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DDR RAM Fried Motherboard

So a while ago, I had an old socket 487 motherboard that had fried when I tried to upgrade the ram. The motherboard in question does support 1gb sticks, i had 1gb+256mb in the system originally. However I tried to put a 512mb stick into the slot that the 256mb stick used to be and upon trying to boot, the whole system smelled of smoke. Upon closer inspection it appears that the voltage regulator had blown up and could not power the circuitry for the RAM slots. When i first looked I saw that the 512mb stick was a little bit loose though. Do you think that a loose stick of ram could fry a motherboard? Or is it just that the ram was bad. Has anyone else had experience with this happening?

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1: Do you mean socket 478?

2: What happened to the retaining clip on the far stick of RAM on the picture?

3: Is it possible you put the RAM in backwards? Look at the spacer cutout on the buttom of the RAM where it is seated in the slot. It is not exactly in the middle so you *should* not be able to put it in the wrong way around.

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Were you using different sticks of memory (e.g. Samsung 1GB, Crucial 256MB)? It may be possible that they were different voltages and the voltage regulator being at least a decade old could not cope with that.

Take what I say with a grain of salt as I'm nowhere near an expert on this, it is just a theory I have based off of (some) prior knowledge.

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That's a pretty old motherboard, if the RAM wasn't plugged in all the way the system would just not post. With time capacitors can fail, that is likely what happened.

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Just now, RobbinM said:

1: Do you mean socket 478?

2: What happened to the retaining clip on the far stick of RAM on the picture?

3: Is it possible you put the RAM in backwards?

yeah i meant socket 478 sorry. uh, the one clip broke off by accident but ram can still go into it. its basically impossible to put ram in backwards because of its notch so i dont think i put the ram in backwards. i dont actually have the motherboard anymore because it is broken i just wanted possibly more information about how this could have happened.

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It's a basic 5A linear regulator. In very rare cases, it can be damaged if there's something (like a bad memory stick for example) causing  short circuit.

If the motherboard sat on shelves for a while... another possibility is that over time, the chip absorbed humidity from air into its case and then when it heated up fast as you powered the board, the water inside the package could have turned into vapor and cause the package to pop.

 

The capacitors on that board seem like quality Rubycon capacitors. No worries about degradation over time there.

 

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Well there are a couple of options here. You certainly blew up the VRM, look at the chip next to the RAM, it has cracks in it, and was the source of your magical smoke.

That means current was so high that the VRM could not cope. Points towards a short circuit. Might have been a faulty DIMM, but unlikely. Probably some electrically conductive dirt got in the slot while you replaced it, and that's why it probably has been a bit wobbly.

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4 minutes ago, 1kv said:

Were you using different sticks of memory (e.g. Samsung 1GB, Crucial 256MB)? It may be possible that they were different voltages and the voltage regulator being at least a decade old could not cope with that.

Take what I say with a grain of salt as I'm nowhere near an expert on this, it is just a theory I have based off of (some) prior knowledge.

yeah, the one stick was branded "edge" while the stock 256mb one (and the 1gb one i added) were branded samsung. now that i think of it, that might have been what happened.

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7 minutes ago, JM21 said:

That's a pretty old motherboard, if the RAM wasn't plugged in all the way the system would just not post. With time capacitors can fail, that is likely what happened.

Exactly. I've found these 478 boards are a dime a dozen and it's because they always break due to capacitor issues. The office environments they were used in as workhorses just don't care about them once the capacitors go pop and the magic smoke rises (which will almost always happen with a 478 board)

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1 minute ago, 1kv said:

Exactly. I've found these 478 boards are a dime a dozen and it's because they always break due to capacitor issues. The office environments they were used in as workhorses just don't care about them once the capacitors go pop and the magic smoke rises (which will almost always happen with a 478 board)

to be honest, i didnt see any smoke and as far as i could tell, the only thing that burst was that voltage chip. but a cap might have leaked or something i have no idea

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5 minutes ago, CalculatinGenius said:

to be honest, i didnt see any smoke and as far as i could tell, the only thing that burst was that voltage chip. but a cap might have leaked or something i have no idea

I'd take a look at @mariushm's post on this thread as it explains your issue quite well.

9 minutes ago, mariushm said:

It's a basic 5A linear regulator. In very rare cases, it can be damaged if there's something (like a bad memory stick for example) causing  short circuit.

If the motherboard sat on shelves for a while... another possibility is that over time, the chip absorbed humidity from air into its case and then when it heated up fast as you powered the board, the water inside the package could have turned into vapor and cause the package to pop.

 

The capacitors on that board seem like quality Rubycon capacitors. No worries about degradation over time there.

 

also I didn't see the thing about the Rubycon capacitors on there, they should be fine. I'm just saying the capacitor thing out of my experience with 478 boards (there was a 478 board in my first system that I owned for about 6 years, it eventually gave out the magic smoke although it was my error)

 

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Just now, 1kv said:

I'd take a look at @mariushm's post on this thread as it explains your issue quite well.

 

ah ok. i got the computer from a garage sale and the programs preloaded hadn't been updated since 2010 so its quite possible that it was not used for a very long time. i used the computer for a couple months though with the 1gbx256mb config with zero issues. it just might be an unfortunate case

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How much time was there between your last boot with the 256MB DIMM and the first boot with the 512MB DIMM?

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1 minute ago, RobbinM said:

How much time was there between your last boot with the 256MB DIMM and the first boot with the 512MB DIMM?

about a minute.

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