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Thread: Power supply failure. Could it have been prevented?

  1. #1

    Power supply failure. Could it have been prevented?

    How's this for a less than calming experience? After procrastinating all long-weekend over adding a new CD-ROM drive and monitor to my second computer I finally got around to dealing with tangled cables and subborn screws and case components in order to get the job done. Once the innards of the machine were exposed I used the opportunity to blast in the inside of the compy (including the power supply) with some compressed air. I then added the CD-ROM drive, closed the machine up and proceeded to set the thing up again. I just about had everything connected save for the keyboard, however, when I started to insert the keyboard cable into the PS/2 port I heard a sparking sound and saw a flash inside the power supply. I was then treated to the smell of smouldering plastic before I unplugged everything and moved the compy out of the room.

    I'm wondering if there was anything that I could have done incorrectly while setiing things up that would have caused this (I've done this type of thing before with no problems) or if time was just up for this power supply (the computer is about 4 yrs old).

    I am also reluctant to plug it in again on order to see if things still work as it seems that this could represent a threat to person and property. Any suggestions as to how to proceed?

  2. #2

    Re:Power supply failure. Could it have been prevented?

    hello,
    i can not think of anything - i am wondering if there is a loose screw or somthing floating aound in the case though. when i have seen power supplys die it has been much less dramatic.

  3. #3

    Re:Power supply failure. Could it have been prevented?

    Well I once was changing a hard drive in a friend's computer and while in the process, I smelled that electrical type smoke. I still wasn't quite sure what it was so i continued to install the hd. When I was done, I started up the computer and nothing happen. It turned out the power supply had went dead. Nothing else happen by trying to start the computer, it just didn't have any power.

  4. #4
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    Re:Power supply failure. Could it have been prevented?

    Well, suggestion for the future, you should always unplug before you start working on your PC. But it could have been anything. The way to test is, plug in just the PSU to the wall, and then there is a wiring diagram on it, if you ground the switch on line it should switch on, if it doesn't, its dead.

  5. #5

    Re:Power supply failure. Could it have been prevented?

    Thanks for the suggestions and replies guys. I did a closer inspection of the PSU to follow-up on the loose screw theory. So far it seems like the only loose screw involved was me. This was determined by the extremely scientific shake method whereby the PSU was "handraulically" made to move up and down while an organic audio detection unit was used to determine if there were any sounds resembling that of a piece of threaded metallic material with no point of attachment inside the PSU. Nothing was detected.

    I was looking at the casing for the PSU to see if I could find some sort of diagram to follow up on the PSU testing suggestion. All that seems to be there is is a sticker with notes on which wire does what and a scary warning about the risks of trying to service the unit yourself.

    The info provided may be enough to try and test it, however, physics class was generally one of my "catch-up-on-sleep" classes so I don't think I'll be doing too much tinkering with the PSU (plus that warning was pretty scary ).

  6. #6
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    Re:Power supply failure. Could it have been prevented?

    I usually dust-off with those air-in-the-can-with-liquid-form type and I've seen the liquids coming out instead of just air blow.

    I couldn't say the PSU failure is preventables and such but whenever you service your computer or its components, you should wait a while to have them dried up before applying power.

    I've also seen PSU up to the smoke and wires short with fire burning, so it just is your luck.

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