Kaboom! My Quad just blew up!

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by dfusion, Mar 27, 2006.

  1. dfusion macrumors newbie

    Mar 27, 2006
    Actually I think the capacitor in the power supply blew up. I was watching a QuickTime video stream and all of a sudden I heard a really loud POP! I flew out of my chair! My girlfriend thought I broke my glass desk as she came running to the room wondering what the hell just happened. Sadly, my Quad won't boot. Off to the shop it goes..

    I've heard of this issue happening before - mostly with dual core/quad core systems. For no reason whatsoever it goes POP and some people have seen blue sparks fly out the power button. In rare cases it gets smokey too! :eek:

    I've owned this machine for 2 months. I never had any problems and the only thing I've added since the day I bought it an additional 1.5GB of ram (Apple certified) for a total of 2GB and I added a 2nd SATA hard drive. The only thing that has changed since the day I bought it is I recently changed the Energy Save from Highest to Automatic. I did this thinking it would be a good thing.. It shouldn't cause any problems as all Mac system ship at this setting. For the life of me I cannot narrow down what the heck could cause a 1000W Power Supply to go POP! I have surge protectors on everything and the only other devices in the room using power are the 30" Cinema and a small lamp.

    Has anyone else experienced this or known anyone who suffered from the big bang?
  2. calebjohnston macrumors 68000


    Jan 24, 2006
    It could have just been a faulty supply - either way, it's still under warranty so there won't be any problem getting a new one.
  3. pdpfilms macrumors 68020


    Jun 29, 2004

    First of all, I'd be so down if that happened to mine. Sorry to hear that. Hopefully your data's all OK.

    As for why it happened... If it wasn't a surge, the only thing i can think of is a short.
    -Did anything drip on or in the computer?
    -It's springtime, is it possible a newly born bug wandered in and spread his wings in the wrong place?
    -Were you sticking unshielded wires into your G5 again?
  4. tekmoe macrumors 68000

    Feb 12, 2005
    i have a dual core 2.0 that i bought in october of 2005 shortly after they were released. i have added 3.5gb of RAM and have also added a 2nd SATA hard drive. oddly enough, i also have my energy preferences set to automatic.

    *knocks on wood*
  5. dfusion thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 27, 2006
    I live in Las Vegas and the climate is dry. The computer has never had anything spilled on it either. It's kept under my desk and to the side where nothing can interfere. The only other thing I can think of is if the carpet cause some kind of static charge. Although the Powermac sits on a metal stand, the depth of the Powermac is slightly longer and barely touches the carpet. Sometimes when I walk around the house in socks and then touch my desk I get a nasty shock. The night of the POP I wasn't wearing socks - just bare foot. I don't get shocks when I'm bare foot. Maybe the carpet causes bad MOJO for the Powermac? Even though it barely touches the carpet? It's connected to a surge protector but I don't know if those really work. I think I'm either going to move my office downtairs in the Den-Office where its tile flooring or else I will get one of those Powermac carts that elevates the machine off the ground a few inches and has wheels.

    I'm not going to blame Apple. This could have happened with any computer. However, I am very thankful for Apple care!
  6. generik macrumors 601


    Aug 5, 2005
    Probably cheap capacitors.. you'd expect Apple to do better in a $3000 computer, but nooo.... :mad:
  7. mmmcheese macrumors 6502a


    Feb 17, 2006
    Apple doesn't make them...they buy them from another company...

    Computer parts fail, that's part of life...that's why we have warranties.
  8. MacTruck macrumors 65816


    Jan 27, 2005
    One Endless Loop

    Probably? I'd say that's it. Didn't the imac have a capacitor problem?
  9. generik macrumors 601


    Aug 5, 2005
    With all these "logic board failures" going around it really does seem like you need to get Applecare for that peace of mind, after what, paying more than 2X than a Dell targetted at the same market segment?
  10. mpw Guest

    Jun 18, 2004
    Both my iBooks have had failed logic boards.:mad:

    As for popping a blue sparks, I once worked with a guy who used a utility knife to cut the plug off a power cord not realising it was live BIG pop blue flame and a puff of smoke. He was fine but the blade was vapourised!:eek:
  11. iGary Guest


    May 26, 2004
    Randy's House
    There was an articel on HardMac about this, perhaps search there.

    Good luck.
  12. idea_hamster macrumors 65816


    Jul 11, 2003
    NYC, or thereabouts
    Sounds like you got one that was made on Friday afternoon!

    Or Monday morning.

    Or maybe on that Wednesday morning after the Tuesday evening Christmas party.... :)

    Welcome to the wonderful world of Apple's Warranty! (If you didn't buy Applecare when you got your Quad, you might consider it now!)
  13. SC68Cal macrumors 68000

    Feb 23, 2006
    You could have had a small power surge in your house, or through the outlet it was plugged into
  14. dfusion thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 27, 2006
    My girlfriend uses a portable heater. It's not in the same room as the Mac and it belongs to a different breaker at the breaker-panel, but I'm wondering if this could have done something? It's a Black and Decker portable heater and those thing suck up a lot of power! Turning one on usually causes lights to slightly dim in the same room. My office forbids them because they pop the breaker.

  15. Shamus macrumors 6502a


    Feb 26, 2006
    I dont know much about electricity and computers, but dont capacitors 'accelerate' the electricity to 30,000 volts? You mentioned blue sparks coming out of the power button. Would these sparks hold enough charge to injure the user?
  16. trogdor! macrumors regular

    Mar 7, 2006
    Well at least it didnt catch fire and burn your entire place down.
  17. SC68Cal macrumors 68000

    Feb 23, 2006
    You could probably report the damage to your homeowner's insurance, and have them reimburse you for the repair costs, if it was indeed an electrical problem and not a defect in the powersupply
  18. Josias macrumors 68000


    Mar 10, 2006
    Speaking of AppleCare. With a Mac, you get 90 days of phone/technical support, and 1 year of warranty. With AppleCare, you get 3 years of each, If it is correct, that you can buy AppleCare ofr you Mac up to 1 yea after the purchase, why not wait until it had been 364 days after the purchase, get an Apple Care, and you would have a total of 4 yearsd warranty and 3 years and 3 months of phone support for a normal AppleCare price. Though you would not have phonesupport for nine months of the first year, you could just take it down to the store. The people at Copenhagen Apple Store will help you for free. AppleCare or not!:cool:
  19. portent macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2004
  20. Maxx Power macrumors 6502a

    Maxx Power

    Apr 29, 2003
    What most likely happened is your capacitors in the powersupply leaked, or the coolant in the liquid cooling system, which then eventually shorted out a power junction of a high voltage or high amperage terminal causing a spark, the trememdous amount of current passing through the junction blew a fuse, and shut down your computer.

    Capacitor failure causing blown power supplies and sometimes entire systems is very, very common, you accelerate the pace of this through charge/discharge cycles of the capacitors, eg, powerup, powerdown, brown outs, or short dips in the line voltage, or rapid increase in output power (video card going full power, or CPU crunching stuff), or even hard drive activity.

    Anyways, the hotter the inside of a powersupply gets, the faster its capacitors die, as well as if apple used bad electrolytic capacitors (unstable electrolyte) instead of dry ones (slightly more expensive, but no electrolyte to leak), then the powersupply is bound to puff up smoke sooner or later.

    IBM had this problem too, but only with their dirt cheap desktops, not top of the lines...

    Good thing it happened to you while you were around, depending on the part shorted out, you may risk an electrical fire.
  21. ibilly macrumors regular

    May 2, 2003
    It would seem to me that the activity within the machine (all four processors ramping up, a drive starting to spin) would have more effect on a power supply than whatever is coming through your wall & surge protector...
  22. Chasealicious macrumors member


    May 6, 2005
    Fayetteville, AR

    Incorrect. Purchasing AppleCare within the first year after making a hardware purchases simply activates the last two years of hardware coverage / last 33 months of phone support. No matter when you purchase AppleCare, the warranty never extends beyond three years from the date of purchase.
  23. bankshot macrumors 65816


    Jan 23, 2003
    Southern California
    You're probably thinking of transformers, which are often used to ramp up voltage (they convert from low to high voltage and vice versa). Capacitors store electrical charge.
  24. gman71882 macrumors 6502


    Jan 12, 2005
    Houston, Tx
    was doing repairs on an imac G5 last year... thought it was the power supply but when talking to apple they said to replace the Logic Board... which i did.
    Didnt fix the prob, called apple back up letting them know what the prob was... had to talk to 3 people @ applecare before they agreed to send a new power supply.
    Prob fell under the imac faulty capacitor problems.
  25. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2003
    Counterfeit capacitors

    A major problem in the electronics industry today is the problem of counterfeit capacitors. Basically, very shady manufacturers in Taiwan and Hong Kong will make huge amounts of low-quality capacitors and simply stamp the capacitor's casing with the logo of a more reputable manufacturer. These caps then get funnelled through several grey-market dealers before eventually arriving at an Apple manufacturing plant. It's very hard to trace the exact, actual origin of bulk electronic components and on the surface, counterfeit capacitors are very hard to detect. Until, of course, they explode after only a few months of use. The "popping" sound you heard was almost certainly an electrolytic capacitor exploding. (Electrolytic capacitors are basically a long, thin metal plate wrapped in a tight coil with a thin piece of paper, and the coil is submerced in a diaelectric compound and sealed in a tin can. If the diaelectric compound or the sealing process is defective, the compound can "boil over" or explode. The popping sound is the sound of the "tin can" splitting open.)

    As an aside, while capacitors do "store charge", that is not their main purpose in modern digital systems. Mainly they are used for frequency-selective filtering and also blocking the DC component (bias) of an electrical signal.

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