How to Tell If Your Computer Power Supply Is Bad

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Estimated reading time: 2 min

People often have problems with their computers and the last thing they think of is the power supply. They go into a panic and spend a lot of time worrying, when, in fact, the power supply is often the culprit. This is a relatively easy fix and you can save yourself a lot of trouble by checking it first.

A faulty power supply can cause the computer to give you a hard drive error, show you a blank blue screen, crash, or simply not power on. You can check the power supply before you worry about buying new hardware that is often expensive and may not be necessary. Continue reading to learn how to tell if your computer power supply is bad.

Check the Output Through Software

If your computer is acting up but still functioning, you can load your operating system to check your power supply. You can actually use a free program called SpeedFan that will go through your computer’s diagnostics, including its temperature and voltage. It will let you know if these are falling in an acceptable range. If they are not, you probably have a bad power supply.

If your computer doesn’t power on, you need to shut it down. Unplug the power supply from the outlet and flip the switch on the back of the power supply. You will now be able to perform other tests to see if your power supply is working or not.

Use a Power Supply Testing Unit

You can buy a power supply testing unit online or from any computer store. First, you should find the 20/24-pin connector on the power supply and connect the tester to it. Now you can plug the power supply back into the outlet and turn it on. You will notice your power supply turning on automatically.

Check the voltages and make sure that they are falling in the correct range for your power supply. There are four to look for: +3.3VDC, +5 VDC, +12 VDC, and -12 VDC. The first three can be within 5 and the last one can be within 10 and still be okay. After you test the main supply, test the other connectors to make sure that they are all working.

Test the Power Supply with a Multimeter

For this test, you need to start by taking a paperclip and bending it into a U shape. Take the 20/24 connector and find the green pin. You can plug the paperclip into the green pin and into one of the nearby black pins. When you do this, the connector will think that it is plugged into the motherboard.

Now you can plug the power supply in and turn it on. Set your multimeter to the VBDC setting that your pinout chart has listed for your power supply. Set the range to 10V. Take the negative probe from the multimeter, plug it into a black pin, and plug the positive probe into the first pin you want to test. Go through and check the pins to make sure the VBDC is accurate. You will be able to find out if your power supply has gone bad.

It is always a good idea to check your power supply before you move on to other troubleshooting with your computer. This is an easy fix. However, if you find that there is nothing wrong with your power supply, you will have to figure out what is wrong with your computer. If you have another power supply, you can always see if it works or you can go to a computer repair shop and have them test your computer. They have the experience and the knowledge to diagnose your computer and fix it.

It can be very unsettling to know that something isn’t right with your computer so it is a good idea to check the power supply right away. You might be able to replace it and resolve the problem.

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