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Thread: I smell burning from my PC

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    More like I don't want to move my entire PC to somewhere when i can instead carry a 200 gram can home .

    You should do it regularly anyway, to avoid dust buildup, especially on laptop. In laptops, you can eventually get a compressed ball of dust that is too big and dense to get out of the fan assembly without opening it up entirely (which might void your warranty). Regular de-dusting lets you avoid the problem. Every couple of months is fine.

    Not to mention, you can flip the can upside down and terrorize people with -40 C stuff in the back of their necks.
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    How do you guys that haven't seen cans of computer duster before get high? Is there a better way I'm unaware of?

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    NO2 cartridges for use in whipped cream dispensers attached to a balloon.

    Not that I've tried, of course.
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    Cracked had a whole article on that recently.

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    stacksonstacksonstacksons Shoeberto's Avatar
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    Check to see if it's coming from your power supply - it's the box inside your case that you plug into the wall.

    I had a power supply that was overheating and blew a capacitor (basically a component used to convert AC power from the wall into DC power for the computer). It didn't hurt the machine, but the PSU was unsalveagable and needed to be replaced.

    Really if you can figure out if any one component is heating more than others, it's worth seeing about a replacement and/or changing your cooling strategy (giving more space for airflow around components, installing fans, etc)



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    Put the bloody gubs in the crev. Free Edgar 2014 Steve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Formalhaut View Post
    I have never seen a can of compressed air. Though having said that, I don't often waltz into a home depot or computer store.

    But no, what Spuuky said makes sense. Especially if it is a desktop PC; those things collect dust so easily.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Carnelian View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Spuuky View Post
    99% of the time, a burning smell from a PC is burning dust. If you get a can of compressed air and blow it out, there's a pretty good chance it will be better.
    Where do you even get compressed air, though?
    I'm shocked and appalled by both of these posts. Next you'll be saying you have no idea where to buy thermal paste from!

    So aside from online from places like Amazon or Ebay (always the cheaper options) you could buy it online from Asda or Tesco, though these tend to be double the price of Amazon and thats when you include shipping. In terms of supermarkets having them in stock on the shelf? You'd need to be in a store which falls in to at least the Million+ rating. Outside of these places, Rymans, Maplins, PC World, most art stores and minor electrical retailers will all sell compressed air or air dusters and thermal paste for that matter (the same thing, though some cans will work as a coolant spray too for other jobs) at varying prices, though I stand by my point that all these items are cheaper on Amazon even when you add shipping costs.

    In terms of the actual topic at hand here, a prolonged burning smell is indicative of dust build up in 90% of cases especially if it smells like a fan heater being turned on after a period of disuse. You need to open that case up and give it a good cleaning, avoid using vacuum cleaners for the job as the static that builds up in the operation of one can fry the machine. Buy yourself some compressed air and take static precautions (no need for wristbands and mats just ground yourself by touching earthed metal just before touching a component, maintain the grounded connection if possible) if you need to get close to some of the parts, a soft brush such as a shave brush/artists paint brush or a very clean (I.E. never used) blush brush too, avoid nylon bristles if you can, natural ones tend to build up less static is also useful as you can then use that to help gently brush stubborn patches of thick dust off.

    If your pc is refusing to boot or crashes and has that smell you probably are overheating it. If you understand what you're doing and feel confident, then removing, and cleaning the heatsink array before re-seating it on fresh thermal paste is a good idea to extend the life expectancy by anything between 6 - 18 months (Min/Max you should leave it before repeating this process) and deal with over heating (to a degree, if the machine is overheating and the processor/other components have become damaged by the heat then it's a matter of time really).

    If it isn't choking on dust then you're one of the 10% who are unlucky. A strong burning smell would indicate a capacitor blow out, damage to a component (heatsink, fans, video cards, power supply most likely with fans and heatsinks being the most likely). Worst case scenario is a short, but if it was that I'd suspect your machine would have given up the ghost long before now that or would have actually caught alight.

    Best course of action would be to order in some compressed air and give it a clean, see if that improves matters as if it doesn't then you're going to need more specialised work, but you'll have spent about 5 quid and saved yourself 65 on a full service and repair where all the guy does is spend 10 mins cleaning dust out of the machine before telling you it's all fixed

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