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PC AT 5170 - smells bad when I run it...

alank2

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Any tips on how to improve this issue? If it sits it isn't bad, but when I turn it on, it has sort of a bad musty smell. I'm sure I blew it out with compressed air when I first got it last year. Could it be something in the power supply? Is it easy to open up? Any tips of removing bad smell from it?
 

SomeGuy

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Well, if you are sure there are no ventilation issues and nothing is overheating, you might just leave it running for a while somewhere where it can air out.

Just blowing things out does not always get all the nasty stuff. Personally, I like to disassemble stuff and give all the parts a good bath with a tad bit of whitening peroxide toothpaste. Makes sure all the dirt is out and anything like fine metal filings. Just be sure to blow out any excess water and let things dry in front of a fan for a few days before powering it on.

Sometimes plastics can absorb smells, in which case might just have to leave things running for a while. I have a CGA video card like that. I thoroughly cleaned it multiple times but when running, it put off an odd oder.
 

alank2

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I wondered that Chuck - I'm going to pull it apart this weekend and find out.
 

maxtherabbit

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Do those PSUs have RIFA safety caps? They smell horrendous when they give out and start to cook
 

alank2

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I moved the PC to my garage and started it up and also started up the monitor in my office, but neither one seems to be smelling so bad now so who knows. Going to warm them both up for an hour. I turned down the brightness on the monitor since it isn't plugged in and had the white screen - surely it will be okay with no signal for an hour turned down, right?
 

neosunrise

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I moved the PC to my garage and started it up and also started up the monitor in my office, but neither one seems to be smelling so bad now so who knows. Going to warm them both up for an hour. I turned down the brightness on the monitor since it isn't plugged in and had the white screen - surely it will be okay with no signal for an hour turned down, right?
I don’t see any issue here.
 

alank2

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I'm going to run it all weekend and see if it smells better. Got the Norton Commander running on it with a screen saver that changes the display constantly.
 

maxtherabbit

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nothing looks obviously damaged there - can we have a look at that little PCB that is mounted upside-down under the main one?
 

SunSpotter

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I've thought about washing my own 5170 board, but I don't really know the do's and don'ts. For instance, besides obviously the expansion cards, what needs to be removed from the board? I don't have a good soldering kit right now, so I'd be afraid to remove and replace caps until I get around to buying a good kit. Also, I'm a bit worried that washing it might do more harm than good? Mine was inside a hotel somewhere that a lot of smoking happened, which I know from the history and because the board has this weird grainy black layer of grime covering it. When I first tried removing it to read the label, it even scratched the PCB slightly.
 

T-R-A

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Also, I'm a bit worried that washing it might do more harm than good? .

Washing boards is a common practice in the manufacturing and repair industry. You just have to know what can't be washed. Obviously anything that retains water (unsealed relays, coils, etc) should be removed before washing. Almost any mild detergent will work (cheap dish soap is ideal), just make sure you scrub gently and remove all traces of water after rinsing (an air gun is recommended, as long as it doesn't generate too much static). We wash boards all the time where I work, and have a specialized cleaner, but it seldom gets used if there's any Dawn Professional anywhere close by.
 

alank2

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I don't want to take the ps apart further, but here is a side picture of the bottom board:

ps2.jpg

Here is a picture of the main unit without the ps:

5170.jpg

I don't mind washing pcbs in water and compressor drying them normally, but I'm a little chicken about how water might affect some of the components on there. I'm just going to compressed air it to try to clean out what I can.
 

VERAULT

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Dont be afraid to wash it. IT will be fine. I wouldnt wash it in its case though. IT will rust. ITs really not a big deal. I realize you have hesitations but take it from folks who wash PCB's regularly.
 

Chuck(G)

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What Chuckster said. About the only time I've washed a board in water is when it was encrusted with a half-inch of mouse poop. There it was a "what have I got to lose?" situation.

I brush, vacuum, air-brush boards and may touch them up with isopropanol, but I never wash them. The potential for trapped moisture within a component is too great for my taste. If I had a bucket of Freon TF, I would have no reservation about dunking the thing.
 

alank2

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I do wash a lot of circuit boards that I make to get the flux off, so I've got experience with it, but that is with the components I'm familiar with. Some parts put up with water cleaning better than others. That transformer was what made me apprehensive too, I wouldn't worry about the pcb or many of the components on it, but some might be more sensitive than others and may not dry with my compressor blast...
 
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