Introduction to PC Power Supply
While, as usual, you are about to turn on your computer, your computer simply does not respond. No light, no screen, and, more worryingly, no working fan.
This can be a sign of a faulty PC power supply, but also of problems with the motherboard. It is therefore important to isolate the components in order to locate the source of the problem, but it is not necessarily easy to start a PC without the motherboard. We, therefore, invite you to follow the 2 steps below to test your PC power supply.
Step 1: Test the power start
You must first be able to turn on the computer and, to do so, locate the source of the problem. The power supply separate from the motherboard is done using the paper clip test, allowing the computer to be powered without passing through the latter. Let’s see this in detail.
The trombone technique: instructions for use
The method is aptly named because you will need to provide yourself with a simple paper clip that you will place in a “U” so that each end will actually constitute a pin for the connector. This generally embeds 20 + 4 pins for perfect backward compatibility with old motherboards. Leaving:
- Turn your power OFF and unplug from all components.
- Locate the pin colored green and colored black. Usually, these are pins 15 or 14 and 16, although this depends on the setup. Place both ends of the paper clip in it.
- Finally, reconnect the power cable.
You can now start the computer without the motherboard. If this lights up, then your power supply is working fine at startup. If this is not the case, then it is undoubtedly defective: the use of tools (see below) allows you to be sure.
Step 2: Check the general operation of the power supply
Now that your computer starts up, you are not done – because indeed, the paperclip test does not test the entire power state.
It is, therefore, preferable to complete the previous method with one of these below, like software or conventional tools, such as the multimeter (in voltmeter).
This step is also necessary if the paperclip test does not allow you to turn on the computer, and the problem is therefore localized in the power supply.
Testing PC power with software
Once you have access to the desktop, you can now perform more operations. Many software can be downloaded in order to obtain a complete state of the power supply, informing you for example about the voltage or the temperature measurement.
If some software solutions indicate it directly, the majority will ask you to compare the results with the data provided by the manufacturer.
In addition to viewing this information, you can also act directly, for example by adjusting the voltage values. Note, however, that not all software offers it.
You can therefore opt for one of the following software:
- OCCT, further allowing overclocking.
- CPUburnin, using the processor to test the power supply.
- P-Tuner, proprietary software solution (Gigabyte).
- SpeedFan, available for free.
Using a current tester
This device, available in stores or on the Internet for cheap, plugs directly into the connector, which you replace in the case before turning on the computer.
With the current tester, you can read the voltage of each output, which must correspond to the standards set for the output (+ 3.3v, + 5v, -12v, + 12v). If not, then your diet is failing.
Use a voltmeter to test the PC power supply
Since this is an electrical device, we can very well go through a multimeter (set in voltmeter) to check the voltage of the various outputs, then compare them with the manufacturer’s data for each pin. You can do the following:
- Repeat the paperclip technique.
- Connect the positive side of the voltmeter to the pin you want to test, and the negative side to a black pin.
If again, the readings are outside the limits indicated by the manufacturer, then your power supply is defective and must be replaced.
In conclusion: choose the right PC power supply
As well as to avoid the faults of an unreliable material as the bugs related to an unsuitable power, it is essential to invest in a reliable PC power supply and corresponding to your config. We, therefore, invite you to find out how to choose your PC gaming power supply.