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Motherboard damage

Discussion in 'Electrical Engineering' started by Prune, Sep 6, 2007.

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  1. Prune

    Prune Guest

    I posted in computer newsgroups as well but this may be more applicable,
    especially if there are any computer engineers.

    I was running for about a year without problem two 1 GB sticks of DDR2
    SDRAM in dual channel in a watercooled system.

    I was having some random crashes over the past couple of days. Looked
    inside and turns out the waterblock on the Northbridge had popped off, with
    the clamp ripping out one of the looped fasteners on the motherboard it was
    attached to. Put the waterblock back but still no dice. After using
    memtest, it turns out that the second DDR memory channel (pair of slots) is
    gone--the same RAM module would work in the A slots one but not the B
    slots--errors in the second, with error rate seeming to be somewhat
    proportional to the FSB frequency I set in the BIOS.

    Looked under the waterblock again and it looks like there's a missing
    surface mount ceramic capacitor. I think I may have crushed it while
    reinstalling the waterblock. So either from overheating or breaking the
    cap, some damage appears to have occurred and now I can only use one of my
    1 GB sticks D: It's sure strange though that the second channel slots work
    at all; I wouldn't have expected a partial failure with error rates
    depending on the FSB...

    My question is, can I just replace the cap I think I crushed with a random
    one, or maybe unsolder one of the others around it and measure its
    capacitance with my LCR meter and use that, in the hope of restoring
    function? Or what if I didn't crush the cap and there's actually not
    supposed to be one there? I'm not sure how to deal with this.

    I'm also looking for suggestions for the best place to ask this.
  2. Palindrome

    Palindrome Guest

    You post a link to a photograph of the "damaged" area, plus details of
    the mobo make, model, revision, date of manufacture, etc. And ask if
    someone who has one if they will have a look and see if there is a
    capacitor there, and see what value it is, if so. They normally have the
    value printed on them.

    No, replacing it with one chosen at random is a significant risk.
    No, the ones around it aren't necessarily the same value.
    Yes, the odds are that it is beyond economic repair and overheating has
    damaged the glue chip.

    You could try one of the computer diy groups..
  3. Prune

    Prune Guest

    It's an Asus P5LD2 Deluxe. I messaged Asus though I don't really much from

    I don't have a digital camera that can get a good enough zoom to show
    anything. Nothing's printed on the caps because they are tiny ceramic
    surface mounts. Though they all look the same, I'm not sure I can assume
    they have the same value, since I've seen different capacitances come in
    the same size ceramic surface mounts. So I'm not sure if I can assume that
    if one of the others I desolder and measures a given value would be the

    It's my only computer and I'm worried about breaking it completely. Right
    now the first DDR channel is working, though I can only use half RAM.
    Perhaps I'll try a same sized cap that I find in my stash in that position
    and if the system doesn't boot, hopefully nothing new would have fried from
    the test and I can just pull it out and go back to the current status...
  4. JohnR66

    JohnR66 Guest

    Ask someone with that board to take a close-up photo of that area of the
    board and email it to you. Ask them to use the "macro" mode of their camera
    so you can see the number on the components.

    A few years ago when CPUs had that metal spring latch, I was building a
    machine for somehow and managed to pop off a 1k surface mount resistor. I
    managed to solder a 1/8 watt resistor on to get it going again.
  5. Prune

    Prune Guest

    Putting both sticks in the first channel works. I'm wondering how much
    performance difference I'm actually getting by running single-channel
    instead of dual-channel. If it's small, I might as well not bother with
    the soldering job.
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