Wining Power Supply

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

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Wining Power Supply

Postposted on Fri Sep 07, 2012 8:56 am

I'm working on my parent's computer with an Antec Earthwatts 380 that makes a high pitched whine when the computer starts up. It doesn't whine right away, usually starts 10-15 seconds after Windows is loaded, and only lasts for 30 seconds or so. The whine increases in pitch until it goes away. After it goes away, it doesn't come back as long as the system remains on. I'm not too worried about it, but my parents are annoyed by the sound and it makes them feel like the unit is going to die.

It has done this since the very beginning, so it's not something that has just developed over time. When the unit was new, I had to rotate the power plug 180 degrees to mount it inside their Cooler Master Elite 360. The power plug was the only thing I touched inside, and I made sure that none of the wires were touching before zipping the PSU back up. Any ideas about how to fix this? I've heard of hot glue, but I'm not sure where I would need to apply it or what type to use.
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Re: Wining Power Supply

Postposted on Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:09 am

Sounds like it is going bad on you. Be ready to replace it. Give it a good blow out of air, but that's sort of a hail mary approach to fixing it.
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Re: Wining Power Supply

Postposted on Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:25 am

Put in something like this baby - http://www.seasonicusa.com/NEW_X-series_Fanless.htm

I'm ordering one for a 24/7 server soon :)
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Re: Wining Power Supply

Postposted on Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:30 am

It's just inductor whine. Really no different than the whine made by a SLR camera flash unit as it's charging up, and is not detrimental to the long-term health of the PSU. You could hot-glue the offending inductor, but there's really no electrical benefit to that.
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Re: Wining Power Supply

Postposted on Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:35 am

The increasing pitch makes me doubt that it is inductor whine. More likely to be an issue with the fan IMO.
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Re: Wining Power Supply

Postposted on Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:22 pm

just brew it! wrote:The increasing pitch makes me doubt that it is inductor whine. More likely to be an issue with the fan IMO.

Even when the fan has been running for almost 30 seconds before the whine starts?
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Re: Wining Power Supply

Postposted on Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:33 pm

DPete27 wrote:
just brew it! wrote:The increasing pitch makes me doubt that it is inductor whine. More likely to be an issue with the fan IMO.

Even when the fan has been running for almost 30 seconds before the whine starts?

Watch the PSU fan next time you turn it on. Maybe it is taking that long for the fan to start spinning.
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Re: Wining Power Supply

Postposted on Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:59 pm

just brew it! wrote:Watch the PSU fan next time you turn it on. Maybe it is taking that long for the fan to start spinning

The fan starts spinning immediately after the power button is pressed. Takes a minute thirty to start whining.

Captain Ned wrote: You could hot-glue the offending inductor

How do I identify the "offending inductor" and what do I do, just cover it in hot glue? What do you mean "theres no electrical benefit to that." So even if I find the "offending inductor" and hot glue it, it still wont fix the whine?
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Re: Wining Power Supply

Postposted on Fri Sep 07, 2012 8:14 pm

DPete27 wrote:
just brew it! wrote:Watch the PSU fan next time you turn it on. Maybe it is taking that long for the fan to start spinning

The fan starts spinning immediately after the power button is pressed. Takes a minute thirty to start whining.

OK, maybe not the PSU fan then. Any chance it's not really coming from the PSU (e.g. maybe it is actually coming from the GPU or CPU fan instead, or maybe even the hard drive)?

DPete27 wrote:
Captain Ned wrote: You could hot-glue the offending inductor

How do I identify the "offending inductor" and what do I do, just cover it in hot glue? What do you mean "theres no electrical benefit to that." So even if I find the "offending inductor" and hot glue it, it still wont fix the whine?

If it really is an inductor in the PSU it will be difficult to identify since you would need to poke at the various inductors with the PSU open and the system running. You'd probably just want to goop them all. And by "no electrical benefit" Ned meant that it won't affect the electrical operation of the PSU for better or worse; it'll just (probably) stop the whine, which is a mechanical issue not an electrical one.
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Re: Wining Power Supply

Postposted on Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:25 pm

Alright, so I just squirt hot glue all over every inductor in there? Will that cause overheating problems?
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Re: Wining Power Supply

Postposted on Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:29 am

As long as you don't get it on any nearby heatsinks it shouldn't. The inductors aren't a significant source of heat.

At this point I'm just not 100% convinced it's the inductors. The switching frequency of switchmode power supplies is (usually) fixed, so the rising pitch of the whine doesn't make sense.
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Re: Wining Power Supply

Postposted on Sun Sep 09, 2012 4:59 am

I have heard an inductor whine rise in pitch before. I don't know enough about electronics to know for sure, but I assumed it was to do with a faulty component becoming less faulty as it warmed up.

Needless to say, the unit needed RMAing within a month.
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Re: Wining Power Supply

Postposted on Sun Sep 09, 2012 6:11 am

Make sure nothing is bulging or leaking...also look at the board for any burn marks. Its unlikely but you never know. Good luck and good morning.

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Re: Wining Power Supply

Postposted on Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:55 am

I've had terrible luck with Antec power supplies over the years. I don't think I have a single one left that didn't fail on me. Are they any better now than they used to be? Since switching to PC Power and Cooling (before the selloff) and Seasonic, my luck with PSUs has improved dramatically...
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Re: Wining Power Supply

Postposted on Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:19 pm

The Swamp wrote:I've had terrible luck with Antec power supplies over the years

In fact, this is the second Antec 380 that was purchased. The first one made the same whining noise. The CM 360 case was new to me with the PSU mounted in the front with a patch power cable running to the back of the case, so it kind of threw me for a loop. When I saw that there was no way to connect the patch cable to the PSU in the original orientation of the power plug, it was clear that flipping the power plug was the only way to get everything together. Unfortunately, in my haste, I flipped the power plug before I turned the computer on for the first time. Conveniently, there are stickers over the screws on the PSU that say "warranty void if removed" so an RMA was out of the question.

A couple weeks later, I find out that my brother who was home from college for winter break at the time, and helped me with the original build, had bought a second Antec Earthwatts 380 by request of my parents in hopes of correcting the issue. He foolishly flipped the power plug over before testing the unit, AGAIN, hence voiding the warranty, and leaving us with the same problem.

I will try hot gluieng the inductors, but my trust in Antec PSUs has been all but lost despite the public acclimations they recieve. I think my business will go to Corsiar and Seasonic in the future.
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Re: Wining Power Supply

Postposted on Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:34 pm

I've had better luck with Antec EarthWatts power supplies than with power supplies, SSDs or water-cooling units from Corsair. :(
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Re: Wining Power Supply

Postposted on Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:46 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:I've had better luck with Antec EarthWatts power supplies than with power supplies, SSDs or water-cooling units from Corsair. :(

Whereas I've had 1 Antec TruePower and 1 Corsair HX with nary a peep from either.
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Re: Wining Power Supply

Postposted on Sun Sep 09, 2012 6:45 pm

Antec. Corsair - there's no point trying to compare the brands in terms of reliability since they both buy PSU's from the same OEM and slap their labels on them.

Antec use primarily FSP, CWT and Seasonic, Corsair use HEC, CWT and Seasonic as far as I know.

The CWT and HEC models are generally cheaper than the FSP and Seasonic models, but even if you buy the more expensive design with higher-quality parts and manufacture, there's always a chance that you'll end up with a defective unit. I think the primary reason why Antec, Corsair and Seasonic are so highly rated is not because their products are failproof, but because their warranty is actually worth the extra coin.

It is, however, a shame that you've already tampered with the warranty labels. I hope you see no bulging caps, and that the hot glue sorts out the whine.
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Re: Wining Power Supply

Postposted on Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:52 pm

You could hot-glue the offending inductor, but there's really no electrical benefit to that.
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