How to Check A Power Supply Issue
“Did you turn it off and on?”
That’s a common question computer technicians ask when testing computer issues. But what if the issue is the off and on?
Power supplies can derail your entire computing system. It can impact your booting up, restarts, lockouts, fans and drives not spinning, or even system memory errors. Often these errors are hard to diagnose, so checking the Power Supply Unit (PSU) is a smart place to start.
A Power Supply Unit converts AC to low voltage DC power. It’s generally box-shaped, and sits at the back of your computer.
When identifying PSU issues, be sure to disconnect all extra devices and peripherals first. Your Power Supply Unit may have its own switch, hidden at the back of the machine. Much like the computer – make sure it’s on! PSUs are not exactly the same, but many will have a light, indicating power. While checking this, be sure to ensure the cable (and your wall socket) are also functioning properly.
When things are on, listen carefully for drives spinning, and – if possible – check to see if your motherboard flashes and is operational. If they fail to do so, you may need to replace or repair your PSU.
For the more tech-savvy user, you can run a jumper test, usually conducted with a paper clip (occasionally, we still rely on old methods for new machines!). Begin by removing the PSU from your machine, and flipping it’s power to “Off.” Locate the 24 pin motherboard connector, and bend the paperclip in a manner that allows you to insert one end into the green pin and one into any of the black pins. Flip the switch, and listen for an internal fan. The paper clip mimics the motherboard signal, helping you see if power is, indeed, running to the motherboard. This is not a decisive test – there could be other issues with your PSU – but it does ensure the device is generating power.
If your PSU is failing, it’s a relatively simple replacement, at a low cost. Devices like that can be purchased from countless retailers, and save you the need to make other expensive repairs on your computer
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