Jump to content

Welcome to Geeks to Go - Register now for FREE

Geeks To Go is a helpful hub, where thousands of volunteer geeks quickly serve friendly answers and support. Check out the forums and get free advice from the experts. Register now to gain access to all of our features, it's FREE and only takes one minute. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more.

Create Account How it Works
Photo

System low on power


  • Please log in to reply

#1
datarunner

datarunner

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 440 posts
Hi All

Is there any way to tell if a system is struggling for power ie an inferior PSU?

Is there some application etc that can do this?

Regards
  • 0

Advertisements


#2
Digerati

Digerati

    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

  • Retired Staff
  • 3,997 posts
  • MVP

Is there any way to tell if a system is struggling for power ie an inferior PSU?

There are many monitoring programs that can tell you if the voltages are correct, and stable, starting with booting into the BIOS Setup Menu and checking under PC Health. Your motherboard utilities disk should have a monitoring program (or check for a more recent version on your motherboard or PC maker's website). If none, I recommend CoreTemp for newer Intel and AMD64 CPUs. SpeedFan is a great and popular alternative, or you can try Motherboard Monitor. These programs are typically used to monitor temperatures, but they monitor voltages too.

Here's my canned text on testing PSUs:

To properly and conclusively test a power supply unit (PSU), it must be tested under various realistic "loads" then analyzed for excessive [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ripple_(electrical)""]ripple[/url] and other anomalies. This is done by a qualified technician using an oscilloscope or power analyzer - sophisticated (and expensive) electronic test equipment requiring special training to operate, and a basic knowledge of electronics theory to understand the results. Therefore, conclusively testing a power supply is done in properly equipped electronic repair facilities.

Fortunately, there are other options. I keep a FrozenCPU Ultimate PSU Tester in my tool bag when I am "in the field" and don't have a good spare power supply to swap in. While not a certain test, they are better than nothing. The advantage of this model is that it has an LCD readout of the voltage. With an actual voltage readout, you have a better chance of detecting a "failing" PSU, or one barely within specified ATX Form Factor Standard tolerances. Lesser models use LEDs to indicate the voltage is just within some "range". These are less informative, considerably cheaper, but still useful for detecting PSUs that have already "failed". Newegg has several testers to choose from. All these testers contain a "dummy load" to fool the PSU into thinking it is connected to a motherboard, and therefore allows the PSU to power on, if able, without being attached to a motherboard - great for testing fans, but again, it is not a true load or suitable for conclusive testing.

As mentioned, swapping in a known good supply is a tried and trued method of troubleshooting used for centuries, even by pros. Remove the "suspect" part and replace with a "known good" part and see if the problem goes away.

I do not recommend using a multimeter to test power supplies. To do it properly, that is, under a realistic load, the voltages on all the pins must be measured while the PSU is attached to the motherboard and the computer powered on. This requires poking (with some considerable force) two hard and sharp, highly conductive meter probes into the main power connector, deep in the heart of the computer. One tiny slip can destroy the motherboard, and everything plugged into it. It is not worth the risk considering most multimeters, like plug-in testers, do not measure, or reveal any unwanted and potentially disruptive AC components to the DC voltages.

And remember, anything that plugs into the wall can kill. Do not open the power supply's case unless you are a qualified electronics technician. There are NO user serviceable parts inside a power supply.
  • 0

#3
datarunner

datarunner

    Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 440 posts
Hi There

Thanks very much for that. VERY informative.

A question though, any idea what I am looking for in CoreTemp or SpeedFan?

Regards
  • 0

#4
Digerati

Digerati

    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

  • Retired Staff
  • 3,997 posts
  • MVP

A question though, any idea what I am looking for in CoreTemp or SpeedFan?

What do you mean? You can check the voltages to make sure they are right - they should be very close to +3.3V, +5.0V, and +12V, and they should be stable.
  • 0

#5
datarunner

datarunner

    Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 440 posts
OK

Loaded up SpeedFan and the voltages are less than the voltages you suggested. Does this indicate a lack of power?

Thanks for your time

Regards
  • 0

#6
Digerati

Digerati

    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

  • Retired Staff
  • 3,997 posts
  • MVP
Sorry datarunner, but I am not a mind reader. How much less? What are the voltages? There are acceptable tolerances, typically ±5%.
  • 0

#7
datarunner

datarunner

    Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 440 posts
Sorry man for the lack of info

OK here are the voltages:

2.90
4.03
10.24

Regards
  • 0

#8
Digerati

Digerati

    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

  • Retired Staff
  • 3,997 posts
  • MVP
Well, 3.3 ±5% would allow for a range between 3.135 - 3.465, so that's bad.
5 ±5% allows for a range between 4.75 and 5.25, so that's bad - with yours at 4.03, it is almost 20% off
12 ±5% gives a range between 11.4 and 12.6, so that's bad too.

So it would appear you need a new PSU. This one should be properly tested, or swap in a known good one for sure.
  • 0

#9
datarunner

datarunner

    Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 440 posts
Hi There

That was my suspicions

Thanks very much for your time, patience and knowledge on this.

LEGEND

thanks
  • 0

#10
Digerati

Digerati

    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

  • Retired Staff
  • 3,997 posts
  • MVP
Keep us posted.
  • 0






Similar Topics

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

As Featured On:

Microsoft Yahoo BBC MSN PC Magazine Washington Post HP