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Power supply box problems...help?


Whulph
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You know when you smell that burning smell but don't see any smoke? Yeah, that just happened to me last night...

I'm running on an eMachines T1840, Intel 845G chipset, 640 Megs RAM, and Seagate 200GB HD/Samsung 40GB HD (came with computer).

Last night, I turned the computer off for the day, but five minutes later it turned itself on again abnormally. It started making a clicking sound similar to a floppy being read, but it wasn't the floppy drive making the sound. The power light was blinking rapidly like the computer was being turned on and off again at an incredible speed. I unplugged it, plugged it back in after a few minutes, and booted into Windows...everything seemed fine then, so I powered down again, thinking it was just a random power surge. Powering down again was a mistake.

I haven't been able to boot into Windows since, but at one point I got the computer to come on...but the motherboard did not emit a post beep, and didn't even give me the usual "Operating System not found" error. (I took out my hard drives, just in case...hours of work on those. :} ) The monitor just displayed black. This is the point where I started smelling the burning.

The problem has since reverted to its original state...that of the blinking power and LED lights, and the funny clicking sound. I've opened the case, and taken out all PCI cards and disk drives (floppy included) and have narrowed the original source of the problem down to the power supply, but I'm not sure if my attempts to power up with a broken power supply have helped the motherboard at all... (Basing this thought on not getting an "OS not found" error, mentioned earlier.)

Anyway, the problem is that some little part has been disconnected from the inside of my power supply box, and I have no clue where it goes, or what its orientation should be. (+/-) Heh, I'm a software geek, and always knew that not knowing anything about hardware would hurt me one day...

So anyway, does anyone know what exactly I'm looking at? Is it possible to plug the little piece back in where is belongs (provided I can find where it belongs...) and go on my way, or should I just buy a whole new power supply?

If it comes down to buying a new one, how much do power supplies usually cost, and where do you think might be the best place to look?

Does anyone know how bad I might have messed up my motherboard/BIOS in my "attempts" to turn the computer on with a broken power supply?

And lastly, what does shocking actually do to a motherboard, anyway? Does it just wipe the BIOS clean, or does it do something more? Is it possible to reflash the BIOS of a shocked motherboard?

Well, I'm off to Google for a bit. I haven't found anything yet, but I'll keep looking...

Kudos to anyone who might be able to shed some light for me. :thumbup

________________

Pictures:

phto0013cj1.th.jpg

This is the little piece that came out of the power supply.

phto0014tu8.th.jpg

Power supply box with the cover off

phto0015fd0.th.jpg

Birds-eye of the power supply.

indicate2bk5.th.jpg

Top area of power supply.

The red circle shows where I think the little piece may have come from... But I'm not sure. It doesn't seem to fit, or to stay in place when I put it there. Then again, maybe that's normal? Perhaps something like soldering or a special glue would keep it there?

The other pieces have what seems like a glue around the bases, holding them in place. (Which makes me wonder...why no glue on the bottom of this piece??? There are no traces of it on the piece at all...)

The circular diagram around the two pinholes seems like it indicates something is to be placed here. The other pieces like the one that came out all have this sort of black circle below them. And I'm assuming the "shaded" half and "clear" half indicate positive/negative placement of the pins.

As of right now, though, I can't even get the piece to stay put, so I'm going off to Google to figure something out...you see how clueless I am when it comes to hardware. :P

indicatesx6.th.jpg

Bottom area of power supply, with the circle still indicating my best guess of placement at the moment.

Appologies for the blur of the pictures...my camera isn't good in indoor lighting, or at close-ups, and flash is broken at the moment. :}

Edited by Whulph
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I wouldnt put that power supply anywhere near the parts now, shocking a motherboard can cause serious damage, it can totally fry capacitors, transistors and circuitery. Send it back if its under warranty or go and buy a new one and pray it hasnt done any damage.

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Yup, just buy a new power supply, looks like a normal size. Get a good one from Enermax, Antec or so. Think a bit about the future so get one with 24 pins ATX and that has SATA connectors, if you want to spend a bit more get the ones that support SLI (If you are planning to upgrade in the next year AND you play games that is ;)).

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That is a capacitor, and they do not unsolder themselves from the boards when they are good.

Don't put it back in, get a new power supply. Try newegg.com

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:blink: This is the first time I've seen a capacitor detach itself like that, with the leads still intact. The factory either forgot to solder it in place, or it was done very poorly.

You're right, it does go in the area you indicated. The stripe on the capacitor (negative terminal) should line up with the shaded portion of the circuit board.

If the other components don't show any signs of damage, you can solder the capacitor back and it might work, but consider that a temporary fix until you get a better PSU. The burning smell is probably just the transformer heating up.

The rapid clicking and power cycling is the overload protection, better PSUs will shut off completely instead of attempt to turn back on again.

Edited by LLXX
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yep, soldering is an option, but its very dangerous, especially in that tight of a spot. ide say to scrap that psu and get a new one. and take apart that psu and try to get those heatsinks onto something for some nice passive cooling.

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Scubar: Unfortunately, the warranty has long since expired; the computer is nearing four years of age, and if I remember correctly, the warranty was only good for one year. I'll just have to buy a new power supply. They seem to have some decent prices on eBay, anywhere from $20-100, depending on quality and features.

puntoMX: My current model is Bestec ATX-250-12E, 250W Max. From what I understand, it's already ATX and has SATA connectors, so I'll be getting one with those features for sure.

I do intend to get a new one, but first I have a question. Is having one 24 pin connector the same as having two connectors that add up to 24? I think I'm on a 20+4 setup. Is that the same thing as having one plug with 24 pins, just done in a different way? The two plugs (the 20 and the 4) are in separate places on my motherboard, so having a single 24 pin plug isn't an option. (If that kind of thing even exists, I forget...this whole day has just been a huge crash-course in motherboard and power supply parts and specifications, and it's hard to remember everything.)

As for STI, I don't think it would be of much use as I don't have a graphics card. Well, not a good one anyway, not yet. Intel Extreme Graphics, baby! From framerate that's intolerable to graphics that are just plain ugly. I desperately want to resolve this issue ASAP, after this power problem, of course. Been putting off MYST IV and Halo CE for far too long. B)

RJM: Thanks for the site link, looks like a great supply site so far. Very intuitive product selection, all the way from something as broad as pricing, down to individual product specs; very handy. I'll definitely have to check that out in further detail later. :thumbup

LLXX: Earlier today, I detached the board from the box, and got a look at the bottom where the soldering was done. It looks like a normal soldering job, only in the place of the usual protruding pins, two little holes remain where the pins used to be. Like you, now that I see the soldering myself, I also find it strange that the pins came out intact.

All others parts seem fine, for the moment. All are intact, and the soldering looks normal and solid. But it'll be a pain reconnecting the thing that fell out, as some of the original solder is blocking the pins from going all the way through. I'll have to see if it's possible to melt down or soften the original solder before I can attempt to resolder the capacitor back in.

If I can get a good resolder done, I'll try powering up once again, disconnected from my motherboard this time. I'll use the fan as my result indicator. (I noticed the power supply fan isn't working since that little capacitor came out. It has worked great all through its life up until now. If I can get it to work, I'll take it as a sign of temporary success, and I'll think about reconnecting it with my motherboard. That is, if my new power supply doesn't arrive before I fix the old one.)

I'm also thrilled to learn that my motherboard might be safe, if the clicking sound was indeed nothing more than the overload protection. I can't wait to get a working power supply in there to test it out.

ripken204: Tight spot? Only if I were to resolder on the top, I would think... I intend to resolder the pins on the bottom of the chip, if I can get enough of the old solder softened so I can start clean, just like the manufacturer did. If resoldering doesn’t work, I think I'll take your suggestion and remove the heatsinks. Great idea, by the way. :thumbup

Anyway, sorry for the lengthy post.

Thanks everyone for the excellent help.

I intend to try resoldering tomorrow, as well as order my new power supply. I’ll post the results of the soldering then, hopefully using my own computer. Wish me luck!

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In my professional views and opnion, i would buy a new power supply, main reason why is a capacitor holds electrical current and when it is no longer attached to the PS board, i know for a fact the other capacitors and/or resistors are dead. being if the resistors are dead, you very much risk the chance of sending more power to the mobo and componets then it was regulated at.

If some god like event happens and it works, i can assure you that you can say buy to the system.

Carefully inspect the curcit boards on the Hard drive, cards and mobo, do not touch them, just look at them, use a magnifiy glass as well.

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and take apart that psu and try to get those heatsinks onto something for some nice passive cooling.
I've done this before, putting the heatsinks on hard drives and also using the fan from the PSU to cool them. Much cheaper than a special "hard drive cooler".
It looks like a normal soldering job, only in the place of the usual protruding pins, two little holes remain where the pins used to be.
I have a reasonable guess as to what happened - over time, vibration cracked the solder due to fatigue and caused the pins to slowly make their way out of the hole.
If I can get a good resolder done, I'll try powering up once again, disconnected from my motherboard this time. I'll use the fan as my result indicator. (I noticed the power supply fan isn't working since that little capacitor came out.
The PSU won't turn on without a load attached. Connect an old hard drive or two to it. Then
you can power up an ATX power supply by shorting the green wire with any black ground wire. As you know, the ATX power supply will not turn on normally without a motherboard connected to it. There are times when you may want to test an ATX power supply or use the voltage from one but don't really want to hook up a motherboard. There's only one green wire and there are plenty of ground wires so it's easy to do. To use a bent paper clip and insert one end in the green wire connector and bend it around and put it into a black wire connector.

For a new PSU, I recommend an Antec or Enermax.

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I do intend to get a new one, but first I have a question. Is having one 24 pin connector the same as having two connectors that add up to 24? I think I'm on a 20+4 setup. Is that the same thing as having one plug with 24 pins, just done in a different way? The two plugs (the 20 and the 4) are in separate places on my motherboard, so having a single 24 pin plug isn't an option. (If that kind of thing even exists, I forget...this whole day has just been a huge crash-course in motherboard and power supply parts and specifications, and it's hard to remember everything.)

The 24 pin ATX connector is separately from the 12v 4 pin connector that will supply power to your CPU. New motherboards use 24 pin connectors in stead of 20. Most Power supplies will work on 20 AND 24 pins motherboards so don’t worry when you buy a 24 pins one ;).

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Well, it took me a while to get around to it, (lightning struck very near two days ago, fried a lot of stuff...Wide screen TV...VCR...Cable...Phone lines...etc...been pretty busy with that issue. Just glad my computer was dead at the time! :blink: ) but I finally got around to soldering the capacitor back in. I tested it using the paperclip idea someone posted, ;) the fan is spinning again, and as far as I can tell just from looking at it, everything else appears to be running smoothly.

The "clicking" sound I mentioned earlier is still there, but it's a lot quieter now, and a lot more rapid, and very high pitched. Not even sure if it's the same sound, but it sounds slightly similar. When I showed my solder-work to a friend, he said he could barely even hear the noise I just described.

Could this just be a regular sound of the fan spinning, or possibly electricity running through the device, made more audible now that the panels are open, as opposed to everything being closed up in my computer where the noise would normally be harder to hear? Or should the PSU normally be entirely silent, and any noise at all should be taken as a signal that something else is wrong, in which case I should just scrap any idea of reconnecting it to my motherboard?

One more question before I narrow my search for a new PSU (I still intend to buy a new one, even if this attempted repair works): Do I need to buy a new one of the same wattage/voltage as my old one? (I assume so, just thought I'd ask. Current one runs at 250W, 120V.) That is, what specs can I upgrade when buying a new PSU, and what specs should be left as they are?

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I agree with ripken204 about the clicking noise. You really don't need a fancy all whistles and bells power supply. A good 350 watt P.S. will do just fine with a surge protector. This way not only will you be protecting the computer, but also your monitor, printer or any other Computer Peripherals. Here's a link to a 430 watt P.S.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?...N82E16817153023

P.S. Good to see you didn't fry yourself with the caps :thumbup

jd

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