Will my computer melt down to China?

I have a 5-year old Fujitsu-Siemens Scaleo H. It has gotten louder and louder and recently developed a habit of jamming completely. Not only does the monitor freeze, but num lock light does not work. Thus this is a computer problem.

My previous monitor broke down so I updated it and initially thought this was the root of the problem. I opened the computer case and cleaned everywhere I could reach. This made the rotor noise a lot smaller but did not remove the problem: everything (except the rotors) just stops functioning after some minutes.

When the computer is opened, the monitor related circuitry sits vertically and there is a large heat sink. The mother board is sitting horizontally and there is a smaller heat sink just beside the large one. One corner of this small sink gets very hot (difficult to touch). So the hot spot is close to the monitor connection but its own heat sink does not heat much. Furthermore, the small sink heats when an ice brick is against the large sink and the large sink stays definitely cool.

I opened a lot of more parts, removed a lot of more dust and now the rotors are practically silent. By using ice bricks on the small sink, I was able to load a core temperature program (this took several sessions as the computer runs only some minutes). Both cores remained under 40deg C and the computer did not jam. In fact it worked perfectly. To my surprise, I saw an opportunity to shut down the system in a controlled manner for the first time for days. I did that. Now it won’t start.:smack:

Considering that both monitor and computer are breaking down conveniently after a period of twice the guarantee, my diagnosis is that we are looking at a case of prudent design here. However, I have looked inside a computer and think I might be ready to build the next one myself. So I’d like to learn as much as possible from this:

a) Have I made myself the laughing stock of the general public by using ice bricks to cool a computer?

b) Is there a way to know what makes the small sink heat when all components that can be reached stay relatively cool? What kind of components in this kind of computer packege designed to be non-reusable could be reused?

c) Why did the computer work after I had over-hauled everything and possibly installed the rotors all backwards and accidentally removed wires here and there, but refuses to start now? (The only wires I know I removed were connections to the front blinking lights. These may be connected wrong, but it worked fine without the lights when it worked.)

a) the only risk is melt water getting somewhere it shouldn’t. It’s nothing ludicrous, especially done in a pinch. At work we use cans of “circuit chiller” to do the same thing, basically just one of those cans of “air duster” but sprays the liquid(R-134a) instead of the gas.

B) the small heatsink you’re referring to is probably for the “north bridge” of the system chipset. This chip has stuff like the memory controller, CPU bus interface, PCI controller, etc. They generally do get hot, and that’s normal- remember that what is “hot” to a person is just fine to a piece of metal or silicon. 80C is not an unheard of operating temperature for them.

c) my wild-ass guess is that the north bridge IC might have a cracked solder joint due to thermal fatigue. Icing it let it contract to where the connection was remade, but once it heated up again it broke. Something like that isn’t fixable without specialized equipment.

Thank you.

Not what you were really after, but if you are in the USA, expect it to aim for Australia. The China Syndrome is a weird idea, unless you’re in South America, which is what China is opposite of.

Not Australia – the Indian Ocean is the antipodes to all of the lower 48 states of the U.S. Only Hawaii has its antipodes on land, and there they should have the Botswana Syndrome.


Hey, Giles, nice link! I like that!