Melted molex-to-sata cable nearly set computer on fire

swithdrawnswithdrawn Savannah, GA
edited May 2011 in Hardware
I've been running my system in the same configuration almost daily since 2008. The other day, my partner was doing pushups on the floor and suddenly screeched "YOUR COMPUTER IS ON FIRE". Sure enough, smoke was billowing from the front bezel (which has a lot of holes similar to a mac pro). Let it be known that I was on the computer at that very moment watching a Hulu program and didn't notice anything strange.

We quickly killed the power and let the case cool down. After opening it up, the source of the smoke was discovered: the molex to sata converter cable that supplies power from the psu to the sata dvdrw drive had apparently begun melting at the sata end (check out the images below).

I guess it would have been from too much power draw, but nothing like this has ever happened to me before. It really spooked me as I tend to leave the computer on 24/7, and have for over two years.

My questions for seasoned Computers-On-Fire people:

1) Would the culprit have been the cable, the dvdrw drive, or the psu? The psu works fine as of now, but I haven't tested the damaged cable nor dvdrw drive...
2) Would the PSU have shut down eventually, or would the whole thing have gone up in flames?
3) Is there any way to test for, anticipate or prevent stuff like this? I'm not using any other converter cables, but should I be worried about leaving the computer running when not nearby?

Relevant system specs:
Dual Quad Xeon E5405's
SUPERMICRO MBD-X7DAL-E-O Dual LGA 771
8GB Buffered ECC Ram
MSI GTX 260
SILVERSTONE ZM1200M 1200W Psu

Comments

  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX
    edited March 2011
    There is an equal probability that it's the power supply and a crappy adapter that finally kicked the bucket.

    //EDIT:
    2) The power supply could have eventually shut down, but that assumes the PSU was to blame, and that the issue with the supply stems from the internal electronics.

    3) Nope and nope. No more reason to be concerned about running a PC than there is about running a lamp.
  • GargGarg Purveyor of Lincoln Nightmares
    edited March 2011
    I would think the problem was right at the site of the fire, so the adapter or DVD drive.

    I'm guessing a short or something. I don't really understand electricity, other than it must be feared and never trusted.
  • edited May 2011
    swithdrawn wrote:
    I've been running my system in the same configuration almost daily since 2008. The other day, my partner was doing pushups on the floor and suddenly screeched "YOUR COMPUTER IS ON FIRE". Sure enough, smoke was billowing from the front bezel (which has a lot of holes similar to a mac pro). Let it be known that I was on the computer at that very moment watching a Hulu program and didn't notice anything strange.

    We quickly killed the power and let the case cool down. After opening it up, the source of the smoke was discovered: the molex to sata converter cable that supplies power from the psu to the sata dvdrw drive had apparently begun melting at the sata end (check out the images below).

    I guess it would have been from too much power draw, but nothing like this has ever happened to me before. It really spooked me as I tend to leave the computer on 24/7, and have for over two years.

    My questions for seasoned Computers-On-Fire people:

    1) Would the culprit have been the cable, the dvdrw drive, or the psu? The psu works fine as of now, but I haven't tested the damaged cable nor dvdrw drive...
    2) Would the PSU have shut down eventually, or would the whole thing have gone up in flames?
    3) Is there any way to test for, anticipate or prevent stuff like this? I'm not using any other converter cables, but should I be worried about leaving the computer running when not nearby?

    Relevant system specs:
    Dual Quad Xeon E5405's
    SUPERMICRO MBD-X7DAL-E-O Dual LGA 771
    8GB Buffered ECC Ram
    MSI GTX 260
    SILVERSTONE ZM1200M 1200W Psu



    I had exactly the same problem, I am currently dealing with the makers of the dvd.

    What brand dvd was it? was it a burner etc?
  • swithdrawnswithdrawn Savannah, GA
    edited May 2011
    Klinga - it was a Pioneer 20X DVD Burner, Model DVR-215DBK. You had a melted sata/molex cable on a dvd drive as well? I don't think my drive wasn't even in use at the time the connector melted.
  • edited May 2011
    12V TVS diode on your dvd drive (little black box on the pcb) is fucked. I'd test the psu to be safe if you have a tester, and replace the optical. If it is worth your time you can go through warranty with the manufacturer, but I'd recommend you just pick up a new drive. Not worth the shipping etc.

    Anyways, it's likely the psu is fine.

    PS.
    It is also worth getting a high quality psu with proven over-voltage protection. I'm an Enermax person, but currently I am giving a NZXT a run for its money without issue. Enermax is overpriced, NZXT is not.
  • edited May 2011
    .....
    PS.
    It is also worth getting a high quality psu with proven over-voltage protection. I'm an Enermax person, but currently I am giving a NZXT a run for its money without issue. Enermax is overpriced, NZXT is not.

    Which NZXT psu, the Hale series? I think those are some damn sharp looking power supplies with their white paint and black grill and label. And the Hale90 850 watt model tested well at jonnyGURU.
  • edited May 2011
    muddocktor wrote:
    Which NZXT psu, the Hale series? I think those are some damn sharp looking power supplies with their white paint and black grill and label. And the Hale90 850 watt model tested well at jonnyGURU.

    Hale90 550. Has been running without a hitch on my workstation/folder for maybe 4 months. I don't need huge wattage, just a 460gtx and a i5 2500. Alles gut so far. I am not an over-clocker type though, so I probably don't push it.
  • edited May 2011
    Glad to hear it's working out well for you. And even a 550 watt psu is more than enough for most systems with a single video card anyways. I don't know what the 550 watt model is based on, but the one I linked is based on a Superflower design that has done very well in testing and in build quality.
  • clifford_cooleyclifford_cooley Arkansas, USA
    What the hell, I know the thread is over a year old. I'll add my little tidbit anyway.

    I've seen this type of thing many times:
    1) Age creating bad connections.
    2) Bad connections creating heat.
    3) Heat destroying the casing which houses the connections.

    Places I've seen damage of this type:
    - Power Cords plugged into wall outlets.
    - Electrical connections on an automobiles anywhere between the battery and tail lights.
    - Electrical connections within any number of home appliances and power tools.

    Any electrical connection can loose integrity and when it does, heat will be generated. In this case it looks as if enough heat was generated to melt the plastic which caused pins to short out. The pins are close enough the plastic wouldn't have to warp much allowing this to happen. Once the pins shorted the plastic then heated to the point of catching on fire. Pins shorting out could cause damage to the power supply, so if the PSU showed to be damaged that doesn't mean the PSU was the cause. Power supplies can't damage connector because there is no load within the connection unless its a bad connection.
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