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What can cause a computer's power-supply to burn out?

 
 
MrIVI
 
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 07:58 pm
I have a computer that is eating power supplies. It burned one out a month ago. I didn't think much of it. I replaced it, and it burned out the replacement yesterday. I replaced it again, and today the power supply was hot, smelling like ozone (turned off due to power failure.) I took the supply off the computer for fear of burning out another...

Now, I'm trying to figure out why.

At the time when the second power supply was going, I realized one of my case fans was spinning slowly. And at the time when my first power-supply when one of my fans had stuck (not moving.) So I was questioning could a defective fan burn out a power supply? That seems unlikely to me.

Anyway, here's what I have: An old Pentium D (Dual Core Processor), 3 Gigahertz. I have 4 Gigs of Ram (4 x 1 Gig chips), but oddly enough the computer will only run with 1 pair in the first 2 slots and the other pair can be in or not in the second slot, but cannot be in the first. Other than that, I have a 650W power supply, 4 hard drives, 2 Sata, 2 IDE, a DVD Burner, Radeon PCI Express video card, and a firewire PCI card.

I didn't know if anyone had any information on any parts commonly responsible for causing power supplies to burn out.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 7 • Views: 16,915 • Replies: 12
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talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 08:05 pm
@MrIVI,
The normal number of drives is 2. You should up your power supply to 700 - 750 W.
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 09:11 pm
@talk72000,
Yep, your system is seriously under-powered. Has the burn-out problem been occurring after a recent addition to your computer's hardware configuration? If so, start there and remove the newcomer and then replace the power supply again to confirm the newcomer is the culprit that breached the tipping point of your power supply's capability.

From there, you can decide to either upgrade the power supply or eliminate some of the devices or run them as external devices.

parados
 
  2  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 09:27 pm
@MrIVI,
Here is a calculator for giving the approx power supply size you might need.

http://educations.newegg.com/tool/psucalc/index.html


You didn't say what kind of video card you are running. As long as it isn't a high end graphics card 650w should be more than enough and would indicate a problem somewhere, probably a short.

If you are running a high end video card then you might not have enough power supply. The wattage isn't always the best way to calculate power supplies. Some places recommend needing a high amperage 12v output since much of the power draw is on that output.
MrIVI
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Nov, 2010 10:39 pm
@parados,
Parados, thanks so much for the calculator! That's great! Anyway, I do have a low-end graphics card. I'm cheap! I did the calculation you gave me and I came up with a recommended 477W. I have 650W so I think I'm alright there. But, I think I might have discovered the problem was the wire that I was plugged into! See the computer hadn't been changed in about a year, but I had changed my monitor, I went from a nice flat screen to a giant ancient energy inefficient CTR. Both the computer and the monitor were plugged into the same cord and I think the cord wasn't handling it. I changed my configuration, plugged my monitor into one outlet and my computer into another. Now I'm running the computer. I'm watching it right now, but it seems to be working fine. I've started a video render. (It's a render machine for a small video production company.) So it's running with both CPUs maxed and it will continue for about 14 hours. I'll let you know how that goes.
0 Replies
 
MrIVI
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Nov, 2010 02:44 am
@Butrflynet,
I've been running my system on a 500W power supply for 2 years. That was the one that burned out about a month ago. I replaced it with a 500W power supply and that burned out yesterday. The third one I almost burned out was a 650W power supply. I really don't think it's the wattage mostly because I've done it for two years with no problems. And I've actually recently reduced harddrives.

That said, I switched the plugs I was using and I'm running a test to see if having it plugged into a more freed up circuit will keep it alive. I've been going for about 7 hours now. And I'm starting to smell a faint ozone smell. Which is not a good sign. It maybe because I've already taxed this power supply, but I'm not sure.
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Nov, 2010 12:54 pm
Not all power supplies are the same. Sometimes the power ratings are, shall we say optimistic. This is especially true of cheap ones. Running a cheap power supply at the edge of its capability is a good way to make it fail.

MrIVI
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Nov, 2010 02:09 pm
@contrex,
I really don't think it's the power supply because all estimates say I'm fine within 500W. I ran on a cheap 500W for years. I burned that out, switched to a good 500W and burned that out in a month. Switch to a good 650W and burned that out in a few days. I don't think it's the power supply that's at fault.
MrIVI
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Nov, 2010 02:10 pm
@MrIVI,
I'm thinking I might just buy a whole new system. I burned out another one, and at the coast of the power supplies I'm burning out I'll be able to afford a new system. :-(
0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Nov, 2010 01:26 am
@MrIVI,
MrIVI wrote:

I really don't think it's the power supply because all estimates say I'm fine within 500W. I ran on a cheap 500W for years. I burned that out, switched to a good 500W and burned that out in a month. Switch to a good 650W and burned that out in a few days. I don't think it's the power supply that's at fault.


Sounds like some kind of gradually worsening problem outside the power supply that causes a huge drain, such as a fault on the motherboard, or else perhaps you live in a zone with especially dirty power (frequent lightning strikes to power lines, big industrial motors or welding equipment nearby, etc).

0 Replies
 
johnsin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Feb, 2012 03:22 pm
@MrIVI,
Makes sense why mine went up in smoke last night after I plugged in my extra phone batteries to charge from a single USB hub. Oh yeah 5 drives. 8Gigs and 650watts. Poor machine. haha
0 Replies
 
Questioner
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Feb, 2012 03:33 pm
@MrIVI,
MrIVI wrote:

Now, I'm trying to figure out why.

At the time when the second power supply was going, I realized one of my case fans was spinning slowly. And at the time when my first power-supply when one of my fans had stuck (not moving.) So I was questioning could a defective fan burn out a power supply? That seems unlikely to me.


Yes, it can. Anything that draws power directly from the PSU(which a case fan does) puts a drain on it. My guess is, if you're not seeing any smoke or scorch marks on the fan then it 'probably' isn't that. However, since they cost about $4 each (on the high end) might as well replace it and see.

Quote:
I didn't know if anyone had any information on any parts commonly responsible for causing power supplies to burn out.


It's been my experience that when PSU's go out they go out from one of two causes: 1) Dirty power being fed into it. 2) A fault within the PSU that either through poor manufacturing or age has popped up and blown it.

Since you've gone through several, my suggestion would be that it's the power being fed into it. If you're not on a powerstrip, get on one, and don't scrimp. Get one with a built-in safety that will trip before your computer melts down.

Also I'd suggest changing outlets and getting the one that you've been using tested, along with the fuse-box that it's connected to.

Just some thoughts, before you blow a wad on a new box.
0 Replies
 
Wolfware
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Dec, 2012 08:06 pm
@MrIVI,
I got something similar my PSU died after 8 month I builded the computer from scratch. I bought another PSU and it died at the net day I had a 460 Watt for a computer with one hard drive, atx micro motherboard, 1GB DDR3 NVDIA GForce, and like 5 fans some of them are blue led. I have many computer in my house never had a problem like that I never gotten a dead PSU this is the first time I get one. I belive is not a PSU problem thought I feel it might be the fans or motherboard failing.
0 Replies
 
 

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