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Solved: USB sparks disable my computer!


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Sparkalot's Avatar
Sparkalot Sparkalot is offline
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03-May-2012, 06:41 AM #1
Exclamation Solved: USB sparks disable my computer!
Hi everybody!
  • Several times I've had the USB power surge message in XP SP3.
  • A couple of times I've seen a blue spark when plugging in USB things (wifi router etc)
When I see the spark / warning:
  • USB power surge message
  • Can't use the mouse at all.
  • I restart using keyboard commands
After restart:
  • D865PERL mobo Error code: 2 beeps then 6 beeps
  • No monitor picture (monitor doesnt detect mobo via dvi) [re: 2 beeps]
  • [serious concern]
  • Could not access bios due to no picture.
  • The 6 beeps represents keyboard controller failure (rem: the USB issue)
  • Computer is silent after some seconds (so doesn't boot in this scenario)
  • Powering off & Replugging USB keyboard (microsoft ergonomic4000) didn't help
Temporary solution:
  • Following good intel advice re: 6 beep error code, I swapped keyboards with another ergonomic4000 that I had available
  • Booted perfectly fine
Thoughts:
  • The sparking of course is not good, and it seems only a matter of time before data-loss occurs.
  • The no-boot issue does not only happen when 'hot-swapping' USB devices.. just this morning I (may have?) nudged a cable, resulting in power surge warning and aforementioned beepcode / no-boot problems.
I hear carpet can be a issue, although don't know whether this would be a complete solution. Due to topology issues (read: 'very bad feng shui' lol) the computer has to sit near enough to me that I can use the keyboard, but not so close that it can't plug into other peripherals, (large screen and large reference monitor speakers at other end of room. Mixing desk also needs to be wired in via a delta 1010 card, and occasional firewire usage of 01x/i88x (which are not currently plugged in.))
  • Considering suspending computer in air via balloon (work-in-progress although baloons and static.. eheh.)
Seriously though..
  • If carpet isn't the cause here, what can I do to prevent the sparking / non-boots?
  • Could my USB hub be faulty?
  • I'm rapidly gaining a serious aversion to hot-plugging USB.. can anyone recommend a pavlovian therapy (USB + dog food(?))
Kind regards,
Sparko

Last edited by Sparkalot; 03-May-2012 at 10:06 AM.. Reason: beep specifics
prunejuice's Avatar
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03-May-2012, 06:58 AM #2
Are you plugging into a hub or directly into your computer?

Is it a powered hub?
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03-May-2012, 07:32 AM #3
Just the

82801EB built into the D856PERL mobo
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03-May-2012, 08:02 AM #4
Is this one specific USB port that's causing these errors/sparks, or any USB port?
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03-May-2012, 08:14 AM #5
Good question that I can't answer due to lack of trails. I may considerer attepting to create a spark on one of the other ports in the future but for now I fear damaging various controller chips etc. However I will keep you up to date regarding this question.

-edit-

I just ran my keyboard USB plug over the USB ports. No sparks, no problems.

Maybe nothing happened because the sparking and/or surges happen due to certain electrostatic conditions that vary over time (eg: variable static present on my person or USB device/cable in comparison to that on the mobo/computer case.)

If that's the case, what can I do to discharge the peripheral/cable/mobo/case charges in between hotswaps?

[btw I've just noticed that my wifi router is at the end of a 3m cable and connected to an 8ft metal pole. Now looking like a lightning rod(!) Also this cable goes around the back of my 40in LCD panel (static source?)]

Maybe a trained pro can debunk this idea though.. I would think that the very highly trained specialists and product designers would vet these USB devices and mobos for such simple potential hazards.. such that running a USB cable past a TV shouldn't cause sparks, blown chips, failure and fire risks! Else there would be a warning (don't tell me there's a warning :facepalm: )

Last edited by Sparkalot; 03-May-2012 at 09:00 AM.. Reason: edit
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03-May-2012, 12:11 PM #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparkalot View Post
If that's the case, what can I do to discharge the peripheral/cable/mobo/case charges in between hotswaps?

Touch an area of bare metal on the case first (assuming your computer is already well grounded).
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03-May-2012, 12:43 PM #7
Do you think this is caused by static from my body?
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03-May-2012, 01:16 PM #8
If the room is very dry and carpeted as you say, then yes, it's quite possible.
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03-May-2012, 01:19 PM #9
Thanks PJ :thumbsup:

Anyone have any ideas other that static from the body?
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03-May-2012, 01:37 PM #10
Sparks from a computer are not normal. There's something seriously wrong with your system, and I wouldn't use it at all until you figure it out.

Did you build this yourself? Buy it pre-built? What precipitated the problem?
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03-May-2012, 02:16 PM #11
Yes i did build it haha how did you guess? ;-)

I built it around 8 years ago.. Good nexus psu.. Simple construction.

Served me well until recently actually. It would be interesting to know exactly how a hardware / build defect could cause such a specific and isolated problem (of this nature.) I didn't build the mobo of course. Looks good inside. HD3850 gfx. XP3 working well (used for a DAW.) Fast boot, fast OS, efficient machine (for an old beast.)

I've heard of this issue before.. But unsure of the cause.. Some put it down to local static sources / buildup. Hopefully someone can help.

'Dont use it at all until x'; thank for your concern but x may never happen, and I need to use this computer. (Would rather buy a new mobo than pay for an attempted repair of this one, only to find that it was just a general static issue.) The mobo will be replaced this year anyway, so a quick fix would be great.. will try to remember to ground myself when hotswapping, as prune said, jic i am adding static into the equation via my person. (Although my WiFi 'lightning rod' is looking ominous(!))

Last edited by Sparkalot; 03-May-2012 at 02:20 PM.. Reason: words
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03-May-2012, 02:20 PM #12
If you see actual sparks fly out of any part of a computer, it's not static. Sparks indicate a major electrical problem. I wouldn't plug anything into the wall that sparked. I'm not sure how old you are, but my concern isn't for your computer. It's for your home.

If this is a recent problem, something shorted out or failed. I've never heard of "nexus" power supplies. If you haven't physically moved or touched anything inside the computer prior to this problem, then I'd start with replacing that.
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03-May-2012, 02:33 PM #13
Ok my friend.. calm down.. no one's home is burning down, or going to burn down.

The sparks 'flying out' of my computer.. a tiny tiny usb spark. Did you know you can create a tiny spark using static electricity and the human body?

I don't know how old you are but Nexus are a respected company and make great products..

http://www.silentpcreview.com/Nexus_Value_430

"Nexus is a pioneer in quiet computing components based in the Netherlands. The company has been active in bringing quiet computing components and products to the market long before the concept became a fashionable buzzword. The Nexus brand fans, for example, are still among the few reference fans we use in our reviews."

Website:
http://www.nexustek.nl/NXS-silentpowersupplies.htm

There are plenty of excellent reviews from respected tech sites over the web.

This is one component I will not be replacing.

Thanks for your reply though
Kind regards
Sparkticus

Last edited by Sparkalot; 03-May-2012 at 02:38 PM.. Reason: words
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03-May-2012, 04:23 PM #14
I've figured out a solution.. Touching the USB plug (and maybe my hand too) to grounded metal before bringing it anywhere near the computer.. should discharge the metal pole that my USB wifi device is sitting on, as well as any net charge on the device, its cable and myself.

Seems like ESD sparking is more common than I thought. Should have remembered that from the old tricks back in school.. Got an A at physics A level too haha.. the state of education these days! tsk tsk! [Was 12 years ago though to be fair]

Anyway.. thanks mainly go to prunejuice and myself will buy some prunejuice to celebrate.
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Tags
beep code, dog food, spark, static, usb

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