• cst1992 (unregistered)

    Destroy the motherboard by unplugging a few wires? In 2016? I find that hard to believe.

  • cst1992 (unregistered)

    I half-expected him to have removed the power supply.

  • Fred (unregistered) in reply to cst1992

    Never underestimate a user's ability to destroy equipment

  • (nodebb)

    I have sympathy for the idiot with the screwdriver. Most likely it was a leftover machine from the gigahertz wars. Those were LOUD.

    I once added a resistor to slow the fan of a UPS under my desk. It worked and continued to work until I passed it on to a buddy. The guy later phoned me up to inquire whether it's normal for the device to produce smoke. I advised him to get rid of it. A month later I go for a visit and see the UPS sitting right next to his audio equipment.

    "Didn't you want throw it out after it failed?", I wonder. "Nah, it still worked when I turned it on again the next day." Apparently not producing smoke anymore was enough to convince him that it was fine.

  • RobyMcAndrew (unregistered) in reply to cst1992

    This is old kit, and we have no guarantee that he turned the thing off before starting. Blundering about with a screwdriver is very likely to kill the motherboard. Shame he didn't have a go at fixing the hum from the CRT...

  • Gargravarr (unregistered) in reply to gleemonk

    I accidentally plugged a fan heater into my UPS once. It was a fairly chunky UPS and the heater on Low was only just over the rating, but smoke still cascaded out of the vents. I unplugged everything immediately and let it all cool down. A few days later, I powered the UPS back on and it all worked, no damage. It's still working to this day. I think the smoke was just dust burning off the inverter cooling fins, no harm done.

  • Dave (unregistered) in reply to cst1992

    You're assuming he unplugged them, rather than removing plug and socket from the motherboard by brute force - and yes, I have seen the latter in the wild.

  • HeK (unregistered)

    Wel, I can definitely see someone having trouble reaching one of the screws and having his hand pushing against the mobo in a desperate attempt to line up the screwdriver and the screw...

  • I'm not a robot (unregistered) in reply to cst1992

    That's nice, but the article doesn't say that he destroyed the motherboard by unplugging the wires.

  • (nodebb) in reply to Gargravarr

    This reminded me of a tale written by Jerry Pournelle (the sci-fi author, yes) in Byte magazine, back in the day.

    Rather than bore you with my transcription, I'll just leave you a link.


  • (nodebb) in reply to HeK

    Or, indeed, by slipping with the screwdriver and gouging the board...

  • Andrew (unregistered) in reply to cst1992

    "Destroy the motherboard by unplugging a few wires? In 2016? I find that hard to believe."

    Didn't you read the article? The story said that these were old machines. I'm betting they were Pentium 4-based Dells at best.

  • Crotchety Old Man (unregistered)

    An obligatory rant about vaguely declining editorial and quality standards and useless embellishment, but fails to give examples.

  • (nodebb) in reply to Steve_The_Cynic

    Wow, that website is a blast from the path, the first thing I noticed was the GIF in the menu. I instinctively looked for the "show only this frame" option so that menu would stop diverting attention from the text, only to notice it wasn't using frames.

  • Joseph Osako (google)

    I am reminded of a call that came into a shop I worked at (a friend of mine took it, and I'm not sure he wasn't pulling my leg when he told me the details later, but I heard enough of his side of the conversation that I believe some of it at least), where a customer was complaining that his printer had stopped working. When asked if he could load the paper slot, he said he'd have to get the fire out first. WHAT?

    OK, fire out, and we ask him why he didn't mention the fire earlier. Oh, that's the problem, he said - oh, what ever gave you that idea? We started troubleshooting it, trying to see why it caught on fire, and after three minutes he figures out why we are asking about the power outlet when he says, "oh, I know why it was on fire, I SET IT after putting lighter fluid on it!"

    Once my cow-orker had retrieved his jaw from the floor, he (oh so politely) asked the guy why he'd done that. "It was running too slow, and I was angry about that."

    Needless to say, it only got worse from there.

  • A Guest (unregistered)

    Another fan related story -

    At a classicly bad late 90s internet startup company (how bad you ask? well, they sold their main product as 'like ebay, but with a client application'), one of the repurposed old desktops acting as servers had it's PSU fan stop one day. One enterprising developer switched it off, poked the fan with the nearest thing to hand (a metal spoon in this case), and it came back to life. In one of those textbook examples of deviation becoming normal, this happened again and each time, the spoon was employed, it resumed working. One morning we came in to the office to find developer unconscious on the floor, having skipped the 'switch it off' step.

    Good times. I'll also fondly remember the various never-filled trenches for cable runs and pipework in the unlit yard outside the office that acted as a trap for the unwary, especially in the darkness of winter. It was like commuting to work in a DOOM level (ok, second door on the left, avoid the lava, get on the pillar tada).

  • Alchemist23 (unregistered)

    This reminds me of a use I had once. Called me up because the computer wasn't working. I concluded the motherboard had failed, but wasn't sure why. In the process of unplugging everything to take it back to my workbench, the internal plastic section of the PS2 style keyboard jack just falls out with the keyboard plug. All the internal terminals were spiraled like a crop circle and all the pins in the keyboard plug were spiraled the opposite direction. I asked the user what happened and she tells me "I bumped the cable with my foot and the keyboard came unplugged, so I screwed it back in." My jaw dropped. After some Q&A I determine she thought the keyboard plug worked like the old TV F connectors or like a water hose. She knew "all connectors have some sort of retainer" and she "didn't see any thumb screws so she figured the whole connector must screw in." Shorting 5V keyboard power lines to data lines will kill a motherboard pretty quick.

  • Sham (unregistered) in reply to Medinoc

    Don't forget to sign the guestbook!

  • Aspie (unregistered)

    Destroyed the motherboard by unplugging wires. Perfectly possible if the wires have some form of safety clip. I've had people break motherboards by pushing too hard when reseating circuit boards. Breaking them by pulling hard on wires is also possible, particularly with an annoyed ignoramus.

  • My Name (unregistered)

    Tell me if you see Larry with his tool in his hands.

    I see where this is going, Boom Chikka Wahh Wahhh

  • John (unregistered)

    How about an engineer who fried some expensive gear by pluging PCI cards with the power on.

  • (nodebb) in reply to Dave

    You're assuming he unplugged them, rather than removing plug and socket from the motherboard by brute force - and yes, I have seen the latter in the wild.

    I wouldn’t be too surprised by that, given how hard many of those white plugs are to remove unless you know the trick to that particular model — or even when you do.

  • David Mårtensson (unregistered) in reply to John

    I have seen that.

    A collegue was trying to get a scsi card running in his workstation and after 4-5 time pulling it out to change switch settings (yes it was 20+ years ago) he forgot to turn it of first.

    this was not PCI but the old EISA slots with two rows of connectors that partly overlap. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extended_Industry_Standard_Architecture

    This is not a problem when the card i mounted but when pulling out or inserting they short each other connecting every connector to all the others.

    And we had sparks ;)

  • TenshiNo (unregistered)

    Years ago, working as the PC Tech for a local mom & pop shop, we got a call about a computer that wouldn't turn on. Drove out to the business, and the lady at the front desk had it sitting there waiting for me. She said they figured I would need to take it with me, but I said I really wanted to see what, exactly, happened when it was turned on. So, I plugged it into a nearby power outlet and hit the power button, half-expecting to hear the POST beep. Instead, I got crackling that sounded like fireworks at a 4th of July party and smoke coming out of the PSU's fan opening. I immediately yanked the plug out of the wall. The receptionist just calmly says "yeah, that's why we called." I can only imagine the look on my face while I stared at her thinking "you didn't think to mention 'smoke' when I said I wanted to see what it did when you turned it on?!"

  • Herby (unregistered)

    Moral of the story:

    When you see the magic smoke escaping, it usually means BAD THIGS.

  • Richard (unregistered) in reply to Herby

    Yeah, make sure you tape up all the holes in the case to prevent the magic smoke from escaping! :)

  • Foo AKA Fooo (unregistered) in reply to A Guest

    "One morning we came in to the office to find developer unconscious on the floor, [...] Good times."

    Okaaaaaaaaaay ... !?!?!?

  • Ulysses (unregistered)

    Easy Reader Version: Don't use a screwdriver on strange holes.

  • Foobar (unregistered)

    Graham's replacement computer should be a little fanless mini PC. Or maybe even a compute stick, and tell him the monitor is the computer. Sadly, modern displays don't have those lethal discharge capacitors like CRTs.

  • nh (unregistered) in reply to Steve_The_Cynic

    A well-published author who is unable to spell the word 'fluorescent'? (Not an accident because he does it twice.) Oh my!

  • Argle Bargle IV (unregistered) in reply to Ulysses

    Big Boo did that in "Orange is the New Black".

  • (nodebb) in reply to cst1992

    It's easy.

    If the air there is dry and he don't care to properly discharge the static charge before touching any metal part on the motherboard...

  • AustinTX (unregistered)

    "managed to unplug several wires AND destroy the motherboard" - the sentence describes two different observations, not a cause and effect.

    And what is all this talk about Graham's replacement computer? The old feck deliberately sabotaged his PC. Fire him, and dock the cost of a new replacement from his last paycheck.

  • Werner (unregistered)

    Back in the 90's I once got asked to look at why my aunt's old (even in those days) 386 computer "doesn't work".

    She mentioned that the neighbor's kid had tried to repair it.

    It turns out the kid immediately disassembled the power supply. Fortunately he didn't fry himself.

  • Ron Fox (google) in reply to Steve_The_Cynic

    Jerry Pournelle - now there's a name I've not heard in a great many years -- and would have been much happier not to hear for a great many more.

  • I dunno LOL ¯\(°_o)/¯ (unregistered) in reply to I'm not a robot

    Mercifully, he probably avoided real trouble by not putting things back together properly. So a near miss. If he had been less sloppy, it could have spent all day baking itself, probably failing at 2AM or whenever some overnight virus scanner job came up.

    And the Jerry Pournelle incident? I remember it to this day and it still fucking scares me to think that a 16KV line (my memory after all this time was that it was only 10KV, but what's a few more volts at that point?) could get shorted to a 220V mains feed, and any surge suppressors you have are useless against it. Yes, all these years and I still think of it once every few months. And by the time I gave up Byte in 1986, his column was the only thing left worth reading after it had become biz-PC review central.

    And to AustinTX (waving from near Cedar Park), it wasn't broken, just disabled. You don't want to give them the idea they can sabotage their ancient PCs and get new ones.

  • I dunno LOL ¯\(°_o)/¯ (unregistered)

    Sorry, I meant 1993, not 1986. In '87 they had a special 6-year for $99 subscription offer because tax laws were changing and it wouldn't be deductible anymore. They sure changed a lot in those six years.

  • another guest (unregistered) in reply to Medinoc
    the "show only this frame" option so that menu would stop diverting attention from the text
    now that's a feature i would love to have on TDWTF
  • D-Coder (unregistered) in reply to Ulysses

    Ulysses (unregistered) Easy Reader Version: Don't use a screwdriver on strange holes.

    Oh yeah. "Don't stick your (stick) in crazy."

  • Foo AKA Fooo (unregistered) in reply to I dunno LOL ¯\(°_o)/¯

    Well, it says 16 KVA, not 16 kV, that's quite a difference. E.g. in Germany, normal power lines are 220 V, 16 A, that's already 3.5 kVA. So 16 kVA might be 220 V, 72 A, but shorting that wouldn't be noteworthy. So maybe something like 400 V, 40 A. Enough to fry some 220 V electrics (seen it myself, due to a cut neutral in a 3-phase setup), but much less dangerous than several kV. Maybe this helps to soothe your scares after all those years.

  • AC (unregistered) in reply to cst1992

    Did you not read the story? they were using older computers. Also have you heard of static shock? most users have no idea how bad it can be to electronic components. Before you comment read the article first.

  • HeyChief (unregistered) in reply to I dunno LOL ¯\(°_o)/¯

    @I dunno LOL ¯(°_o)/¯ When I worked at Dell, the youths working in the cubicles around me preferred to unscrew the overhead fluorescent tubes and keep all the blinds closed. And to talk openly, and rather loudly, about their sexual conquests. Customers could hear this through my headset. A day working in the dark left me feeling really blue. I had a cube at the end of a row close to a window. There was a decent view of the North out the window, if the blinds were open. The sun wasn't going to hit anyone's eyes or glare on a screen. I got sick of finding the blind back down every single time I returned to my desk (and my lamp switched off), so one morning I raised it up and tied a double knot in the cord. Nothing happened all day, and I enjoyed a little sunlight. The next morning, I was fired for "destruction of company property". If a reversible knot in a ten cent cord counts as unforgivable sabotage, I'd say Graham deserved the boot for dissecting the cooling fan out of his PC and breaking the motherboard.

  • foxyshadis (unregistered) in reply to Foo AKA Fooo

    Since that's fourth-hand info, someone probably screwed up the terms; England doesn't typically have 400V wires running around outside of factories, and I wouldn't expect that to be able to fuse-open a good sturdy power strip, either. 16kV would be very common, though.

  • poniponiponi (unregistered) in reply to another guest

    Add custom filter "thedailywtf.com###navigation" to ABP

  • (nodebb) in reply to HeyChief

    [ ... preferred to unscrew the overhead fluorescent tubes ... ]

    How come they can get away with this and tied a double cord get you fired? That is WTF.

  • Dave (unregistered) in reply to Herby

    Electronic components are full of smoke, When you let the smoke out, They don't work any more.

  • (nodebb) in reply to cheong

    Wouldn't the fire code go nuts over that?

  • (nodebb)

    Will this 500 Internal Server Error?

    England does have 400V wires everywhere. Each active wire would be 230V to neutral/ground but 400V to each other. Never heard of three phase?

    If an alternative active hit your circuit's neutral then bam! 400V!

  • Brian Boorman (google)

    Seems like a great way for the accountant to get a new PC without going through all the red tape bureaucracy of justifying why he needed a new one when his current one worked perfectly fine (albeit slowly).

    I don't think he's quite the idiot other commenters make him out to be....

  • Mike (unregistered)

    I think I had this guy as a customer!

    After my SaaS hit tough times selling in the 2008 recession we filled dead time with PC stuff - local business support, virus fixes and the like. Naturally enough some wanted repairs and upgrades came in too. One guy called us out as his PC had got annoyingly loud - the CPU fan had failed bearing and was making that loud grinding noise fans do sometimes. it was some non standard size fan, and it was late in the day, so we arranged to get a new fan and come back first thing in the morning to fit it.

    The next day we open the case of the now destroyed machine. A vague smell of burnt electronics filled the office. In the hour or so of business time that had elapsed since our first visit he'd got irritated enough by the noise to open up and rip the fan and heatsink off, then carry on working. Repeated crashes, reboots and errors weren't enough to discourage him and he persevered until he hit a hard stop, and the magic smoke escaped. mobo and cpu were toast. The HDD caused the PSU to trip on anything you tried to connect it to. No backups of course.

    Despite this the guy is muttering about crap manufacturer and seemed oblivious to his part in events.

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