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Read this before purchasing a modular PSU!

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September 1, 2008 6:03:34 PM

Just my experience herewith, my Thermaltake W0057 500W unit refused to start up a few weeks ago. This after me suspecting a weird problem long before this happened.

It turned out that the main 24 pin motherboard connector on the ciruit board in the PSU was riddled with dry joints (cracked solder joints)!

Just over half the joints had cracked (one half and some). I soldered them up again noticing that there was not enough solder in the joints to support the pins.

Just a shame I had already bought another modular PSU :sweat: 

I wonder how long this one will last... They were probably both made at CWT.

Happy thoughts people :whistle: 
September 1, 2008 6:11:46 PM

Oops, I forgot to mention that the PSU is in action again although I did notice a few smaller caps were bulging at the tops, I assume this has been caused by the arcing of the connectors while the solder joints were cracked and thus caused a bit of premature aging for all components inside the PSU.

What about the bad power that my PC components were receiving over a long period in time (spikes)? I suppose I am to expect failure at some stage soon? Luck will prevail.

The PSU was nearly two years old only disconnected/connected a few times from the system. Not heavy use.
a b ) Power supply
September 1, 2008 6:23:49 PM

Some modulars are of a higher quality then others.
Related resources
September 1, 2008 6:45:27 PM

All modular PSU no matter who makes them or how much they cost are -still- modular and will always have the same issues/problems/faults.

The best PSU maker (PC Power & Cooling) never uses modular connection becuase they are a point of trouble/failure.
a c 124 ) Power supply
a c 148 V Motherboard
September 1, 2008 7:17:39 PM

A modular PSU has more ways that it may be [accidentally] abused, but that doesn't mean it will be. We use an essentially modular connector for anything we plug into the wall, and I've only rarely had to replace one.
a c 243 ) Power supply
a b V Motherboard
September 1, 2008 7:52:50 PM

Any connector on a power supply can fail, wether on a modular cable or not.
I can't count how many burnt ATX 12 volt connectors I've seen.
Do us all a favor and try not to spread the FUD.
September 1, 2008 10:48:17 PM

Ive had 3 modulars over the past 3-4 years, different wattages and different brands all worked fine with no problems, ever. As a matter of fact ive had a 500W Antec Smartpower 2.0 that I used roughly 2 years ago that has been sitting in storage basically since then, hooked it up the other day to test out some parts for a friend and it works perfectly.
September 1, 2008 11:29:02 PM

I had a 500w Smartpower2.0 till it blew up in a lightening storm. But it was fine until then had it for ~2years
September 2, 2008 7:44:46 AM

dirtmountain said:
Some modulars are of a higher quality then others.


I agree^ not all modular PSU's are of the same build quality and design.

I would rather not take a chance with a modular design, more to go wrong, higher risk...

It does seem that one 12V rail as opposed to multiple rails offer more stability anyway?
September 2, 2008 12:15:49 PM

delluser1 said:
Any connector on a power supply can fail, wether on a modular cable or not.
I can't count how many burnt ATX 12 volt connectors I've seen.
Do us all a favor and try not to spread the FUD.


I forgot, this forum is pro- "lets make all the manufaturers richer", not oops there might be a problem....

I posted this topic to allow all users to see that not all Modular PSU's are good. Started writing with "my experience".

FUD off.
December 21, 2008 11:09:47 PM

I for one would like to see more on this topic. I'm in the planning phases of my first build and I think a modular psu might be just the thing to get me over the fear from "omg look at all those wires!" Once it is together and working properly I intend to close the case and just look in loving thru the side panel at my work for the next few years, while I hack and slash my way through Hyboria. So I wont be yanking on the connectors if I don't have to and I can cover up the open spots with some electrical tape.

I originally chose this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

But now I'm leaning towards this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Will I be sacrificing quality for convenience and asthetics? Or might this be the better way for a 1st time builder to go?

One more thing......what's a FUD?

December 21, 2008 11:50:00 PM

Cindy67 said:
One more thing......what's a FUD?

Fear, Uncertainty, & Doubt


I have a Thermaltake 750w PSU that's modular, couple of years old now and no problems.
December 22, 2008 12:59:11 AM

I have plenty of FUD to go around! LOL Just when I think I've got this all figured out I read another review and I have to start all over. I cant count how many times I've changed my mind on the case alone!
December 22, 2008 12:59:40 AM

What you pay for is what you get ! Show me a HIGH QUALITY PSU with this kind of fault and I will eat it :)  ThermalTake as all the other brands have cheap products and expensive products.
December 22, 2008 1:32:11 AM

That PCP&C is cheap with the current rebate...

Corsair HX series modular are some of the best out there, i currently own the 620w model
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139002

Check Jonnyguru.com for more reviews (He actually does proper testing and helpful reviews when compared to other sites)
December 22, 2008 1:41:11 AM

+1 for Jonnyguru ^^
December 22, 2008 1:54:44 AM

well all modular PSU's shouldn't (theoretically) provide as stable voltages as a non modular psu cos theres more resistance there...

i think what the OP was talking about was the connection between the modular plug and the modular socket in the PSU correct? well that's not really a problem for all PSU's.. i mean thats the same sort of socket and plug as you would find on a graphics card or motherboard, and they don't stuff up like that..

really depends on the modular psu.

+1 for PC P&C, Corsairs, Antecs, SeaSonics and Xigmateks. yes, xigmateks. :D 
a b ) Power supply
a b V Motherboard
December 22, 2008 11:12:54 AM

@mythor20

Thanks for sharing your incident, thats one point I hadn't even considered when I had made my last decision not to go the modular route.

My earlier concerns were typical corrosion buildup on the connections that usually occur with DC voltage, that can easily be eliminated by using an OX inhibitor like OXGUARD.

However if a company like PCP&C chooses not to go the modular route, they have good reasons behind their decisions to do so,

Modulars are quite convenient for those lacking skills to hide the unused branch lines of the P/S, when just a little ingenuity can resolve most every case situation, but the more connections you have the more possible failure points and thats just a fact of life.

Excellent discovery on your part, most less electrically inclined would have been dead in the water!

You had the skills to resolve the issue!
December 22, 2008 11:43:00 AM

I've used modular and non-modular power supplies in pretty equal measure. I had a non-modular power supply have a similar problem (just because it does not pop off does not mean it does not have a connector). The difference between a modular and non-modular power supply is that you can replace a bad connector with a modular power supply...
a b ) Power supply
a b V Motherboard
December 22, 2008 2:04:00 PM

Sounds like that PSU was assembled on a Monday by a hung over Worker and QAed on a Friday by a employee thinking about the week-end with His GF on a beach.

I have a modular PS, about a year and half old and no problems. Although the link DellUser1 provided states that the contact resistance is overblown - it still is an added resistance. This resistance will only increase over time. Will it create a problem - probably not. Gold plated contacts reduce (not prevent) a slight corrosion build up over time. Simply unpluging the connector and plugging it back in reduces this effect (ie on a yearly basis). On the negative - gold is a 3rd rate conductor. I would take issue with the test report that the contact resistance is less than two feet of wire - That would depend on the wire gauge and should be conducted after a Years use - in any case, It is still an ADDED resistance over a identical non-modular design.

Note: I would still use a modular PSU of GOOD quality.
December 22, 2008 2:50:47 PM

Well folks, my PSU worked after "i sorted it out" but alas it did not last (left it in the box now wont come alive).

I will desolder the entire conector and solder it back on and see.

I think we need to ensure the quality of the product prior to purchasing it but as someone said it's luck of the draw as well (Monday build)?

If the design is good and the soldering up to standard then I do not see a reason for us to live with spider web cables.

Me personally, I will not buy another modular unless the Antec signature is modular:-(
a b ) Power supply
a b V Motherboard
December 22, 2008 6:00:47 PM

well I fail to understand how the poor solder joints OP found have anything to do with the psu being modular???

all the modular psus I've seen have had the essential cables (24pin, 4/8pin) permanently attached like ordinary psu would have, (ie soldered to the main pcb inside the unit). If those joints are poorly soldered by some 1D10t, it has nothing to with the rest of the unit or how the rest of the cables are 'routed'.
December 22, 2008 7:54:21 PM

I simply dont agree with this post. Have you ever dismantled a Corsair HX1000 ? It's modular PSU but it's high quality. You will be suprised by the quality of the components and soldering. I can almost guarantee this PSU wont develop this kind of fault ever. Have dismantled SilverStone 1000 Strider, 100% modular and again nice quality build. The debate modular / non modular is purely a matter of WHAT YOU NEED and WHAT YOU PREPARED TO SPEND. Modulars have a big advantage of distributing the power where you need and building neat setups without cables hanging everywhere. Modulars having higher resistance is a myth because we not talking about extremely low voltages and long wires plus most of the high quality PSU uses gold plated pins. Of course if you spent 50 bucks for a modular PSU what would you expect to get? - A quality built , gold plated pins with all solid capacitors?...NO WAY ! You ACCEPTED to spend 50 bucks to SAVE so you MIGHT get a decent PSU or not....it's a toss of coin. Do you get angry if you discover all the joints are crap quality and the pins are just plain lead plated - you shouldn't! remember this is what you have paid for! I would get angry if I would of discover the same fault in a 250 bucks PSU, but honestly I would EAT that PSU if you can show me one :)  And one more thing : there are two different types of modular PSU 1) TRUE MODULAR with TRUE SEPARATE RAILS and 2) SPLIT RAIL MODULAR PSU - again is depending on what are you prepared to pay for, dont expect a true separate rail PSU to cost as much as a split rail ! The debate can go deeper into the quality of the high voltage capacitors, the quality of all the other capacitors, coils, filters, switching transformers, voltage regulators, cooling, etc etc etc. IN ORDER TO GIVE GOOD ADVICES AND DEBATE PSU BUILT YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND ELECTRONICS AND TO RUN LOTS OF TESTS. IF YOU DONT, SIMPLY STAY AWAY FROM GIVING PROFESSIONAL ADVICES, KEEP IT JUST AS A PERSONAL PREFERENCE :) 
a b ) Power supply
a b V Motherboard
December 23, 2008 4:05:11 AM

to Kenzzo
Quote
IN ORDER TO GIVE GOOD ADVICES AND DEBATE PSU BUILT YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND ELECTRONICS AND TO RUN LOTS OF TESTS. IF YOU DONT, SIMPLY STAY AWAY FROM GIVING PROFESSIONAL ADVICES, KEEP IT JUST AS A PERSONAL PREFERENCE
Unquote.

If this was aimed at me then please engage brain and remove foot from mouth before speaking.

I probably have equal or better qualifications than some, if not most, of the reviewer you place so much stock in.

(1) Taught electronics for some 10 years, including 3 different radar systems. This included the complete circuit analysis of series regulated, shunt regulated, High voltage, and switching PS.

(2) Head of the electronics dept of a community college for three years.

(3) 18 years at NASA. Lead Technician for Satellite instrument, Lead technician for the research 737 data collection system, Lead technician for the Navy F16 drop model project, and finally as the test engineer for a satellite instrument.
a b V Motherboard
December 23, 2008 5:29:18 AM


Lets do the math.

Non-modular = 2 connections (1 one on the PSU- 1 to the next component)

Modular = 4 conections (1 on the PSU board -1 on the backside of the plug-in @ 1 connection to the outside of the PSU - 1 on connection to the component)
Thats not taking into consideration that most wire connections are 4 wire connections (so in reality you end up with 8 extra connects for each plug-in)

Lets make this simple : More $h!+ = More $h!+ to go wrong

NO MATTER WHAT THE QUALITY OF THE BUILD

thousands of these are built every year (ie... there is always going to be a few that don't work properly
December 23, 2008 5:36:25 AM

I have no idea where you got the idea of me addressing the advice to you. In regards with your comment for " adding resistance " I found it pertinent BUT you have to agree with me especially that you are a specialist this will only apply to circuits where you have very low voltages and multiple plugs with long wires OR poor connectors like the lead plated cheap plugs. In our case - 12V high power, short wires and gold plated contacts the resistance or the loss because of that is close to zero.
My comment was especially for the people which are non technical and engage technical debates plus giving adviuces whitout even knowing what they talking about. It's not enough to read some reviews or browse some forums in order to give pure technical explanations. I hope you agree with me on this one Chief...and sorry if my post was offensive for you...was definitely not pointing your direction :)  And yes you are right, in every single post I write I am engaging my brains unless I am joking, I hate giving advices to people just to count up the numbers of posts on TH.
In regards with your qalifications ... HAT DOWN , I am only an electronics engineer, computer hardware specialist :) ...AND english is not even my first language :)  Cheers
a b ) Power supply
a b V Motherboard
December 23, 2008 3:13:09 PM

Kenzz) - Your english is excellent, better than mine.
Although I'm technically not an engineer, only have 120 SH in Electronics (About 90 Hours are required for EE), About 160 SH counting garbage courses. I'm also paid as engineer at NASA.

Minor correction - It's not the voltage that is the problem, it's current, I squared R. Weather the voltage is 1 Volt, 5Volts, or 12 Volts at the source the Loss at 10 amps with a resistance of 0.01 is still 0.1 Volt. Atfer about a year the contact resistance will increase, increasing the IR drop and on "poor" PSUs this could drop the +12V under heavy load below stable operation. Most PSUs are new when evaluated.

For me PS voltages below 15 voltages are low voltage PSs. Electric companys jack the supply up to several KVs - rease is to decrease current and the I squared losses.
December 23, 2008 6:21:27 PM

I know what you saying but 0.1V at 12V is within acceptable tolerance, that's why I said this is to worry when you work with low voltage signals like 1V and under. The entire explanation of the dry joints / resistance / connectors is actually a combination of physics and chemistry.
FOR CHEAP CONNECTORS - LEAD PLATED - let's say the connector is not a very good quality and again let's assume the resistance of the contact is 0.01. As it's a resistor in a high current circuit it will disipate power and there is only one way to disipate this power - heat ! Now back to chemistry, lead is well known for oxidising very easy, think of the contact as a small round resistor lead made and the pin made of steel or whatever material, because of the high current crossing the resistor and the heat generated atoms will start to migrate leaving the immediate surface of the steel into the lead. In time this will create a gap between these two materials completely isolating them - DRY JOINT. The whole process will accelerate in time because the Pb Oxide is actually increasing the resistance , the result being more power loss - more heat !
FOR GOOD QUALITY CONNECTORS - GOLD PLATED
The theory is the same, the only difference is the resistance being A LOT smaller and the gold having very good antioxidant properties, making the whole process VERY SLOW - for normal PSU users like us, this being the last thing you have to worry about as we talking about YEARS of use, more than actually manufacturers MTBF warranty for the product.
THAT'S THE REASON I KEEP SAYING - YOU WILL GET WHAT YOU HAVE PAID FOR! If you go cheap, be prepared to experience all the disadvantages of buying cheap. You might be lucky and get a cheap , fault free product :)  If you go expensive the chance of getting a crap product is reduced but will NEVER reduce to zero :) 
ADVICE: read reviews, read product specifications, read warranty policy, read forums, feedbacks BEFORE buying and than make the best choice for you. What to look for ? - simple, quality of components ( capacitors, switching transformers, coils, voltage regulators, filters, cooling, connectors etc etc )
GOOD LUCK !
December 24, 2008 5:25:48 AM

By the way my 500w PSu was not cheap although the fan controller and extra fan raises the value of the package but not of the PSU.

The PSU was not cheap! So you cannot base the quality alone on the price of the PSU.
a b ) Power supply
a b V Motherboard
December 24, 2008 7:54:01 PM

mythor20 - Was not infering your PSU was "cheap" sorry you took it that way. My comments were more inline with modular PSUs in general.

kenss0 - Who uses lead plating for contacts. Also very versed in chemistry - As you should know, most metal oxides are clased as a insulator, at best semiconductor. The drop of 0.1 V @ 12V is of NO importance; However, if the supply is putting out 11.5 underload - then a 0.1 V is of more significant.

PS you can have last comment.
a b ) Power supply
a b V Motherboard
December 28, 2008 2:36:16 PM

dirtmountain said:
Some modulars are of a higher quality then others.

+1. For example Corsair 520HX is a MUCH bettter quality PSU than the Thermaltake. There are also others like ABS Tagan BZ1300 that are good quality modular PSUs.
ZOldDude said:
All modular PSU no matter who makes them or how much they cost are -still- modular and will always have the same issues/problems/faults.

The best PSU maker (PC Power & Cooling) never uses modular connection becuase they are a point of trouble/failure.

True, but there are a few exceptions (ie 520HX).

edit: Any one seen Zorg? He usually responds with lengthy posts to some thing like this. :lol: 
!