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Death by surge!!

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#1 motusman


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Posted 08 October 2013 - 06:28 AM

Hiya folks, a brief history of my problem...


I am a semi-pro photographer operating an on-site printing service, using a 2.6Kw generator running through a garage type consumer unit.


A few weeks ago I started the genny and by the time I had opened up the back of my van (under 10 seconds) smoke  was filling my PC Tower. I immediately flipped the switch on the consumer unit. Apparently, when the PSU shorted it caused a surge, and even though none of the devices were switched on they were all plugged in so were technically live. I did not have a surge protector fitted and the generator is not one of those fancy sine wave jobs.


The pc power supply had shorted out and was dripping liquid from underneath where the fan was. The resulting damage is very surprising. Both my monitor and printer stopped working, (the internal fuses had blown) but the biggest headache is the computer!!


I fitted a replacement PSU and initially forgot to fit one of the power leads to the boar - PCI-E,, the CPU fan worked, but nothing else did. I then fitted the said correct lead and............................. nothing!!!!!!!!


The small light on the motherboard is illuminated so power is presumably getting through. I even changed the on/off switch at the front of the pc.


Please can anybody save my sanity and perhaps suggest what may be wrong with the MB?


My system is as follows:


Ace A-750BR PSU (brand new)

Sabretooth 990FX Motherboard

AMD FX 8-Core Processor Black Edition

12Gb DDR3 memory

GeForce 8800GTS Graphics card.


If you require any other details please ask :o)





Edited by motusman, 08 October 2013 - 06:30 AM.

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#2 Platypus


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Posted 08 October 2013 - 06:58 AM

After a disaster like that,  you might have damage in more than one area, which makes faultfinding complex. However since it was engaging the PCIe power connector that stopped the PSU from starting, I'd suggest the video card as first candidate. The little light on the mainboard usually indicates standby power active, so that you don't forget and fit memory or something with it on.


If after removing the video card it goes back to the same behavior as it did when the PCIe power wasn't connected, looks like you could bin the video card, then fault find further. If it still won't start without the video card in, look elsewhere.


Overall the best procedure where there is likely to be more than one faulty component is to remove everything but the CPU from the mainboard and see if it will start up and give the error beeps for no RAM found. If not, the mainboard itself or CPU (or both) are suspect. If it starts and protests, then you can progressively fit memory, video (original if OK or substitute if dead), drives etc until you've proven what works.

Edited by Platypus, 08 October 2013 - 06:59 AM.

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#3 Netghost56


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Posted 08 October 2013 - 09:13 AM

Think you have learned from your mistakes, ie, no surge protector.


I would go in for a new motherboard regardless, because even if you do succeed in finding the issue, the future of that motherboard after this is uncertain.

I would be more concerned about the status of your hard drive, where your work is stored.

#4 motusman

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 02:11 PM

Apologies for the delay in replying.


@Netghost56, I have been able to get into the hard drive by connecting it to another pc, it works fine, so that's 1 worry out of the way :o)


@Platypus, I've removed the graphics card, then realised that the MB doesn't have an inbuilt graphics card....so I've ordered a cheapo off fleabay, only so I can test it on the MB. As for changing either the MB or CPU then that is unfortunately not possible at the moment as it would cost nearly £400. I could buy a new MB and discover it was the processor that was a fault, and vice versa....


I am going to pass it on to a friend who has an electronic business, he is going to see what can be done, if anything, and if necessary I'll have to go to a standard MB and a slower CPU, I will have to just be patient with the slowness of it all. Thankfully printing is done via a Fotolusia DS80 dye sub printer which wasn't affected by the surge (thank goodness)


I'll keep you advised as I'm sure someone else might benefit from my mistakes lol


Thanks for your suggestions, greatly appreciated...



#5 rotor123


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Posted 11 October 2013 - 01:08 PM

One other thought, For the future You might look at a hardware item that Will Isolate the Hardware from the generator. Either a Line conditioner or better a UPS of the type that is always feeding the equipment.


From here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uninterruptible_power_supply

This section.



The online UPS is ideal for environments where electrical isolation is necessary or for equipment that is very sensitive to power fluctuations. Although once previously reserved for very large installations of 10 kW or more, advances in technology have now permitted it to be available as a common consumer device, supplying 500 watts or less. The initial cost of the online UPS may be higher, but its total cost of ownership is generally lower due to longer battery life. The online UPS may be necessary when the power environment is "noisy", when utility power sags, outages and other anomalies are frequent, when protection of sensitive IT equipment loads is required, or when operation from an extended-run backup generator is necessary.

The basic technology of the online UPS is the same as in a standby or line-interactive UPS. However it typically costs much more, due to it having a much greater current AC-to-DC battery-charger/rectifier, and with the rectifier and inverter designed to run continuously with improved cooling systems. It is called a double-conversion UPS due to the rectifier directly driving the inverter, even when powered from normal AC current.

In an online UPS, the batteries are always connected to the inverter, so that no power transfer switches are necessary. When power loss occurs, the rectifier simply drops out of the circuit and the batteries keep the power steady and unchanged. When power is restored, the rectifier resumes carrying most of the load and begins charging the batteries, though the charging current may be limited to prevent the high-power rectifier from overheating the batteries and boiling off the electrolyte.

The main advantage to the on-line UPS is its ability to provide an electrical firewall between the incoming utility power and sensitive electronic equipment.

Note the bolded section. make sure it would work with Your Generator.

I also have one question, Are You saying generator when You mean a 12VDC to Line voltage inverter?


Good Luck


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