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Computer Smells! What Could It Be?!?

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#1
I built a computer for my aunt quite a while ago...and now she recently called me and told me that it smells pretty bad, and she said that she couldn't quite describe the odor, but it didn't smell like it was burning at all. At first I thought something was burning, but she said that it doesn't smell like a burn and she's been using the computer fine for about a week when it started happening. I'm going there tomorrow and I told her to keep it of for the meantime, but what could it be? If it's not a burn, could it be a plastic melting? She's using the computer fine (and it's on almost 24/7), so it might not be on the major components, but what could it be?

Thanks for the help members!

Also, she just told me that the computer won't turn on anymore. Could it be the power supply?
 
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#3
I think a capacitor blew. Check the motherboard and see if there any popped/leaked caps. If not, then its the psu.
 

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#4
it sounds like it could be the PSU in my opinion but I'm not really skilled in these matters if I'm not witnessing the problem in person :(
 
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#5
I think a capacitor blew. Check the motherboard and see if there any popped/leaked caps. If not, then its the psu.
Alright, I'll check and make sure if anything blew. But the last time I checked it most, if not all, of the smell came from the PSU area...

Anything else?
 

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#6
Sounds like a PSU/MB thing, but until you see it for yourself (and even then if no obvious signs) it would be tough to diagnose. Do you have any digital multimeter to test the PSU with? Also, if available, a couple of spare parts (PSU particularly) would help diagnose. Do a cmos reset first thing when you look at it (if there are no obvious signs of something fried).
 
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#8
Alright, I'll check and make sure if anything blew. But the last time I checked it most, if not all, of the smell came from the PSU area...

Anything else?
Also check the resistors, see if any melted or when black. Its easy to spot them.
 
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#9
Sounds like a PSU/MB thing, but until you see it for yourself (and even then if no obvious signs) it would be tough to diagnose. Do you have any digital multimeter to test the PSU with? Also, if available, a couple of spare parts (PSU particularly) would help diagnose. Do a cmos reset first thing when you look at it (if there are no obvious signs of something fried).
So I'll do a CMOS reset when I get there and try turning it on again. I'll bring a spare PSU and see if it'll power on. If still nothing, then what?
 

JrRacinFan

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#10
Definitely a cap in the power supply. Could just be from burning from use or it could be that it actually popped and is leaking.

I would replace it as soon as possible. It could fry the whole system.

EDIT: Just noticed you stated it is now not turning on. Better be prepared to replace the whole system. Definitely power supply.
 
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#11
Definitely a cap in the power supply. Could just be from burning from use or it could be that it actually popped and is leaking.

I would replace it as soon as possible. It could fry the whole system.

EDIT: Just noticed you stated it is now not turning on. Better be prepared to replace the whole system. Definitely power supply.
The whole system? If I test it with a new power supply and it works, then I should just get a brand new (reliable) power supply and it "should be fine, right?
 

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#13
Well, again assuming no obvious signs of trauma, check silly things first (cord came loose from wall, no blown fuse, case power switch still works/did not come dislodged etc). If your new PSU doesnt fix, its most likely the MB went poof.
 
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#14
hot capacitor juice does have a weird smell, id say its a cap too.
 

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#15
u didnt leave a week old sock in it did u :laugh::laugh:
 

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#16
i had a customer come into my store one time with that problem.

i opened it up and turned out their dog to a piss on the side of the computer and it shot in the vent whole on the side of the case.

does she have any pets? who knows...
 

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#17
The whole system? If I test it with a new power supply and it works, then I should just get a brand new (reliable) power supply and it "should be fine, right?
Well, just be careful. If the motherboard is bad it may blow your extra power supply. If you notice any really bad instabilities then the motherboard is damaged, TURN IT OFF IMMEDIATELY!
 

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#18
The whole system? If I test it with a new power supply and it works, then I should just get a brand new (reliable) power supply and it "should be fine, right?
Should be, but check all components as previously mentioned try to seek out the cause of the fail in the first place, an exessive build up ( dust, dirt or foreign object may have got in ) of heat near or in the psu or mobo, hope this helps.
 
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#19
When she first told me about it, she said it's been smelling for about a few days, but she was still using it. I went there and I told her that the majority of the smell was coming from the PSU area. She's been using it for two weeks ever since, and now she just said it won't turn on anymore.

The PSU is Rosewill by the way...I know I know.
 
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#20
Should be, but check all components as previously mentioned try to seek out the cause of the fail in the first place, an exessive build up ( dust, dirt or foreign object may have got in ) of heat near or in the psu or mobo, hope this helps.
It was pretty dusty, so I might spray with with compressed air...that should be fine.
 

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#21
i had a customer come into my store one time with that problem.

i opened it up and turned out their dog to a piss on the side of the computer and it shot in the vent whole on the side of the case.

does she have any pets? who knows...
:laugh::):laugh::laugh:
 

JrRacinFan

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#22

Ehstii

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#23
I am sorry to say but there is the problem right there.
hey, i havent had any problem with a rosewill PSU, i have one in my PC and ive never had a problem. and i use them in all the PCs i build and sell to customers.



but it will be just my luck that later tonight when i get home from the gym ill go to turn on my PC and it wont work...
 
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#24
I am sorry to say but there is the problem right there.
I'll be going there soon. I'll just test it with a my spare PSU. Then if it works with the spare I guess it's time to replace the Rosewill?
 

JrRacinFan

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#25
Oh i know, Rosewills are the type of brand:,If you get one it will either last you like 20+ years or will blow within 3-4 months.

@Azn

Exactly. Grab up one of mine. I know on newegg it says Dynapower but trust me ITS NOT! Its like $20.