Steve Dunn | August 18, 2004
Dear computer wizards - please tell me if this makes sense.

I went out of town last weekend. Befroe I left, I unplugged my Power Mac G4. While I was away, the hurricane weather came through (just heavy rain in NC) and knocked out my power. I believe that my house became very warm and humid before the power came back on and the air conditioning kicked back in.

I came home, plugged in the computer, and started it up... nothing.

No chime, nothing on the screen, no sign of life whatsoever except that the fan came on and blew STRONG.

For two days I assumed moisture had gotten inside the computer, and it might come back if I dried it out. That did not work. Yesterday I took it to my local Apple Store and turned it over to one of the resident "geniuses" (they call their tech guys geniuses...)

My genius examined my "logic board" (which I think is Apple-speak for "motherboard") and found a bent pin. I confirmed that no one had gone anywhere near the logic board since I got the machine just over a year ago (that is, just outside the warranty period).

The guy was mystified (and so am I) how a pin could get bent if no one did anything to the machine.

Our best theory at this point is that a drop of dew formed on or near the pin, then when I plugged in the machine the current hit the moisture and melted or jolted or generally fucked up the pin.

My question: is this a plausible theory? Any other ideas for what might have happened?

This is more than a theoretical discussion. Depending on the cost of the repair (which basically depends on whether the processor ALSO needs to be replaced) I may have insurance coverage. I'm guessing the insuarance company will want to know how the computer got broken. For that reason, and also my own curiosity, I'd like to know myself.

John E Gunter | August 18, 2004
I would say it is very possible that the pin has been bent for a long period of time. I used to work in technical support, so I've seen all kinds of really odd things. How the pin was bent, I have no idea, but imho, if it were bent far enough, and there was a drop of water there; it could cause an arch, which could fry an important part.

Computers draw a much lighter load of electricity, hence the large power supply most of them have, which converts the lovely household current from 110 to something more to the computer's liking. That's why it's very important to have some sort of power surge protection, not only on your power cord to the computer, but also on any cord that can conduct electricity.

A modem cable, be it cable or phone can also allow a surge of electricity into the computer, which will be the end of it. Although I've never heard of it happening myself, I would imagine that a network interface cable could possibly burn up the computer as well. Fortunately, you usually don't get power surges through your network hardware.

It's usually the phone or cable line. Sure, the cable will probably melt, but not before it allows enough current through it to nail your machine.

Plus, the connector pins on computers are extremely vulnerable to bending. I've had to straighten pins on cpus, hard drives, cables - from video to network, etc. So there is a possibility that the pin was bent at the factory.

So I'd get some kind of verification from the tech that recommends that's how the computer was damaged and see if your insurance will cover it.

Oh, just remembered a little gem of information from the Apple repair manual, if you had a hard drive that was no longer spinning, the repair method was to take the hard drive, hold it level 3 feet above a carpeted concrete floor and drop it. Something I've done in the past. Course, once you got the hard drive hooked back up to the machine, you pull all of the data off that drive, it won't last much longer!


Mike Eberhart | August 18, 2004
I would say because it's an Apple :)

Scott Hardie | August 20, 2004
Is it possible that the pin was always bent, without interfering with the computer's operation, and you just now noticed?

Is it possible that the humidity is what caused the computer to malfunction a few days ago, and that it is unrelated to the bent pin?

Both sound likely to me.

Robert Phillips | August 21, 2004
Ahh now I see my earlier recommendations were incorrect. Every Macintosh problem I have had has always been hardware. Never an OS problem. 10.3 has been running like a champ.

Mike, Mike, Mike...I take it you are a network engineer or something like that...Why is it so damned difficult to get active directory servers to use standard corporate DNS services. All I want them to do is the same thing that UNIX does (and OSX). That is we set the domain name server name and let it go.

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