Computer Keeps Blowing/Killing Power Supplies – What To Do
The power supply in a desktop computer has a lot of responsibility. It has to take electricity from the wall and refine it to remove spikes, divide it into much smaller voltages and then deliver all those voltages to the many components within a PC. If your computer keeps blowing power supplies, that’s not a good situation to be in. Read this tutorial and they could be a thing of the past.
While processors, RAM and graphics cards are the headline items of a PC, it’s the power supply (PSU) that makes it all happen. Without consistent energy at exactly the right voltage, nothing is going to work, or work for long anyway. Yet many PC builders only give enough thought to the output wattage of the power supply and not the quality or efficiency. That’s a mistake.
There’s no point spending $500 on a new GPU or $250 on a processor and then spending only $40 on a power supply. If there is one place to buy quality, it’s the PSU. Buy quality, buy high efficiency, buy once.
Computer keeps blowing power supplies
If you seem to be stuck in a loop of buying new power supplies and then blowing them, two things are likely happening. One, something in the system is overheating and shuts down to protect itself. Two, you have plugged your PSU directly into the wall outlet without using a UPS or surge protector.
Change one of these two situations and your computer should not blow through any more power supplies. As dirty power is the usual suspect in situations like these, let’s look at that first.
The electricity provided by the grid is delivered at around 120v. That could be anywhere between 117v and 123v. This is referred to as dirty power. Depending on the quality of wiring in your property, electricity could hit the wall socket with that kind of variance. Most power supplies can cope with that voltage but not all of them can.
Whenever you connect any electronic device to the mains, you should always use a surge strip or surge protector. They not only provide multiple sockets, they also refine that voltage to close to 120v. Buy quality and buy from a brand you recognize. This is not the time to buy a cheap no-name product.
If circumstances allow, using a UPS between a computer and the wall socket is even better. It does an excellent job of refining your electricity and storing some in a battery. If you experience a power cut, the battery should last long enough to be able to save your work and shut your computer down gracefully rather than crashing out. They can be expensive though.
If your computer keeps blowing power supplies, spend $20-30 on a good quality surge protector and I suspect your computer will no longer go through so many of them.
Overheating and thermal protection
The other main reason a computer keeps blowing power supplies is overheating. In this case, you’re likely not blowing the power supply at all. The computer is shutting itself down to protect itself. This can often happen if a fan fails or you have inadequate cooling for the conditions. It can happen with store bought computers but most often happens with home built ones.
First things first:
- Switch everything off at the mains.
- Open up your PC case and check all connections. Make sure all fans are connected, your CPU fan is connected, GPU card has both power connections if it uses two and all case fans are unobstructed.
- Check for dirt and dust and clean everything with compressed air or very carefully with a cloth until you have removed as much dust as possible.
- Remove your hard drive power connectors.
- Turn on the mains.
- Watch your PC internals and turn on your PC. Watch to make sure all fans are working and are all blowing in the same direction. They should take air in from the front and blow it out at the rear and/or top.
If your PC doesn’t turn on, check the fuse for the power supply. Most PSU do not have circuit breakers, so if anything blows it will be the fuse on the plug. Check and change if necessary.
If a new fuse doesn’t work, you should try a different power supply. Borrow or buy one and replace it. Perform all the checks above, use a surge protector, watch your PC fans and turn it on.
If the PC spins up, monitor it to make sure all fans remain active. Reconnect your hard drives and load into your operating system. Use a temperature monitoring program to keep an eye on temperatures and address higher temperatures with bigger or better fans as appropriate.
If the PC doesn’t spin up it likely isn’t your power supply at all but your motherboard. This is especially true if the status LED on your motherboard doesn’t light up. Unfortunately,. that’s more expense and the subject of a whole different tutorial!