Question Computer Exploded, What Happened?

Oct 21, 2019
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Well, my computer exploded. I was playing a video game when my computer suddenly shut off for no explicable reason and wouldn't turn back on when I pressed the power button. Thinking that my surge protector is just old and might not be supplying enough energy, I plugged it into the wall outlet to make sure it's that and not my PSU. But, to my surprise, I saw sparks light up the inside of my tower like it's the 4th of July so I immediately shut it off and unplugged every peripheral. Opening it up, I couldn't see what might've caused it to spark, there are no frayed wires, not that much dust but I gave it a good spritzing from my air spray anyway, nothing is blocking the airflow that I can see, and I don't see any burn marks from where I thought I saw the sparks fly. But just because I don't see anything doesn't mean that nothing is wrong but unfortunately I don't have the tools to test the power output of the power supply.

Right now, my likeliest suspect is the power supply unit which is a SilverStone 700W active PFC switch power supply that I bought sometime in 2015.

If it overheated I don't see how since I regularly dust the machine every few weeks, the airflow is unobstructed, and I just replaced the thermal paste a few months ago.

Hoping I can get an expert's opinion.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
My opinion, without knowing the model I'd say it was probably not a very good power supply to start with, but it might have been as Silverstone DID have a few good ones back then, but they had as many poor quality models as well. Knowing the exact model would help to better determine that but it is probably a moot point anyhow since no matter what else is going on, that one is obviously faulty. We know that, because if it wasn't, it's protections would have stopped the kind of problems you are seeing with celebratory fireworks and magic smoke.

Replacing the PSU should be the first order of business, but don't be TOO surprised if there is additional damage as well if the protections failed to kick in and something was shorted. If you can't see anything visually wrong with the motherboard, graphics card or any other hardware, and if you can literally smell or see that the problem was mainly inside the PSU itself, then it is likely worth trying to only replace the power supply. Seems very likely and is not uncommon, really, with a cheap four year old unit.


Note that there are no Silverstone units listed or outlined there, because overall, they are all over the board in terms of having both good and bad units, made for them by a variety of OEMs, so they don't really fit in recommended OR in the garbage brand listings, either one.
 
Reactions: Mandark

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Sparks inside are usually NOT due to being overloaded. It's usually due to a failure, whether because of an internal PSU issue or a failure elsewhere AND a failure of, or lack, protections in the PSU. A short on the motherboard or elsewhere won't generally cause problems IF the protections work correctly in the PSU.
 
Reactions: Mandark

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