[Cialug] Burned out power supply

Matthew Nuzum newz at bearfruit.org
Mon Mar 1 14:55:16 CST 2010

On Mon, Mar 1, 2010 at 2:37 PM, <murraymckee at wellsfargo.com> wrote:

>   5. poor quality supplies (maybe the leading cause of failure in places
> where power quality isn't an issue)
> We do loose power every once in a while, (2 or 3 times a year on the
> average I’d guess) but nothing else (TV, VCR, microwave, portable phones,
> radios, stereo, etc.) is affected (burns out) over a much longer period of
> time.  Neither is the printer, which is on the same circuit as the
> computer.  The printer goes into low power standby mode but is not shut
> off.  It’s been a long time, several years, since I’ve observed the lights
> dimming, but it’s not unheard of.  However, I’m not in the house paying
> attention 24 X 7 either.
Sounds like you've got a lot of your bases covered. I'd focus in on this
last point.

Switching power supplies are really a branch of engineering unto themselves.
They're a fascinating technology, really.

There are a lot of choices to be made when designing a switcher and there
are a lot of trade offs.

In this area you really do get a difference by paying more. Now I'm not
saying that buying the $60 power supply at Best Buy is better than buying
the $25 one at New Egg, they're probably the same. (all though Best Buy has
to worry about returns more than New Egg so probably will not offer the
worst of the power supplies you can find on the inet)

Many of the cheaper supplies are not built for "business use" where they're
on 24 hours a day.

The "gamer" line of power supplies usually have high quality components,
good heat sinks, fans whose bearings are sealed and are quieter. Server
lines are better yet (but they usually don't care about noise).

Some components, like capacitors, in a power supply can have a tolerance as
high as 60%. That means your 1uF capacitor may only be .4uF. This is a very
important component in a switching power supply.

I'd suggest on your next power supply invest in one that is a bit more
expensive. You will typically get better components and it can make a big
difference in the end quality of the supply.

Matthew Nuzum
newz2000 on freenode, skype, linkedin, identi.ca and twitter
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