smelly pc - please advise!

  alanmondey 12:35 12 Mar 2011
Locked

I apologise in advance for what must seem like a weird query, but I haven't found anyone who can help with this one.

Last year, I got a second-hand PC from someone who buys them in and refurbishes them. It was everything I wanted except for one thing: the smell.

Whenever I turned it on, it gave out an acrid smell that I can only liken to the smell you'd get if you sniffed a very concentrated solution of washing-powder. Acrid and alkaline. I suppose it was also very like mildew as well. It wasn't just a bad smell - it got right into my throat and seemed to be about to trigger an asthma attack.

I kept the machine running for hours, with me out of the room, hoping it would evaporate off whatever was making the smell, but no luck. I looked inside, and it appeared to be very clean. Finally, I took it back.

Well, just recently, a friend gave me a lovely PC - dual-core CPU, 2GB RAM - for free. But I can't use it because it's giving off the same smell (though not quite so strongly).

My friend used this PC for three years and never noticed anything.

Any ideas, anyone?

  Diemmess 12:41 12 Mar 2011

Probably doesn't account for the persistence, but have you low voltage power supplies to the monitor and perhaps a printer or some other peripheral?

I don't recognise your description but some acrid pongs will start with an overheating component in the culprit gadget.

  woodchip 12:41 12 Mar 2011

Some body been feeding it beans by chance!

  blazon 82 14:12 12 Mar 2011

Have the previous owners been smokers, perhaps that is the smell

  Graphicool1 14:51 12 Mar 2011

Place a small dish of 'Bicarbonate of Soda' inside your PC. It will absorb the smell.

  User-312386 15:06 12 Mar 2011

Is the computer in a cupboard by any chance?

  woodchip 15:23 12 Mar 2011

have a smell round the psu fan at the back, it may be hot electronics

  961 15:44 12 Mar 2011

Try a spray with car air conditioner bacteria killer as used to decontaminate air conditioning systems

  proudfoot 15:51 12 Mar 2011

Sounds like some component is breaking down or over heating.
Suggest you boot up for a while then disconnect the PC from the mains, earth your self down and touch various components.
A point worth noting though, I was surprised after replacing a video card recently how hot the fan-less heat sink runs.

  bremner 15:56 12 Mar 2011

The fact that two PC's have resulted in the smell tends to rule out the PC as the root cause of the problem.

The fans suck in air on one side and extract it on the other.

It would seem likely that they are collecting dirty air and blowing it out. As madboy33 suggests were both machine sited in the same place.

  lotvic 16:31 12 Mar 2011

Have you tried changing your socks?

(sorry-...;-))

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