In my many years servicing electronics be it, TV, industrial electronics or computers, there’s something that ties it all together. That oddly enough is a smell. The smell you’ll never forget.
One day I came home from a hard days work to find my wife quite upset. Just an hour earlier she had found the house full of smoke. In a near panic she called the fire brigade who dutifully sent a crew around to investigate. They found no flames, just smoke. They looked in every room, in the roof space and under the floor but found nothing. They declared it safe and left.
As soon as I walked through the front door it hit me. The smell you’ll never forget. I went straight over to the TV sitting in the lounge room which was located not far from the front door. The odour, as I expected was much stronger there. Pulling the back off the TV revealed the source. No, not a dead cat or even a dead mouse, but a dead line output transformer. Not just dead, but burnt, melted, black and smelly.
The smell you’ll never forget is the smell of burnt electrical insulation. It’s quite acrid and imprints on your brain forever.
What does this have to do with computers? As a computer technician I encounter many ‘nogo’ faults. The computer simply won’t turn on. This is often a dead power supply. A good indication of a fried power supply is …. You guessed it… ‘The smell you’ll never forget’. Just sniff near the exhaust fan at the back. Not always, but generally that smell indicates cooked components.
A computer power supply normally comes out fairly easily so is an easy component to replace and get a client running again. Once it’s out flipping it upside down often reveals the presence of ‘bits’ floating around inside. That’s bits of destroyed electrical components. These days you just wouldn’t bother to repair a pc power supply. Well, I have been known to replace a fan in several but that’s a different story.
So, when you smell ‘that’ smell, expect problems.