06 February, 2018

Power Supply Stops Supplying Power

It just wouldn't seem natural down here if something didn't break.

Case in point. My desktop PC has been acting squirrelly (that's a technical term, by the way) for months. About two weeks ago, it hit the breaking point.

When I would turn on the PC, the fan would start, and promptly stop. The cursor arrow would show up, and that was about all. A dark screen. Then, if I left it alone for a few minutes, the screen saver would start and work normally too. Joggle the mouse and the screensaver would vanish just like it was supposed to. But you would still have a dark featureless screen. After a week of that, I couldn't even get it to pretend to start. No fan, no curser. In short no nothing.

In case you might have been wondering why I slacked off on the posts, again... here's the reason why. Oh, sure. I could have made little posts with my iPad, but with my past experience with that, it's less than satisfactory. It's easier to wait till things get fixed and I can do postings using the desktop PC.

I futzed around using my iPad, trying to find a cause for the woes with the PC. I finally landed on HP's tech support site and went through a troubleshooting questionnaire they had. This indicated that the trouble was the power supply. Ok. I knew what the power supply was and where in my PC it was located.

What I didn't have was the HP part number. That took some more surfing to ferret that out. Once I found what the part number was, it was obvious. Right on the label of the power supply was the number, front and center. But, if you didn't know what that number was, there was nothing on the power supply to give you a hint.

With the number in hand, I jumped on the intertubes with my iPad and looked diligently at eBay and The only real true match was on Amazon where I found a used one for $40.00 US. Well, hell. I already had a used one. That didn't strike me as a particularly good deal.

There were several power supplies in same 'family', that is, with similar part numbers and a similar look but very different power ratings, etc. The prices for those were not similar. They were going for $110.00 US and up. Not such a good deal either.

I then had the bright idea to take the power supply to our local computer professionals. I decided to take it out of the PC with the hope that it could either be repaired or replaced. I took the following photos just as a reminder to me of where everything went when I reassembled it.

This Little Plug Goes Here

Just for your edification and enlightenment, the '20/24 ATX plug' powers the motherboard. Then there's the 'ATX P4 plug' which also plugs into the motherboard. Its sole purpose is to provide power for the processor, which is attached to the motherboard.

This Littler Plug Goes Here

There's a little plug called a 'MOLEX plug' that connects the hard disk and other drives. More than likely, there's at least one 'SATA plug.'

This One Goes Beside the Blue Pin

This powers SATA standard hard drives. Finally, if the PC is for gaming, it probably has a 'PCI Express plug' that provides power only for graphics cards.

Now you've been exposed to enough terminology to get yourself deeper in kimchi than you probably should.

I started with Fred Orio at Corozal Virtual Office. I should have left it with him. Instead, I simply asked if he had any used PCs for sale that I could dump my hard drive into and carry on. He didn't.

So, I stopped over at Blue PC. He said he could probably fix the power supply. If not, he could a power supply to fit. So, I left PC and power supply with him.

Unfortunately, three days later, there had been no progress. I took my toys and went home. As a last resort before seriously trying to find an exact match in power supplies in the states, I called Fred that evening and asked him once again about the power supply.

He said to go ahead and bring it in, which I did. We talked a little and he said he'd play around with it and see what he could find out.

That brings us to this morning. I drove down to CVO and Fred greeted me with "It's an interesting morning." That was strange. I thought at first he was indicating no joy on the repair. But he excitedly showed me my PC with the original power supply installed and powering his monitor as well as the PC, which was working. Wow.

Turns out he'd gone to a repair blog where someone who had had a similar problem recommended swapping out a couple of pins, so that was what he did, and it worked.

I told him that he was a miracle worker. I got off cheap on the repair too. $35.00BZD for a successful resurrection from the dead. I'm writing this on my newly restored PC and it feels great!

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