Hello, I'm a novice technician and am just wanting to learn more about the wide variety of symptoms of failing PSU's. Also, rare symptoms that do not often occur, but can be difficult to diagnose.
I'll begin with my methods of testing a PSU and what I already know (or think I know).
-I use a simple ATX power tester w/ LCD screen. 24pin capable like the one below.
-If it simply doesn't power on at all and it's unclear if it's the PSU or the MB, I just swap it with a new one.
WHAT I KNOW (or think I know) -_O
-Never open the PSU casing unless I am an experienced electrician (I'm not) :(
-Some ATX PSU's will have a LED failure indicator that will illuminate or flash on the back of the PSU when it has failed.
-Swap it with a new one if it's suspected to be faulty or dead
-Use the ATX PSU tester to get a voltage readout for each connector.
**That's about all I know, and I'm not sure if any of that is wrong or not, I've never been taught to properly troubleshoot an ATX PSU, nor do I barely know anything about the electrician's subject and terminologies. Some enlightenment on understanding more about basic entry level electrical information would be of great help**
-I think I know that Wattage = Volts * Amperage. ex:(19V * 3.46a = 65.75W)
I use this for calculating voltage for customers AC power adapters for laptops and usually go by a rule of thumb to shoot for plus or minus .
5 Volts. From my understanding, anything of greater variance in Voltage will either not work, or could damage the DC power jack or MB.
What I would like to know:
-What types of sporadic behavior could a failing PSU display?
**I've "heard" random rebooting if there isn't a consistent and proper supply of power to a device**
**I've also heard of distorted graphics similar to RAM symptoms, (unsure of this one)**
-I know there is much debate on this one, but I'm pretty comfortable with a multimeter. Which is a better method of testing? Multimeter or ATX PSU tester?
(I have the Driverheaven guide for testing with a multimeter, no need to repost) Just wondering if there were benefits for testing with one over the other.
-I've heard the terminology "Ripples" tossed around, what does that mean? Is that referring to a fluctuation in power or "not a steady voltage readout" ?
-I've only had one weird experience with a PSU. The machine would not power on because the Molex (4pin) connector was plugged into a dead HDD. I guess maybe the circuitry on the HDD board could have been shorting out the PSU? I am clueless on this one, but all I know is I unplugged the HDD and everything else worked fine, replaced it, reinstalled windows to a new one and it was fine.
Again, I'm very new to the computer field and I've only been working in the computer repair field for a year now. All of my experience is about 80% hands on, 5% teaching my methods and what I've figured out to newer techs. Tools I use, freeware, etc. 5% of tech talk to my buddy who is more knowledgeable on the subjects than I and 10% GOOGLE!!!!!!
so I'm about 95% self taught. So far I don't think I'm doing too bad. I would just like some help to stay on the right track of learning from more experienced technicians considering there are no more of those at my place of employment. I know what you're thinking, and yes I am definitely too poor for college. :p
Thank you all in advance for any replies, I'm all ears (eyes since it's a forum, but.. you know what I mean).
Jonathan D Coffey