I had developed stopped repairing ATX power supply a long time back due to the new one cost very cheap. It’s not worth to repair it because the spare parts sometimes were much more expensive than getting a new power supply. Searching for ATX power supply spare parts had not been easy as many of them you can’t also find them on the internet. Not only that, many complicated and different designed by power supply manufacturers acquired eaten up our precious maintenance time too because of we need time for you to understand how all these different designed power work.
Some of the power supply designs had been using the PWM IC (UC3842) and power FET, some use the dual transistors while some use only a single energy IC in the primary side. Due to the manufacturers wants the design to be converted to compact size, many secondary as well as primary power supply circuit were create into a modular board (smaller board). This made troubleshooting even more difficult due to the fact many times the meter’s probe still cannot reach to the testing point.
The actual reason why I had stopped repairing ATX power supply was the profit margin. If you charge to high the customers rather buy a new unit with 12 months warranty given. If you charge too low, you may end up in the losing aspect because of the components replaced, electricity and the like. If you charge reasonable, the profit margin gained can’t even include your time spent on troubleshooting it. I am here not to discourage you to quit repairing ATX power supply, however when you have the time, have contacts getting inexpensive power supply components, easy to access many power schematic diagrams and etc then you may go ahead to repair it.
Okay back to the content, one of my customers had questioned me to repair his ATX power supply. I told him to get a new one (since it was very cheap) but he said he didn’t want to find one that suits his client’s CPU. He wanted a power supply that is either same size or even smaller then the original one along with same or higher specification but just about all he could find was a standard size power supply!
As a favors to my consumer, I would do my best to assist him to repair the ATX power supply.
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When the power supply was switch on, dimensions were taken. The results were over voltage. The 12 volts range shot up to 13 + watt and the 5 volts line grew to become 5. 6 volts. After the casing was removed, I found the inside has been very dirty and I used a vacuum cleaner and a brush to clean off the dirt. Then I saw four filter electrolytic capacitors had bulged at the very top casing.
As you know, we as digital repairers can’t just see things at only one side; we have to see the other sides too. What I mean was, try to see if there are any dubious components that contributed to the failure of the power supply such as broken elements, dry joints, loose connection, corrosion glue and etc before start checking the suspected area.
What I saw was at the primary side there were some components covered with decayed glue as seen in the picture. I must carefully remove it by scrapping off the layers of the decayed glue whilst preserving the outer layers of the components. Once it was done, I actually clean it with the Thinner alternative. Decayed glue could cause serious or intermittent problem in electronic products because it can be conductive.
If you restoration any ATX power supply, make sure you check the fan too because some power supply failure was due to heat caused by a faulty fan. The purpose of the fan is to suck out all the temperature generated by the components inside the power. In order for the fan to run soft, you can service it by using a Philips oil base spray as shown in the photo.
Once the four electrolytic capacitors were replaced and the decayed glue removed, I then have to plug it into a junk motherboard together with a hard disk to test the overall performance of the ATX power supply and measure all of its output voltages. It looks like the output voltages were back to regular. Once everything is okay Then i test it in a working CPU to check on for the display.
The reason I test it with a junk motherboard first as a means not to cause my good motherboard to go bad just in case if the result voltages is still very high. Better secure than regret later. By the way weight loss test a power supply without download otherwise it may turned on for a while after which shut down. If you do not have a junk mainboard you can always at least connect a hard drive and a wire jumper to the connector to turn on the ATX power.