Question Multiple problems on PC. Electrical leak?

Oct 11, 2021

A few years ago, we got multiple identically-made, custom-built PCs. One of them, though, had problems, with these symptoms:

  • Firstly, no USB camera connected to it would turn on most of the time, no matter what the camera and drivers. The indicator light would turn on for a few seconds, then turn off, and it would loop like this forever. Sometimes it would turn on, but when it would do so is completely unpredictable, and even then it would send frames at a rate lower than it is truly capable of. All cameras we have are of the same model, and all of them work properly elsewhere.
  • Secondly, all audio devices would receive and or send distinct crackling noises, no matter if it was a microphone, speaker, USB, analog or fiber. This culminated in the builtin audio card dying recently. That's my theory, at least, because now only USB audio devices work, while others are completely idle even if connected.
We got a USB speaker as a bandaid to the problem, which leads to the third symptom: that the pitch of the audio is pulsating up and down, which is not an available setting in the speaker, and does not happen when plugged into any other computer. A week ago, this pulsating became even more severe and obvious, and I'm afraid these speakers will pop at any moment now, too.

In retrospect, these are pretty obvious signs that should've been given proper attention immediately, but lockdown gave us bigger problems. Better late than never, anyway, and I'm here now, so I digress.

I'm not a hardware person in the least, so maybe it's not an electrical problem, but it is most definitely not a software problem. Any ideas? Sorry if I've missed important details, I'll answer any questions.


Update your post to include full hardware specs and OS information.

On the problem computer:

Power down, unplug, open the case.

Clean out dust and debris.

Verify by sight and feel that all connectors, cards, RAM, and jumpers are fully and firmly in place.

Look for signs of damage in the computer: bare conductor showing, melted insulation, kinked or pinched wires, browned or blackened components, swollen components.

Check around the I/O panel inside and out for sign of a short. Especially near USB ports and audio ports. Check for damage and debris: ports and plugs.

You could also do a comparison with the working computer. You may spot some notable difference.