Inverter Mayhem

Discussion in 'Newbie Lounge' started by Zangetsu.ssl, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. Zangetsu.ssl

    Zangetsu.ssl Member

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    No, I'm not really a newb to PCs but boy did today make me feel like one.

    Around 3pm this arvo I smelt something that distinctively resembled PCB burning. I thought 'OH SHIT, the PSU/CPU/Mobo is about to die!', seeing how I had to replace the CM Excalibur yesterday with the slim Scythe fan on the 212+ in order to fit the extra RAM into the slots. So I quickly tried to shut down the computer. Seriously, every second you spend waiting for it to turn off feels like an eternity.

    So I did the ol' sniff and inspect test. First the CPU. Nothing. Then motherboard... ok, nothing again. Then PSU, slight lingering smell of burning PCB but not strong enough to suggest something was wrong with it. So I went on to inspect everything else and was dumbfounded when I saw that everything looked ok. Was really puzzled at this point and decided to switch the PC back on to see if the malfunctioning part would emit the smell/smoke again. For 5 minutes, nothing. Then I saw that the Scythe fan was reving up and down continuously as the temperature sensor on the Lamptron touch fan controller was going nuts (kept switching between the 34/35C which made it go from 45->100% then 100->45%). So I adjusted the setting so it the fan will only go to 100% if the case reaches 40C. 'Fixed!', or so I thought.

    For the next 3 hours I kept smelling this lingering smell of burnt PCB and thought nothing of it because the smell really does linger for ages, especially with slow moving air - like in my room. So it was about 7pm now and I went out to get some food and beer. Came back to find that the smell had gotten stronger. Didn't really think much about it... I mean come on, beer + fish + epic chips + calamari rings = win. :Pirate::thumbup: Fast forward 'til now. Did a session of CSS and noticed that one of the cathode lights was out. I thought 'Great, I recently bought the light and now its dead... >_<' - it was in the most awkward part of the case as well.

    I turned everything off again and took out the inverter. I kid you not, but aluminum bar that runs across the Thermaltake Armor case (practically shoved the inverter in there) was burning hot and gave myself a bit of a scolding on the tips of my fingers. So I pushed the damn thing out with a pen to find that the plastic had become pretty soft. :Paranoid: After I got the inverter out I noticed that the plastic had warped pretty badly as well as some scorch marks on the side.

    [​IMG]

    I opened up the bloody thing and noticed that 3 capacitors had blown causing the main inverter block to slightly melt the plastic that was surrounding it and charing the PCB itself. :shock:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And to think that was going to leave the PC on all night downloading Steam games... not to mention leaving it unattended whilst getting food. :shock: :tongue: :Paranoid: Think I may have dodged a bullet here as it could have been a lot LOT worse. :eek:

    Lets see how long the next inverter will last... seeing how my bag of inverters are now approaching 6 years old. =_=

    tl;dr - burnt inverter... that is all.

    EDIT: And excuse my lousy photography skills. I really do need to invest in a properly digital camera... instead of using my phone.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2011
  2. terrastrife

    terrastrife Member

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    excuse to upgrade to LED lighting :p

    also no need for a better camera, just need more light <:
     
  3. Creekin

    Creekin (Taking a Break)

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    i recall a guy going postal and posting about this happening a few years ago
    never trusted them since but had 6 in previous build
    never left them on unattended though :Paranoid:
    toss em all!
    LEDS FTW :thumbup:
     
  4. terrastrife

    terrastrife Member

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    i had some super old ones which started arcing, so i kinda got rid of them :p
    wow, P3 days (with automotive neons)
     
  5. GeneralDeath

    GeneralDeath Member

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    Crazy man, I think u are lucky nothing else happened while it was unattended.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Zangetsu.ssl

    Zangetsu.ssl Member

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    I would love to use LEDs but I hate how the light is very directional, i.e. it doesn't bathe everything in light like a CCFL does. Then again, I haven't really bothered to use a diffuser in the past for it... might be something I'll try in the new year. :D

    Was it this guy?

    I've got 4 in current build and another 6 or so in my old NAS. :Paranoid:

    :shock: , if mine started arcing everything literally wouldve have been screwed as 75% inverter case was surrounded by the case metal since I had wedged it into the structural bar that runs across the Armor case.
     
  7. Creekin

    Creekin (Taking a Break)

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  8. as123vb

    as123vb Member

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    What's an inverter?
     
  9. ninjath1ef

    ninjath1ef Member

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    Its the box that lets a pc power supply run a cathode.
     
  10. Creekin

    Creekin (Taking a Break)

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  11. LINUX

    LINUX Member

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    Looks like the high voltage output caps failed. These things are actually quite non-trivial to make reliably, no surprises that such a simple design failed.
     
  12. Dodge M4S

    Dodge M4S Member

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    Next time, put in a fuse. I remember a guy that got one of these installed in his Silvia under the dash and the car caught on fire. Apparently he saw smoke coming from the vents, hit it into reverse to go into his drive way and smacked into a pole. He got out to inspect the damage forgot all about the smoke and then noticed fire in his car :lol:
     
  13. OP
    OP
    Zangetsu.ssl

    Zangetsu.ssl Member

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    Actually... that wouldn't be a bad idea. Might need to do a bit of testing and would be a good excuse to brush up on my electronics knowledge! :lol: Great, all I need now is a spare PSU - kinda wish I didn't sell all my old test units.
     
  14. IMtech

    IMtech (Banned or Deleted)

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    Wow. Now I know why I've always kept my distance from those cheap CCFLs... ;) :lol:
     
  15. OP
    OP
    Zangetsu.ssl

    Zangetsu.ssl Member

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    And another one bites the dust...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Pretty much the same vintage as the first one. Seems like the same capacitor has failed. :Paranoid:

    Think this may be a sign to switch to LED lighting. :D
     
  16. Jamula

    Jamula Member

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    Best to take this as a sign :Paranoid:
     
  17. VeritronX

    VeritronX Member

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  18. Creekin

    Creekin (Taking a Break)

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    how is it better?
    Aluminium Housing ? :confused:
    same thing on the inside.
    spose the case might protect ur pc a bit
    but still not worth the risk imho
     
  19. Rendrag

    Rendrag Member

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    Why not just take the lights out? You'll save some money on power, and not look like a wanker when you have friends over :p
     
  20. dave_dave_dave

    dave_dave_dave Member

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    Years ago when i worked for a pc retailer, we stopped selling cold cathodes due to the ammount of them that had the inverter fail catastrophically.
     

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