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Very odd problem - PSU issue?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Ok, as I run a part-time PC repair business I like to keep a bit of spare stock handy (eg power supplies) so the other day I purchased 2 x 550W PSU's. I picked them up new from a reputable well known supplier. They were cheap ($25AUS) which is about the price I normally pay, albeit for 300W PSU's. So nothing new here. I often keep PSU's in stock & have replaced probably hundreds of them for my customers.

Anyway the thing is I was putting together a cheap PC for a customer & hooked up one of these PSU's. I installed windows, powered the machine off, & went out for the day. Later that afternoon I retuned home & powered up the PC for one last inspection before delivery to the customer. At this stage I noticed the FDD wasnt connected to the PSu so I connected that & powered on the PC again. At this point I heard a 'pop' and 'crackle' from the PC and there was no post or display. I quickly removed the power from the PSU as I noticed a faint wisp of smoke coming from the HDD. On closer inspection it appeared perhaps a rivet in the HDD tray may have connected with the underside of the HDD, but this is where it gets weird..

Assuming the HDD was dead I connected another spare. I connected the PSU to the HDD then the power lead to the PSU and before I could switch it on I hear another 'crack' & 'pop'. Again a wisp of smoke comes from the HDD and oddly my main PC (which runs of another powerboard that is connected to the powerboard that is running this 2nd PC) also powers off..? But nothing else in the house powers off. Not a thing. Just the main PC.

So at this point Im thinking ok these new PSU's are dodgy. I pull out yet another spare HDD (these are only 10-20gb 2nd hand drives) but this time I connect the 2nd new PSU. And this time I get nothing. Not a thing. Hmm..

So now Im seriously thinking these PSU's are crap. Im taking them back & I wont buy this brand again. But this is where things get even weirder..

I pull out another spare 300W PSU Ive been using for ages in a test PC. I connect the HDD and 'pop', 'crackle' and another wisp of smoke rises from whats now the 3rd HDD! I mean ***?? So now Im looking closer at the powerboard on the desk. And here I finally get to my question. See for a while now the leads from the powerboard have slowly but surely become a bit of a jumbled mess. Ive had a mobile phone charger, a portable drill charger, & several power leads for monitor, PC, etc all plugged into the powerboard & what Im wondering is could say a power lead for the mobile phone 'coiled' around the power lead that goes to the PC somehow 'over-power' the PSU? I recall reading something at one time about power leads and this phenomenon. If this is the case though, I would have thought the over supply of power would burn out the PSU before it would kill a HDD (and in the 3rd instance the PC wasnt even powered on!

Ive since unravelled all the power cables that come from the board, thrown the power lead that goes to the spare PC's PSU in the bin, and all I have running off the 4 socket board now is 2 power leads & so far so good..no more smoke & electrical problems, but im wondering if Im on the right track? Im hoping an electrician is reading this post that can shed some light on this. My main concern is not a few dead HDD's that arent worth a dime but that theres still some deeper problem here that may present itself again when I decide to connect a customers $3000 PC to this powerboard/setup (Im going to toss the powerboard too today for a new one).

Whats got me kinda miffed is why would a PSU Ive had for ages kill a HDD all of a sudden? (I think in view of this I can rule out the new PSU's as being dodgy). And why would plugging a lead into a PSU connected to a 2nd powerboard cause a PC on another powerboard to also power off, but with no other devices on that powerboard being affected (my monitors for my main PC, which are connected to the 2nd powerboard were still on).

Ive been repairing PC as a P/T business now for some 7 years & Ive never come across this or any similar problem before.

edit: Just to clarify, my setup is 1 mains socket. Connected to that is 1 surge arrestor. Connected to that is 1 x powerboard. Off this runs a 2nd powerboard that runs 'my' PC, monitor, etc. The first powerboard in the chain is used to connect a 2nd test monitor & customers PC's, drill, mobile, etc. Ive had this setup for 3 years with no other problems.
Firefly
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 2500 ASUS P8Z68-V LX ASUS 6950 + Powercolor 6950 (CF) Gskill Ripjaw 8Gb 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
A-Data S599 SSD (RAID0) Does this matter anymore? Lots of fans Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
ASUS 27", ACER 24'' x 2 Logitech G15 Coolermaster Extreme Power + 700W Coolermaster Stacker 830 Evo 
MouseMouse PadAudioOther
Logitech G5 Laser Razer Mantis Creative X-Fi Gamer Logitech Z5500's 
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Firefly
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 2500 ASUS P8Z68-V LX ASUS 6950 + Powercolor 6950 (CF) Gskill Ripjaw 8Gb 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
A-Data S599 SSD (RAID0) Does this matter anymore? Lots of fans Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
ASUS 27", ACER 24'' x 2 Logitech G15 Coolermaster Extreme Power + 700W Coolermaster Stacker 830 Evo 
MouseMouse PadAudioOther
Logitech G5 Laser Razer Mantis Creative X-Fi Gamer Logitech Z5500's 
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post #2 of 9
Odd in deed!
I have no answer for you, but I do recommend you get another line run to your work area, it seems you have a lot of demand on that circuit.
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
X4 965 ASUS M4A79 Deluxe 9800GTx2 2x2G OCZ Reapers 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
500G WD Black LiteOn CD/DVD R/W Win7 64 22'' ws Acer AL2223W 
KeyboardPowerMouse
MS KU462 Natural SS DA750 MS 5 button 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
X4 965 ASUS M4A79 Deluxe 9800GTx2 2x2G OCZ Reapers 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
500G WD Black LiteOn CD/DVD R/W Win7 64 22'' ws Acer AL2223W 
KeyboardPowerMouse
MS KU462 Natural SS DA750 MS 5 button 
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Yea thanks.

After I posted I had another good look at my setup & realised I did have a ton of gear running off one outlet. I then got to wondering whether my new PSU has something to do with it. Im thinking it (or its demand for power) is the common denominator. Firstly, I have had no other problems like this prior to installing it 2 days ago. Secondly, it is of course responsible for powering on my main PC (which powered off when the second hard drive was fried). In its defence though, nothing else was affected or burned out that was connected at the time (3 monitors, 4.1 speaker system)..

Ive since moved one of the powerboards (the one for my main PC & monitors) to another outlet entirely. Ive had a number of devices connected to the 'problem' powerboard today, several different PSU's, and all has been good. Hopefully Ive identified the problem.
Firefly
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 2500 ASUS P8Z68-V LX ASUS 6950 + Powercolor 6950 (CF) Gskill Ripjaw 8Gb 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
A-Data S599 SSD (RAID0) Does this matter anymore? Lots of fans Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
ASUS 27", ACER 24'' x 2 Logitech G15 Coolermaster Extreme Power + 700W Coolermaster Stacker 830 Evo 
MouseMouse PadAudioOther
Logitech G5 Laser Razer Mantis Creative X-Fi Gamer Logitech Z5500's 
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Reply
Firefly
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 2500 ASUS P8Z68-V LX ASUS 6950 + Powercolor 6950 (CF) Gskill Ripjaw 8Gb 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
A-Data S599 SSD (RAID0) Does this matter anymore? Lots of fans Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
ASUS 27", ACER 24'' x 2 Logitech G15 Coolermaster Extreme Power + 700W Coolermaster Stacker 830 Evo 
MouseMouse PadAudioOther
Logitech G5 Laser Razer Mantis Creative X-Fi Gamer Logitech Z5500's 
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post #4 of 9
Personally I'd recommend you buy a good reputable battery backup (APC is a good company, I have 3 RS-1500s and they work very well), and never plug anything that has a direct connection the PC in anything other then the battery backup (for example, my monitors are all in my battery backup, my tower is, my speakers are on a surge-only port, the cable modem is in the battery backup -- BUT, since the cable goes directly to the wall, I run the ethernet cable that comes out of it through the battery backup, so this way my computer is completely separated from any possible surges.)

Having one of these things will save you from a lot of headaches. It will also protect you from being overvolted.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Good advice demoship.

I'll pick one up this week..

thanks.
Firefly
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 2500 ASUS P8Z68-V LX ASUS 6950 + Powercolor 6950 (CF) Gskill Ripjaw 8Gb 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
A-Data S599 SSD (RAID0) Does this matter anymore? Lots of fans Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
ASUS 27", ACER 24'' x 2 Logitech G15 Coolermaster Extreme Power + 700W Coolermaster Stacker 830 Evo 
MouseMouse PadAudioOther
Logitech G5 Laser Razer Mantis Creative X-Fi Gamer Logitech Z5500's 
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Firefly
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 2500 ASUS P8Z68-V LX ASUS 6950 + Powercolor 6950 (CF) Gskill Ripjaw 8Gb 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
A-Data S599 SSD (RAID0) Does this matter anymore? Lots of fans Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
ASUS 27", ACER 24'' x 2 Logitech G15 Coolermaster Extreme Power + 700W Coolermaster Stacker 830 Evo 
MouseMouse PadAudioOther
Logitech G5 Laser Razer Mantis Creative X-Fi Gamer Logitech Z5500's 
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post #6 of 9
Make sure you get a good reliable brand. I personally recommend APC.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Any idea what UPS 'rating' I would need? (ie Va)

Theres a few here to select from http://www.i-tech.com.au/products/21...rotection.aspx

And I like the digital display on these but cant find much info on them http://cgi.ebay.com.au/UNINTERRUPTIB...QQcmdZViewItem
Firefly
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 2500 ASUS P8Z68-V LX ASUS 6950 + Powercolor 6950 (CF) Gskill Ripjaw 8Gb 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
A-Data S599 SSD (RAID0) Does this matter anymore? Lots of fans Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
ASUS 27", ACER 24'' x 2 Logitech G15 Coolermaster Extreme Power + 700W Coolermaster Stacker 830 Evo 
MouseMouse PadAudioOther
Logitech G5 Laser Razer Mantis Creative X-Fi Gamer Logitech Z5500's 
  hide details  
Reply
Firefly
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 2500 ASUS P8Z68-V LX ASUS 6950 + Powercolor 6950 (CF) Gskill Ripjaw 8Gb 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
A-Data S599 SSD (RAID0) Does this matter anymore? Lots of fans Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
ASUS 27", ACER 24'' x 2 Logitech G15 Coolermaster Extreme Power + 700W Coolermaster Stacker 830 Evo 
MouseMouse PadAudioOther
Logitech G5 Laser Razer Mantis Creative X-Fi Gamer Logitech Z5500's 
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Reply
post #8 of 9
Non, Depends on what you're using it for.

I can tell you this though

I have 3 RS-1500s, and each of them are good for 2 - 3 machines before hitting max load (Then again, these aren't machines with 8800 GTXs in them either). It can run 1 machine for 10 - 30 minutes, depending on how old your batteries are and how many watts your machine pulls (I know it used to be good for 30 minutes, but I upgraded my machine to 2 monitors and the battery's gotten quite old, so I'm down to like 10 - 15 minutes)

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...4148&CatId=234

I bought em from tigerdirect some time ago, you might find a lower price elsewhere (I didn't check)

Don't waste money on worthless features like a digital display.
post #9 of 9
Btw, here's a screenshot of the software that comes w/ (i think) all APC battery backups.

There's a cable they supply you that goes into your computer's USB port that lets the computer interact w/ the UPS.




This software can give you MUCH more detail then a crappy little LCD screen. And one of the menus has an auto shut-down, so you never have to manually check how much power's left.
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