Welp blew my first power supply.
Written by: TClawWolf - 00:09 Nov-06-2017

lol don't worry, not in my main gaming rig.


Every now and then I get bit by the retro PC gaming bug and start pulling out my ancient hardware....

This time around I dusted off my old AMD K6-2/Matrox G400 rig, along with my old AMD Duron 800/Geforce 6200 rig...... was fine playing around with both of them tweaking and overclocking a little here and there for a while, and playing my old games(Diablo, Diablo 2, Quake, Quake 2, Halflife, Doom3, etc,).

Then I decided to hit up Ebay....

found a bargain on a nice little mobo/CPU/RAM/GPU/Ethernet combo all for around $30 US once shipping was figured in, it consisted of an AMD Athlon XP 1800+(Palomino),crappy basic CPU cooler, an Iwill KA266 Socket A mobo, 768MB DDR SDRAM, an Nvidia Quadro2 Pro, and an Airlink Gigabit PCI Ethernet card.

Not a bad deal at all for such a bundle.

A little more scouring found me an ATI Radeon 9600 XT, which would have been a significant upgrade from my currently owned GF 6200, and even far better than the Quadro 2 Pro in the other bundle.... grabbed it for around $23 USD shipped.

So all in all spent around $50 to upgrade my retro rigs.

Got everything unpacked, tested everything to make sure it worked... everything was in fine shape, except for the 9600 XT, the heatsink and fan were disgustingly filthy, and the fan was seized up so tight it took 10 pounds of force to even spin it with your  finger and pretty much unsalvageable.... no biggy, cleaned it up.... took the fan off the crappy CPU cooler from the AMD bundle since I replaced that with my own cooler, ziptied the little CPU fan to the GPU heatsink, got on ebay and chewed out the seller a bit for not mentioning this in the item description, and everything was all good.

I pulled everything out of my Duron rig, and replaced it with the new mobo/CPU/RAM combo, along with the 9600XT and the gigabit PCI card.

fired everything up, it all worked fine until I tried to play games or do any 3D benchmarks.... it would just lock up..... I knew it was my old inadequate 250W PSU causing the issue, so I tried again, this time with as few things plugged in as possible to keep power draw down...... sure enough with the reduced load, it could play games and benchmark just fine.

I knew I'd have to replace this power supply eventually, but wondered if there was anything I could do to temporarily get things running well in the meantime. then I remembered.... I DO have a modern 350W PSU laying around, nearly brand new too... problem is, new PSUs don't have very strong +5V rails, they dump everything into +12, whereas older hardware runs mostly on +5V.

I decided the solution to temporarily buy me a bit more time until I had to replace the old 250W PSU was to use the 250 to power the mobo, and the 350 to power everything else(HDDs, Optical drive, Floppy, Fans, etc), this I thought would take enough of the load off of my 250W PSU to allow it to keep running for a bit longer.

I searched out a mod in which you can link two PSUs together so that they both turn on at the same time by connecting the green and black wires on both PSUs together.

A few days later, I went ahead and did this mod.

Powered everything up, and all was good. I could play games now without needing to disconnect all my drives and fans!

So today I went to install a few more games, but when I turn on the system, the only PSU that powered up was the 350W PSU, the 250W just sat there dead...... further investigation showed that the 250W had indeed died..... no bang, no magic smoke, it simply stopped working, further investigation showed that a few caps inside had given up the ghost at some point long ago and that the PSU was just hanging on by a thread for who knows how long until it finally decided to just stop working..... I'm not sure if the PSU mod caused this, or simply the higher demand of the new CPU and GPU compared to what I was running before.

I did test with the 350 to see if the board POSTs, and it does, so I don't believe the old PSU took anything with it.... but now I need a new PSU..... I'd really like to find something super cheap with 30A on the +3.3 Rail, 30A on the +5, and 20 to 30A on the +12, that would be just about perfect for this old power hog!

Anyway, that's the first PSU I'd ever blown.... and I guess why old hardware can be such a pain to deal with almost 100% of the time xD.

/Rant


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Update: Just placed an order on Ebay for a 535W Enermax unit with 32A on the 3.3V, 32A on the +5V and 34A on the +12(split between two rails)….. this should be the perfect PSU for an old Athlon XP build!
$20 USD brand new without a box…been sitting in their cabinet for several years claims the seller….. we'll see about that! ;)

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