Question Short Motherboard

Oct 10, 2019
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Hello! Just curious, if my motherboard itself shorts in any sort of way, would it do anything crazy like make sparks, or would my motherboard just turn off silently and show that there's some sort of failure when I turn it back on?

Also, would it damage any of my components in my build? Thank you!
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
A shorted motherboard could or could not make sparks. It depends on the level of power on the circuit that shorts. Whether or not it damages anything else depends on what part of the board shorts out and WHAT it shorts out TO.

It could spark, or not. It could shut down, or it could do any of ten other strange things, or none at all and simply not power on at all. Regardless of HOW it shorts, it's not acceptable and should be corrected, whatever is causing the short. If damage to other hardware were to occur, you'd know soon enough.
 
Oct 10, 2019
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A shorted motherboard could or could not make sparks. It depends on the level of power on the circuit that shorts. Whether or not it damages anything else depends on what part of the board shorts out and WHAT it shorts out TO.

It could spark, or not. It could shut down, or it could do any of ten other strange things, or none at all and simply not power on at all. Regardless of HOW it shorts, it's not acceptable and should be corrected, whatever is causing the short. If damage to other hardware were to occur, you'd know soon enough.
What if it's from a capacitor and resistor on my motherboard? Some thermal paste (that I cannot clean) got near my capacitor and is touching the side of a resistor. When I called my motherboard company and thermal paste company they said it most likely won't do anything since it's not electrically conductive, but the guy over the phone said that since thermal paste is still wet it has some properties that could potentially conduct
 
Oct 10, 2019
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Clean it off with isopropyl alcohol and then forget about it. What is the brand and model of thermal paste?
My thermal paste is the Coolermaster MasterGel Pro, and my motherboard is the Asus Z390-E. I tried cleaning it the best I could and it left a gray smear. It's a very small area so it's hard for me to clean
 
Oct 10, 2019
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Clean it off with isopropyl alcohol and then forget about it. What is the brand and model of thermal paste?
My biggest questions though are:

Would my motherboard ever make any sort of sparks or even catch on fire from something like thermal paste in the areas that I described?

And is it possible for a short to happen from the thermal paste that could potentially damage my hard drives?

Those are my biggest concerns
 
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My biggest questions though are:

Would my motherboard ever make any sort of sparks or even catch on fire from something like thermal paste in the areas that I described?

And is it possible for a short to happen from the thermal paste that could potentially damage my hard drives?

Those are my biggest concerns
Fire not likely but there could be some sparks and smoldering depending on power and voltage on shorted circuit and yes, results from electrical shorts are unpredictable, anything can be affected.
Non metallic paste is not dangerous, it's an insulator.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Masterpro gel is primarily a suspension of polymer oxides. Polymer oxides have extremely low electrical conductivity. If you clean as much as possible OFF the motherboard using isopropyl alcohol and cue tips or something similar, it should be fine. If you want to go one step further and do not mind the extra effort required to remove the motherboard temporarily, you might also find some additional benefit by getting a spray can of electrical contact cleaner, and using that to further lightly clean the affected area.

In truth, that is probably not necessary but it definitely can't hurt either.
 
Oct 10, 2019
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Masterpro gel is primarily a suspension of polymer oxides. Polymer oxides have extremely low electrical conductivity. If you clean as much as possible OFF the motherboard using isopropyl alcohol and cue tips or something similar, it should be fine. If you want to go one step further and do not mind the extra effort required to remove the motherboard temporarily, you might also find some additional benefit by getting a spray can of electrical contact cleaner, and using that to further lightly clean the affected area.

In truth, that is probably not necessary but it definitely can't hurt either.
So even though I got as much of it off as possible, if there's a smear left in that area I should be perfectly fine with no issues? Or do I have to make sure that 100 percent of it is off?

This is what it looks like http://prntscr.com/pi96e5
 
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Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Looks to me like you could clean more of it off than that, but that's your call. I cue tip and rubbing alcohol shouldn't leave much more than a stain unless it's down in an area that you can't physically get to, and that does not look like it is. So I'd try to get it all off, but if you can't, I doubt it's going to do anything.
 
Oct 10, 2019
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Looks to me like you could clean more of it off than that, but that's your call. I cue tip and rubbing alcohol shouldn't leave much more than a stain unless it's down in an area that you can't physically get to, and that does not look like it is. So I'd try to get it all off, but if you can't, I doubt it's going to do anything.
It's a really small area and it was incredibly hard for me to get to (it's above the CPU socket). I'll try my best to give it another go and see if I can get more off, I doubt I would be able to, but thank you for all the information.

If for whatever reason it does cause a problem, would it catch on fire or make any sparks? Or would my PC just turn off and not boot up again? I leave my PC on overnight and when I leave the house so it's a big concern for me
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
It's not going to catch on fire or create sparks. But it's not the worst idea either to NOT leave your PC on overnight or when you leave the house until you've had a chance to run it for a while and make sure it's NOT going to cause a problem. Nobody, NOBODY, can tell you for sure that anything is going to do one thing or another. You'll get no guarantees here, all we can say is that it's unlikely or yes, it will likely happen. There is never any without a doubt your $#!+ is going to burn up or there is NO possible chance of anything bad happening type answers to be found. There are simply too many variables to consider and the universe has a stick sense of humor so it's up to you to use common sense and a little bit of gun shy at first wouldn't hurt.

Honestly, I don't understand how people always manage to do this in the first place. Even back when I was young, with no experience, doing my first few thermal paste replacements, it was never even something that almost happened or that I had to be particularly careful of, and still isn't. Shouldn't even HAVE the tube of paste anywhere near your motherboard in the first place. Put your TIM on your CPU while it is out of and away from the motherboard, so that can't happen.
 

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