An internal, low-voltage power cable to a DVD drive in a custom-built desktop computer caught fire recently. The fire was limited to the computer, and the fire self-extinguished once the power cord was unplugged. The desktop PC parts, including the DVD drive, were listed or UL-recognized components.
Fortunately, the employee was in the office, noticed the fire, and immediately asked for help in extinguishing the fire. The damage was limited to the desktop computer and did not activate the building’s sprinkler system.
Examination of the desktop revealed that the fire originated on the SATA molded plug connector of a Molex-to- SATA power cable (5 VDC and 12 VDC) for the DVD drive. Online searches show that certain types of SATA connectors are prone to catching fire. In particular, molded-type SATA plugs have caused multiple desktop computer fires.
If you have a custom-built desktop computer and suspect you may have this type of connector, inspect it to see if it is a molded-type plug. Watch this video to see how to spot the difference. If you have a molded-type plug, replace the cable with a non-molded-type cable. The IT Division has a supply of approved SATA-to-Molex power adapters available for free. To get a replacement, please email [email protected], or visit the Workstation Support group in 46-125.
Note: the inspection and replacement can be performed by the user unless there is an abnormal configuration. This task does not involve exposed parts above 50 V and therefore does not require a qualified electrical worker (QEW). If you suspect exposed electrical parts above 50 V, contact a QEW for assistance.
If you have any questions, contact [email protected].