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Solved: Blown PSU

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by El_Doro, Jul 26, 2006.

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  1. El_Doro

    El_Doro Thread Starter

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    Last night went to turn on my computer, but got nothing, reset my surge protector and tried again but still nothing, the monitor was working fine though so i knew there was no problem with power, i took the keetle lead from the monitor and tried it in the PSU, incase the PSU kettle had blown a fuse. When i did so the PSU popped, and a little smoke, a fairly average PSU blowing.

    My worry is what are the chances that this has done damage to components throughout the computer?

    The gut wreching thing is i finished putting the brand new machine together less than a week ago! The PSU and all over components are of course under warranty, the PSU itself was returned today for a replacement, but will i be able to get replacements of any other components because of this?

    Hopefully all i'm looking at is replacing the PSU and problem solved, but im slightly worried about the whole machine!

    Thanks to anyone that can offer some advice!
     
  2. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    The only way you will know is to swap in a new power supply. If it boots, fine. If it does not, you will need to swap your parts with known good ones to check each part ie board, cpu, memory, etc.

    FWIW I have had a power supply blow and it took out the mb, cpu, memory, and video card. The only items that were able to be salvaged were the hd, one CD drive, keyboard, and mouse.

    What brand of power supply did you have?
     
  3. El_Doro

    El_Doro Thread Starter

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    It was a COLORSit 400w, hardly a leading brand, it came bundled with my case.

    hopefully just the power supply is blown, otherwise i stand to loose about £500 worth of stuff only a week after it arrived!
     
  4. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    Do buy a quality unit this time. DO NOT go with a cheap brand again. Good brand names are antec, enermax, coolmax, sparkle, and for a budget build enlight.
     
  5. qldit

    qldit

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    Good Evening El_Doro, your description is symptomatic of a switching problem within the PSU.
    You may be aware that these PSU's operate by switching simple rectified mains voltage at high frequency such that only very small transformers of very high efficiency are used, as against the old days where a similar mains transformer alone would have weighed ten or fifteen pounds.

    Because of this high efficiency / performance kind of area, failures can be quite spectacular and very rapid, like in the area of "one flash and it is ash" kind of effect.

    Because of the different voltage output rails and the power requirements in each, a heavy current drain normally has a limiting effect in the high frequency switching area and most often causes that circuit to overload and either cook a transformer or the associated semiconductors involved.
    Many of these PSU's actually have a fuse in them but more often the "Poof" happens and the switching components are ash before the fuse blows.

    Generally these kinds of failures are limited to the actual PSU and more often happen when a new machine is freshly used and new.
    Sometimes it is an idea to run new machines for 24 or 48 hours to islolate these kinds of device failures, generally referred to as a "soak test". (used to be a common procedure)

    It is usually quite often smelly and a tinge of blue smoke is common, sometimes burning with flame is present.

    A similar problem can happen when the device is aged and the cooling fan fails, the entire design is based on proper cooling with proper airflow.

    The more modern PSU's often have a foldover circuit where output is cut if a short circuit or excessive current is apparent.
    Some of these require power to be removed for thirty seconds to allow the system to reset when they are tripped.

    So summing up, when these kinds of things happen the damage is usually contained within the PSU as apart from a lightning or mains transient kind of circumstance where a spike may damage downstream components.

    Of course the owners religion probably has a major bearing as well!

    Cheers, qldit.
     
  6. El_Doro

    El_Doro Thread Starter

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    qldit, what your suggesting does seem very much like what occurred, and also very re-assuring! haha

    BUT, the Fuses in both the kettle leads i used were blown, which would suggest some sort of power spike or surge to me?

    Will defiently be installing a quality brand name when i replace it!
     
  7. qldit

    qldit

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    If the fuses in the leads were blown and extremely discoloured, (as in violently blown) it is more indicative of a major short circuit which usually applies to the PSU front end.
    I quite often strip PSU's down and find them demolished but the internal fuse still good.
    (we don't have lead fuses here, different standards)
    By the sound of it I would expect the great computer god has smiled on you and only the PSU is involved.

    You have to laugh don't you, these things can be such a pain, I had an expensive PSU smoked and dead a few days ago, it was only a few days old, I shoved a 400 watt cheapy in and the owner was happy, so I will receive the warranty replacement in a few days, it was a 450watt so I actually have a win! LOL. (don't tell anyone but I like the cheapies!)LOL!
    qldit.
     
  8. El_Doro

    El_Doro Thread Starter

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    My new antec arrived this afternoon, It's been over a week since the old PSU blow, took a while due to delivery problems, obviously i was a bit anxious as to whether the machine would actually work! I'm happy to say that im sitting typing on it at the moment, so obviously i just had a switching problem or such with the old PSU, and none of the hardware was affected. The Antec is also slightly quieter than my old one, so a good result all round!
     
  9. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    Good work. You can mark your own thread as solved using the thread tools at the top of the page.
     
  10. qldit

    qldit

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    Good Morning El_Doro, A small prayer to the great computer god would be a good idea.
    Well done!
    cheers, qldit.
     
  11. El_Doro

    El_Doro Thread Starter

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    As i was opening the new PSU there were many prayers said, and many more when everything powered up!!
     
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