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Power supply resurrection?

Posted on 2006-07-12
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25
My power supply on my home computer just died, or at least I think it did. Over the past 24 hours or so I've had about 2-3 random shutdowns based on power failure (with nothing else on the power strip shutting down) this has never happened before. Each time it would power back up relatively easily, until the third time when it would not any more. I've tried a different plug on the power strip, even a different socket in the house. Nothing.

My question is of three parts...

I have submitted myself to the possibility that I will have to buy a new power supply, but I'm poor (just got a new job/apartment and everything that comes with it) and would prefer not to.

So is there anything I could do to try to revive the power supply?

 If this is not possible then what can I do to test the motherboard to be absolutely sure that it is the power supply before I run off and buy a new one?

And finnally is there a possibility of "bad" power coming from the socket (e.g. no grounding in the apartment) that would cause a power supply to die abnormally fast, if so is there any way to work around it.

I will give out points evenly based on those questions, and as fairly as I possibly can.

Thanks!
~Andrew
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Question by:AndrewGustely
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Callandor earned 150 total points
ID: 17091585
There isn't much you can do to fix a bad power supply, unless you know circuits and electronic components and are comfortable with soldering.  There's a good amount of voltage and current in there, so unless you know what you are doing, I recommend that you NOT try to fix it.

You can try testing the power supply outputs with a load like a hard drive, to see if the +12v is actually 12v and the +5v is actually 5v.  There are power supply testers that do this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16899888901.  You can't test the motherboard, because it's too complex for any single test.  You can look for bad capacitors, which is a common cause of failure: www.badcaps.net

There is definitely a possibility of a bad outlet causing your power supply to fail.  You need a tester or multimeter to know for sure, or get an electrician to look at it.
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by:AndrewGustely
ID: 17091718
I have both an outlet tester (plug it into an outlet and it sets off lights telling you if its live) and a multimeter, if its possible for someone relatively smart (hopefully me) to test could you elaborate on how to do that?
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 17092078
Testing an outlet is fairly simple, since there are only three conductors: hot, neutral, and ground.  You basically want to test the voltage difference between hot and neutral and between hot and ground - in the US, it should be 120v in both cases.  An illustrated article: http://www.acmehowto.com/howto/homemaintenance/electrical/grounding.php

You can also test your power supply: http://techrepublic.com.com/5100-1035_11-5566528.html?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=tr

Remember to exercise care when testing and be aware of what you are touching.  120v can kill the unwary.
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by:AndrewGustely
ID: 17095999
Thank ye
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