power supply meltdown?

  • Thread starter internaughtfull
  • Start date

I

internaughtfull

Hi,

I have a PC clone of about 7 years, it runs fine. Until tonite when
I turned it on and it ran for awhile, then shut off and emitted a
strong
electrical burn smell. Yay! I love that.

If I try to turn it back on, the fans spin up and everything spins up
for about 15 seconds, then it turns off completely, and the smell
returns. I think the smell is coming from the power supply.

The smell is similar to the smell that lithium batteries in a
recharger
emit after a few hours.

Superficial inspection inside does not reveal anything wrong or
'burned' looking.

Could this be a capacitor or something inside the power supply?
The initial spinup for 15 seconds is confusing.

Thanks,

itchy.
 
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J

Jan Alter

internaughtfull said:
Hi,

I have a PC clone of about 7 years, it runs fine. Until tonite when
I turned it on and it ran for awhile, then shut off and emitted a
strong
electrical burn smell. Yay! I love that.

If I try to turn it back on, the fans spin up and everything spins up
for about 15 seconds, then it turns off completely, and the smell
returns. I think the smell is coming from the power supply.

The smell is similar to the smell that lithium batteries in a
recharger
emit after a few hours.

Superficial inspection inside does not reveal anything wrong or
'burned' looking.

Could this be a capacitor or something inside the power supply?
The initial spinup for 15 seconds is confusing.

Thanks,

itchy.

Power supplies don't have to fail completely to be bad. And apparently what
is happening is that the PS is maintaining an initial voltage to allow the
fans to kick in but as another portion is building up voltage (possibly
through a failing capacitor, a regulator kicks in to shut the PS down (
lucky for you). Sometimes when a PS goes bad it can destroy portions of the
rest of the system, ie mb, hdd, etc. Most of the time that won't happen and
all you need do is get yourself another PS. Avoid cheap quality.
 
P

Paul

internaughtfull said:
Hi,

I have a PC clone of about 7 years, it runs fine. Until tonite when
I turned it on and it ran for awhile, then shut off and emitted a
strong
electrical burn smell. Yay! I love that.

If I try to turn it back on, the fans spin up and everything spins up
for about 15 seconds, then it turns off completely, and the smell
returns. I think the smell is coming from the power supply.

The smell is similar to the smell that lithium batteries in a
recharger
emit after a few hours.

Superficial inspection inside does not reveal anything wrong or
'burned' looking.

Could this be a capacitor or something inside the power supply?
The initial spinup for 15 seconds is confusing.

Thanks,

itchy.

Once you get even one "burned smell", immediately stop using it.
If the supply was manufactured by Bestec, when one particular
model they make fails, it ruins the motherboard and hard drive.
A lot of other supplies, may stop functioning, without damaging
anything. But don't take a chance. If you get the burned smell,
replace the supply.

One poster to these groups, on discovering his computer would
not start, "flipped the switch on the back, quickly, about
50 times". The supply blew and ruined the computer. Being
impatient, or persisting with a bad supply, isn't your
best option. The burned smell, is the power supply saying
"goodbye".

While most of the time, supplies follow the ATX standard,
even some of the big companies have put non-standard supplies
in their computers. Before buying another supply, you have
to do enough research first, to satisfy yourself that you're
dealing with the standard design. To help you, these three
generations of specifications, have suggested wire colors,
which you can compare to the wire colors on your power supply
cables.

http://web.archive.org/web/20030424...org/developer/specs/atx/ATX_ATX12V_PS_1_1.pdf

http://www.formfactors.org/developer/specs/atx/ATX12V_1_3dg.pdf

http://www.formfactors.org/developer/specs/ATX12V_PSDG_2_2_public_br2.pdf

Paul
 
J

John Doe

internaughtfull said:
The smell is similar to the smell that lithium batteries in a
recharger emit after a few hours.

FWIW. I have several different brands (Bosch, DeWalt, Dremmel) of
lithium-ion batteries/chargers and have not noticed a smell. Has
anyone else noticed a smell while recharging lithium-ion
batteries? Methinks that is unusual.
 
I

internaughtfull

While most of the time, supplies follow the ATX standard,
even some of the big companies have put non-standard supplies
in their computers. Before buying another supply, you have
to do enough research first, to satisfy yourself that you're
dealing with the standard design. To help you, these three
generations of specifications, have suggested wire colors,
which you can compare to the wire colors on your power supply
cables.

http://web.archive.org/web/20030424061333/http://www.formfactors.org/...

http://www.formfactors.org/developer/specs/atx/ATX12V_1_3dg.pdf

http://www.formfactors.org/developer/specs/ATX12V_PSDG_2_2_public_br2...

I forgot to mention that it was an Antec SL400. It lasted a long time
so I will
probably go with another Antec. Hopefully that will make the swap out
easy.
A local computer shop here has an Antec SP500 for about 50$. I looked
up the specs on it which said 'has three SATA compatible connections'.
However I do have four small [40g] ATA drives, the older EIDE ones.
Will that make any difference? Thanks for the advice and information.

itchy
 
I

internaughtfull

On Feb 6, 10:13 am, John Doe > FWIW. I have several different brands
(Bosch, DeWalt, Dremmel) of
lithium-ion batteries/chargers and have not noticed a smell. Has
anyone else noticed a smell while recharging lithium-ion
batteries? Methinks that is unusual.

Yes when I recharge some of these RayoVac lithium AA batteries in a
regular pace charger, after 4 or so hours I do notice an odd smell.
Not as strong as what came out of the computer, but
a similar smell. Maybe the charger is wearing out
as well and should be replaced.

itchy
 
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P

Paul

internaughtfull said:
While most of the time, supplies follow the ATX standard,
even some of the big companies have put non-standard supplies
in their computers. Before buying another supply, you have
to do enough research first, to satisfy yourself that you're
dealing with the standard design. To help you, these three
generations of specifications, have suggested wire colors,
which you can compare to the wire colors on your power supply
cables.

http://web.archive.org/web/20030424061333/http://www.formfactors.org/...

http://www.formfactors.org/developer/specs/atx/ATX12V_1_3dg.pdf

http://www.formfactors.org/developer/specs/ATX12V_PSDG_2_2_public_br2...

I forgot to mention that it was an Antec SL400. It lasted a long time
so I will
probably go with another Antec. Hopefully that will make the swap out
easy.
A local computer shop here has an Antec SP500 for about 50$. I looked
up the specs on it which said 'has three SATA compatible connections'.
However I do have four small [40g] ATA drives, the older EIDE ones.
Will that make any difference? Thanks for the advice and information.

itchy

My Antec failed, because of bad capacitors. The capacitors on the
output side started to leak electrolyte. I could hear a muffled "arcing"
sound at startup. A couple days later, it was crashing in the BIOS, and
that is when I replaced mine. I suspect the power supplies they
contracted from ChannelWell (CWT) have that problem. Antec doesn't make
their own supplies, which is why it helps to know who makes
a particular product of theirs, to understand what you're
getting. In any given year, they use more than one supplier.

You can get "Y" cables for Molex disk drives, to make more connectors.

http://images17.newegg.com/is/image/newegg/12-198-025-S01?$S640W$

SATA power connectors are not suitable for the same kind of
"Y cable" trick, since the SATA power contacts have a lower
current rating than the Molex ones. So the Molex connectors
are the best thing to start with, in terms of chaining together
cabling. A power supply full of SATA connectors, is a poor deal
if you need to extend the cabling to power more loads.

Hard drives draw their peak current at startup, and can draw
2.5 amps from 12V for the first 10 seconds. Then, the drive
settles down to a much lower current. Like 0.6 amps from 12V.
A set of wires from the power supply, should be good for at
least 10 amps, which is sufficient to start four drives without
a concern. Once the drives are started, you could in theory
support a larger number of drives.

And you can tell when you have too much load on a Molex cable.
I have a video card, with a 1x4 Molex power connector on the
end. I added an extra hard drive to the same cable as the video
card was on, and just when I started to play a 3D game, the
hard drive made a "spin down and spin up" sound. That
tells you the voltage is dropping too low on the Molex cabling.
The hard drive can sense the voltage level on the cable, so it knows
what is going on. Once I removed one load from that set of wires,
the hard drive stopped doing that. So if you don't own a voltmeter
to check, hearing "click and clunk" from your disk drive, is all the
evidence you need, that the voltage is dropping too low
on that chain of cables.

Paul
 
J

John Doe

internaughtfull said:
John Doe wrote:

Yes when I recharge some of these RayoVac lithium AA batteries
in a regular pace charger, after 4 or so hours I do notice an
odd smell. Not as strong as what came out of the computer, but
a similar smell. Maybe the charger is wearing out as well and
should be replaced.

Lithium batteries that do not include a suffix like "-ion" or
"-po" (probably short for "polymer") are not rechargeable. If I
were you, I would immediately throw away the Rayovac lithium
batteries you thought were rechargeable, and stop doing that.
Lithium batteries do nasty things when misused.
--
 
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L

larry moe 'n curly

internaughtfull said:
I have a PC clone of about 7 years, it runs fine. Until tonite when
I turned it on and it ran for awhile, then shut off and emitted a
strong electrical burn smell. Yay! I love that.

If I try to turn it back on, the fans spin up and everything spins up
for about 15 seconds, then it turns off completely, and the smell
returns. I think the smell is coming from the power supply.

The smell is similar to the smell that lithium batteries in a
recharger emit after a few hours.

Superficial inspection inside does not reveal anything wrong or
'burned' looking.

Could this be a capacitor or something inside the power supply?
The initial spinup for 15 seconds is confusing.
Antec SL400. It lasted a long time so I will probably go with
another Antec. Hopefully that will make the swap out
easy. A local computer shop here has an Antec SP500 for about 50$.
when I recharge some of these RayoVac lithium AA batteries in a
regular pace charger, after 4 or so hours I do notice an odd smell.

Lithium batteries are not supposed to smell when charged, plus they
require special chargers that are not only made for lithium cells but
also for the particular type of lithium cells being charged.
Furthermore not all lithium cells are designed for recharging. I
think you need to quit charging those Rayovac lithiums and switch to
NiMHs.

Antec SL400 PSUs were made with horrible Fuhjyyu brand caps (Google
"Fuhjyyu syndrome"), and you're lucky to have gotten seven years from
your SL400 because that's twice the typical lifespan. Unfortunately
the SP500 probably uses the same brand, and I wouldn't pay for one,
especially not $50, which is a sucker price for something so old,
unless all its low voltage Fuhjyyu, Koshin, and Teapo capacitors had
been replaced with good ones, such as Samxon brand (about the only
decent brand made in the super-skinny diameters that will fit
easily). It's better to get one of the newer Antecs made by Seasonic
or Delta.
 

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