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Diagnosing failure

I had power quality issue in my apartment, tripped the breakers (apparently the misses can't vacuum the living room whilst the air conditioner is on). My computer and peripherals were plugged into a surge protector. After getting the power back I noticed an issue with my hard drives in my raid array (RAID0). Prior to the outage i had approx. 150 GB free. Now they show almost 350 GB free. Having looked through the drives I can't find any missing data it all seems to be there.

Move forward 2 days. My computer wont come back from a "sleep". It wouldn't power on but the misses says she saw a flicker (presumable from one of my blue lights) when I tried it. I pulled the power supply (a Kingwin 750 Lazer) and tried using a newer Corsair unit just to test it. Sparks shot off near the rear motherboard (Gigabyte 990FXA-UD3) panel (close to the USB connections) and flame erupted. After pulling the parts and testing them, my unlocked 6 core processor (960T) now only does 4. instead of overclocking to 4Ghz it BSODS above 3.0, my Sapphire 5770 used to overclock to 960 now it artifacts above 750.

Obviously I have a dead a motherboard, but what about my power supply? Is it still safe to use? What about my other functional, but damaged components? Did the crappy wiring in my apartment cause this, my power supply, or motherboard?

Advice, suggestions, things to consider?
12 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about diagnosing failure
  1. How's your surge protector?

    A power supply tester is a good investment they're only about $20 US, or you can take the PS to any computer supply store and they'll let you know what shape it's in. The tests aren't foolproof, but they will give you a rough idea of how it's doing. But your story doesn't sound promising.
  2. g0rd0 said:
    How's your surge protector?

    A power supply tester is a good investment they're only about $20 US, or you can take the PS to any computer supply store and they'll let you know what shape it's in. The tests aren't foolproof, but they will give you a rough idea of how it's doing. But your story doesn't sound promising.


    The surge protector (RCA Performance series) seems ok, but I don't have any equipment to run diagnostics on it. Power does go through and my stereo, printer, monitor, router and modem seem ok. I've thought about getting a PS tester, but I was under the impression that really couldn't tell you much and even a "good" reading wasn't a guarantee. Are there on available on newegg that you would recommend?
  3. The surge protector likely has a warranty/guarantee to protect equipment that is on it. Contact RCA and see what the process is for getting reimbursed for damage to your PC; they will likely want the PC components tested. If so, then use that as justification to have all the components professionally tested and make that cost a part of your claim.
  4. ...and have your house electrical system checked.
  5. Rugger said:
    ...and have your house electrical system checked.


    Warranty has expired by 3 months and my slumlord apt manager is like honey badger, she don't give a f***.
  6. Best answer
    spasmolytic46 said:
    I've thought about getting a PS tester, but I was under the impression that really couldn't tell you much and even a "good" reading wasn't a guarantee. Are there on available on newegg that you would recommend?


    Yeah, I've run into that problem, but when you're moving power supplies around and you have problems with fire, it's better to plug them into a tester to at least get an idea of how good it is. And if the tester says fail, than you know it's bad. And if you're trading hi-power kingwin's for corsair's at least somewhat regularly. It's a nice thing to have in the bag. A multimeter will give you better readouts, but they're also more intensive. I'd get one with a digital LCD, multiple inputs, and one that's well reviewed.

    As for the rest of the thread, it all sounds pretty bad, but I would lean towards the mobo, or wiring, as neither PS seems to have worked for you.

    Think the only thing I can add is that hi-end surge protectors tend to have a little surge light near the power light, if this light is off, than it's likely not giving you any protection. Good luck,
  7. spasmolytic46 said:
    I've thought about getting a PS tester, but I was under the impression that really couldn't tell you much and even a "good" reading wasn't a guarantee. Are there on available on newegg that you would recommend?

    I use the Rosewill RTK PST: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16899261023&Tpk=rtk%20pst
    Good variety of connectors, good readouts, and durable housing. It's helped me ID some bad PSUs. The only issue with PSU testers is that it doesn't show you how the PSU will act under load, but it's a good tool to get an out of the box good/bad on a PSU.
  8. g0rd0 said:
    Yeah, I've run into that problem, but when you're moving power supplies around and you have problems with fire, it's better to plug them into a tester to at least get an idea of how good it is. And if the tester says fail, than you know it's bad. And if you're trading hi-power kingwin's for corsair's at least somewhat regularly. It's a nice thing to have in the bag. A multimeter will give you better readouts, but they're also more intensive. I'd get one with a digital LCD, multiple inputs, and one that's well reviewed.

    As for the rest of the thread, it all sounds pretty bad, but I would lean towards the mobo, or wiring, as neither PS seems to have worked for you.

    Think the only thing I can add is that hi-end surge protectors tend to have a little surge light near the power light, if this light is off, than it's likely not giving you any protection. Good luck,


    Well I'm guessing I'll pick up one these http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16899887005

    Any other thoughts or suggestions?
  9. Rugger said:
    I use the Rosewill RTK PST: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16899261023&Tpk=rtk%20pst
    Good variety of connectors, good readouts, and durable housing. It's helped me ID some bad PSUs. The only issue with PSU testers is that it doesn't show you how the PSU will act under load, but it's a good tool to get an out of the box good/bad on a PSU.


    I thought about that one, but it won't do an 8 pin pci-e.
  10. Is it an 8-pin or a 6+2? If it's a 6+2 then just use the 6-pins.
  11. spasmolytic46 said:
    Well I'm guessing I'll pick up one these http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16899887005

    Any other thoughts or suggestions?



    Sorry for the delay, apparently a few lightning strikes now warrant a federal emergency, and three days of no light AC or internet. The picture was a little too familiar, so I pulled my travel bag, and that's what's in it. It's not brilliant, I've seen it pass power supplies that supplied too irregular a voltage to be usable, but when it goes beep beep and shows that LL, or rarely HH, I know the supply is fried. Which is what you get with a PS tester, not a guarantee that it's good, just reassurance that it's the fail point.
  12. Best answer selected by spasmolytic46.
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