Question Media Dashboard - They are cheap but are they safe to use?

TrufflesG

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Not too long ago I had a computer failure and it never occurred to me until today that it's possible it may have been my cheap Chines Media Dashboard that caused the MoBo failure.
(I have no evidence yet, just speculating)

Long story short, I had a nice system with a Ryzen 7 processor and ROG Strix MoBo, Crucial SSD drive and a $450 GPU.
It ran Flight Simulator maxxed out just fine.

Anyway about a year or so into use one day I hear this rather loud --POP- through the connected speakers that was very abnormal.
The computer immediately went into BSOD and froze up.
I had never heard such a loud noise and it startled me and instantly I thought "That can't be good"

So I was able to get the unit restarted but from that day on it was never reliable and I got BSOD's or screen freezes randomly but never more than a few days apart.
The systems reliability was gone. I need to get another FLIR camera because I'll bet I could find the suspect component with it.

Today it occurred to me that the Medi8a Dashboard was one commonly seen on ebay and Amazon for about $25
That was without a doubt the weakest ad cheapest link in my otherwise decent system.

I'm going to pull the device from that computer now that I've installed a new Mobo (B550F) and have already disconnected it from the MoBo to be safe.
Since I'm significantly more capable with electronics now, I'm just going to examine the components and design overview just to see if there anything in there
that gives me red flags. I'll look for any weak links and probably test a few components.

But my gut feeling is that whatever happened to my Asus ROG Strix MoBo likely came from that Media Dashboard.
I'll come back here after I've had a chance to go inside it and examine the layout and quality (or lack of) and post what I found.

This is the exact one I used. It's very convenient and I wish they had them but better made (higher quality)
I wouldn't mind paying more than double that if I knew it was well designed and made with quality componets.

 

TrufflesG

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What are the full specs of the PC including exact power supply? And what is the actual model of this device? Having complete, accurate information is better than having little or no information.
Not really asking for assistance here. Did it come across as a plea for help? Sry. Unintentional.
Just a "heads up" for others.
People buy these things and may have similar issues and never think about it.
Then again, I may be the only sucker who ever bought one.

I'm just going to examine the components and design overview just to see if there anything in there
that gives me red flags. I'll look for any weak links and probably test a few components.

But my gut feeling is that whatever happened to my Asus ROG Strix MoBo likely came from that Media Dashboard.
I'll come back here after I've had a chance to go inside it and examine the layout and quality (or lack of) and post what I found.
The information is AS-IS with no guarantees and no refund.
 
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DSzymborski

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Not really asking for assistance here. Did it come across as a plea for help? Sry. Unintentional.
Just a "heads up" for others.
People buy these things and may have similar issues and never think about it.

The information is AS-IS with no guarantees and no refund.
It's highly unlikely that your specific issues were caused by a media dashboard. Even if it did, you provided almost no information that someone could apply to their particular situation.

But, whatever, I hope you have better luck with your replaced hardware!
 

TrufflesG

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It's highly unlikely that your specific issues were caused by a media dashboard.
Really?
I would be very interested on your explanation of how you came to that conclusion. Might really help me going forward.
(this may turn into a plea for help after all :)
I would have thought it just the opposite...highly likely.
You do see the Audio jacks? So it tapped directly into the MoBo audio.

It would be even more interesting if I actually find a bad component on the Media Dashboard PCB
 
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TrufflesG

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Found a few concerns on the Media Dashboard for anyone with these and interested.

1). There were considerable potentially conductive solder flux residue paths where the flux from soldering had not been cleaned. This could potentially cause shorts.
2). There are two, 50v 10uF capacitors on the boards. One had a ESR that was too high for use, the other was borderline. I replaced both.
3). Lots of dust on the boards. While dust that does not block cooling air flow, usually won't cause problems, it depends. If there is any type of oils or any moisture is absorbed by that dust and it is dense enough it could conduct at high enough current levels depending on the resistance and conductivity.

It would take an EE with considerable expertise in the MoBo in question to determine whether or not a spike in voltage cause by a sudden discharge on the Media Dashboard or short between the Audio pins could travel through the cable, back to the MoBo and cause damage to the cpu. That said, a WAG would be that it could.

This does not mean the Media Dashboard caused the cpu failure. Only that it is a vector of possibility.

If anyone is an EE with specific expertise in Motherboards and would like to add anything it would be appreciated.
I will add that the answer to the question above as to whether or not the media dashboard would be likely to cause the issue, the answer is yes and no.
No - because the Audio is separated from the rest of the Media Dashboard and is basically just a "Tap" from the MoBo to jacks on the Media Dashboard.
YES - because there was significant old flux paste between and around the audio connections that could (under certain circumstances such as high humidity) create a short.

In the case of this specific failure there was a very loud "POP" through the connected speakers that happened at the onset of the BSOD's and freezes that never occured before that moment. It's also possible (yet likely imposible to determine) that it was simply a rare cpu failure.
 

Karadjgne

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Flux is generally extremely conductive at first, lessens over time/use. It can also be corrosive. Most mobo and pcb manufacturers use a water soluble Flux and give the pcb a wash with DI water as part of quality control procedures.

It's possible your damage was due to the media center, but without load and leech testing it, it's pretty impossible to be certain. Motherboards fail for no apparent reason, they are layered pcbs full of components like caps, transistors, diodes, mosfets etc, so it could simply be one failed or is failing or defective.

You'd need to recreate the short, after ascertaining the exact source, and then follow the trace path exactly, as well as knowing exactly which components are supposed to have what voltages and/or amperage, at what specific time, to find if any components are failed or failing, which may change depending on temp.

In a nutshell, if you personally feel strongly that it's the most likely culprit, chalk it up to experience, and never use one again, because actually proving it's the culprit is beyond the means of almost anyone unless obvious.
 
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