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PSU tester question


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#1 RB_Kandy

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 12:56 PM

If your PSU is 100% dead, and you plug it into a PSU tester, is that tester supposed to beep or light up or do something?

My friend is building her first computer. At first her computer wouldn't come on, but the green light on the Sabertooth motherboard was lit. She tried pressing the Memok button, it did nothing.

She took everything off the motherboard, removed it from the case (in case the mobo was getting shorted by the case) and just used the power button from the case, CPU, one stick of RAM, and the PSU. But now she can't even get the green light to light up.

When even that green LED refused to light, I assumed it might be the PSU. It's made by Seasonic, which is a very good company. But even so, PSU's still fail.

She bought a PSU tester, followed the instructions http://www.antec.com/pdf/manuals/DigitalPSUTester_Instruction_EN.pdf
But nothing shows up on the LCD screen, no beeps, and no lights flash or anything.

What she, and I, are wondering is: if the PSU tester doesn't respond in any way, does that mean the PSU's dead?
The instructions claim it will show you voltage levels and beep if it's too high or too low. It says nothing about what it does if the PSU is completely dead.
Neither one of us has ever used a PSU tester. She's starting to run low on time to send items back. And the store will penalize her if she sends something back, claiming it is broken, when it is actually not.

So we really need help.

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#2 Hadnjury

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 11:30 PM

Hello,

Well I would say that is a good indication that it is dead, however make sure the power source is good. Try another plug or make sure surge protector is not tripped. Hope this is a help.
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#3 dc3

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 11:14 AM

In the beginning of your post you wrote that the LED on the motherboard was on, this indicates that the PSU was on. To start the PSU you press the power button which shorts the two pins of the header it is connected to, this initiates the PSU, so with the LED having been on we can assume that it was at least starting. Does the fan inside the PSU run when you push the power button?

I would suggest going back and make sure that all of your PSU connections good, especially on the motherboard.

In order to answer the question about the tester you will need to provide the make and model of it.

It would also help if you were to post the make and model of the components you have installed.

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#4 RB_Kandy

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 06:32 PM

Motherboard: ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77 LGA 1155 Intel

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770 Ivy Bridge LGA 1155

The PSU: It's a X-760 watt Seasonic modular.
The exact link she gave me is http://www.dustinhome.no/product/5010588040/seasonic-x-760-760w-modular/#intcmp=searchProvider_dacsa
The site is in norwegian. I am pretty sure this model on newegg is the exact same PSU http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151103

The PSU tester is: ANTEC DIGITAL PSU POWER TESTER
The link she gave me is norwegian http://www.dustinhome.no/product/5010599455/antec-digital-psu-power-tester/

She told me that the PSU tester does not use a battery, and it does not plug into the wall, it just plugs into the PSU.
The moment she said that I realized that if the PSU was 100% dead, it could not power up the PSU tester to display or do anything.

I had also suspected she did not switch the 120v/240v switch, but apparently this type of active PFC does not come with one.

I already told her to try a different wall outlet for the PSU. Unplug the power cable, plug it back in tight. And to do so with the modular cables since they unplug as well. She claims she did this. And yes, she did flip the PSU "on" button, and gave me the dirtiest look for even asking that question to her.

When the problem first began, I thought it was a dead mobo. After all, there have been a lot of DOA claims on newegg about this motherboard.

When she tried turning it on the CPU fan did not come on. But she did get a green LED which indicates that the mobo was getting power. She tried pressing the mem_ok button, which (according to my understanding) should have had lights flash. She got no flashing lights, she got no beeps. Again, the only sign of life she got was the green LED.
I suggested she take the mobo out of the case, remove everything from the mobo except the CPU and one stick of RAM. She did this and could not even get the green LED to come on.

I still insisted this was most likely the mobo. But she bought a PSU tester, and the tester didn't even show a display.

Also, I had told her about using a flat head screwdriver to short out the pins to start the computer to determine that it wasn't the power button from the case that was on upside down or defective. But she refused to do that.

But it doesn't matter anyhow, the power indicator (green LED) won't even light up now.
The thing I find so weird about this is she was getting the green LED to come on, on the motherboard. So by that we know the PSU was delivering something, at least once upon a time. Now, nothing!

#5 killerx525

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 07:28 PM

Have you tried the PSU in another system?

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#6 dc3

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 08:10 AM

At this point it is important to find out if the PSU is working properly.

If you have, can borrow, or purchse, (anywhere from $11. up), you can use the method below to test it. There is a section which explains that in order to get the most accurate readings you will need to put a load on the PSU. The article suggests downloading a program and running it to accomplish this, obviously you can't do that with the computer in its current condition. But you will be able to test the PSU voltage rails for proper voltage.

Edit: The digital multimeter which I had seen previously is no longer available, but Sears has one for $13.49, you can see it here.


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 bac k 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.


Value..........Min...........Max.

+3.3V.........+3.26V.......+3.33V

+5V............+4.92V.......+5.00V

+12V..........+11.97V.....+12.16V

Edited by dc3, 23 November 2012 - 08:17 AM.

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#7 RB_Kandy

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 03:23 PM

Have you tried the PSU in another system?


Nope, that would have been one of two ideal things. Try a different PSU, try the PSU with a different ATX mobo. Unfortunately her dorm buddies only have lap tops.

I tried telling her she needs to use her girly charm on one of the computer nerds in her college class for 3D design, that if he could just bring his ATX 12v PSU over to her house...

After all, if the mobo is dead, a new PSU isn't going to get hurt, but if the PSU is hurt, no one wants to let you plug it into their computer, because you're not exactly sure how damaged and in what way. A bad PSU can damage a mobo, but I don't think the reverse is possible.

I just feel so bad because I advised her on every part, taught her everything she knows about computer hardware, and even recommended the Seasonic PSU, since I have never heard a complaint about that company.
The only thing I was skeptical on was the motherboard, it's good, but I have heard a lot of DOA reports. But she lives in Norway, so her selection of motherboards is limited, and she really liked the Sabertooth.

#8 killerx525

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 10:24 AM

Seasonic power supplies and Asus motherboards are usually well regarded and known for their reliability but i suppose for this situation it's just the matter of bad luck.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#9 dc3

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 12:18 PM

After all, if the mobo is dead, a new PSU isn't going to get hurt, but if the PSU is hurt, no one wants to let you plug it into their computer.


Usually when a PSU fails it is on the secondary side of the transformer, so the motherboard usually isn't affected.

Using a multimeter with a 12V DC scale is the best way to determine what is going on here. It would be worth the fifteen dollar investment.



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#10 RB_Kandy

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 05:47 PM

I got an email from her, you won't believe this. The store is giving her diagnostic steps, one of which instructs her to open the PSU!
This is her email to me:

i got a new mail from the store yesterday and they sent me a document on how to troubleshoot your computer. they want me to do that so that i know whats wrong. the thing is, i can't troubleshoot if my PSU don't give out power. and i can't open up my PSU to find out whats wrong. they can't expect me to do that. i seriously want to lie to them and say that i did try their solution, and that it doesn't work because my PSU won't work. i don't actually want to do it becasue i allready packed up my motherboard in case i have to send it back. don't want to hook up everyting yet again....


This is what I said to her in response:

What you need to do is get someone with some knowledge, someone who can loan you a spare PSU just to see if your motherboard comes on. At least see if the CPU fan spins.

However, here's the thing, the store can't expect you to open your PSU. That would violate it's warranty. Also, any store that would suggest that are stupid. You can't ask your customers to open a PSU and touch the inside with anything, their finger, a screw driver. Even unplugged, with the power button turned off, the capacitors in that thing could discharge enough electricity to put someone in the hospital. In fact, if you look on the PSU, it should tell you "warning, caution, danger, do not open this!"

But here's my advice if you can't find someone with a PSU to borrow from: just return the PSU and pay the restocking fee if it is found not to be defective. And write down the serial number from it, so that you can check to make sure they do not send you the same one after they take it back.

If you have to write them and tell them something, you tell them you cannot do all the tests they have recommended because the PSU is not delivering any electricity. And tell them you are not opening up the PSU because this is dangerous and you are not qualified. That is, if you have to tell them anything at all.


Do you think I gave her the right advice?

Edited by RB_Kandy, 25 November 2012 - 05:48 PM.


#11 dc3

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 06:46 PM

You gave her the best advice, and were exactly correct regarding the capacitors, there's enough potential voltage in there that it would be dangerous for someone who doesn't know how to avoid these caps, or how to discharge then so that they a no longer a danger. This type of voltage in the proper circumstances could be life threatening.

If you have the PSU out of the case there is still a way to test it. In the twenty four pin connector to the motherboard there are two wires which if you short them very briefly it will do the same as shorting the two header pins on the motherboard.

Before she ships either it would be best to find out if the PSU is functioning properly or not. This is the proper order in the troubleshooting process at this stage.

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#12 killerx525

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:45 AM

Good advice mate! :thumbup2:

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#13 RB_Kandy

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 03:16 PM

Hopefully this will be the last update I make to this thread.

I had her do the paper clip test. Here are the results:
She flips the power on, she says it goes "click" and then the fan turns for 3 seconds and stops.
She turns the power off, she says it "clicks" and the fan turns for a second.

This is proof, beyond any doubt now, that the PSU is bad, right?

#14 rotor123

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 02:15 PM

If she is shorting the right pins and that is all it does then yes I would condemn the power supply as defective. The right pins as I remember it being the green and a adjacent black should turn the power supply on and the fan should run. Unless the power supply is one of the Green types that control the fan based on temperature. To be sure that isn't the case I would get the make and model and look it up to be sure.

I'll second the do not open a power supply. Normally the capacitors should discharge however if there is a fault then they can hold a charge. The ones that filter the line voltage (Mains supply) can hold a pretty high voltage even in a country with 120 volt feed, in a 240 volt country a lot higher. I got careless one time and shocked the bleep out of myself. I took a few minutes sitting there before I got up.

And as mentioned who asks a customer to void the warranty and open the supply? I never heard of that before this.

Roger

Edited by rotor123, 30 November 2012 - 02:20 PM.
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#15 dc3

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 02:32 PM

Your do remember correctly, it is the green wire and any of the black wires, they all go to ground.


Posted Image

From the top left to right the pins are 13-24, the bottom from left to right are 1-12.


Please notice that there are PSUs with 24 pin and 20 pin connectors, the location of the green wire in the 24 pin connector is #16, and the green wire in the 20 pin connector is #14. If you look at the connector with socket side facing you and the clip on the top the number one pin will be on the bottom left corner. This makes the pin out for the 24 pin connector from left to right 13-24 on top, and 1-12 on the bottom. The pin out for the 20 pin connector from left to right is 11-20 on top , and 1-10 on the bottom. If you look at the connectors you notice that these are sockets that fit over the pins on the motherboard where the PSU cable attaches, this is where you will place the jumper.

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