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Old 07-10-2012, 03:17 PM
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Default 5VSB - PSU works at one site, not at another?

I recently agreed to work on the PC of a family friend whose issue was reported as "my icons have vanished". The PC was dropped off with a family member, who then delivered it to me. I plug it into my voltage regulator and try to power up the PC- brief flicker of the power light and fan twitch, but nothing else. Try again- same.

$#!7*@!!

Normally I'd power it up in the presence of the customer because I've been burned by this type of situation before (it worked before you touched it! free computer please!), but I didn't have the chance here. I use a high quality voltage regulator on an outlet belonging to a breaker on a panel separate from the rest of my house to help ensure that no system will incur electrical damage while in my care, so I'm confident this is not my fault yet I fully believe that the PC was working at the customer's house. I hooked it to my power supply tester and the only problem found was that 5VSB was low (4.3v). The PC works fine with another power supply that reads 5VSB @ 5.1v.

My question:
Has anybody encountered a situation where a power supply works at one site but not another? Is it possible that the electricity at the customer's house is slightly over 120v and the over-voltage is pushing 5VSB to within ATX spec (or close enough to work at least)? I'm not an expert on power supplies, but I'd love to be able to make sense of this. It is possible that the PSU just died of old age in transit, but that just seems unlikely.
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Old 07-10-2012, 03:40 PM
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Depending on the age of the p/s, Some components just die after so many power ups. I would contact the customer right away and let them know that the power supply failed as you put it on the bench. Also take a look inside for caps that are swollen or burst / damaged componets and be sure to show the customer. P/s are not that expensive but should be the customers cost. You have the proof to back it up if you find things amiss inside the unit.

Im sure that if they had not taken it in for service and just kept running it - it would have probably failed pretty quick also.
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Old 07-10-2012, 03:47 PM
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I've seen PSUs work at one place and not at another, but they'd work again when taken back to the original place. I've also seen PSUs go out as soon as their unplugged and plugged back in. Those machines were probably the kind that were on forever and never turned off.
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:03 PM
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Thanks for the responses, guys. This pc wasn't too terribly old.. Core2Quad w/ 8 GB RAM circa 2009; not a spring chick but still not a slouch even for most things I'd put it through. Sadly, some big manufacturers just love using cheap parts.

I'd already informed the customer of the hardware failure and she was OK with replacing it if it must be replaced. I may check the caps to sate my own curiosity, but more than anything I just feel bad for her. She was hesitant to have the PC worked on because she has less than $100 to work with and the system's Dell warranty just expired in Dec '11. I told her it would very likely be fixable well within her budget before I'd even seen the thing, but now we're looking at replacing the LiteOn power supply (yes, they make those apparently) as well as her HDD (which I've found to be failing as well) if she's to have a proper remedy.

Quality replacement parts alone will max her budget... I was hoping someone would chime in with a story about how 5VSB is a fickle creature and not to worry about the low voltage on that rail if it works at the customer's site so I could save her some money by only replacing the HDD.

Arrow_runner: These PSUs you've encountered that work again when back at the original site... any observations to share about the long term prognosis for them? I'm hesitant to take the route of not replacing the PSU, but affording her time to replace it at a later date may be helpful.
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Old 07-10-2012, 09:15 PM
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The one that comes to mind is actually a used PC I sold to a customer. She had problems, brought here, worked fine. Gave it back, still problems. Brought it back, worked fine and even showed her. I went to her house with the computer and ended up just keeping it and giving her a slightly better one. I was so frustrated that I didn't bother with the machine and just sold it for $20 to some random guy as-is after I told him what was up with it.

I had another PC that a 'friend' brought over to my place to fix(before I went professional). I cleaned it up and gave it back. They said it wasn't working. (BSOD). They brought it back, worked fine. Still BSODed at their place. (Using different outlet, keyboard, monitor, mouse everything). I ended up nuke/pave and it worked...
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