PSU went BANG!

July 30, 2009 at 06:22:31
Specs: Windows XP
Recently my Hiper 580W PSU went BANG! This was after almost 3 years of rock-solid trouble-free computing with the same computer containing a DFI NF4 mainboard, Athlon 64 4000+, 4gb RAM, 3 hard drives, 2 optical drives, a basic graphics card and a card reader port.

I received a new PSU under warranty and put this in the machine, hoping that it would work fine. Unfortunately this one also blew up after 10 seconds or so of pressing the power button.

I now have a new PSU but am hesitant to place it in te machine without doing some tests, and starting with the fewest amount of components first.

I have been able to recover the data from the hard disks which still work, but I really don't want to fry another psu if the cause is due to the mainboard or other components. However I know very little about electronics, and so would be really grateful for some advice. The last thing I want to do is strip down the system to mainboard, cpu, and ram, and reattach the psu for it to go bang once again. Therefore if anyone could possibly suggest a strategy for testing and putting things back together I would be most grateful.

Many thanks in advance, casper

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July 30, 2009 at 09:54:46
"Recently my Hiper 580W PSU went BANG!"

Assuming you DID NOT have an AC power related event that happened just before, or not long before, the power supply failed, such as a power surge or power spike, or a power failure event that might have caused those things, or a power failure event caused by a lightning strike, then....

The usual reason for that is at least one of the electolytic capacitors in the power supply was defective and it has exploded.

Unfortunately, when a power supply fails, that event can damage other components, often the motherboard. That's a lot less likely to happen with a power supply that is of higher quality, but it can happen with any power supply.

Connecting a replacement power supply after a power supply has failed may, or may NOT, get your system working fine again.

"I received a new PSU under warranty and put this in the machine, hoping that it would work fine. Unfortunately this one also blew up after 10 seconds or so of pressing the power button."

Did you get the same make and model of PS, or a different one?
If it was a Hiper PS, it's extremely unlikely the replacement power supply was defective, assuming it was new.
If it was a different, el-cheapo PS, it IS a lot more possible it was defective.
If it was a Hiper PS, I suspect the most likely thing is your motherboard is damaged, e.g., something is now shorted, and that's what caused the replacement power supply to fail.

It could also be that some other component is damaged/shorted, but that's not as likely.

E.g. Remove the ram modules and examine the contacts on them and the contacts in the ram slots - look for contacts that are missing (have been vaporized) / have been damaged/melted, or black carbon deposits.

On the other hand, it's very rare for a replacement power supply to be ruined by you connecting it to a mboard that's damaged - usually either the mboard works or it doesn't.

If I were you, I WOULD NOT connect the the second replacement power supply to this mboard.
Replace the mboard!

NOTE that the following also applies to the capacitors inside PSs.

Open up your case and examine the mboard to see if you have bad capacitors, and/or other findable signs of mboard damage .

This was the original bad capacitor problem - has some example pictures.
History of why the exploding capacitors and which mboard makers were affected:

What to look for, mboard symptoms, example pictures:
Home page that site
- what the problem is caused by
- he says there are STILL bad capacitors on more recent mboards.

Pictures of blown capacitors, other components, power supplies, Athlon cpu's, etc.:

Is it possible something other than the mboard is damaged?
Yes, but that's not nearly as likely.
The only way you can be nearly 100% sure of getting your system working again is by replacing the mboard AND cpu AND the ram.
Your hard drive(s) and optical drive(s) and floppy drive if you have one can be checked out by connecting them to another computer and trying them out - even if they have been damaged that won't likely hurt the working system.
Ram either works or it doesn't, but you must install it in a mboard it is compatible with - e.g. if your ram is DDR2, it should work fine in a mboard DDR2 ram can be installed in. If the ram is damaged, it probably won't hurt a working system.
The cpu can be checked out only by installing it in a mboard it is compatible with. E.g. if your 4000+ is 939 pin, it must be installed in a mboard with a 939 pin socket; if it's AM2 - 940 pin - it must be installed in a AM2 or AM2+ socket mboard.

You could try replacing the mboard, install just the cpu, no ram, no drives, connect the monitor, connect the PS.

It is easy to test for whether incompatible ram or damaged ram has caused your mboard to fail to boot.

Make sure you have a speaker or speakers or the equivalent connected to the mboard so you can hear mboard beeps (see your mboard manual if you need to).
Remove the AC power to the case/power supply.
Remove all the ram.
Restore AC power.
Try to boot.
If nothing else is wrong, you will get no video but you will hear a pattern of beeps that indicate no ram is installed, or a ram problem.
E.g. for an Award bios or a bios based on one, that's often a beep of about a half second, silence for a half second, a beep of about a half second, silence for a half second, continuously.

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