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Under Voltage?


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#1 coxchris

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 07:29 PM

Hey Bleeping Computer,

I have been having some weird issues with my computer that was built around a year ago. It just started about yesterday when I was playing for a extended time. normally this wont have been a issue. my video card was making loud humming noise. I thought i having a over heating issue so I started overheating precautions. After that my video card was still humming so I send in a help ticket to EVGA and they say to check the 12V Rail to see if its not under voltage in the bios and they said if you hear any grinding noises RMA the card.I will try to access that information after i post. Right now I will send you my current configurations and operating temperatures for analysis.

Currently: soft humming noises are noticeable.

Speccy Report http://speccy.piriform.com/results/Bf4RzxkPDNB3fgIdHPaQPze

Hwmonitor: Attached File  temperatures.jpg   236.64KB   8 downloads

Thanks

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#2 dc3

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 10:59 PM

Unfortunately Speccy doesn't provide voltage readings.

You can download SIW which will show the voltages under Sensors. But I can't guarantee the accuracy of those readings. If you want to read the rail voltages accurately and have a voltage meter with a DC scale you can use the procedure below. Toward the end of this article it is suggested that you use a program called Prime95 in order to put a load on the PSU in order to obtain accurate readings, for the first reading please read the 12V rail voltage without running this program. Record that voltage and then download the program and reread the 12V rail voltage.

Feel free to post any questions you may have regarding this procedure.

Edit: Corrected BBCode content.

Reading PSU Rail Voltages

Caution: Please read this before continuing.


• Since it will be necessary for your computer to be on during this procedure, you need to be aware that you will be working with live 12Volt DC potentials, which if handled improperly may lead to electrical shock.

• There are electronics inside the case that are very susceptible to electrostatic discharges. To protect your computer, touch the metal of the case to discharge yourself of any electrostatic charges before touching any of the components inside.

• If you are not comfortable doing this procedure, then I would suggest that you not use this tutorial. The risks involved are minimal, but are there nevertheless. Anyone who uses this tutorial will be doing so at their own risk.


There are two devices commonly used to read the rail voltages: a PSU tester, and a multimeter.

The PSU tester is the easiest to use since all that is necessary is to plug the different connectors into the tester and read the results on the LCD display. The problem with most of these is that they only perform a pass/fail test. They will not provide you with actual voltage readings.

There are a variety of multiple meters, but this tutorial will address Analog and Digital multimeters. The advantage of these meters is that you will be able to obtain accurate real time voltage readings.

For those of you who wish to know more about multimeters there is an excellent article in Wikipedia.


Analog Multimeter

Posted Image


An Analog multimeter is a little more complicated to use. Both Analog and Digital multimeters need to be set to the appropriate voltage, but with an Analog multimeter, you will need to choose the voltage range and must read the proper scale.

The Analog multimeter uses a needle display which moves from 0 across the scale until it reaches the voltage being tested. This multimeter has five major linear divisions with multiple scales to read a variety of ranges. An example would be three different ranges. The first is graduated in increments of 0 through 5, the second, 0 through 10, and the third, 0 through 25. Each of these ranges are subdivided into divisions that are graduated into tenths. In order to read 12 volts the 0 through 25 range would be the appropriate one.

Because DC voltage has positive and negative potentials this device is polar sensitive, this means that if you reverse the two probes when reading a positive DC voltage it will read as a negative voltage. This is actually necessary to read negative DC voltages. The two probes are differentiated by their color, Black (negative), and Red (positive). To read a positive DC voltage, the correct probes must be used with their corresponding potentials (positive to positive and negative to negative).

With the probes being used normally to read a negative DC voltage, the needle moves from the 0 to the left, "pegging" the needle. By reversing the probes you can properly read the negative voltages.

Digital Multimeter

Posted Image


The Digital multimeter (DMM) is much simpler to use. As was mentioned previously, you will need to set the appropriate voltage. One of the advantages is that the DMM has an LCD display with a numeric readout, so there are not any multiple scales to read. Another advantage is that most DMMs are autoranging when reading voltages, which means that you will not need to set the range with these DMMs. A DMM will read both positive and negative DC voltages and display them correctly. When reading a negative voltage, a minus sign will appear on the display before the numeric value. This still is a polar sensitive device, so you will still need to use the positive and negative probes with their corresponding potentials.

There are five different DC rail voltages which are color coded. The Black wires are always negative.

Yellow +12VDC

Blue -12VDC

Red +5VDC

White -5VDC

Orange +3.3VDC


There are only three voltages that can be measured easily without disconnecting the 20/24 pin connector from the motherboard: +12V, +5V, and +3.3V.

The +12V and +5V voltages can be read from a four pin Molex power connector.

Four pin Molex power connector

Posted Image


The same voltages can be taken from a four pin SATA power connector, but in order to read the +3.3V you will need to read this from a five pin SATA power connector as seen below.

Five pin SATA power connector.

Posted Image

To read these voltages you will need to insert the Black (-) probe into any of the black sockets, and insert the Red (+) probe in the different colored voltage sockets. To read the voltages from a SATA power connector it is easiest to insert the probes into the back of the connector where the wires enter. Unfortunately the sockets of the modular SATA power connectors are not accessible from the back, so the readings will need to be made from the socket side. Some probes are going to be too large to fit in these sockets, so you may need to insert a piece of wire into the socket of which you want to read the voltage of and place the probe on this for your reading. To reduce the potential of creating a short I would suggest taking the ground potential from another connector so that the two wires will remain physically separated.

Caution: It is very important to make sure that you don't allow the two probes to touch each other when taking the voltage readings. This will cause a short which could damage the PSU or other components.

To get accurate readings of the rail voltages it is important that there be a load on the PSU. In order to do this I would suggest downloading Prime95 for this purpose. This program was designed to be used by overclockers to put a full load on the RAM and CPU to determine the stability of their overclocking. Because of this it will put stress on the CPU and RAM which will create higher than normal temperatures. For this reason I would suggest not running this program any longer than is necessary. I would also suggest that an inspection be made of the interior of the case to make sure that there isn’t an accumulation of dust which would impede adequate cooling. Pay special attention to the heat sink and fan assembly on the CPU. If there is a dedicated graphics card with a fan installed on it, look at this fan as well.


Readings should not have variances larger than +/- five percent.

Maximum.........Minimum
12.6V.................11.4V
5.25V.................4.75V
3.47V.................3.14V

Edited by dc3, 09 May 2011 - 12:01 AM.

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#3 coxchris

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 09:18 PM

dc3,

I didn't use the SIW program for my voltage readings but i do have that program, however I did use the program but the voltages didn't pop up. I use Hwmonitor to see the voltage readings. I am going to troubleshoot it tonight and tomorrow and swap it out with a new unit. Here is my transcipts with my help tickets with EVGA.
Continue Support Ticket

Question Date: 05/07/2011

Q: Hi, Today I started to hear a noise from my computer after normal use and I did notice that something was up with my computer so I open it up and didn't found anything physically wrong with my current setting. So I rebooted and when my computer booted up. There was a humming noise coming from my Video card. o I thought the card was overheating and I went through Overheating procedures and found nothing. All Temperatures are ok and fine but the humming is loud. Its like the bearing of the inter fan was hitting the inside housing of the card. This was a bare bones built about a year ago. I had nothing wrong untill this. Could you please help me out here or do i have to buy a new card after one year of use and game playing. Thanks

Answer Date: 05/07/2011

A: Please boot into your BIOS settings and check the output voltage of the 12v rail of your power supply. Sometimes a low-voltage situation can cause an induction coil on the card to vibrate and produce some noise. However, if it is the fan hitting the heatsink, or any other type of grinding noise is coming from the fan, I would recommend an RMA on the card. Thank You, EVGA Tech Support

Tech: Ian Johnson

Question Date: 05/09/2011

Q: I have check the bios to see if there was any Power Supply Rail +12R V DC reading however it seems there is no voltage readings that i could see in the bios. However HWmonitor is reading on the +12 V DC Rail = 4.99VDC and the Power Supply tag reads +12VDC is 25A on that rail. I wanting to bet this is a Power supply issue. Is that card only on the +12V DC rail. Could you please let me know the Wattage Specs on that card that I brought for this built. Hopefully I can get real time voltage reading probably tonight when you reply Thanks

Answer Date: 05/09/2011

A: Chris, The card will pull a maximum of 350 watts and 18a over the +12v rail, would it be possible for you to test another PSU to see if the issue persists? Regards, EVGA

Tech: Brandon Grijalva

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#4 dc3

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 09:46 PM

If you have a multimeter I would suggest testing the 12V rail under a load (Prime95). That will tell you very quickly if this is your problem.

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#5 coxchris

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 10:17 PM

dc3,

Thank you for your help with the issue i was having. I did check the rails they seem to be ok. Hwmonitor is wrong about the voltages in the program, well I have it in zip format. that what i was using to read the rails. I went out and brought a 650Watt (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139020) After I install it, I had to troubleshoot it for at least a hour. you don't want to know what it was doing and I had to fix the Front panel pins today.

The video card is making no noticeable humming noises only the Mega 120mm Power supply fan but I am happy with the purchase i make. You might say I had to do alot of cable management and I brought it for future updates.

Thanks again dc3. I have to be in this forum more often because I need to know more about hardware.

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#6 dc3

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 10:40 PM

Glad to hear it is working for you.:thumbup2:

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