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Gassing Off - Motherboards that Smell?

Cliff posted more than 12 years ago | from the potential-health-hazards dept.

Hardware 88

dmauer asks: "I recently purchased what ought to have been my Dream Machine. An uber-fast dual Athlon with oodles of speedy RAM, a Geforce4, and a hard drive big enough to choke a horse (all in a snazzy aluminum case, even). So I get the thing home, set it up, and proceed to install Debian, making sure all my hardware is working nicely, etc., etc., and then I realize that there's a problem I hadn't anticipated. It smells." Usually when consumer electronics have a distinctive smell, something is wrong. Has anyone else run into such a problem, before? Assuming this isn't a electronic or health problem, what can one do to eliminate the odor from the immediate area without resorting to periodic fumigations?

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It's not the motherboard that smells (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4222262)

It's you. Take a shower, you stinky fuck!

Smelly Athlons (2, Interesting)

C0LDFusion (541865) | more than 12 years ago | (#4222377)

I have an Athlon 1600. When I first got it, it had an odd smell, too. All I did was run it for 48 hours with lots of cooling. After that, no smell.

Try attaching a drive-bay fan, run the computer for a while, and see if it helps.

Re:Smelly Athlons (2, Informative)

retrac (60508) | more than 12 years ago | (#4222435)

Turn on your computer and leave it on for the first months constantly.

If your hardware will break it will be within this time. After the first +500hrs of burn-in most chips will last to the MTBF specified.

And everything you bought will be on at minimum 3 month warranty which you can return.

As for the smell, it might just be some grease or such from the installer in a hot part/supply. If after a couple days it doesn't go away get it looked at. If it really worries you, open the case and try to isolate the location down, see if you can visually find a busted cap.

LAter

it farted (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4222380)

yep, it had to have farted.

smells like what? (2)

tongue (30814) | more than 12 years ago | (#4222383)

what are you smelling? if its something like burning rubber or toast or something acrid, its probably the equipment, and its probably a fire hazard. kind of gives new meaning to the idea of a burn-in test :)

if its just your average stinky smell, why didn't you smell it before you got everything installed?

Re:smells like what? (4, Informative)

dmauer (71583) | more than 12 years ago | (#4222474)

It's a somewhat metallic smell. The supposition that it's epoxy or something from the motherboard gassing off due to the heat produced by the chips seems pretty likely. Anyway, it's not really the odor that's the problem: the real issue is that while it only slightly annoys me, my girlfriend has a pretty strong reaction to whatever it's gassing off, to the extent that it actually makes her feel sick, get a sore throat, and have trouble breathing, which Just Ain't Okay.

Someone mentioned getting the motherboard replaced: well, it's a dual athlon, and to my knowledge there's only one motherboard available with the appropriate chipset (the Asus board I have). Or is this something that actually might be different on two of the 'same' motherboard?

Thanks,
-Dan

Dual Athlon boards (2, Informative)

Outland Traveller (12138) | more than 12 years ago | (#4222505)

FYI, I've had great luck with my dual athlon tyan board. It's going on 9 months uptime. So, there's choices out there if you want to look around.

Most electronics do have a smell when you first begin using them. The smell usually goes away after a week or so.

Re:smells like what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4223400)

Hmm...perhaps instead of bitching you could just open a fucking window?

Re:smells like what? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4223807)

Are you sure that it is not your power supply? I have had "stinky computer" a few times before, and have noticed that it was the power supply burning in. It went away the more that I had it on. Another thing to try is a plastic straw on the rim of your nose and stick it around the case, breathing normally. You get the idea.

Re:smells like what? (2)

TheOnlyCoolTim (264997) | more than 12 years ago | (#4224812)

I, too, have had power supplies smell, but only when they are about to break or have broken - the capacitors burn up and produce a burnt insulation smell. Sometimes it will even keep working for a while...

I also got a lot of laughs when I once checked a computer at school that wouldn't turn on - I sniffed the case and said, "The power supply doesn't smell broken..."

Tim

Re:smells like what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4225511)

I had an enermax Power Supply. It took about 2 months for the "new power supply" smell die down to tolerable levels. I had to put the PC in a different room until it stopped giving me a headache. For some reason, these seem to be the stinkiest supplies on the face of the earth - like they have the Glade Wizard "warm oily plastic" plugin next to it.
I think they use a lot of epoxy on the connections to keep them from arcing (switching power supply and all), but it gets warm and releases a smell for a while.

Re:smells like what? (2)

ncc74656 (45571) | more than 12 years ago | (#4257884)

Are you sure that it is not your power supply? I have had "stinky computer" a few times before, and have noticed that it was the power supply burning in. It went away the more that I had it on.

If a power supply starts to smell, something in it is threatening to overheat. Replace it now, before it decides to kick the bucket and take the rest of the computer with it.

Re:smells like what? (2)

Papineau (527159) | more than 12 years ago | (#4224065)

There's more than the ASUS A7M266D (I have one too) with the 760MPX chipset. Tyan's Tiger MPX, MSI' K7D Master (L), Epox's M762A and Gigabyte's GA-7DPXDW are the other 760MPX boards I know of. If you want to go back to the 760MP, Tyan's Thunder MP and Tiger MP are the only boards sporting that chipset.

The various 760MPX boards vary by what's onboard. Some have almost nothing, some others have sound only, and some have Ethernet (with an Intel chip for the MSI). Depending on your cooling solution, some have the 4 holes around the socket A, some don't. But if you chose the ASUS, I guess you don't use them (they can be drilled though).

I don't recall a metallic smell the first times I powered it. It did got hot though :)

Re:smells like what? (5, Informative)

Perdo (151843) | more than 12 years ago | (#4224860)

Turn your oven to 100 degrees F, use a thermometer to insure that is actually 100 degrees F. Prepare a cookie sheet with a half inch layer of baking soda and a half inch layer of sand on top of the soda. Place the offending circuit board component side down on the sand bed. Insure that there are no insulated wires in with it (remove the northbridge cooler). Cook for 24 hours. Raise temp to 140 for another 48 hours.

The board did not get cooked long enough at the fab to get all the flux out of the soldier. It will not last long without a good cooking. The soldier will be very prone to cracking until the board is properly cooked.

DO NOT try to accelerate the process by using higher heat. The plastic components will melt. this is normally done before the capacitors are mounted so be SURE not to exceed 140 F.

Let it cool at 100 F for 4 hours then cool overnight with oven powered off still on it's sandbed until the thermometer is reading same as ambient air temprature.

Clean Oven before and after. Use the vent fan the entire time the process is running. Failure rate should be 5-15%. Boot the board clean (no components, CPU, memory) listen for no CPU beep code, add processor, listen for no memory beep code, add memory, listen for no video beep code, and video card etc...

The sand bed is hazardous waste. Flux, while a paste at room temperature, is an acid when heated.

Re:smells like what? (3, Informative)

Jerf (17166) | more than 12 years ago | (#4225728)

Better yet, if that's REALLY the problem (no experience, no knowlege, no judgement intended), return it and get your money back. That's a just-plain shoddy product and you should not be required to take the risks involved in following that procedure in your home (both to your health and the health of the motherboard) when you don't have the proper equipment.

It may even just be a bad batch of motherboards that was shipped out improperly processed.

Re:smells like what? (2, Interesting)

fean (212516) | more than 12 years ago | (#4225785)

I agree with both parent posters :-)

if you're a do-it-yourselfer, try baking it... my girlfriend gets violently sick when she smells flux (therefore my bench is outside, which is a bitch in south dakota winters), so baking it should get rid of the offending oder....

Otherwise return it if you bought it locally, or try and get a RMA if you got it online..

I've baked a couple boards that didn't get the "de-fluxed" completely, with mixed results, but if you follow his procedure closely (keep an eye on the temps!!!!), you'll be fine

Re:smells like what? (2)

return 42 (459012) | more than 12 years ago | (#4228146)

Sounds like Perdo knows what s/he's talking about, but I can't help wondering why someone with so much electronics knowledge thinks "solder" is spelled "soldier"...

Re:smells like what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4228352)

Flux is water soluble nowadays. Just rinse with deionized water you find at the supermarket.

"Failure rate should be 5-15%." Why not just take the board back? Failure rate should be 0%.

My guess is the solder resist smells. The surface area of the entire board would give off enough gas to smell. The resist is just paint. Glorified paint.

You like complex solutions to probably non-existent problems, dontcha?

You can perform this procedure (1)

rabbits77 (453747) | more than 12 years ago | (#4237628)

While watching a marathon of The Prisoner [theonion.com] .

Re:smells like what? (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 12 years ago | (#4235099)

it's a dual athlon, and to my knowledge there's only one motherboard available with the appropriate chipset

If it's the only board like that, it might be simpler to get your girlfriend replaced :-)

dump that retarded gf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4235985)

I have a sister-in-law that has this "affliction" and talking about offgassing. I think that it's complete bullshit. Everytime you turn around new smells are some kind of poison that only causes problems for her.
I think your gf has a mental problem.

Long drive? (2, Insightful)

handsomepete (561396) | more than 12 years ago | (#4222389)

Unless the store that you bought the board at has an obscene return policy (or is thousands of miles away), just take it back and get a new one that doesn't stink. It'll probably drive you nuts and you can't blame it on the dog forever.

Otherwise, stick a plug-in deodorizer in your power strip and keep it fresh.

As an aside, isn't the most common computer 'stink' burn-in which usually goes away? Just curious.

Plug in deoderizers = neurotoxin (4, Interesting)

bbk (33798) | more than 12 years ago | (#4223412)

(I know, offtopic)

Using plug in deoderizers is generally a bad idea. How they work is by spreading a chemical agent that overloads certain neurreceptors in your brain, the ones that sense the "bad smell", so you can't smell it. Using these can really mess up your brain chemistry over the long term, and cause headaches, etc, over the short term.

BBK

Re:Plug in deoderizers = neurotoxin (1)

handsomepete (561396) | more than 12 years ago | (#4223504)

No kidding? Is there somewhere where I can read about it? I hadn't heard that before. Interesting.

And here I was thinking that it was /. that was rotting my brain while I sat in front of the computer...

Re:Plug in deoderizers = neurotoxin (4, Interesting)

3waygeek (58990) | more than 12 years ago | (#4223844)

The Straight Dope [straightdope.com] on air fresheners.

Re:Plug in deoderizers = neurotoxin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4224328)

Great...that's only 22 years old -- how current. I have some 22 year old fumunda cheese somewhere. Do you suppose that's a neurotoxin by now?

Re:Plug in deoderizers = neurotoxin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4223551)

Thanks for citing a reputable source. This seems very believable.

Please tell me how flouride in the water is really a mind control agent.

It's Debian (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4222391)

type "apt-get remove odor" and that should do it. Let that teach you to heedless select everything in tasksel ! Always unselect the "workstation that stinks so people will leave me alone" option.

You're half right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4227495)

It is the OS. Remove Linux from your box. That should remove the smell.

Clean the board (2, Insightful)

Cyrano_De (2992) | more than 12 years ago | (#4222466)

Remove the MB and any cards. You can use rubbing alcohol to cleanse the boards. That might get any oder off. Make sure to let them dry for a few hours after dipping the boards.

Re:Clean the board (1)

dmauer (71583) | more than 12 years ago | (#4222545)

Dipping?

Like, actually dip the boards in alcohol?

And by "Boards" do you mean everything? the MB, the Graphics board, all that?

I must say, the idea of dipping my hardware in anything rather disturbs me.

-D

Re:Clean the board (0)

jaymz168 (555580) | more than 12 years ago | (#4222747)

If you think that's scary, check this [octools.com] out! BTW, this -basically- how the old Crays were cooled.

Re:Clean the board (3, Interesting)

Cyrano_De (2992) | more than 12 years ago | (#4222757)

Alcohol is fairly commonly used to clean board of solder resin from the manufacturing/repair process. At Motorola we used alcohol quite frequently to clean the boards of all the pagers that ran through. As long as there is no power going through it you can dip the entire board in Alcohol with no ill effects. I would take a small stiff bristled brush to the underside. I used to clean the inside of keyboards with this method before it became cheaper to buy a new one then pay me for 20 minutes of labor.

Re:Clean the board (2)

shepd (155729) | more than 12 years ago | (#4225479)

Two important things to do before following that advice:

- Remove the battery from the motherboard prior to insertion.
- Be sure you buy pure rubbing alcohol. The 70% USP stuff at the Drugstore/Chemists is not what you want for this job.

Bonus:

- The motherboard will stink like polysporin for a while instead... :-D

Re:Clean the board (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4228518)

vodka vodka vodka. just dunk the machine in vodka or toss a bottle of good smirnoff vodka on top of it. no smell and its a bloody good cleaner.

Athlons cover (2, Informative)

brejc8 (223089) | more than 12 years ago | (#4222496)

A friend called me o month ago when he make him self a new computer and there was a horrible plastic burning smell. I picked off his heatsink to fing he didnt take the sticky protection of the top of the silicon. It was too late to scrape it off so I just let it burn away by running it without a heatsing for a while and the smell went. I DO NOT RECOMEND THIS!!! Dont cry when your cpu has popped.

Re:Athlons cover (1)

delus10n0 (524126) | more than 12 years ago | (#4223190)

Wtf? Since when does the Athlon come with a "sticky protection" on top of the die?

I've never seen that in either OEM or retail versions.

Re:Athlons cover (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4223380)

It's on the heatsink, covering the compound. If you built your systems, instead of buying some swill at the Gateway 2000 store, you'd have seen this.

Re:Athlons cover (1)

delus10n0 (524126) | more than 12 years ago | (#4223525)

First off, eat a dick. I've built around 25 systems (outside of my work) in the past 2 years.

He said "I picked off his heatsink to fing he didnt take the sticky protection of the top of the silicon".

He wasn't talking about the sticker to protect the copper insert of a heatsink, nor is he talking about the sticker to cover the heatsink compound. He said "the sticky protection of the top of the silicon". Indicating to me he's talking about the CPU's core/die.

Or maybe he is talking about the heatsink and he just didn't use proper terminology. Either way your response is that of an ass and therefore I am replying as such.

Re:Athlons cover (2)

brejc8 (223089) | more than 12 years ago | (#4224194)

The place this he hets his parts from they come with a little Athlon sticker over the sillicon and the chip somes in a nice plastic box.

Re:Athlons cover (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4224319)

therefore I am replying as such.

Indeed, you did come off as quite an ass.

Silicon with an E (1)

yerricde (125198) | more than 12 years ago | (#4225613)

nor is he talking about the sticker to cover the heatsink compound. He said "the sticky protection of the top of the silicon"

Perhaps by "silicon", he was trying to refer to the "silicone" of the heatsink compound, not knowing the difference between silicon implants (processors inserted into a body) and silicone implants (fake tits inserted into a body).

What has Slashdot come to? (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 12 years ago | (#4224004)

The first +5 post on this topic is a troll advocating removal of the thermal grease from a cpu. 4 clueless knuckleheads have voted him up as informative.

If it's a coordinated Troll effort, bravo. Even if it's just stupidity, these people need their mod privs. revoked. More than likely anyone trying this is going to have a burnt-out Athlon.

Thermal Grease [techtarget.com]

Re:What has Slashdot come to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4224789)

A burnt out Athlon is one less fucking Athlon.

Isn't that a good thing?

Geez.

Nope (3, Informative)

TheOnlyCoolTim (264997) | more than 12 years ago | (#4224830)

To protect the thermal paste during shipping, there is a little removable plastic film over it. It is similar to the plastic bits that you peel off of a band-aid before applying it.

Tim

I stand corrected. (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 12 years ago | (#4225232)

You're right, I didn't read carefully (note to self: stop reading Slashdot when you're trying to rush out the door).

Still, I've seen the cover on boxed chips, but never on a shipped system. Is that really common practice now?

Re:I stand corrected. (1)

jareds (100340) | more than 12 years ago | (#4225680)

The poster said that his friend made himself a new computer, not that he bought a shipped system.

Re:Athlons cover (3, Informative)

shepd (155729) | more than 12 years ago | (#4225497)

>It was too late to scrape it off so I just let it burn away by running it without a heatsing for a while and the smell went. I DO NOT RECOMEND THIS!!!

Neither do I or Tom's Hardware.

It takes 3 seconds to set an Athlon on fire.

Don't do this folks. Just _very_ carefully scrape it away if you screw up like this instead...

I had this happen to me... (2, Funny)

RedWolves2 (84305) | more than 12 years ago | (#4222611)

This happened to me, I got her home unwrapped her and found out that she stunk. I dumped her the next day and meet my wife shortly there after.

We have been married for three years now and have two wonderful children.

The lesson is I guess take it back and get another one.

Re:I had this happen to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4223887)

Wait until dinnertime. Turn on your TV and wait for the commercials.
Undoubtedly you will see something having to do with a well known feminine problem.
Later that evening go out and buy the product that the commercial advised and force your significant other to use it.
smellbegone.

Possibly normal (2, Informative)

ctr2sprt (574731) | more than 12 years ago | (#4222654)

Remember that these new-fangled CPUs, especially Athlons, run ultra-hot. This is also the case with graphics cards, RAM, motherboard chipsets, hard drives, CD-RWs... power supplies are asked to do more than in the past, so they run hotter and harder too. Even monitors can get really hot (feel the top of yours, I warm my hands on mine in the winter). Lots of electronic components get sprayed with various crap as the final stage of the packaging process, and after leaving your machine on for a few hours that stuff will start to burn off.

I'm reluctant to say it's normal, but I can definitely say that it can be normal. My monitor smelled like burning plastic for a week after I bought it, and there's certainly nothing wrong with it. (It probably was small styrofoam chunks that broke off the packaging material and slipped through the grille on top.) My computer smelled like "new electronics" for a week, because someone at the factory got thermal grease on the inside of the case and the heat just magnified the smell. Gave me horrible, splitting headaches too.

I think it's pretty common to encounter strange smells during burn-ins.

Re:Possibly normal (1)

delus10n0 (524126) | more than 12 years ago | (#4223206)

Newer Athlons are not hotter, but in fact run cooler. Smaller die processes make this so.

Case in point, my old Athlon 1.4GHz ran at about 140 degrees (with an ambient temp of 85). My new Athlon 2200+ XP runs at around 95 degrees. Beautiful.

Agreed - I've had this too. (2)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 12 years ago | (#4229531)

I work at a company that does a lot of RF electronics work.

We needed a piece of test equipment for one of our lab setups. While we were turning it on and setting it up, we smelled an odd smell.

We immediately shut down the lab setup, assuming that it was the cause. (Early research/development effort, we fried a LOT of the stuff we were working on in the process.)

Turns out that the super-expensive HP network analyzer we had came complete with the "brand new electronics" smell. After an hour or two the smell was gone.

Re:Possibly normal (1)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 12 years ago | (#4235144)

Many, if not all, monitors are given a fire retardant spray internally. The problem with this is, it's toxic. So if your monitor smells bad, this is possibly really bad news. I had seen an article about this once but cannot locate it. It is a genuine hazard.

return it (1)

crazney (194622) | more than 12 years ago | (#4222655)

Umm,

if I were you, I'd just return it. (if you are certain its the mobo).

Tell them that it smells and makes you feel ill. They will most likely replace it rather than risk any legal action.

The thing is, its gotah be a fault board, because no one else seems to have the problem (otherwise there would have been a recall).

Cheers

Re:return it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4223479)

>They will most likely replace it rather than risk any legal action

yup, you're american.

not all countries work this way, eh?

Later

Re:return it (1)

shepd (155729) | more than 12 years ago | (#4225514)

>not all countries work this way, eh?

But Canada does operate this way, eh?

Be more careful when you want to pretend you're outside the Americas next time. :-)

ismell (1)

sideone (256163) | more than 12 years ago | (#4222672)

i remember reading something about a product called ismell. it was a card or something that was capable of reproducing any type of smell from grass and flowers to a baby's diper! but i dont think they have made the 'burning electronics' smell yet )

Metacomment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4222683)

Has anyone else run into such a problem, before? Assuming this isn't a electronic or health problem, what can one do to eliminate the odor from the immediate area without resorting to periodic fumigations?
Wow, this was an irritating posting job. Problems:
  1. What's, the, comma, doing, in, the, first, sentence? It, should, have, read, Has anyone else run into such a problem before?
  2. The assumption that fumigation has anything to do with removing an odor. It doesn't. In fact, fumigating would almost certainly make the problem worse for anyone with a sensitivity to chemicals or organic solvents.

Are you kidding? (2, Funny)

tswinzig (210999) | more than 12 years ago | (#4222759)

There's NOTHING better than that "new computer smell."

Re:Are you kidding? (1)

cpex (601202) | more than 12 years ago | (#4223502)

I always love opening up a new box, whatever it may contain, computer parts, stereo equipment, video game console, ahhh that new electronics smell, they should make an air freshner like that

Re:Are you kidding? (2)

tswinzig (210999) | more than 12 years ago | (#4224234)

Here's another idea... you know how you smell after you come back from the beach? They should make a cologne that smells like that... they could call it... the beach... by CK.*

* Cosmo Kramer.

Re:Are you kidding? (2)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 12 years ago | (#4229769)

Are you refering to the smell of your skin being burnt? Hmm...I guess that would smell better then most of CKs scents, but no thanks.

smelly motherboard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4222859)

I once remember my parents dragging me to a PTA meeting run by a bunch of old smelly school mothers.

I am traumatized to this day!

all new toys have it (2, Insightful)

Rural (136225) | more than 12 years ago | (#4222872)

I've noticed that *all* new electronic toys smell at first, but it shouldn't be too strong. Kinda like that smell, but I do realize it's probably not too healthy.

I remember my 15" Hitachi smelled for a month or two when I first got it--and I had to sleep in the same room with it!

Re:all new toys have it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4223901)

Agreed. I like that smell.

Re:all new toys have it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4239880)

I remember my 15" Hitachi smelled for a month or two when I first got it--and I had to sleep in the same room with it!

Sleeping with your monitor? Are you some kind of pervert?

Gassing out components (4, Informative)

toybuilder (161045) | more than 12 years ago | (#4222972)

Well, as others have already mentioned, new components will likely out gas during the initial operating period. There's various new rubbber and plastic parts, and there may be some pastes (like under the heatsink) and adhesives that will also release the "new car smell" from your computer.

The important thing is to recognize the normal out gassing from something that's burning. If the smell tastes burnt, investigate the smell right away. If you see any sooty deposits (especially the black kinds), things have overheated to a dangerous level.

Perhaps your manufacturer has not burned in your new machine as long as what had been the norm. Computer manufacturers used to talk about having "72 hours of burn in" or "5 days of burn in". So, maybe you're on the earlier part of the curve in amount of smell being released.

Re:Gassing out components (2)

tswinzig (210999) | more than 12 years ago | (#4224199)

If the smell tastes burnt, investigate the smell right away.

Hrmmm...

Possibly the Power Supply? (3, Informative)

delus10n0 (524126) | more than 12 years ago | (#4223249)

I've noticed that most of the power supply units I get (mostly Enermax) put out a strange odor (smokey smelling) for about the first week of usage. I've been told by Enermax that this is normal and just a "burn in" (no pun intended) period for the electronics inside.

Perhaps this is what you are smelling, and not a motherboard or CPU. I've never had one of those smell. Just my power supply.

Re:Possibly the Power Supply? (1)

dmauer (71583) | more than 12 years ago | (#4223396)

Hm. I do have an enermax power supply; however, the machine has been running an average of 7 hours/day for about 3 weeks, and though the smell decreased from its initial strength, it's been at about the same level for at least a week now.

Re:Possibly the Power Supply? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4228605)

heres what you do.
This is a bit drastic but ive done it before and it works fine.
get a bottle of smirnoff vodka 2 litres.
keep the machine off for 24 hrs.
liberally dump the vodka on the inside of the machine. make sure you avoid any drives (cdrom, hdd or floppy). power supply can be dunked as can the cpu and everyhting else. just pour it on.
keep the machine off for another 24 hrs.
now turn the machine on and let it run HOT for 2 weeks 24/7. by hot i mean run seti@home in the background on all your CPUs (2 processes if you have two cpus). also do a simple write junk/read junk from your hard drives and a read from your cdrom drive (simple batch file on continous loop)
at the same time. the seti@home will show pretty pictures so your graphics card/monitor should be stressed reasonably well.
at the end of two weeks turn the machine off for 24 hrs and point a fan at its internals for that period. your should have no more smell problems.

Moth (2)

flikx (191915) | more than 12 years ago | (#4223980)

It must be a bug in your computer. Moths and June Bugs are known to stink like hell. I remember when my dad used to catch them buzzing around his monitor late at night, and then burn them with a little butane torch. Those bugs stunk so bad that even the dog wouldn't eat them!

Re:Moth (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4224138)

Eat a bag of hell, you fucking clot!

Sources of smells (1)

Kalzus (86795) | more than 12 years ago | (#4225078)

Keeping dual-athlons relatively cool is a bitch.5

Both my home machines are such, so I know of which I speak.

That said, observe the machine running with the top and at least one side of the case removed for a while.

Seriously, if your spouse can handle the smells that come from laundry detergents, then the smells from your computer should not be making her ill if everything is in working order.

- No part of the inside should be hot to the touch other than the metal portions of the CPU heat sinks. At slight risk to yourself, touch *everything* after leaving the computer running for more than 4 hours, preferably doing something irritatingly hard (e.g. "cd /usr/src/linux ; while (/bin/true) ; do make bzImage ; done"). If something else *is* this hot, evaluating the cooling is in order.
- No proper application of either thermal tape or paste should create smells of this magnitude during operation.

Off-topic, but just a factoid: the fumes from burning aluminum are toxic.

Re:Sources of smells (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4225528)

>Off-topic, but just a factoid: the fumes from burning aluminum are toxic.

Ahh, that aluminum tank smell. Deathly fresh!

use natural absortion materials (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4225087)

Use charcoal or a box of Arm & Hammer baking soda. Leave it in the box and remove the lid.
Cheers

Probably P/S outgassing; use activated carbon (2, Interesting)

hackshack (218460) | more than 12 years ago | (#4226119)

The odor is likely coming from the power supply, which tends to be hotter, as a unit, than the rest of the case (CPU heatsink notwithstanding). The phenolic resin in the power supply's circuit board may be outgassing, or equally likely, the motors in your system's fan(s) may be outgassing, as the bearings are brand new.

Ideally, you should place activated carbon / activated charcoal around and inside the machine for as long as possible (a week or so is best) and, if possible, store it in a well-ventilated room with outside air circulating freely; the carbon will absorb 95% of the odor. You can pick up activated carbon at a number of places, including pet stores (it also comes in the form of "odor absorber" sponges, which I dislike because they are perfumed themselves!) I've also seen people purchase big bags of charcoal briquettes (for grilling) and place them in paper bags. They don't work quite as well as activated carbon / activated charcoal, but they are good for large spaces (if you've just painted a room, for example).

Your girlfriend seems to have a provocation specific to the type(s) of epoxy or resins used in this machine. Might want to see an allergy specialist. My English instructor back in grade school had a serious provocation to most any smell; especially prefumes. One student forgot my teacher's warnings and wore perfume to class one day; the teacher went into something similar to an epileptic seizure. Not good!

Sounds like your chipset may be EBRS/HCF compliant (2)

StandardDeviant (122674) | more than 12 years ago | (#4226353)

EBRS/HCF: little known asm opcodes for Emit Burning Resistor Smell and the more severe Halt and Catch Fire.

I actually saw these with an ECS K7S5A. I think those boards are really neat but their QA SUCKS. I can't think of any other boards that have (literally) arc welded themselves to the case as the northbridge underside underwent catastrophic failure... Lord, nothing smells worse than burning PCBs.

Re:Sounds like your chipset may be EBRS/HCF compli (2)

toast0 (63707) | more than 12 years ago | (#4233277)

youch... i have a k7s5a at home (i'm at college), i hope it doesn't do any welding.... after updating the bios it seemed to run stable before i left it with my parents.

out of the box it ran well for about 15 minutes

Re:Sounds like your chipset may be EBRS/HCF compli (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4239108)

>I actually saw these with an ECS K7S5A.
>Lord, nothing smells worse than burning PCBs.

You know what they say.

Looks like PCChips.
Smells like PCChips.
Works like PCChips.
It must be PCChips.

Here's hoping they put a real chipset, cache, silkscreening, and BIOS on your next board rather than pirating or faking them!

[Pirated BIOSes and plastic blobs for cache chips, what has the world come to?]

Re:Sounds like your chipset may be EBRS/HCF compli (2)

ncc74656 (45571) | more than 12 years ago | (#4257972)

I actually saw these with an ECS K7S5A. I think those boards are really neat but their QA SUCKS.

ECS has always been no more than one step above PC Chips...IIRC, they bought PC Chips a while back. We had a couple of P!!! servers at work that were built around ECS motherboards. (Don't blame me...they were purchased before I got there.) Both boards failed. One was replaced by the builder with another board of the same model and has worked OK since. When the other system started flaking out (when Linux starts acting funny, it's more than likely a hardware problem), I replaced the motherboard and processor with an MSI motherboard and a Duron...never a problem since. (At least that incident gave me an excuse to blow Redh*t off of that box and build LFS on it instead...also freed up lots of disk space because the moron who installed Redh*t on it gave about 10 GB of a 20-GB drive to /var.)

It's elementary (0)

moro_666 (414422) | more than 12 years ago | (#4226461)

[=== WHOOOO ===]
[=== WHOOOO ===]

New electronic devices have just been assembled in the factory, they have been melted from plastic and metal, ofcourse it smells.

If the shit aint smelling, the shit aint new.

It's probably ok, just ignore the smell, or use a spray or smth. Buy da little smelling tree that u have in a car ...

My brand new tv smelled for a day or two, so did my radio and so did even my f***ing nokia cellphone. just ignore it. it will pass

[=== WHOOOO ===]
[=== WHOOOO ===]

#ps. the 'whoos' are just here so someone would notice it

I don't want to imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4226508)

...a Beowulf cluster of these.

Maybe the machined aliminiumcase or heatsink? (1)

deleveld (607488) | more than 12 years ago | (#4226623)

Have you considered that the small comes from the case? Freshly machined aluminum has a 'metallic' smell that you described.

I suspect that the smell will go away as the aluminum oxide forms and seals off the metal from the air.

Doug Eleveld

Re:Maybe the machined aliminiumcase or heatsink? (1)

dmauer (71583) | more than 12 years ago | (#4228086)

Nah, I don't imagine it's the case, as the smell only shows up when the machine is turned on and has been running for at least a minute or two.

-d

Common problem (2, Informative)

Anonymous Codger (96717) | more than 12 years ago | (#4227287)

Nearly all new electronic equipment outgasses for awhile, especially while running. I've noticed it with TVs, VCRs, my DVD player, stereos, and computers. I'm sure the fumes are quite toxic, like the fumes that give us new car smell - shown to be carcinogenic.

My wife is very sensitive to chemicals in the environment (yeah, smartass, I know the environment is made of chemicals, you know what I mean). Almost three years ago she bought a new Viewsonic 17" monitor. It smelled so bad when running that it gave her massive migraines. I took it to work and left it running on my development system for 6 months, and it still smelled. Then she loaned it to a friend who used it for a year and a half. We just took it back a few weeks ago and it's just about usable now.

One thing that helps is to place bags of Zeolite on top of the monitor. This is a rare earth substance that absorbs odors and chemicals in the air. We also use these in our new car. Google will find it for you.

Re:Common problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4235214)

Zeolites are silicon oxides - basically a crystalline isomer of sand. They adsorb molecules through very regularly shaped & spaced cavities (as you'd expect from a crystal) in their structures. Commonly referred to as "molecular seives."
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