2 dead PSUs in 3 days

By ranchdudes ยท 6 replies
Sep 16, 2003
  1. Two dead PSUs in 3 days - what's causing it?

    I had a cheapo case with a 110W (?) PSU for a year and a half. I run it with 2 HDs and 1 CDROM, a few cards (modem, network, USB2, FW, video) and it had few power related problems (flaky on board USB, third HD PIO only). The mobo is a IWILL KK266 with Athlon 1.4.

    This weekend the PSU finally gave up, and I got a new one from the local shop - JGE 300W 12V-15A, 2 fans, nice and shiny ($55). Installed it, everything runs with no problems, then this morning it died while the computer is running and exhibiting no problems!

    I take it to the store, no dice on refund. Nobody has a clue what can cause this. No other electronic devices plugged in the same circuit are affected, so power surges are unlikely to be the cause.

    There's no burnt smell, the mobo looks brand new (I took it out today to look on the other side).

    The computer is running now with a old, scavenged PSU with NO FAN (side of case is open). No problems at all.

    Any ideas what the problem could be? I'd hate to change the mobo, this one has been good to me. Also, I'd have to kill another $55 PSU. I'm giving this one a few days, see what happens.

  2. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Some ideas may include brown outs and abnormal power surges. Anytime there is a major brown out where I live, we always get a few computers in the shop with burnt PSUs.
  3. conradguerrero

    conradguerrero TS Rookie Posts: 310

    Is your pc powered through a surge protector? monitor, case, etc.
  4. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    The Athlon 1.4 was one of the most power hungry cpu's AMD ever built, and the cause of its reputation for running hot. The psu you are using is not quite powerful enough and I suspect that it is having to work excessively hard to power your system, and burning itself out within a short period. I suggest you get yourself a decent PSU such as a 350w Enermax, rather than the ones you have been using, which @ 15A on 12v rail is not nearly enough.
  5. ranchdudes

    ranchdudes TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the replies.

    The computer is plugged in a powerstrip/surge suppressor with monitor, printer, stereo. The powerstrip is plugged in another powerstrip with TV, VCR, DVD. Plus there is a torch light, Ethernet hub, Palm charger, and an "industrial strength" fan. I know, fire hazard and all, but there are no other grounded outlets. The powerstrips have never tripped, ant there are no problems with any devices. They are not normally used simultaneously.

    I'm aware that the Athlon 1.4 is very power hungry, but the old PSU survived 18mo, during which time it did 100 hours of simulations and ripped about 200 CDs. It wasn't doing any of this in the last few days. The computer is on about 6 hrs/day on average. Generally, there were no major power problems (minor - USB, 3rd HD flakiness). I don't have the old PSU any more, to check its power, but I bought it with the case for $50, and it said 110W on it (not sure if total or 3.3V+5V rails only).

    I'm inclined to think the second PSU failure was a fluke. I'll fill you in on what happens with the 3rd PSU (old, weak and no fan - I rigged a case fan on it so it gets some air flow.

  6. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    Fans and lights on the same circuit as electronic devices :eek:
    Not to mention all those things using the same outlet through a couple of surge strips :hotouch:

    I don't think that carelessness was the cause of your problem but I'd recommend you do something to correct it before it does cause one.

    It sounds to me like the problem was possibly a short somewhere, many possibilities of just where though. When the PSUs died, did they die, or did their fuses blow? If it were a blown fuse, you'd have to open the PSU to replace it and it would suggest to me that there may be a screw or some other part loose in the machine. Especially since you say the third one seems to be going fine.
  7. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    You could just have been unlucky, but that cheap PSU was likely working very hard to meet its output rating, and may have worn itself out in the process. On the otherhand, cheap units are built with cheap components and often have poor quality control during manufacture. Hopefully you'll have better luck with your new one.
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