Thursday, August 8, 2013

How to test Your Power Supply to tell if its dead or alive?

Power Supply Tester

The above title was not meant to sound like a game title, as corny as it may come across. However telling if your power supply is dead, alive or dying is one of the more challenging task you will come across readers, even more so than selecting a power supply and calculating your PC power needs as seen in our recent article. After doing that article it occurred to me, like me you readers must be having quite the time, like I did when I started trying to figure out weather or not my power supply unit was faulty. It us to take me hours of trouble shooting and  guess work to single out one of the main causes of PC malfunction, the power supply. Well fear not in today's article we will show you how to tell beyond a shadow of a doubt if that old clunker is still clicking or not.

Why is this Important?

Well if your PC is not getting a clean supply of energy be it the fault of the power supply, this can result in adverse effects from the PC not powering on, to a gaming PC Video card or other components crashing or behaving in strange ways.So a handy power supply tester is both cheap and a irreplaceable tool in your arsenal, used to maintain your PC.

What you will need today is called a : 
Power Supply Tester
PSU Tester

A paper clip (yes a paper clip) or conductive wire. 
Conductive wire

The above links are directly linked to and will take you to the reliable "Power Supply Tester model" that I have been using for years and have fully tested in case you need one.

The Quick Test Method

Now the quick test method that I like to use simply involves a common paper clip or conductive wire that can easily be found around the house,office or anywhere. Now simply collect the conductive  wire, remove the power supply that you think is faulty from the PC and make sure it is not attached to the electrical outlet and properly ground yourself, remember safety first.
24 pin connector to ground.

From the 24 pin connector that provides power to the mother board, bend the paper clip or wire into a "U" shape and use it to short out the Green and any black wire on either side of the 24 pin connector.

Short the only green wire with any black wire using the paper clip or conductive wire.

Check your work that it matches my example as seen in the pics, also if you cannot find a paper clip a piece of electrical wire will do fine. After you are confident that your work is good, Attach the power supply to the wall-outlet and power the device ON by flipping the power switch at the back of the unit.
Switch the power supply button to the on position it will power on without the PC. 

If the unit is functional it should power on and the fans will spin, this test is a quick test and will only give you a good idea if the power supply is faulty. Especially if the PC is not powering ON. So what doe this mean readers:

The  Power Supply Powers ON.

This indicates that there is a good chance the power supply is good, you may want to quickly test some other components to see if they may be causing the PC not to power on. Otherwise its highly recommended that you test the unit fully as a unit may power on and still not be efficiently delivering power, so get a power supply tester.

The Power Supply unit Does Not Power ON at all.

Without a doubt you should have the unit tested with a power supply tester, this will tell beyond a doubt if the unit is dead. In the mean time you may also trouble shoot the device to see what may be causing the unit not to power on, the top reasons I have found through extensive experience is as follows:

  • Check the power cable that run to the unit,these go bad at times and the PC or the power supply does not power up.
  • Make sure the power supply master switch is in the on mode that the position of the button toward the straight horizontal line not the circle.
If the above checks do not work then definitely go ahead and get the Power Supply tester, it will remove all doubts and be a great tool for testing and tracking down the source of your PC issues.


Testing the Power Supply Unit Fully Using A Power Supply Tester

Testing the Power supply for Full functionality using the PSU Tester

OK so you have got your power supply tester. Simply connect the Device as follows in the pictures and run through the full sequence of test below, the testing unit will power on when the tester is connected and the power switch turned on,similar to the quick test method above but this time with led read outs as seen below:


  • All green indicates the unit attached connectors are working fine.
  • No led light (or other colour than green) indicates their is something faulty about the power supply component that powers that leg of the power supply unit.In this case the power supply must be replaced and in that case see this article click here.
  • Follow the directions on Power supply Tester unit as they appear:
Follow the testing order from 1-7 as indicated by the unit.

Corresponding main connectors and tests:

1. 20 or 24 pin connectors test

20 or 24 pin connector

The leds' on the right that should light up showing correct functionality,except for the -5 led.

NB. The "-5" led for this test does not light up because the -5 volts feature is a phased out feature on all modern power supplies, so be warned that when this does not light up just ignore that led and focus on the others. (This will only power up for very old power supplies and I don't think any ones using those anymore so it wont power on for newer models of power supplies.  )

If you have all green except for the mentioned -5 connector then you are OK to proceed. (You have just completed steps 1-3 on the front of the tester).

2. HDD connector test:

Leaving the 24 pin connector on its side to power the tester, begin next to find and connect the following HDD Connector:
HDD Connector or molex

The two: +12V and +5V on the left of the unit should light up
If the HDD connector is functioning correctly the +12 and +5 volts indicators on the left should light up indicating the unit is providing the indicated voltages (This concludes step 4 on the front of the unit) remove the HDD connector from the tester.

3. Connect the 4 pin power connector or P4 cable (The other P6 or P8 may be tested in the same way)

P4 or 4 Pin power Connector
This side of the tester upper section is fitted for P4,P6 & P8 connectors respectively

P4 connector attached

The tester +12 V led on the left should power on for any of the P4,P6 or P8 plugs and indicate that the power supply connector for this plug is working correctly. You may remove the corresponding connector and continue. (This concludes step 5 on the unit).

4.Floppy connector Test

This feature is merely a legacy and no one actually uses floppies any more but in case you want to be trough go ahead and connect the floppy connector:
Floppy connector

+12 and +5 volt leds on the left should light up.

Check to see that the +12 and +5 volt leds are lit to indicate the attached connector is working as they should. (this concludes step 6 of the instructions on the tester front).

5. SATA power connector.

The SATA power connector test is the last test to fully indicate weather the power supply is 100% functional, here goes:

SATA Power Connector

All three (3) leds on the left should light up.

The three leds on the left should light up if the sata connection is working fine that is the +12v,+5v and +3.3v leds indicators. (This concludes step 7 on the power supply tester).

If any of the indicated leds for a connector fails to light up, not counting the "-5" led of the 24 pin then the unit is faulty and need replacing, so see the following guide to selecting a power supply here.

You may also get the fully digital version of the above tester with led display of the voltages that works basically the same here.

That's it readers I hope this guide as helped you, so what the condition of your power supply? Any issues or need assistance, ask your questions in the comments and I will work with you to nip that problem in the bud.

Related Articles:

How to select a power supply unit and calculate PC power needs.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...