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Will my capacitors go pop

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June 11, 2007 2:27:55 PM

Hi folks, hope this is the right forum. I believe it is the PSU that is causing the issue.

My PC has recently started making a high pitched buzzing sound when plugged in and the power is on. The sound used to stay for only a few minutes progressively getting high in pitch until it stopped. But now its not stopping at all. I have a feeling this is related to capacitors.

The sound is not really noticeably when the PC is on but i'm alittle worried that either my PSU or MB is going to crap out on me. They are both only one year old but would probably be on for about 60 hours a week.

Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated.

More about : capacitors pop

June 12, 2007 6:57:16 AM

Dumb question, but does the noise go away when you turn off the monitor? We need more information on the PC, like how old it is, brand of the components, stuff like that
June 12, 2007 7:47:33 AM

Just sounds like a fan needs oiling to me.
Related resources
June 12, 2007 7:49:54 AM

Quote:
Just sounds like a fan needs oiling to me.


I was about to suggest the same thing. Now...I guess I'm just wasting space....
June 12, 2007 7:57:20 AM

the name states it all dont you think, I have a strange sound from my bottom anyone know what causes it. I can give a list of parts if needed, forgot to mention I ate some beans, would that cause sounds like bombs, or is there more to it.
June 12, 2007 8:24:13 AM

Sounds like you're farting to me. Have a couple of charcoal capsules (you can buy them from the supermarket) and that should fix the issue.
June 12, 2007 9:01:14 AM

Thanks Guys :)  sorry it took me a while but my new monitor arrived yesterday and i was understandably distracted. Oh and the noise is not the monitor, come on give me some credit :) 

As for the charcoal capsuls, one its not a 'popping' sound its a high pitch buzz and if that was coming from my arse i think i'd need to do something more than just come here :)  Oh by the way never knew charcoal capsuls would reduce the risk of gaseous emmissions, must bear that in mind :) 

Relevant Spec:
PSU - HIPER 540 R_Type
MB - Asus A8N32-SLI

Definitily not fans because the sound is there when none are running. It will start as soon as current is being applied (not necessarily booted up). It also sounds distinctly electrical in nature, like those monitor type buzzes It's probably all fine but just thought i'd throw it out there to to try and gain a few gems.

Thanks again guys
June 12, 2007 10:16:59 AM

Quote:

As for the charcoal capsuls, one its not a 'popping' sound its a high pitch buzz and if that was coming from my arse i think i'd need to do something more than just come here :)  Oh by the way never knew charcoal capsuls would reduce the risk of gaseous emmissions, must bear that in mind :) 


That was me just been a smartarse to gomerpile.

Charcoal's good for gas, diarrhea, drug overdoses and things like that. It absorbs whatever is in your stomach.
June 12, 2007 10:17:38 AM

Suppose it could be something going in the power supply, not that awful high pitched whistle you get when something is going is it?

The only other thing that springs to mind straight off is possibly one of the fans. All my cpu fans seem to go the same way over the years, a bit noisy for a few minutes before settling. My current Athlon64 cooler has a particularly nasty feint vibration at the moment which is sometimes nicely picked up by one of the sata cables and the drive bays resonate very noisily. Driving me nuts so swapping over to an Arctic Cooler soon.
June 12, 2007 10:21:48 AM

i have those especially in games menus. i think those sounds are from the digital pwm's. i have two ati cards that have that, currently using one, getting that buzzing, grounded like sound. i just learned to live with it as nothing has gone bad for half a year with the buzzing.
June 12, 2007 10:30:09 AM

sounds like transformers doing their work
June 12, 2007 1:04:59 PM

Thanks alot guys, actually i'm quite relieved with the responses. No ones saying quick evacute the house PC based explosion imminent, which would have worried me slightly.

I'll just live with it and hope i can get another year or 2 out of the system, its hardly noticeable when the PC is actually on.

I maybe getting myself a new quieter PSU at some point, the Hiper is a noisey brut, so hopefully that would proof if its the PSU or MB or somthing else. I really want it to be the PSU i like my MB :?
June 12, 2007 1:22:24 PM

itss switch mode power supply, they make this noise!!
June 12, 2007 1:50:17 PM

I've seen many computers with ruptured capacitors... and to the best of my knowledge none gave an audible warning. I think you're barking up the wrong tree.
June 12, 2007 3:01:33 PM

A buzzing noise will be either the transformer(s) or something arcing.

If it's the transformers, they're simply indicating that they're no longer brand new. For transformers that small to buzz is unusual, but most likely nothing to worry about.

If it's something arcing, you'd smell ozone, and I highly doubt as to whether the PC will even stay switched on then. Or even be usable with a different PSU.

As an industrial engineer specialising in electronics, I see a fair number of industrial-grade transformers. These brutes (120KVA input, usually) will start buzzing within at least a month of installation, usually a year or so. They then keep on going for a long time afterward - several years at least.

A transformer is normally two coils of wire around a metal core. To prevent things like eddy currents and other anomalies, the metal core is made up of a number of metal plates bound together, with the wire wound around them. The buzzing is caused by these plates vibrating together. The vibration is caused by the electromagnetic flux that makes the transformer work. These plates are usually glued together, but not always.
June 12, 2007 3:17:37 PM

Good stuff cheers, the capacitors was only a bit of a guess on my part i figured that if they maybe started leaking that they'd generate a sound.

Its probably nothing to worry about, but like i said i like my MB and wouldn't like loss it.

My tweaking (overclocking) has probably just made me a bit over cautious.
June 12, 2007 3:42:45 PM

Your PSU is pretty low quality. It is no surprise that it is buzzing, chirping, or whatever. You might want to get a new one before something seriously goes wrong and you fry some of your other components, or start your computer on fire.
June 12, 2007 4:01:55 PM

You just had to say something like didn't you JJ :) 

I know its no top of the range PSU but would hardly say its low quality, the one that came with the case now that was low quality, never hit 12v at all, needless to say that was out of there sharpess :)  But the hiper gives out decent steady volts.

The Hiper has done alright for me in general plus its modular which i liked, my new case and CPU HSF has highlighted how noisey it is mind, 2 fans.
June 12, 2007 4:41:44 PM

Quote:
You just had to say something like didn't you JJ :) 

I know its no top of the range PSU but would hardly say its low quality, the one that came with the case now that was low quality, never hit 12v at all, needless to say that was out of there sharpess :)  But the hiper gives out decent steady volts.

The Hiper has done alright for me in general plus its modular which i liked, my new case and CPU HSF has highlighted how noisey it is mind, 2 fans.


I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said it was low quality. That is a bit of an over statement.

What I meant was that it wasn't one of the good quality PSU's on any of the Reference lists (I don't think).
June 12, 2007 5:07:37 PM

I don't know if capacitors make noise or not when they ar laking, but you can tell by visual inspection. When they are on their way out, they start to bulge on top, their tops should be flat. Ohandyoucan sometimes see some oxidisation on their tops as well, it looks a bit like mouldy rust.

Note, I am not suggesting you take apart your PSU, but that's ehat I know about capacitors for future reference.
June 12, 2007 5:18:18 PM

Try smacking your PSU (just smack the upper of the case). I've done it 1000s of times in my life and never seen an immediate HDD failure, so I think its a non-issue.

This will cause the fan to shut-up. I think you only need to replace a fan. The bush-bearing is worn-out. If you can bear the noise, the fan will most probably go 12hrs a day for another whole year before failing.

Transformers making great noises are either very big or being fed improper type of power (square wave instead of sine). They sound like mosquitoes and aren't very harsh. And it remains continuous (not stopping after a while).
June 12, 2007 5:42:36 PM

Thanks for the excellent notes we have to respect people that bring that kind of input to this place. It must have been hard to stay in school to learn that stuff. Hopefully your getting good pay for it.
June 12, 2007 6:11:47 PM

Quote:
Your PSU is pretty low quality. It is no surprise that it is buzzing, chirping, or whatever.


Quote:
PSU: Ultra 500W X-Finity
It's a wonder yours hasn't died and taken the rest of your system with it.
You must be one of the lucky Ultra owners.
June 12, 2007 7:10:59 PM

MOSFETs can make a noise like that before they blow up. I was posting a mobo and this happened to me. Got part of a mosfet from the vrm in my eye lol

Change your PSU before any damage is done to the mobo. If its the mobo, changing the PSU is smart anyway, because it could have been what damaged the board.
June 12, 2007 10:11:07 PM

Smacking it, like i did, <b>WILL BUGGER YOUR PSU FAN!</b>

started rattling around cos of a loose fan blade.

Your Caps will only go bang under the following conditions:

1. The voltage arcoss them exceeds their rating(hardly, unless your putting more than 230V mains in, to which your then probably looking at 3-phase! Or the feedback signal controlling the PWM inside is not doing its job and boosting the voltage too much)

2. the polarity of the voltage across them is back to front (hardly, unless you been messing around, in which case you probably deserve it)

I think the lesson here is research your equipment, BEFORE making silly posts.

but then thats probably why your here :D 

If in doubt, change it.
June 12, 2007 11:30:12 PM

Quote:
Your PSU is pretty low quality. It is no surprise that it is buzzing, chirping, or whatever.


Quote:
PSU: Ultra 500W X-Finity
It's a wonder yours hasn't died and taken the rest of your system with it.
You must be one of the lucky Ultra owners.

Heh...It really sucks!!

I bought the PSU before I was better informed.

I can't overclock at all, my computer shuts off all the time because of overdraw of power and unstable voltages....

I'm just lucky it hasn't killed any of my other components yet....

I really can't afford a new one either :( 
June 12, 2007 11:38:33 PM

Wouse thanks for the run down on capacitors. As i said in the original post and some where else I only suspected capacitors nothing more, and because i am not and never pretended to be an electrical engineer i can quite happily be wrong.

And as i am not an electrical engineer I found it difficult identifying an initial point of research bar googling 'buzzing noise from pc' or something similar. Sorry if in some way i gave an impression i was knowledgeable about the detailed works of electrical equipment.

I posted on these forums because after browsing them for some time I realised there is some very knowledge people here, and so I thought it prudent to ask a question here rather than leave £800 odd to chance. Maybe i'm just paranoid or something.

Thanks all though for the input. As a rundown its probably not capacitors and it certainly isn't a fan or monitor. :)  I will probably just ignore it not that noticeable and i heard this sort thing before from electrical equipment without unexpected pyrotechniques, I was just curious of where it comes from.
June 13, 2007 10:29:32 AM

Got a B.Eng (Industrial), which combined elements of civil, electronic and mechanical engineering. Most of it done through correspondence courses, so I could work at the same time.

Busy doing my M.Eng (EE) thesis at the moment, while holding down a 8-5 at a heavy industrial automation firm. Work's hard, pay's good, I'm content with life. Not happy, yet, but that'll come with time.

What careers do other people here follow?
June 13, 2007 10:33:18 AM

Self taught Computer Programmer since the Commodore 64, PC enthusiast since my first Elonex 486sx (25mhz). Currently a visual studio developer.
June 13, 2007 10:37:23 AM

I'm a skilled laborer, nick name Jack, heavy equipment operator,
June 13, 2007 11:17:51 AM

LOL did i miss something how did this become and occupation discussion :) 

Ah well if u can't beat them.....

Me I'm ur run of the mill code jockey, currently hacking 30 year old mainframe assemblier programs to add some new twisted insurance industry rule or whatever. By the way these programs were born a good few years before me :?

Occassionally get the chance to work on some bright sparkly new stuff like my current ASP .Net logging system project. No fecken registers and addressablity to worry, sweet :) 

There just to put the final nail into useful discussion on this thread :)  hehe only joking u have all been great guys.
June 13, 2007 4:14:15 PM

BEng electronic engineering, currently working repairing welding equipment.

number of counts electricuted: 8 :twisted:

Highest AC voltage: 230V mains across the chest 8O

Highest DC voltage: 600V across the fingers from discharging cap.

3 phase here we come! :D 
June 14, 2007 7:39:01 AM

:trophy:

Nice. After you've tried 3-phase, give the HT stuff a whirl. I got zapped with 11KV once, when a transformer went, and my leg was tingling for three-odd days.

Felt kinda cool when it happened, though the burn wounds were not pleasant. Very minor, though, like very bad sunburn.
June 14, 2007 8:51:26 AM

Quote:
Your Caps will only go bang under the following conditions:

1. The voltage arcoss them exceeds their rating(hardly, unless your putting more than 230V mains in, to which your then probably looking at 3-phase! Or the feedback signal controlling the PWM inside is not doing its job and boosting the voltage too much)

2. the polarity of the voltage across them is back to front (hardly, unless you been messing around, in which case you probably deserve it)

I think the lesson here is research your equipment, BEFORE making silly posts.

but then thats probably why your here :D 

If in doubt, change it.


Well if we want to talk about doing research before the post, you should think about doing it youself.

The most common cause of cap failure in PSUs (which is one of the #1 failure modes, BTW) is not reversed polarity or excessive voltage. Reversed polarity is a crazy thought anyway, since it'd blow up almost immediately after trying to use the system, not after a period of time.

PSU caps typically fail because of one of 3 factors:

1) Part was not appropriate for it's use in the circuit. Company X cut costs by using cheaper parts. It might have too high an impedance, be too small physically to radiate heat well, too small a capacitance or just junk/unproven in the particular implementation.

2) Cap is poorly designed or defective (didn't meet their own design goals. It might be wound too thin to try to achieve higher capacitance in a small size, or it might have an instable electrolyte, or the wrong quantity of electrolyte, or just cheap electrolyte. Generic off-brand caps should not be in a PSU running anything important.

3) PSU ran too hot, the design (fan placement or wires in the way) didn't put enough air past the caps. Very inefficient PSU running a very large load can also contribute.

Caps don't make the described noise though, but if a cap was degrading and that effected the subcircuit it was filtering, it could result in some resonation in the upstream inductors. It would be as likely they were just poor quality and would've resonated at some particular output level anyway so yet again is a reason why two PSU that look or spec out the same may have parts quality differences that matter over time.
June 14, 2007 5:56:28 PM

well he asked "will they go pop?" not "are they going to fail?"

your right that inductors could be causing some resonance with any capacitance the circuit sees.

Also loads of ripple could cause some overheating, but its all down to base design of the components as to how much they can stand.

plus heavy ripple on PSU's sometimes means your overloading it a weeeeee bit.

But this could go on about what could happen and what-not, this thread'll get boring.
June 14, 2007 6:10:19 PM

Wouse u do seem to like dishing my post :)  but its ok i'm the forgiving type.

To clarify the title did indeed say 'pop' and maybe i should have been a bit less flamboyant with my use of language I assumed nobody would really associate popping capacitors with anything other than failure, ah well you know what they say about asumptions. But I also did say 'is my PSU or MB going to crap out on me' which I suppose could also be said to be unclear though I also said am I gambling with £800 somewhere as well.

Sorry if this did not give the impression of component failure in anyway.

I imagine its probably quite difficult to pin point an exact component which can be resonating to cause a sound as I described. Like i said somewhere above i have heard the same sort thing in other devices without incident. Regardless though i believe there was no harm in throwing it out there, plus i learnt a bit about capacitors :) 
June 14, 2007 7:21:42 PM

Resonating or PCB's that "whistle" = micro cracks inside the mantle of transformers. Due to the magnetic fluctuations in that core material, the thing gets magnetised (and magnetised the other way around) at the frequency of the input signal on the primary side of the coil. If there's a little crack, the 2 sides will start bashing onto eachother making a sound. The higher the frequency of the input, the higher the pitch of the sound will be.

It's just a small problem (functionally OK) for sound, nothing more. Of course, when bigger cracks arise (due to temperature stress for example), a bigger volume of air must be crossed (instead of the magnetic friendly conductor being the mantle) and that causes magnetic leakage, degraded transforming-performance all combined with higher power consumation..

A tip: take a long tube, move one end over the board, and listen on the other side. That'll pinpoint you the faulty component.
June 14, 2007 10:02:18 PM

oh don't worry dude its not directed at you :D 
June 14, 2007 11:35:13 PM

I have determined its definitly the PSU, bit hard to get the specific component without opening the PSU, which i will not be atempting :) 

I imagine it will be fine until i get my replacement (more silent) PSU sometime. Thing is there is always something more exciting to buy than a PSU :) 
June 14, 2007 11:48:39 PM

My tv was acting up, so I took apart this box that said high voltage do not open, also it had the radiation warning. Well I took the cover off, interesting thing inside a dark blue beam of electricity something like a bolt of lighting but blue. Well I was prodding around with the screwdriver inside being careful not to touch the metal of the screwdriver but just a little bit of my finger was touching the metal and poof i went flying, back hitting the wall, stunned not really knowing if I was dead or what. Well I wont ever mess with anything when the power is on.
September 4, 2007 10:39:07 AM

If anyone is interested it just blew there 2 days ok :( 

It actually stills makes the noise but it want give power to the computer, i tried it out on my old computer.

Interestingly my dad couldn't hear the noise even though it was quite loud and clear to me, must have been too high a pitch.

i have ordered myself a new OCZ StealthStream which will hopefully be a little better than this one. And i can only hope my PSU hasn't taken the rest of the components with it
September 4, 2007 12:40:16 PM

Did anyone check for a defective motherboard buzzer?

(hahaha! j/king!!)
!