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    Faulty Power Supply?

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    Nate

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    #1  Edited By Nate

     
    If you don't feel like reading this long-winded post skip to the bold question at the end. 

     
    About 5 months ago I got a new video card for my HP PC and had to get a new power supply as most people do when they upgrade video cards. The new card (ATI Radeon 4500) required a 450W power supply, but I decided to get a 500W just to be safe (Thermaltake purepower is the brand).  About a month after that my 2.5 year old HP computer died - it was the motherboard - and I decided to start from scratch and buy a new one.  I got an Asus Essentio and of course I put my newish video card and power supply in it. 
     
    Since then I've had 3 or 4 cases in which the computer simply won't start. I push the power button, and absolutely nothing happens, not even a faint noise of the fan starting.  I usually open up the case, check my wires and cables to make sure everything is hooked up properly, try to follow the wire for the power button, and basically tool around trying to figure out what the problem could be.   After a bit of that, I give up and decide to see if it works again - and wa la! It usually starts right back up. I have not idea what it is, but at that point I'm just thankful it's working and go on and forget about it until the next time. One time I even just switched power chords (from the back of the power supply to the outlet) and that fixed it. I know that both of these power chords work and I've had the problem happen with each of them.   
    Last night the computer shut down randomly when I was outside for a few, and wouldn't turn back on. I had finally had enough and decided to get out my multi-meter and test the power supply with that. I followed the instructions on a couple websites 
    http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-1056686.html  
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rivoVzxwNtI 
    Nothing happened - no power!  I messed with some things, switched power chords (back to the one that had failed me last time this happened - 2 weeks ago) and then tried again. This time I saw the fan start spinning in the p.s. and I tested with the multi-meter and it worked. I came to the conclusion that my power supply works sometimes and other times doesn't. Is this possible? Should I contact thermaltake about getting it replaced? 
     
    Can a power supply work sometimes and not work at other times. In my other experiences with bad power suppplies, it seems that when they go they go and they aren't coming back. This case is different. Is that possible?

     
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    Lunarbunny

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    #2  Edited By Lunarbunny

    I've had flaky power supplies that get worse with time. It's probably a bad capacitor decaying faster than usual. I don't suspect capacitors affected by capacitor plague appear that often nowadays - more likely it's just a dud.

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    Elijah

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    #3  Edited By Elijah

    I've had experiences with 'flaky' power supplies.  Not personally, but with people I've helped out.  I think your problem could very well be with the power supply.  At the very least, it would be worth getting a new one and trying it out as they're fairly cheap.

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    farmer

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    #4  Edited By farmer

    They're pretty quick to swap out, so perhaps you could borrow one from a friend to check.

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    jack_daniels

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    #5  Edited By jack_daniels
    @Nate: That's pretty weird what I would do is go to the manufacuters website. I don't know what warranty you got with yours put with my corsair 750w PSU I got a 5 year warranty.
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    HitmanAgent47

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    #6  Edited By HitmanAgent47

    I'm also using a cosair 750 watt psu, if I shut down the pc from the back switch and turn it back on, it might take two tries to turn it on however mostly one try. I noticed you need a circuit or current running through the whole pc before it will even turn on. I remember one of my hardrive wires doesn't exactly work, I had to switch it out for another one then it will complete the circuit. I think one of your wires is not working well, that's why it turns off mid use because it's faulty. Also if it doesn't always turn on, the circuit isn't fully going through. You can try to idenfity the wire, that's difficult unless you have multiple connectors like I do, or simply just get a new psu for cheap. It can't be any worst than now, it's not suppose to do that.  
     
    Of course if you do get a psu, get a brand name reliable psu, my other psu's fan doesn't even spin anymore. A lousy psu can fry your mobo and cost you even more. I'm not sure i'm 100% correct, however that's my advice.

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    deactivated-59fb4bc479490

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    @Nate said:

    If you don't feel like reading this long-winded post skip to the bold question at the end. 

     
    About 5 months ago I got a new video card for my HP PC and had to get a new power supply as most people do when they upgrade video cards. The new card (ATI Radeon 4500) required a 450W power supply, but I decided to get a 500W just to be safe (Thermaltake purepower is the brand).  About a month after that my 2.5 year old HP computer died - it was the motherboard - and I decided to start from scratch and buy a new one.  I got an Asus Essentio and of course I put my newish video card and power supply in it. 
     

    Last night the computer shut down randomly when I was outside for a few, and wouldn't turn back on. I had finally had enough and decided to get out my multi-meter and test the power supply with that. I followed the instructions on a couple websites 

    Can a power supply work sometimes and not work at other times. In my other experiences with bad power suppplies, it seems that when they go they go and they aren't coming back. This case is different. Is that possible?

      "

    Just for future reference, stick with antec or corsair for your power needs.  Seeing as you have an HP, I am going to assume you upgraded the Video card on your own, added some drives or something.  Usually with systems like that (pre-built) the tolerance for wattage is very tight, maybe 30-75 watts.  Any pc builder will tell you to find out what you want and get an extra 100-150 watts just to be safe.  Another reason, a power supply working at 75% will last a lot longer then one working in 90+%.   
     
    Essentially, your asking why would it work sometimes and not work in another.  Lets say you are playing a game, watching a movie or something and contrast that with just basic internet browsing.  In the latter you will just be using the monitor, keyboard, mouse, and perhaps speakers.  Internally it would include the memory, cpu, and hard drives but all of those would typically be throttled down to allow for lower power usage.   
     
    Then, you decide you want to play a game or watch dvd/blu-ray and on top of what you were using earlier, you now have to power a GPU, the upgraded CPU performance, the hard drive being written to and read from more constantly, and if you have it, the signals to the speakers and the sound card or audio chip usage requirements.  Your video card will not use a lot of power compared to something like the 4870 or the 5870, but it is something you have to keep in mind. 
     
    Check out a power supply calculator to find out what your system does need and then compare that to what you are using. 
     
    http://educations.newegg.com/tool/psucalc/index.html 
    http://support.asus.com/PowerSupplyCalculator/PSCalculator.aspx?SLanguage=en-us 
     
    The final thing you need to know about is that if a power supply says 450 watts, it does not mean that the power supply is 450 watts.  Here is what I mean. 
     
     take a look at this image and notice on +12v output, under max wattage it says 720 watts where this power supply is advertized as a 750 watt power supply.  So in you case, perhaps the PSU is 450 watts, but only 400 or so.
     
    http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/imageview.php?image=8490
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    deactivated-59fb4bc479490

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    Was just checking out those PSU calculators, the newegg one is way off, doesn't take into account case fans, even usb devices or expansion cards.  Add 100-120 watts to that one to make it accurate. 
     
    ALSO, for those of you whom say your case is not turning on all the time, make sure you are using a surge protector.  The pc should turn on first time, if it does not then it means something inside is loose, in the wrong spot, or not grounded properly and can/will eventually damage your system. 

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