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Old HP computers; sparks fly out of PSU when plugged in; help?

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June 4, 2012 2:55:22 PM

Hello,
I work for a charitable organization that refurbishes old computers and re-sells them at a low cost. Most of the computers we sell are donated to us from other businesses as they upgrade. Anyway...

We just got a shipment of computers, all of them HP's, and the first two computers which I set up for refurbishing started shooting out sparks from the PSU the moment I plugged in the power cord. Normally, I'd just say it was a bad PSU, but since multiple computers were sending sparks out the PSU, I want to make sure that it's not something else, such as the surge protector I'm using or anything like that.

One thing I would like to mention is that some of the computers did fall about a foot or two during shipment, and the two computers that have been fried are among those that fell. Could that be the issue? I'm afraid to test this by trying a computer that hasn't fallen, because our last shipment was rather small, and so we want to be able to save as many computers for inventory as possible.

The two computers that have fried so far were both HP Compaq d530 SFF's, in case that helps.
a b ) Power supply
June 4, 2012 3:00:20 PM

Check the little red switch at the back of the units, if you live in the us it should be 115v but if in the eu it should be like 230v. If that switch is set correctly then chances are the units are pretty bad on the remaining machines. I have seen other posts elsewhere a year or two ago of similar complaints about HP and maybe Dell for the same problem.
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June 4, 2012 3:03:31 PM

Yeah, the red switch is set correctly... I guess I'll have to test the rest of the computers to see how much of our incoming inventory needs to be junked. Thank you.
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a b ) Power supply
June 4, 2012 3:44:43 PM

I'd plug them in to a different outlet, oh and try not to drop the computers..........that will kill the hardrives too.
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June 4, 2012 3:50:19 PM

I would save those computers until the 4th of July
and use them instead of sparklers
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a b ) Power supply
June 4, 2012 6:37:31 PM

jadebrain said:
Yeah, the red switch is set correctly... I guess I'll have to test the rest of the computers to see how much of our incoming inventory needs to be junked. Thank you.


You don't have to junk them, there is a heap of money in the parts even in the very old machines that people normally throw away. Don't be surprised that some systems are worth more in parts than as a complete working machine. So if there is some loss there is never a total loss.
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June 4, 2012 7:46:10 PM

Since the power supplies are bad you can just put the systems up for sale with a note stating they need new power supplies. If you do go that route I would recommend you test all the other compnents to ensure there isnt another failing part in the system.

Flare
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June 5, 2012 1:12:24 AM

Thankfully, those two computers that sparked were the only two computers so far that have done so. Granted, we've only managed to test about 8 or 9 of the 23 we received, and we ended up replacing the surge protector as a precaution anyway...

As far as what we'd do with the computers, we'll probably end up giving them to the guy who recycles our junk computers. I'm not sure how we'd go about selling the parts, but hey, I'm the junior technician, not the businessman. What I do know, though, is that selling them with notes stating their problems will most definitely NOT happen, as our consumer base mostly consists of people who simply need a machine to connect to the internet and do some typing here and there (as in, not the kind of people who would know what a PSU is, let alone how to replace one).

We didn't actually "drop" the computers in the usual sense of the word; the damage was done when a few of the computers fell over on top of a row of monitors while we were driving them to the shop in a U-Haul truck. In retrospect, we should have at least brought cardboard boxes to put the computers and monitors in so that there would be a lot less of that happening. On a side note, while we haven't tested the monitors, I'm pretty sure that about 80-90% of them won't be able to be sold. Ah well...

Thanks for the replies!
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