Burned PSU?

December 2, 2010 at 10:45:35
Specs: win 7, i7-920 / 8 gig
I recently moved and plugged my computer in to a socket. There was an immediate popping sound and a smell coming from the computer, then a slow die-off of the indicator light on the power supply. I opened the case and bilieve the smell to be coming from the power supply.

I called the landlord and he took a look at the outlet. It turns out that it was meant for an AC unit and it was on a special breaker. The landlord didn't know!

My concern: Are any of my other components fried? Does anyone know if this particular PSU has a fuse that possibly burned out first and not damaged any other components?

the power supply model is N250K for the Dell Studio 435MT.


Thanks


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#1
December 2, 2010 at 11:06:29
I don't see any reason why an outlet designed for an AC unit should damage the computer. It will be on a special breaker because an AC unit uses a lot of power, far more than a computer.

Unless it was a 230V outlet and you plugged in a computer expecting 110v. If that is the case then your power supplied is well and truly toasted.

Blown fuses don't normally make a pop nor to the cause a burning smell when they go. The only solution is a new power supply. If you are lucky you may not have damaged anything else but there is the possibility that the motherboard was damaged. The only way you can tell for certain is to plug in another power supply and test it.

Stuart


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#2
December 2, 2010 at 11:16:45
Thanks,

I hope i'm lucky and it is only the power supply. I have already ordered a new one.

Is there any way to test the motherboard? Possibly with a meter or something?

Pradeep


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#3
December 2, 2010 at 12:29:17
Are you located in the USA? If so and if the receptacle in the wall is the type that accepts your power cable from your computer without any adapters then it should be connected to an 115/120VAC circuit. If the voltage is 120VAC it may be wired with reverse polarity, which can damage your computer. If the circuit is actually 230/240VAC then the wrong type of receptacle is installed.

Either of those conditions are code violations and are dangerous. I would insist the landlord pay to repair you computer and fix the outlet.

It may well have taken out your motherboard and more besides the PSU.


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#4
December 2, 2010 at 14:26:53
Hi,

Yes, I am located in the U.S.A.

I just talked to the landlord and he said it was a 220 VAC.

Would this cause less damage than the 120 reversible VAC? from your post it sounded like a 220 VAC would be less damaging.

Thanks,
Pradeep


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#5
December 2, 2010 at 14:28:17
sorry, i mean 120 VAC with reverse polarity (not 120 reversible VAC)

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#6
December 2, 2010 at 14:37:09
This probably applies:

"If the circuit is actually 230/240VAC then the wrong type of receptacle is installed."
"Either of those conditions are code violations and are dangerous. I would insist the landlord pay to repair you computer and fix the outlet"

In most cases, you can set the PS for a computer to use either 115V or 230V, the same as whatever voltage you plug into, by means of moving a recessed slide switch which is usually red - but you shouldn't have been able to physically plug in the standard north american cord with it's plug for 115V AC into the wall receptacle - it won't physically plug into the proper 230v receptacle.


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#7
December 2, 2010 at 14:43:31
Yes, the wrong type of receptacle was installed.

How much damange could this have done?

Cheers,
Pradeep


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#8
December 2, 2010 at 14:45:57
I'm not sure how to make my landlord pay for this. I will look at the capacitor on the motherboard and see if any of those are busted. I have already ordered a new power supply unit.

Not sure, we'll see..


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#9
December 2, 2010 at 14:52:43
"120 VAC with reverse polarity "

Usually that is more likely to cause the computer to misbehave that it will damage it. However, the metal of the power supply and computer case is supposed to be connected to the "neutral" side of the connection, not the "live" side of the connection, so when those connections are backwards, touching the metal on the case in certain circumstances (e.g. your skin is damp or wet and your feet are on a solid surface rather than a rug) can electrocute you, or at least you're likely to feel it.

It's unpredictable whether a PS has damaged something else while failing. It's less likely if the PS is a quality brand, but brand name computers typically have el-cheapo power supplies that are MORE likely than average to damage something else while failing. E.g. if the PS brand is BESTEC, it's a lot more likely to damage something else while failing.

"If you are lucky you may not have damaged anything else but there is the possibility that the motherboard was damaged. The only way you can tell for certain is to plug in another power supply and test it."
"It may well have taken out your motherboard and more besides the PSU."


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#10
December 2, 2010 at 15:00:55
Thanks for all your responses. You've all been helpful. I can only wait and see now.

Regards,
Pradeep


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#11
December 2, 2010 at 16:35:15
I would tell the landlord that he owns you X amount (your cost). If he refuses to pay then the ball is in your court. You will then know how he is going to treat you when the time comes to return your security deposit.

Make him change the receptacle too.


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