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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
    North Carolina, USA
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    Hello Everybody!

    There have been some myths that have existed since the dawn of the computer age. One of these myths states that power supply problems mostly manifest themselves in a dead power supply. While nobody would argue against that being a surefire indication of a power supply problem, or even that it is often the case, many power supply related problems are more subtle. Unfortunately, a power supply in the process of failing is only one possible cause of some of the troubles listed here. It sure would make life easier if every noted symptom had only one possible cause, but then that would just take the challenge out of life.

    The source for the following list is Scott Mueller's Upgrading and Repairing PCs 19th Edition published by Que, 2010.

    This short list is comprised of the obvious:

    1. System that is completely dead (no fan, no cursor) (I have been embarrassed to find the switch on the rear of the power supply set to off : my comment)
    2. Smoke (quick, grab that fire extinguisher! - my comment)
    3. Blown circuit breakers

    This longer list is interesting:

    1. Any power-on or system startup failures or lockups
    2. Spontaneous rebooting or intermittent lockups during normal operation
    3. Intermittent parity check or other memory-type errors
    4. Hard disk and fan simultaneously failing to spin (no +12V)
    5. Overheating due to fan failure
    6. Small brownouts that cause the system to reset
    7. Electric shocks felt on the system case or connectors
    8. Slight static discharges that disrupt system operation
    9. Erratic recognition of bus-powered USB peripherals (verrry interesting! - my comment)

    Of 1 - 9 above, I have seen quite a few cases of numbers 1, 2, and 3, and a sprinkling of some of the others.

    Just about any intermittent system problem can be caused by a power supply on its way to the grave.

    Hope this helps in considering solutions to some troublesome issues.


    "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." Sir Winston Churchill

  2. #2
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
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    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
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  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
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    A small voltage change as in a failing power supply can cause catastrophic device failures. Integrated circuits a very susceptible to these small voltage changes. These circuits can outright fail or cause very strange problems. Whenever I get very strange behavior that is difficult to explain I look at PS, CMOS battery, cable connections, and then start looking at other devices such as CPU, RAM, etc. as well as driver and other s/w corruption. In many years t/s electronics, PS problems were one of the predominant problems for strange errors.
    Have a Great Day! Ted

    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
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