Help me solve this mystery.

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by M76, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. M76

    M76 [H]ardness Supreme

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    I wonder if anyone has an idea on this: I've opened up an old PC (P4) and found a strange device attached to one of the molex power connectors. It's basically a small black box 1 by 2" maybe. That was completely sealed.

    After peeling off the enclosure (it was glued shut really tight) I've found that the insides are enclosed in some sort of plastic. It's like they poured the plastic into it as liquid and it set around the components fully enveloping them including the entire PCB. It is solid now, there is no way to get to the pcb to see the traces or components on it without causing major damage.

    The only components that are not fully enclosed in the plastic mold, are two Thrystors. (BT151 and BT152).

    What the hell could this be, and what is it's function?

    It has no outputs, no other connections of any kind, it's only external connection is the molex power connector.


    Since it is so secretive of it's insides my first thought was: CIA listening device :-D

    My second thought was that it's some sort of overvoltage protection.
    I'm no expert at electronics but I assume that would have to be connected in line with the components to function. Not parallel to them, right?
     
  2. FlamingTP01

    FlamingTP01 [H]Lite

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  3. M76

    M76 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Sorry, I don't have a picture but it's not hard to picture a black box, with a male molex power connector.

    Here, I've created a mockup.

    Black-Plastic-Electronic-Box-Instrument-Case2.jpg
     
  4. dthree

    dthree n00bie

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  5. FlamingTP01

    FlamingTP01 [H]Lite

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    Only purpose I could think of is a transmitter.

    Last I checked apple and amazon have both denied this. not that I would be surprised if they were lying. Hard to play ball when you could lose access to the Chinese market.
     
  6. M76

    M76 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Here is the actual device, opened:
    IMG_20181018_100723.jpg
     
  7. FlamingTP01

    FlamingTP01 [H]Lite

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    from what I looked up, molex doesn't send or receive data. Gotta be wifi, GPS, or bluetooth, maybe a mic? Take it to a spy store if you have one in your area (yes those are real) and ask. Maybe send an email to some of those ex secret service people who privately contract in finding bugs and such. All I can think of.
     
  8. Esso

    Esso Limp Gawd

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    First thing that came to mind was something of a lowjacking device, but I wouldn't hedge my bets on it. That is certainly interesting... I wonder if there is a way to kill the blue (epoxy?) and expose the circuitry further.

    Maybe turn it over to the masses of Reddit, a wider audience might make short work of it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2018
  9. elite.mafia

    elite.mafia Broke Back [H]

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    Probably for a cold cathode light is my guess.
     
  10. Spartacus

    Spartacus [H]ard|Gawd

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    Is there also a coin battery present on the mobo for the CMOS/RTC?

    Some older systems used to have an external battery pack that plugged into the mobo.
    They usually plugged into a special connector though, not a molex like that.

    Plug it into a molex and let it run for a while. Then pull it off and see if you find voltage on it.

    ETA: I've also heard of fixes (never seen one) for cold boot problems. Older systems used to often have a problem with cold boots.
    System would not POST if left off for a while, but would then POST and run ok after re-powering. The mobo
    was looking for POWER_GOOD before the PSU was ready. It could be a battery pack to help fix cold boot
    problems, dunno.

    .
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2018
  11. M76

    M76 [H]ardness Supreme

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    I don't have reddit, not familiar with it at all. If you're up for it you can post it there with the picture and the description I gave.

    In a beige stock computer case from one of our countryside offices? NAH.

    It's not that old system it's a PIV it has a cmos battery. And there is definitely no battery in this thing. Look at the picture, there is no space left for a battery there. I still think the most likely and benign explanation that it is some sort of surge protection. This is from the era when all kinds of shitty psus were sold on the cheap, with exploding capacitors that often fried computers.
     
  12. Esso

    Esso Limp Gawd

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    Sounds good, I'll create a thread.
     
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  13. Monkey34

    Monkey34 [H]ardness Supreme

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    I saw that, and I was like WTF?

    index.jpg
     
  14. M76

    M76 [H]ardness Supreme

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    So did you?
     
  15. ryan_975

    ryan_975 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    My guess is that it's it's a DC-DC converter to supply extra current from one voltage rail to another. P4 came around during the time that motherboards were moving from supplying CPUs from 5v to 12v. So maybe the system builder used a older PSU that supplied more 5v current, but the motherboard needed more 12v?
     
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