My PSU just blew

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matmanlives

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someone has been messing about and switched the volt switch from 230 to 110 on the back of my PC, meaning a loud pop, some sparks and smoke, and a nice burning smell. i guess its the fuse but could be worse, everything else seems fine.
the computer is only 3 days old and the mrs is going to go mental.
is there a temporary fix until the new PSU unit comes or should i just suck it up and tell her?

it is a Dell Dimension C521 by the way
 

DoubleHelix

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There's no temporary fix to a blown power supply. You need a new power supply. You can't tell everything else is fine until you actually try using it, and I can almost guarantee if you saw sparks and smoke, other components are very likely damaged as well.
 

jiml8

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The fuse, certainly. If you are handy with a soldering iron, replacing the fuse is no big deal. Beyond that, a "nice burning smell" suggests that something OTHER than the fuse died. You'd just better hope that this something else is in the power supply too. It's entirely possible, depending on the quality of the power supply, that other components in the system are damaged as well.
 

matmanlives

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the smell and smoke only came from the power supply box, everywhere else looked and smelt fine.
i have ordered a new psu unit, i just could have done with a patch fix until it came. thats all.

thanks guys
appreciated the help
 

matmanlives

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just out of curiosity, do i need to buy the Dell PSU specifically for this machine model or are there generic PSU's that would fit and work just as well?
 

DoubleHelix

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Since this is a cheap, commodity Dell desktop, I wouldn't count on a quality power supply absorbing that kind of failure. Unfortunately you're not going to know until you connect a new power supply.
 

Snagglegaster

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just out of curiosity, do i need to buy the Dell PSU specifically for this machine model or are there generic PSU's that would fit and work just as well?
Your Dell uses an oddball PSU, so the replacement needs to be the same model, but you can use a generic PSU to test the system; you just can't install it in the case. So, you might want to see what you can borrow, or just pay to have the system tested.

Just as DoubleHelix says, it's entirely possible for a failed PSU to take out every component in the case. I've seen it happen several times. If the PSU isn't your only problem, the cost of fixing the computer is likely to come close to or even exceed the cost of a new computer.
 

DoubleHelix

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I'd also be concerned about the "someone" messing with voltage switches on the power supply of a brand new computer. If this is a kid, you need a better place to keep the system. If it's an adult, what's to stop the same thing from happening again?
 
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I didn't even know there was a switch to change the power, what's even the point. Where is it so I know mine isn't set low?
 

Snagglegaster

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I didn't even know there was a switch to change the power, what's even the point. Where is it so I know mine isn't set low?
There is a little slider switch on the back of most PSUs that selects the votage. They are normally recessed a bit so you can't accidentally hit the thing. They are generally plainly marked. Since the choices are 110 and 220 volts, if your comupter is working, the voltage setting is correct, so no worries there. Of course, many better quality PSUs these days can autodetect the correct voltage, and don't have a selector switch.
 
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I didn't even know there was a switch to change the power, what's even the point.
Electronics using a universal supply would switch how capacitors connect to AC mains (in series or parallel). Any voltage from 85 to 265 is perfectly acceptable. But some appliances intended only for one region will replace the automatic switchover circuit with a typically red switch adjacent to where the AC power cord connects.


Capacitors connected in series were switched to parallel. So that capacitors expecting 120 volts got destroyed by 230 volts. A better supply is to upgrade to a universal supply. Same is found on all laptops, electric razors, digital cameras, etc. Read the label adjacent to where its power cord connects. Don't take my word for it. Always confirm everything by learning from numbers.

Power supplies from better manufacturers (such as Dell) have overvoltage protector devices. Too much voltage into a supply can never result in excessive voltage into the motherboard. If the failure occurred as described, then nothing else is damaged. Cheap supplies so often promoted by computer assemblers can sometimes be missing this standard protective circuit - to both increase profits while reducing its retail price.

 

Snagglegaster

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A better supply is to upgrade to a universal supply. Same is found on all laptops, electric razors, digital cameras, etc. Read the label adjacent to where its power cord connects.
Just curious, which universal power supply do you recommend for the Dimension C521?
 
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