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Old 07-20-2006, 01:48 AM   #1
hack124x768
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Blown power supply. Any ideas why?


The power supply in my best friend's family computer blew a while ago. Took out the motherboard, mouse, and the PS itself for sure. I'm playing with a sound card out of it right now to see if its good.

When you plug it in, the PS makes a 60hz buzz, and if I use a different PS the box still wont do anything, no lights, fans, etc.

My question is, What kind of abuse could have caused this, and how likely is it that the sound card (its a sound blaster ) and the HD are OK?

In-case you are wondering how this is Linux related, they are using a kubuntu box I set up for them right now.

Thanks!
 
Old 07-20-2006, 01:56 AM   #2
prozac
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more power input than the PS capacitor can hold are primary reasons for blown PS AFAIK. In my experience i have found 90% of the time its the capacitor in PS circuit that blows up rendering the PS useless. check out for black coats in the PS circuit board.
The PS are designed such that if large voltage supply comes through the PS blows itself so that it can protect other important peripherals (though i think its a hit or miss case more often than not) still your peripherals should be intact IMO.
 
Old 07-20-2006, 04:25 PM   #3
zytsef
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I don't know of the quality of the particular power supply you've had experiences with, but poor ones tend to fail pretty often. I swore off the likes of Raidmax and Powmax long ago. A for the sound card and hard drive, the only way to know for sure is to try them out.
 
Old 07-20-2006, 10:50 PM   #4
hack124x768
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Well, the sound card is shot. The DAC is fried I'm thinking, as the sound is really quiet and there is lots of audible fuzz. The hard drive I'm not so sure about. It hasn't worked for me thus far, but I thik it is because I was using it as a slave drive, and the master seemed to want to be single, not a master. All the jumpers were correct.

How likely is it that the ram and CPU are ok? the cpu is a 1.8ish GHz athalon that would be nice to have incase a mobo for it came along, and the ram is a pc2700 512mb stick, which would be usefull if and when they get a new box (which will be a dual booter).

Thanks!
 
Old 07-20-2006, 11:40 PM   #5
cs-cam
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I had a PSU blow about 5 years ago that killed the entire system (except luckily the hard drive). An electrical storm took it out but it was a near new machine and thankfully it was still under warrenty. My point (and everyone elses by the looks of it) is that mostly it works itself out by how lucky you are. Try the CPU and RAM in another machine or if you don't have another mobo ask around your friends.
 
Old 07-21-2006, 01:47 AM   #6
konsolebox
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i remember playing with an old computer last 2003. i tried removing the power connection of the floppy drive, turn the computer on, then plug again the power connection to the floppy. then boom! bye bye power supply.

and now what i'm seeing is there must be a proper power boot control handled by the motherboard. so maybe the problem you have is connected to the motherboard. just maybe though.

this is not really techy so please dont' rely on this info. maybe the motherboard's still fine.

regards
 
Old 07-21-2006, 03:09 PM   #7
J.W.
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My personal list of common reasons why PSU's fail:

1. Low quality manufacturer. "Bargain" PSU's usually aren't. Spend the extra money for a high quality, name-brand PSU. I would say the reason the majority of PSU's fail is just because they were poorly constructed and/or they used cheap, inferior components.

2. Environmental factors (eg, power spikes, lightning and/or severe weather, blowing the circuit in your household (aka, don't plug in a hair dryer into the same socket as your PC), etc. Always plug your PC into a high quality power strip with surge protection.

3. Dust and dirt. Keep your machine as dust-free as possible, and put it on a stand so that it's elevated off the floor. Dust/dirt is never your friend, and espeically in humid areas, can act to retain moisture in the air. You do not want to see any rust or corrosion anywhere on or in the PSU.

Although I can only speculate, my guess is that your friend's PSU failure was due to reason #1, as most of them are. When a PSU does fail, it can often take out the CPU, video, RAM, and mobo, but each case is different. I'd start by replacing just the PSU and see if the other components come back to life; if not, the other parts may need to be replaced as well. Good luck with it
 
Old 07-21-2006, 04:57 PM   #8
ExplodingTurnip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.W.
My personal list of common reasons why PSU's fail:
Although I can only speculate, my guess is that your friend's PSU failure was due to reason #1, as most of them are. When a PSU does fail, it can often take out the CPU, video, RAM, and mobo, but each case is different. I'd start by replacing just the PSU and see if the other components come back to life; if not, the other parts may need to be replaced as well. Good luck with it
Or in my case, exactly the opposite.

Several years ago I had a SuperMicro motherboard that ate power supplies. It was a P6DNF, IIRC, gave me years of service until one day it wasn't powering on or POST'ing. Opened up the box and noticed the power connectors to the motherboard were blackened. I initially suspected the power supply (PC Power & Cooling) as the cause so I replaced it. Put the replacement in (another PC Power & Cooling PS) and it died a couple of months later, too. Opened up the box again, and sure enough, the motherboard power connectors were burnt. At that point I just ditched the system.
 
Old 07-21-2006, 07:21 PM   #9
hack124x768
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I have put in another PS, It didn't buzz like the original, but it didn't work either. I don't know the brand of the PS, but it is out of an emachines athalon system from about 2003, If anyone can identify it by that.
 
Old 07-21-2006, 09:06 PM   #10
weibullguy
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Speaking as an elecrical engineer and not as an expert in PC equipment, if the power supply is faulted you are risking damage to other equipment by using it. Easter-egging is rarely a cost-effective troubleshooting method. Also, please be VERY careful if you open the chassis of the P/S. Even though only 12V and 5V come out, there can be voltages of several hundred volts internally. The capacitors and magnetic components can retain charges for hours and they can kill you.

The hum from a power supply is caused by parts being moved back and forth by the magnetic fields. Typically this is loose laminations in the core of a transformer. As the load (amount of current being drawn) increases, the strength of the magnetic fields increase, hence, the vibration (or hum) gets louder. The fact that the new PS didn't hum is a pretty good inidication that the mobo is faulted. AFAIK, the mobo contains circuitry that enables the power supply.

As far as abuse causing the failure, it may have simply been poor maintenance. Electronic equipment has two primary enemies; #1 is vibration (causes the solder joints to break) and is #2 dirt (causes excessive temperatures). I have mechanical filters on my computer and clean them weekly. The internals are on a monthly clean and inspect; it's probably overkill for most people though.

Regarding the CPU and the RAM, these are powered at voltages less than 5V. There are voltage regulators on the mobo that drop and regulate the PS voltage to the CPU and RAM working voltages. These regulators have internal circuits that shutdown regulation for various reasons. There's a good chance the CPU and RAM are OK, but you won't know until you try them.

The most common power supply components that fail are the diodes. I feel sorry for the capacitors 'cause they always get blamed. Capacitors tend to be symptoms of electrical overstress conditions, not causes themselves. In any event, low quality parts and poor design are definitely possible. However, even commercial quality electronic components on the market today are good parts. Even if the PS manufacturer buys them at Radio Shack, they're getting good parts. Poor design on the other hand....

A well designed, well manufactured, properly applied, and well maintained power supply can reasonably be expected to last 20-25 years before first failure. Even the ones found in OEM PC's aren't that bad, I have two that are 8 and 10 years old and still kicking. If the OEM design requires 290W, they use a 300W power supply. Higher quality machines would use a 350W or 400W power supply.

Anyway, hope I didn't bore you too much and hope I helped shed a little light.
 
  


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