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Author Topic: Active Home and CM15Sd wiped out my computer  (Read 6681 times)

matt832

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Active Home and CM15Sd wiped out my computer
« on: September 14, 2010, 03:10:58 AM »

I'm frustrated.  I've been using the Firecracker software for well over a decade and started having unsolvable runtime errors with it, otherwise my computer was fine and functional.  Came across the Active home deal with  re-certified equipment and decided it was time to update and possible add some cameras and security.

I installed the software in the order suggested  Sw31a, Sw32a,Sw34a, and Sw39 then plugged in the usb adapter.  Computer blacked out.  Nothing I tried would get it up and running.  Stripped it down and tried to boot.  Nothing.  One of the new components took out a stick of memory and my video card.  It was a secondary computer and I had back ups of all the components in another computer.  Installed a replacement memory stick and another video card and they system was somewhat functional, but constant lock ups.  In the process of repairing Windows XP in the hope I can keep most of my content.

So what happened?  This system has been fine for years and I add X10 Active Home and it's dead.  It's not that old of a system.  Anyone else have a similar problem?
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-Bill- (of wgjohns.com)

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Re: Active Home and CM15Sd wiped out my computer
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2010, 03:59:05 AM »

matt832,

It is highly unlikely that Active Home Pro or the "USB adapter" could have blown hardware on your computer.

From your description of increasing problems with the Firecracker software and having to replace a memory stick and video card, my best guess would be that your computer was on its way to failing to begin with.

I personally have had a very nice Gateway PC running XP suddenly fail and looking at the mother board, several of the electrolytic "can" capacitors show an obvious bulge at the top.  This can also happen with similar capacitors in the computer power supply.

Doing some online research, I found out that there was a bad batch of Korean made capacitors out there that crapped up PC's and TV's that were built using them.

Personally, I'd suggest getting another computer, or some serious electronic trouble-shooting and repair of that one.

Not sure the trouble-shooting route is worth the effort though at todays computer prices.

Just my 2 cents.
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Brian H

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Re: Active Home and CM15Sd wiped out my computer
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2010, 06:03:01 AM »

I would give your motherboard or power supply a real good look.
The increasing instability of the computer is a warning sign of caps failing.
There are whole web sites related to just such things; and it is very active.
The swollen capacitor thing is still happening and not just on computers these days.
If both a video card and a memory stick where damaged. I would look real good at a failing power supply.

If your kit had the CM15ASD in it. The CM15A doesn't even use the computers +5 volts and even if it was defective. At worse it may have harmed a USB port.
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bitman

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Re: Active Home and CM15Sd wiped out my computer
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2010, 08:29:04 AM »

Is it a laptop?

If so: unplug the power and remove the battery.
Then plug it into the power adapter without the battery to see if it won't start.
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hawk1

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Re: Active Home and CM15Sd wiped out my computer
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2010, 09:24:16 AM »

I've seen this happen with currupt USB drivers.  I have a small form factor Compaq for the longest time every time I plugged in a USB device it would turn itself off.  While it was still plugged in it wouldn't turn on.  Had to unplug the USB device update the drivers and everything is well.

But Bill and Brian are correct with the capacitor defect.  I've seen probably a hundred computers with blown or bulging capacitors and every one was causing the problems.  In my early years I used to de-solder capacitors on used boards and re-solder these in the place of the blown capacitor and repair the motherboard.  Now, it's just like they said it's probably more cost effective to just by a new computer or bare bones system and switch everything over.
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matt832

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Re: Active Home and CM15Sd wiped out my computer
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2010, 01:11:48 PM »

Well I have to say the timing is pretty suspicious.  I install some new software and plug in a USB connection and Poof major components are dead?  I've been working on and building computers since the early 90's, so I"n no newbie, I've never seen a such a catastrophic failure when installing software.

Once I get it up and running I'm going to be a little nervous plugging in the USB adapter.
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dave w

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Re: Active Home and CM15Sd wiped out my computer
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2010, 01:23:25 PM »

Well I have to say the timing is pretty suspicious.  I install some new software and plug in a USB connection and Poof major components are dead?  I've been working on and building computers since the early 90's, so I"n no newbie, I've never seen a such a catastrophic failure when installing software.

Once I get it up and running I'm going to be a little nervous plugging in the USB adapter.

I agree with others, that a bad CM15A should not be able to take out memory and/or video. I could see it taking out USB buss or the main power supply. Having said that I will add that I have been surprised many times after making similar judgements  :D

Do you have a powered USB hub that you could use as an isolator, rather than plugging the CM15A back in to the motherboard USB port?

Hey Brian H, does the CM15A have opto isolators on the USB port?
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Brian H

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Re: Active Home and CM15Sd wiped out my computer
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2010, 02:10:12 PM »

No data and common from USB socket directly to the CY7C63723 controller chip.
Clamping diodes from +5 and common to the data lines.
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dave w

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Re: Active Home and CM15Sd wiped out my computer
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2010, 03:02:59 PM »

No data and common from USB socket directly to the CY7C63723 controller chip.
Clamping diodes from +5 and common to the data lines.
Thanks for the info! I supose matt832 could have some type of short in the CM15A, especially since it is a "Certified Like New" CM15A. I am becoming suspicious of X10's "recertification" process. Perhaps in gets certified if there are no flash marks or smoke stains on the unit(?).  rofl
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matt832

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Re: Active Home and CM15Sd wiped out my computer
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2010, 05:07:25 PM »

I will do a basic check for stay voltage across the USB pins before I attempt to use it again.

I guess stranger things have happened, it may just have been a fluke, but now I"m wary....
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HA Dave

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Re: Active Home and CM15Sd wiped out my computer
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2010, 05:52:51 PM »

..... I am becoming suspicious of X10's "recertification" process. Perhaps in gets certified if there are no flash marks or smoke stains on the unit(?). 

I am not convinced that a simple flash mark or small smoke stain.... would be evidence enough to disguard an otherwise perfect unit.
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dave w

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Re: Active Home and CM15Sd wiped out my computer
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2010, 06:14:19 PM »

 rofl
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Noam

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Re: Active Home and CM15Sd wiped out my computer
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2010, 11:02:01 AM »

No data and common from USB socket directly to the CY7C63723 controller chip.
Clamping diodes from +5 and common to the data lines.
Thanks for the info! I supose matt832 could have some type of short in the CM15A, especially since it is a "Certified Like New" CM15A. I am becoming suspicious of X10's "recertification" process. Perhaps in gets certified if there are no flash marks or smoke stains on the unit(?).  rofl

What about the possibility of a short in the USB cable? or a static electric shock?
Or, possibly, a short inside the USB connector on the motherboard, that might not have been used prior, so it didn't cause a problem until something was plugged in?
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matt832

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Re: Active Home and CM15Sd wiped out my computer
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2010, 01:35:28 PM »

Well I've narrowed the problems down to memory -I think.  I have a twin to this system, both secondary computers and I've been switching in components.  Video card is working, but memory seems bad.  Running Win7 memory test, seems to lock up at Pass 2 of 2 99% on part of the memory.  Will pull that stick and test the others.

I've checked the power supply, I have a CoolMax Power Supply tester and it tested fine, it's a pretty decent Enermax unit.  These are both pretty good systems, TOL in their day, Lanparty Ut NF3 250gb, Amd 3000+ Proc and have been solid.  If I can narrow down the issue further I'll post back.
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pconroy

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Re: Active Home and CM15Sd wiped out my computer
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2010, 10:49:06 PM »

There's a good memtest program - part of any Ubuntu ISO boot disk.
I've used it to ferret out bad memory.
It works and it's fast.
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