Power Issues

Enclosures, modding, blowholes, and the power needed to run it all.

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Power Issues

Postposted on Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:41 am

This past Sunday, I had a lightning storm in my area during the night. I powered down my pc and monitor, and then I unplugged the surge protector from the outlet. Monday afternoon I plug in my surge protector, and power on my monitor and PC. I walk away for a minute or two and come back to type in my password. I type in my password and walk off to finish washing the dishes. After I get done, I come back and notice both monitor and PC were turned off. I tried holding down the power button for a few minutes but nothing was happening. The PC was drawing power as both onboard nic were lit, one was yellow/amber the other I think was amber or yellow can't remember right now. After a while of trying different outlets on the surge protector the PC turns on for a minute or so, then shuts off, then back on, then back off. I have tried plugging both items into the outlet no success, a different outlet in the room no success. I took the PC into the kitchen where it powered on for about a minute then shut off. I could get it powered on for a few seconds but it then shut off. At that point I stopped, because I have no clue as to what happened to both pieces of equipment. My PSU is this: Zalman 1250 Plat @newegg , and my monitor is an Apple 30" Cinema display.

Also the Surge light on the protector was red, but I can not tell you if that was already like that or not.

And I didn't see any caps on the mono that looked to be messed up. (My dad's dell at the store, the caps were busted and the PC used to power on for a while but then would shut down randomly).

My questions are:
    What can I do to test the power in my apartment?
    What type of UPS should I get? I just want something with a 5 to 10 minute run time to shutdown my equipment.
    What can I do to test the PSU of my PC (I highly doubt I can test the Display PSU)?
Last edited by mvp324 on Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Power Issues

Postposted on Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:41 am

If both the PC and the monitor are turning off, I would suspect the surge protector. Try briefly going straight to the wall and see what happens.
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Re: Power Issues

Postposted on Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:59 am

mvp324 wrote:My questions are:
    What can I do to test the power in my apartment?
    What type of UPS should I get? I just want something with a 5 to 10 minute run time to shutdown my equipment.
    What can I do to test the PSU of my PC (I highly doubt I can test the Display PSU)?


1) Get a basic multimeter which can measure AC voltage and frequency. It'll be useful for many other tasks.
2) Any UPS from APC/Cyberpower with communication port and enough capacity to let your PC work for a couple of minutes and then automatically shut it down. I'd say anything with 700-1000VA rating will most likely have enough capacity for most of general use or "gaming" PCs, including the monitor.
3) Use multimeter (like I said, it's useful for many tasks), you can power your PSU up without connecting it to motherboard. Or better yet, get a new PSU, keep it as a working spare.
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Re: Power Issues

Postposted on Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:04 am

The Egg wrote:If both the PC and the monitor are turning off, I would suspect the surge protector. Try briefly going straight to the wall and see what happens.

If I'm reading his post correctly, he already tried that. Sounds like the surge protector was inadequate (and/or the quality of the ground connection wasn't up to the task of absorbing the surge), and the PSU is now toast. Slight possibility that the PSU is actually OK, and there's some other piece of fried hardware inside the PC which is causing the PSU's overload protection to kick in.
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Re: Power Issues

Postposted on Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:32 am

just brew it! wrote:If I'm reading his post correctly, he already tried that. Sounds like the surge protector was inadequate (and/or the quality of the ground connection wasn't up to the task of absorbing the surge), and the PSU is now toast. Slight possibility that the PSU is actually OK, and there's some other piece of fried hardware inside the PC which is causing the PSU's overload protection to kick in.


Yes JBI, is correct I did go straight to the outlet. I am really hoping it is only the PSU, otherwise I am going to hate figuring out what PC components are busted.

JohnC wrote:1) Get a basic multimeter which can measure AC voltage and frequency. It'll be useful for many other tasks.
2) Any UPS from APC/Cyberpower with communication port and enough capacity to let your PC work for a couple of minutes and then automatically shut it down. I'd say anything with 700-1000VA rating will most likely have enough capacity for most of general use or "gaming" PCs, including the monitor.
3) Use multimeter (like I said, it's useful for many tasks), you can power your PSU up without connecting it to motherboard. Or better yet, get a new PSU, keep it as a working spare.


Any recommendations on brands of multimeters I should get? The reason I have the PSU I have, is because I have 2x 780 Ti's (please oh god don't be trashed). Would a 1000VA rating UPS be enough for a 1250 Watt PSU? (I'm not a power/electrical person) I figure I'll take it to a local computer shop, and see if they can validate anything for me. I wish I was more adequate with computer repairs.

For the components in my case is there anything I can do to test them to make sure they are operable? I think one of the things I could do is take some of the components I have and have a friend test them in a working rig.

Also I'm trying to follow the KISS principle in troubleshooting, and just making sure to isolate things piece by piece.
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Re: Power Issues

Postposted on Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:37 am

Power supply, most likely. Either it took damage in the storm before you unplugged it, or else there was a failure mode beginning to form somewhere inside it, and the disconnect/reconnect process brought it to your attention.

Either of the UPS choices JohnC recommend sound good. Avoid Tripp-Lite; some of their designs go dark without warning when the battery reaches EOL. I happen to be using two but only because I got them for free, and a UPS for the price of a battery replacement was an offer I couldn't refuse.
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Re: Power Issues

Postposted on Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:48 am

ludi wrote:Avoid Tripp-Lite; some of their designs go dark without warning when the battery reaches EOL.

Years ago I had a Tripp-Lite that shot a shower of sparks out the vents one day when I tried to switch it on! I have avoided them ever since.
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Re: Power Issues

Postposted on Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:57 am

mvp324 wrote: I am going to hate figuring out what PC components are busted.

Oh, it's actually quite simple. Start with PSU, replace it with new one, see if it helps. If it doesn't - continue with motherboard. Then the cards ;-) After that, just leave the working parts as a spare ;-)

mvp324 wrote:Any recommendations on brands of multimeters I should get?

Oh, it doesn't have to be a Fluke - any decent budget brand like Mastech/Extech/Craftsman will do. Just make sure to get it from a good retailer, not from DealExtreme or eBay or whatever, so you can easily return it for replacement if it's defective.

mvp324 wrote:Would a 1000VA rating UPS be enough for a 1250 Watt PSU?

Well, let's see, your PC has a couple of 780ti in SLI setup, so at full load it might go up to 700w of power consumption. Might be lower, but just to stay completely safe you should probably go for a 1500va/900w rated unit. As a bonus you'll get a pretty LCD screen on these units which can be useful for determining the power consumption of your PC. It will also have a network surge protector, which you should really use if you have wired network.
Last edited by JohnC on Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:04 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Power Issues

Postposted on Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:01 am

just brew it! wrote:
The Egg wrote:If both the PC and the monitor are turning off, I would suspect the surge protector. Try briefly going straight to the wall and see what happens.

If I'm reading his post correctly, he already tried that. Sounds like the surge protector was inadequate (and/or the quality of the ground connection wasn't up to the task of absorbing the surge), and the PSU is now toast. Slight possibility that the PSU is actually OK, and there's some other piece of fried hardware inside the PC which is causing the PSU's overload protection to kick in.

Oh....yeah, he did say that. The post was a little hard to follow and I hadn't had my coffee yet.

mvp324 wrote:This past Sunday, I had a lightning storm in my area during the night. I powered down my pc and monitor, and then I unplugged the surge protector from the outlet.

So....everything was unplugged when the storm hit? If that's the case, then the surge must have came through your network cable via the router. You said your monitor also wasn't working....does that mean that it's not powering on at all, or that you're just not getting a signal?
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Re: Power Issues

Postposted on Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:28 am

The Egg wrote:Oh....yeah, he did say that. The post was a little hard to follow and I hadn't had my coffee yet.


So....everything was unplugged when the storm hit? If that's the case, then the surge must have came through your network cable via the router. You said your monitor also wasn't working....does that mean that it's not powering on at all, or that you're just not getting a signal?


I was hoping to avoid making my post hard to follow. :( I guess I should paragraph sections more often. You know what, I did not unplug my modem/router and the network cable to the PC. That might explain why one of the lights on the NIC is not on. My monitor seems to be intermittent. I saw it come back on for a minute, but then it too went off. I haven't had a chance to test it more, since the PSU for it is this expensive part PSU brick

Based on what JohnC said I am looking at this for an UPS:
APC BR1500
Mastech or Innova I'll probably go with the Mastech, since it was mentioned.
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Re: Power Issues

Postposted on Tue Jul 22, 2014 12:19 pm

mvp324 wrote:I was hoping to avoid making my post hard to follow. :( I guess I should paragraph sections more often. You know what, I did not unplug my modem/router and the network cable to the PC. That might explain why one of the lights on the NIC is not on. My monitor seems to be intermittent. I saw it come back on for a minute, but then it too went off.

I'm still distracted by the fact that your monitor is having problems. I suppose it's possible that the surge went through the network cable, through your PC's internals and then hit your monitor via the display cable. I would be suspicious of the outlet and the entire circuit as well. Are any other devices in your place having trouble? Did you try plugging anything else into that outlet?
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Re: Power Issues

Postposted on Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:22 pm

I know of two items that work on that surge protector:
Charger for my phone (that was hooked into the wall elsewhere)
My bose speakers that were already plugged into the surge speakers (when I put my ear up to the speakers and the volume is halfway up I hear static coming from it)\

I have another monitor I'll try out later on in the week.
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