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PSU sparking then replacement blew as soon as switched on

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by ogami, Feb 15, 2007.

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  1. ogami

    ogami Thread Starter

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    Hi There, I built a desktop PC for a friend a while back and he just brought it back to me because he said it was sparking. He was indeed correct as when you plugged the power cable in you could hear it and when you turned the switch on you could see it in the back of the PSU. Easy... change the PSU. So I did just that, tried to stick in an old PSU we had hanging around just as a temp measure until he can buy a new one but as soon as I plugged it in I heard a Pop/crack noise and then a distinctly not right smell coming from the replacement PSU... and of course that one is now dead.

    The PSU I took out was a 400w and the one I tried in was a 350w. So basically the question is this. Is there a possibility of something else in the system that's caused this PSU problem.. if so what might it be. Or is it just bad luck that the replacement I put in was either dodgy.. or that 350w just wasn't powerful enough. Like I said the replacement is old but it's the one I use for most PSU testing that I do on other machines.

    The only PSU's I now have are in the 2 systems in my house and I don't want to put one in to try if there's a possibility it's just going to blow again... and of course I don't want to go buy another PSU and have it pop as soon as I plug it in.. or indeed damage any of the other hardware in there by putting power in if there's another problem.

    Bad luck or big problem, and advice/suggestions gratefully received.
     
  2. win2kpro

    win2kpro

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    What is the make and model of the 400 and 350 watt PSU's? What is the machine configuration?
     
  3. ogami

    ogami Thread Starter

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    The PSU he had in was pretty cheap (though not as cheap as the replacement I guess) Original one was Colorsit switching PSU ATX 12v p4 (I can't see a model number on it.. not sure if that's the info you need)

    Replacement is even more crud I suppose... it's an iCute (no idea where it came from, maybe from a case I had once and upgraded...) ATX-350w/P4

    Can't remember the full specs of the system but it's an Athlon 64 3800 (I think.. def a 64 anyway) on an MSI K8n Neo4h board. 512mb Ram and a Geforce PCI express card (can't see the exact model on it atm but it 256mb) apart from that maxtor 80gb ide drive and a poineer dvd writer.

    Hope that's the info you needed...lmk if you need anything else!
     
  4. win2kpro

    win2kpro

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    Without a model number for the Colorsit I couldn't find much information on it. I did find the iCute online for $9.99 (n) You really can't expect much from a $9.99 PSU.

    I would check the voltage output from the source and make sure it is within tolerances.

    I would unplug everything from the board and and try a good quality power supply, i.e.
    PC Power & Cooling, Antec, Seasonic, Enermax, Cooler Master, Thermaltake, etc. and plug in only the main power connector, the aux 12V connector and the CPU fan to the motherboard fan header. Unplug any USB connections and remove any add-in PCI cards.
    Remove the PCI-e card IF the board has onboard video and see if the board will POST.

    There is a distinct possibility that when the initial PSU failed it could have taken out the motherboard and/or other components. The only way you are going to know for sure is to test by replacing parts.
     
  5. ogami

    ogami Thread Starter

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    OK, thanks for the advice. I'll try my 600w PSU in it I think and see how that is. Someone suggested it might be the motherboard shorting out somewhere... would you think that's likely? If so I'll take it out and have a good check round it first... don't think the board has onboard graphics unfortunately!
     
  6. win2kpro

    win2kpro

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    I've seen quite a number of cases where a failed PSU has taken out the board, but I can't honestly say that I have seen a failed board take out a PSU.

    Many times people will bring a machine in where the PSU has failed and after I test the PSU I connect one of my PSU's to the board to test the board. So far I have never had a failed board blow up one of my test PSU's.

    I guess it's possible, but at some point you are going to have to test the board and the only way to test it is to connect it to a known good PSU.
     
  7. win2kpro

    win2kpro

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    BTW, it would be interesting to look inside the blown PSU's to see if either one of them (or both) had any "bulged" or "leaking" capacitors.
     
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