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 Post subject: Fuel / Cap'n Buzz
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:51 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2005 8:53 pm
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Twice over the last few days, I caught the faintest whiff of that burning electronics smell that we vintage computing folk sometimes know all too well. It was so faint, and so brief, though, that I thought either I was imagining it, or, since my office windows were open, maybe it was something coming from outside. In any case, I didn't spend much time investigating.

This evening, I noticed a whining/buzzing noise coming from near my window. It sounded like the kid next door playing with his RC helicopter, so I didn't pay much attention. When I realized that it was getting louder and louder and wasn't coming from outside, I walked over to investigate more closely, and I realized it was coming from my Fuel, even though the Fuel was powered off. I pulled the plug, and the noise stopped.

Phooey. I'm not going to have the time to poke around to try to fix it myself any time soon. I wonder what the damage to my wallet will be when I try to take it into the local specialist computer repair store. The place is staffed by guys who know their away around motherboards, power supplies, capacitors, and soldering irons, but I doubt that any of them have seen an SGI box before. :(


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 Post subject: Re: Cap'n Buzz
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 1:28 pm
Posts: 584
Location: Boston
there's a certain odd, slightly sour smell that comes from old radios, oscilloscopes, etc that use phenolic circuit boards—I guess when they heat up they release formaldehyde? then there's the smell of elco electrolyte, which is significantly acrid and revolting. perhaps the worst I've smelled was from burning tantalum capacitors in an Indigo2, it had a smell that was obviously toxic.
as to the noise, sometimes circuits become microphonic and vibrate in response to charges moving. the chopper of a switching power supply is normally far above the audible range, but when they fail they often make whining sounds.

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 Post subject: Re: Cap'n Buzz
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 4:10 pm
Posts: 9557
robespierre wrote:
... the chopper of a switching power supply is normally far above the audible range, but when they fail they often make whining sounds.

Since it's a Fuel, I'm gonna put a fifty cent wager on the power supply. Luckily, Kuba Tysz did the legwork on this one.


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