Can't 'Ya Smell That Smell!?!?!?
In the spirit of that Lynyrd Skynyrd tune, this was similar to what my Wife and I said when we returned home last Monday Evening.
We left for about two hours. Returning home, went into our Computer Room and there was an extremely odd odor! Our Cats were in there also (along with their Cat Box), but that wasn't the smell! This was more like Vinyl. - Hard Emphasis on the word Vinyl!
Not burnt Vinyl, more like fresh from the Factory Vinyl.
So anyhow, I go to my Workstation to jump back on a CAD Plan Set. Notice the CD-ROM drive tray is out! (Drive is open). Upon further investigation, also notice that the front panel Power LED is dark (Powered Down).
Puzzled, I look at the Plug Strips to see if maybe the Cats had turned one off (which they do sometimes). Then look to see if all breakers are on. Everything is on. Try the Monitor - it powers up with an expected "No Signal" indication, since the CPU is down.
*** Did I mention the Cats are acting very strange and will not go anywhere near my Workstation?***
So I try to Power up the Workstation - no luck! Not even able to begin POST! Dead as a Door Nail!
That's when it hit me!!! The Smell, The CD-ROM tray, The Cats, The No-POST..... OH NO!!! BOARD / POWER SUPPLY FAILURE!!!
Opened up the case, and sure enough that smell was deep inside it! Cats are still keeping their distance!
First thing I try was the CPU fan (Slot 1 Type CPU). The Fan is stuck. Remnants of Smoke "Pops" on the sides, indicate loss of smoke from the CPU Fan (hoping smoke is still inside CPU!).
Next, I wanted to see if this might have blown the internal fuse of the Power Supply (The SMPS). Open it up, massive smell and "Smoke Pops" found around the cooling Fan, and the PCB appears to have been overheated. Fan inside Power Supply is totally fried! Will not spin for anything! Now I have two failed Hardware items.
Knowing firmly that when a Computer has problems like this, things happen in "Threes", so I look around for another failed item - still praying that the Motherboard and CPU continue to hold their smoke.
As I am doing a visual of the DRAM and Expansion Bus, I notice a little Barbecued edge on the SVGA Video Adapter. The Chipset is facing away from me, so I did not notice anything right away.
Removing the Video adapter, I found the 3rd Hardware Failure!!!
The images below should make you cry! (I almost did! Explanation to follow)
Image 1: An overview of the SVGA Adapter; notice the Barbecued VRAM IC on the lower right side.
Image 2: Closer overview of the Adapter. Barbecue marks can be seen much better now!
Image 3: This overview shows the little piece of VINYL (Poly VINYL Chloride) that I had seen, while the card was still in the Expansion Bus Slot and only could see the opposite side.
Images 4 and 5: These close-ups show the damaged VRAM and controller ICs on this SVGA Video Adapter. (I know, PCI Video??? It gets explained below)
Well, this Workstation was used to do my AutoCAD work, and had AutoCAD plus Plotter profiles setup and tweaked out nicely. That was the only downfall here!!! FINALLY LEARNED FROM MISTAKES!!! YAHOO!!!
After the previously experienced LAN / Hard Drive Fiasco, ALL work was saved to each Workstation on the LAN (total of 5 Workstations). Also, due to the last scenario, finally figured an alternate "Spare PC" was a good idea!
It took me about 4 hours to re-set everything on the LAN, plus get the "Spare" configured with AutoCAD and the Plotter, and that was taking my time!
Fortunately, only lost two completed CAD pages, which were not saved to the LAN W/S, but were Plotted just before the failure!
The failed SVGA Video Adapter was for PCI Bus. When I built this machine in early 1998, I wanted to use AGP Video card, but Frys was out of them - so I settled for the PCI card. It worked fine until the Smoke fell out this week. The Resolution and Pixel Depth was 800x600 @ 16 Bit from 1998 to around mid 2001. This was due to using a simple 14" SVGA Monitor, and the machine was an Alternate W/S + Server (if that makes any sense!). When my original P5-166 machine died, I began using this Workstation as primary W/S. This machine is AL440LX Based Board, with a PII 233 MHz CPU.
Used the Monitor from the old P5 machine, which is a nice 19" SVGA, so I bumped the Graphics up to 1024x768 @ 16 bit.
Also, all Workstations and Servers are Powered Up 24/7/365 (On Always). Had found this to be beneficial, but after this situation, my thoughts are changing!!!
Moral of story: We were gone only Two Hours, and this Chaos occurred! Everything was fine and the machine was working before we left. Never underestimate the laws of Murphy!!!
Fortunately there was no fire, and we left windows open while we were gone - this kept the Cats from being subjected to the Smoke.
Now its time to visit Frys again!!!
I am thinking this was the chain of events:
[*]The CPU Fan stalled and fried - possibly stalled long before all the other resultant failures,
[*]This caused the CPU to heatsink into the Motherboard, which found its way through the SVGA card, and the heat dissipated through the edge of the card,
[*]The extreme heat caused the VRAM ICs to fail,
[*]All this stuff failing caused the Power Supply to produce extreme heat, plus the Fan inside the supply was subjected to extreme heat,
[*]This lead to the demise of the Power Supply
[*]Prior to complete Power Loss, the machine went through some "Odd States Of Being", causing the CD Tray to eject, and possibly odd noises to be produced - judging from the Cats' reactions!
Anyone have thoughts on this???