Power Problems?

On power supplies.. I can certainly attest to the need for better power supplies. I've had so many go bad in the last few years. Yet when trying to get the owners at work to upgrade or buy new systems it seems I end up with the cheap stuff. In the 4 years I've been with my current employer I've had a plethora of problems with systems at their site. I've built all the systems myself, and I stick to known brands on my components (with the exception of the Power Supplies despite knowing better). A lot of these problems have been difficult if not impossible to diagnose because it's exceedingly difficult to reproduce the blue screens and floating point errors (and I have not stopped short of rebuilding from stratch another system, reloading the OS, and transfering the Users data over). My attention was directed towards power when it was suggested by a phone system tech to have our power tested for noise. He had just recently installed a new PC based phone system for us, and had been back almost everyday for two weeks. We had a port on one of the station cards that would simply go to sleep after a few hours of use (for lack of a better term). After grounding the system, replacing cable, and replacing the card it self 6 times the problem finally went away. After this incident I realized that in the course of the last view years I've had a number of video cards mysteriously stop working. Most of them were replaced and discarded, but most recently one of these cards worked just fine several days later when I tested it in another machine.

It seemed like a possibility that we did have bad power. We are in an industrial park, there is big machinery at our site, and despite having isolated ground plugs for every system in the office I suspect that the electricians who installed them simply daisy chained the ground wires together back to the panel. So I had a Technician from a company by the name of PowerVar come out to test our power (was referred to them by the Phone system Tech.). I'm by no means an electrician but according to him we had 9 Volts of noise on ground, and that we should invest in some power conditioners. But I'm still skeptical. PowerVar sells power conditioners it's in their interest to "find" problems.

My question is if this is something to be legitimately concerned about? I'd love for this to be a cure all to many of the problems I've had, but I'm not going to have my company dish out cash unless I know for sure.

Thanks in advance
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  1. I haven't had more than 1 power supply go bad on me. I orginally bought a mini tower case with a LCT technology 250 W power supply back in 1996. I orignally installed an i430 TX intel board with a pentium 133, 16 MB of EDO (I think) SIMM RAM (from my old 486 that I had), an ATI All-in-Wonder card (Rage II chip), an ISA Soundblater 16, an 8X sony cd-rom and an ISA 33.6 kbps modem.

    I had no problems with it for quite some time. Of course, over the years I upgraded the system to what its finally now:

    Pentium 233 MMX, ATI All-in-Wonder PRO, a promise Ultra 33 card (allowing me to install 3 HDD, 7GB, 4GB, and 3GB), a Soundblaster PCI 128, a mistumi cdr (6x/2x).

    I eventually started having problems with boot up (one of my hard drives would refuse to spin up) and other times, one of my hard drives would randomly shut off causing my computer to hang. My cdr would have problems reading cd's.

    Being ignorant as I was, I never really thought about the power supply. Unfortunately, I let the problem progress to the point that 2 of my 3 hard drives developed bad sectors and my original cd rom was rendered useless (it won't even spin up discs).

    I did eventually purchase a an Antec 300W power supply and most of the problems that I had disappeared.

    Unfortunately, the damage has been done :(
  2. On Granma's computer we had a problem with the UPS not willing to give Juice and beeping like hell.
    Contacting the UPS maker we were told to look for low curent problems and of cource they were found.
    two of the tree fases that go into the house were under curent. We had to run a line thru half the house and get the computer room a power point that the UPS will except.

    Next is my 400W PSU or may I say POS that exploded. After opening it we saw that the capasitors inside were rated at 200V when we are at 220/230.
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