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Can you kill a soundcard if you put the opamp in backwards?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
My impulse to have a nice audiophile rig without really reading up on things too thoroughly had led me to purchasing several opamps off ebay.

Stupid mistake #1 - I ended up purchasing the opamp that was already on the soundcard (actually 4 of them)

Stupid mistake #2 - The other opamp I purchased doesn't sound anywhere near as good as the one already on the card (though it was praised for being a good one)

Stupid mistake #3 - this is where things turn into a catastrophe. I've built and taken apart PC's for over 10 years. I've built several of my own rigs. Somehow I didn't take it into consideration that if you put the opamp in backwards it would fry the opamp and possibly kill the soundcard. After deciding I didn't like the replacement opamp, I decided to put the original one back it. After I powered on my PC I noticed a very odd squealing noise. I hadn't though it was coming from my headphones because it was so alien sounding. Thought it was probably something outside my door. After I stood up and got my orientation about me I noticed the noise was coming from my headphones. About 2 seconds later I started to smell burning plastic. I put in another opamp in the proper direction this time and had no sound after booting into windows. I tried all the opamps I had, afterwards, and still no sound.


It's weird because I've read about people soldering in opamps the wrong way and it just kills the opamp, not the entire card. There isn't any visible damage to the card either and the burning smell was entirely limited to the opamp.


I know that I answered my own question in the title of this thread but I was curious to know if anyone had a similar experience before. Obviously today was an awful day for me. I felt so stupid... I honestly can't think of a time where I've made so many foolish mistakes in a row. Something about this audiophile equipment makes me want to make impulsive decisions (very stupid ones at that).
post #2 of 7
yes
post #3 of 7
Tested, and Yes.

My first attempt putting opamps in backward, resulting a small smoke behind the PCB. So I turn off the power immediately, and the unit is safe.
Lucky.
post #4 of 7
it really depends on the design of the card -there's no universal answer. different circuits have different designs, some have built in protections, others don't.

but based on your results, it sounds like a yes in this case
post #5 of 7
heh yesterday i made same mistake on my prodigy hd2, fortunatelly just pcb, capacitor and opamp got really hot, but card itself wasn't damaged.
post #6 of 7
I think that the sound card's ultimate death may have been due to the amount of time you left it on. It's a good idea to feel the op-amp for heat whenever you insert a new one.

The op-amp must have been self-oscillating an incredible amount to actually be audible.
post #7 of 7

Sorry to ressurect an old topic, but i just inserted an opamp backwards into a cmoy amp, and it smelled like burning plastic, but it didnt melt. Do you think i fried the opamp or something else in my cmoy? You can find a digram of the circuit here

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