Power Supply, or Motherboard fried?

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Hardware' started by Kylethedarkn, Aug 31, 2010.

  1. Kylethedarkn

    Kylethedarkn Senior Member

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    So a few days ago, I was using my desktop when all of a sudden i heard a click sound from inside the case. Immediately upon clicking the computer turned off. I then smelled the lovely but horrifying smell of burning electronics, at which point I unplugged the computer. After I while I tried plugging it back in and seeing if it would turn on. It didn't. Pushing the power button did nothing.

    So, at this point I figure either the power supply is shot, or both the power supply and the motherboard is shot. Is there any way to determine which scenario played out short of buying/obtaining another power supply to test it with?

    Also the power supply in question is an Antec True Power Quattro 850W. I'm assuming a high end power supply like this should have some sort of protection, right?

    Thanks for any help. Also one last question. This particular PS was on the damaged rack at a local store. I bought it less than 3 months ago though. So is this something that would typically fall under warranty? Or am I basically screwed? I'm not quite sure on Antec's RMA/Warranty policies.
     
  2. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    Click sound could be most commonly: the hard drive, the fans on overload from overvolt.

    Computer won't turn on? At all? There is a way to measure the power coming off the PSU using a volt meter. However, this is a pain. Obtaining the additional power supply will let you know, proof positive that it is in fact the PSU.

    Clearly if no lights are showing up on the board itself, this is another indication it is the PSU. No HD spin-up. The only other circumstance you would get this is if the processor is shot. If the processor is dead, the motherboard will not respond to commands, even power up, from my experience.

    The smell of electronics burning is so commonplace to a PSU overload that I would definitely do that first. Before you buy a replacement PSU, look on the board to see if you see any burnt out transistors. The transistors are the bubble-top looking devices that exist on the board. If even one of them is fried, the motherboard is dead. If the PSU hits a power spike, and that spike is relayed over to the rest of your components, including the motherboard, it will create a short circuit situation, or even worse, a blown out transistor. Power line overload could kill either the northbridge or southbridge of the board. It could also kill the processor. My experience over the years has been that, unless the CPU itself lost control over the motherboard and caused the overload (thus frying itself out), 9/10 the CPU is preserved while the board is dead. The CPU is somewhat protected from these types of problems.

    Try and replace the PSU, but examine the board thoroughly first. For safety reasons, do not try to mess around with the power supply too much. I would say just go and get a replacement. If not, you have 30 days to bring it back. You could come to a conclusion, without the volt meter, that the motherboard is also fried :(

    I am afraid this may be the only way to resolve the situation.

    No protection if you're not on a surge protector, of if the surge is so strong it runs faulty. What can also happen is the opposite of a power spike, but a drop in power, and then a compensation that creates the spike. This is even worse. This is why for high-end systems, a lot of people employ a UPS (Uninterpretable Power Supply) to filter the electricity, creating a "clean" line of current going into the system. The PSU is constantly doing a conversion from alternating to direct current, and regardless of the quality of a PSU, they are very often prone to failure. Especially if this is new.
     
    #2 Mike, Aug 31, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 31, 2010
  3. Kylethedarkn

    Kylethedarkn Senior Member

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    Thank you for taking the time to go that thoroughly into detail. I was using a surge protector so maybe that saved some components.

    I will try both of you're suggestions. At this point I'm just hoping for minimal damage/data loss. Guess that's what I get from buying off the bargain rack.

    EDIT: All the transistors look fine on the motherboard. Hopefully its just the PS.
     
    #3 Kylethedarkn, Aug 31, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2010
  4. TorrentG

    TorrentG Banned

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    Now that everything is cooled down, does the machine power on?

    If it does, shut it off quickly. I'm asking because not very long ago, the fan in my psu blew out. I smelled that electronic burnt smell and thought the psu was shot because of it. When it all cooled down, it worked fine.

    So I simply replaced the fan with one I had lying around and it's been fine since.
     
  5. Kylethedarkn

    Kylethedarkn Senior Member

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    No Unfortunately it doesn't turn on or provide power at all. Usually when the computer is off lights on USB devices attached still lit up. This no longer happens. Just another reason that leads me to believe the PS is completely shot. Pressing the power button does nothing.
     
  6. TorrentG

    TorrentG Banned

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    lol I've also had the fan give out on another machine once. That psu needed replacement. So hopefully, and also my guess, that's all you'll need too.
     
  7. Agent Data

    Agent Data Banned

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    Just use your nose and locate the smell - sounds to me over-current protection kicked in a little late...means psu can be fine!
     
  8. Kylethedarkn

    Kylethedarkn Senior Member

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    As in some other component was fried. Well i give everything a thorough look over.
     

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