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Your technical advice needed again please !

shermans
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 1,099
Thanks: 38
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Registered: 07-09-2007

Your technical advice needed again please !

I am hoping that someone has enough technical experience to advise me with yet another problem.
I have an old desktop PC- a Packard Bell - which is not my main machine but is very convenient to use sometimes because I can't take it with me, and therefore can always fall back on it without fear that some catastrophe has befalen it during the journey, as usually seems to be the case;  I admit that is usually self inflicted.
Last night there was an unexplained "Bang!" upstairs.  It sounded as if a fuse had blown somewhere.  It was very loud.  I could find nothing wrong anywhere in the fuse-box or anywhere else, until I went to use the Packard Bell later and found it was like the proverbial parrot - i.e. an "ex PC" !
I opened up the box and could find no obvious signs of anything wrong - no tell-tale scorch marks for instance.  However, the 10 amp fuse in the plug had blown, which I then changed for a new 3 amp fuse (perhaps it should have been 3 amp in the first place).  The lead now indicated power using a circuit tester, but the PC remained in cardiac arrest.
I have concluded that the power supply has burnt out.  I cannot imagine what else it might be.  The obvious solution is to buy a new one, but I am very reluctant to do that.  This was a good, solid old XP machine on which I could do anything.  I do not want to go through the learning curve at my age of trying to struggle with Windows 8 under any circumstances.  I have two other machines, all nicely compatible, with which I constantly exchange information and all works seamlessly.  There are too many horror stories about W8, and I have decided that am not going there if it can be avoided at any cost.
My choice therefore is either to fix the hardware or to look for a second hand XP machine.  My preference is to fix the old one because installing software and transferring files would be a head-ache.
My question therefore is quite simple.  What are the chances that this "Bang!" may not only have zapped the power supply but also parts of the motherboard. ? Is there any point in buying a new replacement power supply to fit, or is the collateral damage likely to be so great that I would be wasting my time ?
Any ideas (even from W8 heretics although you should only really come out at Hallowe'en ! ) would be most welcome.
26 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 17,770
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Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Your technical advice needed again please !

not an expert, nor "techy"... but... reading this...
Quote

I have two other machines, all nicely compatible, with which I constantly exchange information and all works seamlessly.

My question is.......
With two perfectly usable machines as described.... do you really want need the old one ?
(if you have stuff on the HDD you can transfer that without the "old" machine being in working order)...  Wink
shermans
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 1,099
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Registered: 07-09-2007

Re: Your technical advice needed again please !

shutter
It is a question of logistics - there are more than one in the household for a start.  I spend a lot of time away from home,  and if I am away I sometimes deliberately leave my laptop where I am staying to save luggage because smart phones and tablets fill the gap when I return for short periods.  But if I am home and need to use a PC, there would not be one available for me.  If I did not need the old one, I would not be thinking of replacing it.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 18-01-2013

Re: Your technical advice needed again please !

Depending on the model, you may be able to fit a new generic power supply to the machine - they are around £12-£15 new.
If it is a Packard Bell specific power supply then I'd look at old machines on Ebay, buy a working one for parts and try the PSU - you won't know if the machine is working until then.
Chances are a capacitor has gone inside the PSU if it is an older machine.
I used to QC test a lot of Packard Bell machines and they were generally quite good reliable machines (once you took all the junk off them !)
Community Veteran
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Registered: 10-06-2010

Re: Your technical advice needed again please !

Considering that XP only has 5 more months of updates until support ends, you might want to re-consider switching to a more modern operating system.
VileReynard
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Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: Your technical advice needed again please !

I once had the plug on the kettle lead melt (at the mains plug end)!!!
Easily replaced.  Grin
Do you get any activity when you plug the PC in?

Community Veteran
Posts: 17,770
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Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Your technical advice needed again please !

shermans  O.K... Noted !  Wink
shermans
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 1,099
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Registered: 07-09-2007

Re: Your technical advice needed again please !

Picbits
Thanks.  That's very helpful.  That's what I will try to do.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Your technical advice needed again please !

You could, if you have the right gear, check the output voltages on the power supply - if they are all good then it is something else but if one of them or indeed all of them are phut then you know at least that you need a new power supply and you can but hope that it didn't take something else down with it
Community Veteran
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Re: Your technical advice needed again please !

Quote from: shermans
I have concluded that the power supply has burnt out.  I cannot imagine what else it might be.  The obvious solution is to buy a new one,...

I thought that you meant that the obvious thing was to replace the power supply.  It's more likely to be that that has failed than anything else and a new one would cost about £20.  If you call in your local computer support engineer they might be prepared to test for free and only charge you if the computer can be economically repaired.  If it's not the power supply then it's something on the motherboard and you would be looking at a much more expensive repair, probably uneconomic.   
Thunderclap
Grafter
Posts: 673
Registered: 08-09-2008

Re: Your technical advice needed again please !

Sounded catastrophic! Have you sniffed the PSU? Seriously, is there a burnt-out smell? An audible bang from my experience is some electronic component vapourising - possibly a capacitor or diode on the mains side. Btw a PC PSU is always 'on', even with the PC in standby mode.
Anyways... remove the old PSU unit, remembering where the cables went [take a photo] - It's just a few screws. Then take the dubious ingot to your local PC World customer support desk. They will be able to test it [ assuming they're not a complete toolkit of blunt tools ] or you could take it to your local Maplin store [ likewise ]. If it is confirmed DoA, either stores can sell you a replacement for around £20 to £30. Go for one of their 'white box' range so you're not bambozzled into purchasing some HiSpec gaming PSU.
VileReynard
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Re: Your technical advice needed again please !

I've never built a PC - but replacing a PSU is a simple screwdriver job.
Just make sure that any screw positions match up exactly as
HP PC's can be a bit non-standard.

Community Veteran
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Registered: 18-01-2013

Re: Your technical advice needed again please !

So can Packard Bell's Wink
VileReynard
Seasoned Pro
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Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: Your technical advice needed again please !

Wikipedia says
Quote
Not to be confused with Hewlett Packard.
Grin Grin Grin

shermans
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 1,099
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Registered: 07-09-2007

Re: Your technical advice needed again please !

This advice has all been very helpful indeed so far.  Who needs PC World when we have you guys !
I have dismantled the PSU, and indeed there is a very charred area on the pcb of the PSU (NOT the motherboard).  I think there may be a fuse of some sort inserted into the pcb at this point. .  It does not look like a fuse at all.  It sticks up from the pcb with two soldered leads / feet soldered into the pcb.  It would appear to be a component wrapped in black heat-shrink sleeve which has been popped over the top.  The sleeve has "-F(80)-" ptinted on it.  But the give-away is the text written to the side which reads :
"16.  250 v 3AH.  WARNING ! For contuned protection against fire replace with only the same typa and rating of fuse"
So the conclusion has to be that the fuse has blown for whatever reason due to the black charred area around it.
The next question therefore concerns a replacement.  Now, I have found  a brand new PSU on eBay.  There are many second hand ones, but this is not only the cheapest but it is brand new in box.  It looks identical to my existing PSU, but I am not technically qualified to be sure whether it will do the job.  I imagine that it is a little over-specified because mine is rated at 115 watt whereas the new one is rated at 350 watt. but does that matter ?
It is described as:
"350 Watt Gold Colors IT ATX Power Supply
FOR ATX CASES
20 PIN MAIN POWER CONNECTOR
4 PIN FLOPPY DRIVE CONNECTOR
2 X 4 PIN 12V 4 PIN MOLEX CONNECTOR
4 X PATA CONNECTORS
1 X SATA CONNECTOR
"
I have got a simple configuration, consisting of a hard drive and just one SATA DVD drive.  The existing motherboard connector is 20 pin (of which only 19 are used).  I assume one of the PATA connectors is for the hard drive and another for the DVD drive.
Do you suppose this PSU will do the trick ?  My only concern is that it is 350 watt whereas the existing one is 150 watt.  It's only £6 including postage, so not much financial risk.
Thanks