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 Post subject: Strange smell coming from the power supply.
 Post Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:36 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:08 pm
Posts: 3
Hello Scott, I am new to the site and I can say how I love the Upgrading and Repairing Pcs 20th Edition book. There are so many things in there that I did not learn before. Anyway, back on topic. My 9 year old desktop was running fine until I booted the system and nothing happened. I ran through the power cycle, taking the plug out and putting it back in several times. Only in this memorable time (not really), I turned on the computer and a very strange smell started filling in my room. At first, I thought that it was some odor in the house, but when I reached into the fan vent of my power supply to check whether air is coming out, my hand smells very strange, some kind of chemical. It is starting to fill up in my room until I have to open the window. I also noticed that the power LED wasn't on, only the HD LED and it stayed there forever. I ran through the power cycle many times again, but I still smell the same scent. What is wrong with my PC? David


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 Post subject: Re: Strange smell coming from the power supply.
 Post Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:37 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:44 am
Posts: 5103
My guess would be that one or more of the capacitors in the power supply are failing (bulging/leaking), which basically means that the supply is defective. Power supplies are the most failure prone component in a PC, so this is not unusual. However, the motherboard also has capacitors which can be prone to this type of problem as well. I would first open the system and inspect the motherboard to see if any of the capacitors are bulging or leaking. If so, then you can stop right there as it probably won't be worth while replacing the motherboard in a 9 year old system.

If the motherboard looks OK then you could try testing the voltage from the power supply (using a meter as shown in my book) to see if it is within the proper specifications. If not, then the power supply should be replaced. But if it is within voltage specifications it can still be bad. In that case the only way to know for sure is to replace the power supply with a known-good spare (as a test). If that works then that would confirm that the original supply is defective. In that case you could either leave the spare installed or purchase a new replacement power supply.

You can see my power supply recommendation criteria here. I currently recommend both PC Power & Cooling and Corsair power supplies. Both of those companies feature high quality single-rail designs which are primarly manufactured by Seasonic. Let me know how the testing and/or replacement turns out, Scott.

PS: Thanks for the kind words about my book, and welcome to the forum!


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