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jrockway's Journal: Odor Memory: Die, transistor, die.

Journal by jrockway

It's often said that people associate smells with some sort of feeling, and the other day I found out that they're right :)

I've been working with electronics for some time. When I was in about third grade, I got my first "transistor electronics kit". That was fun. I remember building FM transmitters and other fun stuff. Anyway, one day I decided to "design" my own circuit that included a transistor. I didn't really know what they did, but I noticed that all radio circuits had one in there, so I put one in. I powered up my creation, and noticed a strand of white smoke rising from the transistor module. "This can't be good", I thought. That was the end of that transistor. There was only one in the kit (the kit was components in plastic blocks that you snapped into a grid, something a bit like this).

Anyway, I remember the smell of that transistor dying. It was sad, and the memory stuck. Now, throughout my years, I've smelled that smell many times. Electronics labs gone awry (not mine, but rather my classmates' *), mostly.

So I got back to my computer room the other day and noticed a faint transistor-fire like smell floating around. And my computer was off. Uh-oh! This, interestingly, was just after I posted a reply in some forum telling someone not to worry about shorting out his mobo by plugging in a fan. I had two plugged into one header with no problems, I said.

Well now that header doesn't work. Nor do 4/5ths of my PCI slots :) So don't do that.
( I had two plugged into one header because only two headers on my mobo offered speed control, and I had three fans that I wanted to control. So I had CPU in one and two case fans in the other. Worked for quite a while under 2.4 when I was actually controlling the speed. As soon as I upgraded to 2.6, I lost the driver [note to self: post to mailing list], so the fans were at full-speed... this was too much for something on the mobo ).

Not wanting to live with a crippled motherboard (it had a bad BIOS too), I sprung for a Lanparty NFII-Ultra B motherboard. Nice motherboard, and a good step up from my Lanparty KT400A. I was tired of it's poor AGP support, also. Anyway, that arrived last Thursday. I hooked up everything outside the case to test it out.

Turn it on (with the nice on-board power switch). Fan spins up, lights turn on, awesome! Then I notice that TERRIBLE smell and become almost paralyzed (odor memory). I tell myself, it's fine, it's burning in.

Nope, just burning.

A voltage regulator (Q18) decided it wanted to die. It was glowing. Smoke was coming out. Shit.

So now I had killed two motherboards in two days. Damn. Oh well, I RMA'd it the next day and should get my new one at school on Monday. I'm going to make extra sure that this one doesn't die. (Normally I'm *really* careful, but this time I'll have to be *really* careful ;)

I'm using my crippled board to write this, so at least my CPU/RAM/GPU/Live! are OK. I think I'm going to buy myself a new heatsink with a quieter fan next week...

Anyway, the point of this post (which I don't really think I conveyed, oh well :) was to tell you that smells can really trigger stong feelings. So the next time you overdose on prozak, wire up a transistor in reverse. Should fix things right up :)

--
* These would be the "let's hook up 24VDC@5A to the precision CMOS*"-type people.
* Actually, nobody ever did that. We did lose power to the building when an enterprising fool decided that the electrical outlet was a great paperclip holder. Yup, it was great. I told her to use a 10 ohm resisitor next time (so she'd burn herself badly, hehehe).

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Odor Memory: Die, transistor, die.

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