think the mobo, or at least the RAM socket, is fried. Which is effectively the same thing. Mobos are NOT supposed to give off showers of sparks ! 


I know you say you have checked, but it could be a very small foreign body shorting out tracks or damage to the tracks themselves. This is the sort of thing you need a good magnifying glass and a fair bit of time to find.


I would be inclined to test each RAM stick in another computer just to make sure they are all working. If the socket itself is at fault it could well have damaged the RAM. I don't think it is the PSU as you say the HD is spinning up, which suggest at least that the 12 V rail is working and you should be able to check the rest of the voltages on the large supply plug. It was always my understanding that the red LED indicated hard drive activity, which would go along with what you are saying. The computer is trying to boot, which calls for the hard drive to be accessed, which causes the LED to light.


If you are seriously concerned about the possibility of PSU failure, then the simplest test is to plug another one in instead, but I think you will find it is the mobo. Pity - it is a fairly expensive board.


Chris Cosgrove

#3 Guest_RoutaSielu_*


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Posted 25 September 2013 - 10:05 PM

Check with Asus service site to see if possible to get an RMA. All their boards should have 3 years warranty, except Sabertooth and RoG I believe have 5 years warranty.


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