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Psu overload

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August 4, 2010 4:19:55 AM

Hello,
I just put in a new pci wireless card for my 300 watt store bought computer. There is one dedicated gpu in a pcie and three internal drives and one optical drive. When i powered it up on launched windows i smelled a burning smell. I installed the card and booted into linux. Tye burning smell got worse and suddenly everything froze. 20 secs later the screen went black. When i moved the mouse the monitor said unknown frequency. The my entire comp shut down. I took out the wireless card and plugged eveything back in. The little light that said power was distributed to the system was not on and i couldnt turn my machine on. Did i overload the psu? Was my gpu or wireless card or drives harmed by this crash n burn?

More about : psu overload

a c 275 ) Power supply
August 4, 2010 4:30:14 AM

You smelled burning and no little alarms went off in your head? Did you think burning smells were common with new wireless cards?

What you need to do, is crack open the case, and go through and smell everything and find out where the burning smell came from. You are going to need to replace that PSU, but you also need to make sure that the burning smell didnt originate from another source too. I recommend replacing it with an Antec EA380D or a Corsair 400CX, both are good quality and not very expensive.

Once you get a good power supply in there you can put it through its paces to see if anything else was harmed when it went down. There is a chance that nothing was harmed, there is a chance that absolutely everything is toast and the drives are totally toasted, but more likely its somewhere in between with one or two things that got cooked.

What are the full specs of your PC, i wouldnt have expected a wireless card to push it over the edge but if your GPU was already putting it close to its limit then its possible.

Next time you smell burning, STOP! There is never a good burning smell, and for all you knew it was the wiring in your building getting ready to burn the place down!
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August 4, 2010 4:40:59 AM

The burning smell came feom somewhere inbetween the card, gpu, and power supply. The wireless and gpu were both incredibly hot. I have the hp a6700y and a 9400 gt and two 500 g hds and one tb hdd all spinning at 7200. The gpu requires a minimum 300 watt psu, which is exactly what i have. I am going to my local micra centar to buy a new psu. Im going for 500 watt. Is there anything i should know?
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a c 275 ) Power supply
August 4, 2010 4:50:49 AM

wattage doesnt mean a damn thing when it comes to PSUs, there is a large variation in quality.

Things to look for when you are going to get your new PSU, if you see it has a little red voltage switch on it, put it back and keep looking. You want to find one with 80+ certification, tells you its reasonably efficient(not going to be dumping heat into your case) and has been tested at full load and it survived. The box should have a power distribution table on it, look at the 12V rails, if it has multiples it should tell you the max combined power somewhere, if it doesnt skip that one and move on, rarely can you add the current on each rail. A good 500-550W PSU should have ~40A between its 12V rails, beware of the little crappy ones that claim to be 500W but only have 20A between its 12V rails like the little dynapower below
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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August 4, 2010 4:55:27 AM

Ok. Are there any brands that stand out among others?
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a c 275 ) Power supply
August 4, 2010 4:59:31 AM

Corsair, Seasonic, and Antec(but not the older Basiq line) make high quality units, OCZ, PC Power & Cooling, and coolermaster also make good ones. These brands seem to be more expensive than stuff like Raidmax and Diablotek, but there is a reason, its the quality of parts they use and the power their PSUs can provide. Most of the above brands units can provide more than they say on the label, while the cheap stuff like raidmax and diablotek are prone to exploding if forced to work near their rated capacity.
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August 4, 2010 5:04:37 AM

Im thinking about the antec you recomended above. It will be able to handle everything easily? Also, the wireless card and gpu both have clean pins and no visible browing or yellowing. Is this a sign that they still work?
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a c 275 ) Power supply
August 4, 2010 5:11:25 AM

Yeah, the ea380D would be able to handle everything fine, your 9400GT doesnt use much, and nothing else in the system does either.

No visible damage is a good start, but there is still a chance the internals of an IC got burned out and you wouldnt be able to see that. The only way to be sure there is no damage else where is to get it powered up again and see if its acting funky.
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August 4, 2010 6:57:57 PM

I just installed the ea380d and put everything back in and tried to turn it on. Nothing happened. It didnt turn on or even flash a light or make a noise. What am i to assume is wrong now?
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August 4, 2010 7:01:10 PM

Wait, i just tried turning it on with the side panel open and i saw the fan over the cpu move one notch. None of the other fans moved, not even the one on the psu.
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August 4, 2010 7:02:05 PM

Well if the PSU is correctly wired up, you've got a buggered system.

Most likely a fried motherboard if nothing is happening at all.
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a c 275 ) Power supply
August 4, 2010 7:02:45 PM

Any lights on the motherboard? There is normally a standby light on the motherboard, if yours has one and its not on then your board might be dead.
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August 4, 2010 7:17:06 PM

No lights. I wish the psu had o e but it doesnt. Only light is on the optical drive and power button.
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