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power supply problems

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about a week ago my computer shut down for no reason. i couldnt find a way to get it back on. then i flipped the switch on the power supply off for a few seconds and it was able to boot up again when i turned it back on.

a day or two later my computer shut down again. i tried the same as above, but it didn't work this time. i tried leaviong the switch off for longer periods of time, no luck.

then, today i did it again and it booted back up. it started sounding like the blades of a helicopter. i found the source of the noise to be the power supply. after a while the sound stopped and all i heard was the fan i put in about a year ago, which is normal.

what could be wrong with the power supply?
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uhm, it's broken?

Seriously, a power supply is generally considered a non-fixable part (unless your an electrical engineer with all the needed parts).

Here's the simple explanation for what's wrong. A power supply takes your house current and converts it to three different voltages, commonly known as the three rails of a power supply.

A 12 volt, 5 volt, and 3.3 volt rail.

One rail can go while the others are fine. It sounds like a resistor associated with the 5 volt rail is dying.

There is an outside chance that you're power switch on your PC case could be going, but given your description I would say that is a logng shot.

Short answer--replace the power supply. It is held in place by three screws and is attached to the motherboard with one or two plugs (they are latched, so unlatch before pulling off), and plugs to the floppy, harddrive and CD-rom (and maybe videocard).

Swapping a power supply takes less than 10 minutes, and a good one can be had for $35.
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