PSU died, can't figure out why

My power supply died, and I can't figure out why, which is really bothering me because I'd like to know what not to do next time. That day, I actually didn't do much. I have a dual boot of Gentoo Linux and Windows. The day started out with Gentoo, and I have the whole beryl set-up, but it still wasn't using that many resources. I reboot into Windows because I felt like racing a little, so I did just that. After about an hour of gaming, I turned off my computer because I thought I wasn't going to use it. Then I tried to turn it back on, and it wouldn't turn on. I checked my keyboard and mouse - both usb - and none of the lights were on. I look in the back where the I/O panel is, and none of the lights were on. So I open up my case, and the motherboard light wasn't on. So I had to open it up and try to figure out which component wasn't working. The most likely ones, I thought, were the motherboard or power supply. So I borrow my friend's computer, and hook up my power supply to his computer, and it didn't boot. Then I hooked his power supply to my computer, and the motherboard booted.

I'm pretty sure it's not because of load. I did the calculations and it should come out to something around 450 Watts. I have the TruePower II 550.

I also have a recently bought surge protector connected to the power supply, so I'm pretty sure it's not because of a spike, otherwise my roommate's computer would've gone out too.

So, I really would just like to hear what people think caused it to die so next time I won't make the same mistake.

I was dong some research, and I learned that dust clogging could possibly cause the power supply to fail. I just use whatever was left of my friend's AirDr and some dust came out, but not nearly as much as what was in the CPU heatsink or GPU heatsink, which I cleaned out a couple of nights ago.

I am at a University, and even though my roommate and I keep the room top-notch in cleansiness, it's still pretty dusty.
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  1. I've had several power supplys die on me and because they were adequate to begin with I assumed (never assume) they were defective and purchased new ones. I don't know if it is possible to pinpoint the cause for failure. :)
  2. RMA it if still under warranty, while dust is bad, it usually takes quite a bit unless you got metal shaving dust floating aorund in a dorm room. :D
  3. Look, unless you were moving things around in the case at the time of the power supply going out or the layer of dust was as think as a blanket in the power supply, my bet would be on component failure.

    The power supply you have is more than adequate, if your calculations are correct.

    Sometimes even a brand new ps will die due to component failure.
    Usually in conjunction with the release of the magic smoke that makes it work, lol.

    I have found that I like PC Power and Cooling for their power supplies.
    Most of the time you can get the best deal directly from them, and they also sell refurbished units too. Even the best have failures.

    I would check to see if it is still under warranty. Have it replaced and keep it as a spare.
  4. Psus die, sometimes for no discernable reason. It could be that you actually are using a bit more power than you estimated and it burned out. But this type of thing happens to everybody once in a while. At least you figured out the problem easily enough.

    As someone else wrote, if the psu is still under warrenty, RMA it. If not, here's an old saying that I keep close to my computer; "Yesterday it worked. Today it is not working. Computers are like that". At least you're lucky enough to ba able to fix this problem fairly cheaply and easily.
  5. I have to wait like a few weeks for when I go back home to get the proof of purchase. I've been using the power supply for 6 months now. I can't RMA through the vendor, but I've got that 3-year warranty from Antec, which I actually plan to read to make sure I have everything I need to get it back.

    I've been doing quite some reading, and it seems Antec isn't that great for power supplies :( When I get a replacement, should I try to sell and buy a new one from a different manufacturer? Or should I just stick with the Antec?

    I've got a Antec p180b, by the way. So for the cables, everything worked out swimmingly.

    It's a shame. I would really like to know what happened, because I definitely don't want this to happen when I'm not home. My basement and study room has a ton of hardware, and I wouldn't be surprised if we had a few extra power supplies. Although they wouldn't be as powerful as 550 Watts... In that case, I'd just strip down my computer until the replacement comes in.
  6. See if you can get someone back home to find and mail you the proof of purchase. That can save a few weeks. Antec used to be considered a good power supply, but from what I've read, they've had some quality control problms. That may be fixed by now. If you get a new psu from Antec, I'd just go ahead an use it for now.

    My personal psu favorites are Enermax and ThermalTake. But everybody has his/her own favorite, so no need to get into a war over that.
  7. PSUs fail. No wizardry involved. They just die.

    Remembering that EVERYTHING in the PC runs from it is often helpful in getting people to actually spend some decent money on a power supply; it is, after all, the most important component of any PC!
  8. Yeah, I was thinking about asking my dad to send me the proof of purchase, but I'm not 100% sure where I put it. I know it's in the basement with everything else, but I also know I put it in another box... And you know... I got a LOT of boxes when I built my computer. Well I guess I'll just ask him to try anyway. No real harm in that.

    This was actually my first build, and Antec was the only power supply manufacturer I knew since my family's computer back in 1998 used an Antec, and I believe the current one from 2001 also uses an Antec. So they seemed pretty trusted. Didn't really put too much thought into it.

    I'm thinking now that I probably should've read something about each component and how to choose them before I did anything. I mean it's not bad, it just won't work right now.

    With the power supply I was closed minded and only looked at Antec. It just looked trusted, which is what I was aiming for since I didn't want the thing to blow up or something to that effect. I also knew I needed at least 500 W to cover everything.

    I know compnents just die, but it seemed to have given out before its time came, which is why I was wondering if I possibly did something incorrectly.
  9. Quote:

    I know compnents just die, but it seemed to have given out before its time came, which is why I was wondering if I possibly did something incorrectly.

    Sometimes a person does everything perfectly when doing a build and something still breaks. Have had it happen myself. Don't be too hard on yourself here. Now stupid mistakes, that's different. Then again, if everybody's honest about it, we've all made an idiot error sometime or the other. There was even a thread once about dumb mistakes, and I've done one of those myself, which is in the thread.
  10. Quote:
    Yeah, I was thinking about asking my dad to send me the proof of purchase, but I'm not 100% sure where I put it.

    With the power supply I was closed minded and only looked at Antec.

    I know compnents just die, but it seemed to have given out before its time came, which is why I was wondering if I possibly did something incorrectly.

    Why not have your dad send you a new power supply instead of the receipt? That way you can get it up fast for your school work. That's the dad's function isn't it? RMA the bad one and keep it for a spare, it's nice to have spare parts.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with Antec I've used them for years with no problem. They may have had some short term problem with components or something but I think their PSU's are OK.

    It's highly unlikely that you did anything wrong, and certainly not running too many programs or a little dust. Sometimes electronic components just fail. Such is life.
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