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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Computer Hardware Question - Is It Possible To Fry Both A Power Supply And RAM?

    Someone is trying to hustle me and a friend of mine for the cost of a new power supply and RAM, saying that one of us (or someone we know) fried both by accidentally turning off and then on the light switch which the computer was connected to off.

    Needless to say, I'm not paying out, but I wonder, is it possible to fry both the power supply and the RAM on a computer by disrupting power and not have the motherboard or CPU effected? Or for that matter can one kill the power supply and RAM by disrupting power?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    That darn Yankee TexasGuy's Avatar
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    I call bull****.
    Life is about hanging onto what you think is important and finding out what really is important.
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  3. #3
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Yep, it sure is. If there is an arc in the switch, then you can get a surge that could theoretically fry the motherboard as well. Any component can fry with a surge. Latvia runs 220V European 50cycle. right?
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasGuy View Post
    I call bull****.
    Me too.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
    Yep, it sure is. If there is an arc in the switch, then you can get a surge that could theoretically fry the motherboard as well. Any component can fry with a surge. Latvia runs 220V European 50cycle. right?
    Yes, Latvia has standard European current. I know components can fry with a surge, but just the PS and RAM via turning the light switch the computer is connect to on and off? Sounds damn suspect to me....

  6. #6
    crazy bike girl msincredible's Avatar
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    At work we have fried several computer power supplies by testing systems with 220V (forgot to switch the computer from 110, usually we remember but late at night on a weekend sometimes you forget these things ).

    Anyway, we only ever needed to replace the power supply. Everything else was completely fine.

  7. #7
    Trans-Urban Velocommando ax0n's Avatar
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    It's very difficult to fry only the power supply and the RAM. On most modern PCs, the power supply would take the brunt of the hit, if not all of it. Power doesn't actually hit the RAM until the SCRs are fired up on the power supply. The RAM failing without the CPU or the Mobo? that's kind of fishy.
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  8. #8
    Banned. ModoVincere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ax0n View Post
    It's very difficult to fry only the power supply and the RAM. On most modern PCs, the power supply would take the brunt of the hit, if not all of it. Power doesn't actually hit the RAM until the SCRs are fired up on the power supply. The RAM failing without the CPU or the Mobo? that's kind of fishy.
    Sounds like a static discharge to me. Wouldn't wipe out the power supply, but could easily destroy the RAM...and probably occurred after the power supply was fried. You know, someone touched the RAM modules without discharging any built up static first.

  9. #9
    On my TARDIScycle! KingTermite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
    Yep, it sure is. If there is an arc in the switch, then you can get a surge that could theoretically fry the motherboard as well. Any component can fry with a surge. Latvia runs 220V European 50cycle. right?
    +1

    That doesn't mean its likely in your scenario....but it certainly is possible. A spike could have flubbed up power supply (if it was a cheapie or just died) and the result could be power supply spiking the rail to the motherboard. It can be unpredictable at that point. It could fry motherboard and everything on it, or just one small component like the ram.

    Again, I'm not saying it's necessarily likely, but it definitely is possible.
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  10. #10
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    I say you give the guy some bread and tell him to have a fried ram sandwich.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    I've actually had a PS blow up inside the computer. Several capacitors in the PS had ruptured and blasted their guts everywhere (sounded like several firecrackers going off). That ended up causing some sort of power-spike on the PS output lines that destroyed a HD controller. But my MB, CPU and RAM was fine.
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 12-12-07 at 04:25 PM.

  12. #12
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    Destroyer of Wheels Air's Avatar
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    Who connects a computer to a socket that can be flipped off by a light switch?

  13. #13
    Squirrelly Member trsidn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas View Post
    Someone is trying to hustle me and a friend of mine for the cost of a new power supply and RAM, saying that one of us (or someone we know) fried both by accidentally turning off and then on the light switch which the computer was connected to off.

    Needless to say, I'm not paying out, but I wonder, is it possible to fry both the power supply and the RAM on a computer by disrupting power and not have the motherboard or CPU effected? Or for that matter can one kill the power supply and RAM by disrupting power?

    Thanks.
    maybe possible, but I would say it's very unlikely....
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  14. #14
    Senior Member huytheskigod's Avatar
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    My supervisor actually had flames come out the back of his power supply once. The mobo and ram/everything else was fine. He still used it as an excuse to get an new motherboard with a faster CPU and more ram though. I just used his old stuff to build a computer for our grad student office.

  15. #15
    Senior Member huytheskigod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Air View Post
    Who connects a computer to a socket that can be flipped off by a light switch?
    I made the mistake of having my surge protector too close to where my feet go under my desk. Nothing got fried though...but yeah...I should have known better.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Marrock's Avatar
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    Stick a new power supply in it for about $20, clean up the contacts on the RAM, and see what happens.
    "Engineering! It's like math, but louder."

  17. #17
    Dude wheres my guads? skinnyone's Avatar
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    Possible.

    You could have a short in your ram that caused a spike in your supply and hence causing it to fail.

    You could have also had an overvoltage situation on the ram supply because of a faulty power supply thereby destroying your ram.

    The latter might be more plausible given your sequence of events.

  18. #18
    Crushing souls Hickeydog's Avatar
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    I think I would call him on bull****. Unless, of course, he's an NSA computer engineer with 40 years of experience.
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  19. #19
    crazy bike girl msincredible's Avatar
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    There's a very characteristic smell to frying the power supply.

  20. #20
    Trans-Urban Velocommando ax0n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msincredible View Post
    There's a very characteristic smell to frying the power supply.
    Not always. Electrolytics have an acrid smell but only if they rupture, not if they dome and vent. Solid state components often smell like magic smoke, but not always. If a fuse blows, only by voiding the PS warranty will you ever know.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Air View Post
    Who connects a computer to a socket that can be flipped off by a light switch?
    No, it's even better....the switch is in the hallway of a public office building! A friend of a friend accidentally brushed up against it at a party. WTF?
    Last edited by Ziemas; 12-12-07 at 11:19 PM.

  22. #22
    On my TARDIScycle! KingTermite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marrock View Post
    Stick a new power supply in it for about $20, clean up the contacts on the RAM, and see what happens.
    Great idea....buy a cheapo of probably the most important part you want to be of quality. It shouldn't happen again for at least another 2 months that way.
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    - it's pretty well established that Hitler was an *******.

  23. #23
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Sounds unlikely unless the light switch was also connected to his superduper EMP generator that was plugged in and next to the computer.
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  24. #24
    Footballus vita est iamlucky13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas View Post
    Someone is trying to hustle me and a friend of mine for the cost of a new power supply and RAM, saying that one of us (or someone we know) fried both by accidentally turning off and then on the light switch which the computer was connected to off.

    Needless to say, I'm not paying out, but I wonder, is it possible to fry both the power supply and the RAM on a computer by disrupting power and not have the motherboard or CPU effected? Or for that matter can one kill the power supply and RAM by disrupting power?

    Thanks.
    Maybe. Unlikely unless there's something with a high current draw on the circuit to create a strong back EMF, but maybe. I've seen computers take dozens of hard power cycles with no trouble.

    If he were friendly about it, I'd say it would be neighborly to help him out with a few bucks, but in the end, he's the one who hooked up a computer to light switch, and there's no way any random guest at the party could've known.
    "The internet is a place where absolutely nothing happens. You need to take advantage of that." ~ Strong Bad

  25. #25
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Air View Post
    Who connects a computer to a socket that can be flipped off by a light switch?
    Seriously...you would be surprised...visting a hotel, smoke some pot, get on facebook...boom....

    Not joking...

    better yet (nothing to do with post)

    Visit strange country, place luggage on stove top, make tea, forget to take luggage off...mysterious fire...what, I owe 75,000$ in damages?...

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