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Old 12-26-2018, 08:32 AM   #1
everell
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Default Fixin computer power supplies as a hobby

Ten years ago I attempted my first computer power supply repair. For the next ten years, it has become a hobby. I went to several computer shops asking for dead computer power supplies, and received many. I can still remember the first computer shop I visited. A salesman asked if he could help me. I said I was looking for a computer power supply. He asked what kind. I replied one that doesn't work. The look on his face was priceless! I suppose many on badcaps have a large stash of power supplies. So here are some pictures of my stash which I keep in the attic.

My first computer power supply repair was a Bestec ATX-250 12E, the famous mother board killer. After several unsuccessful attempts at repairing the 5vsb circuit, I gutted the circuit and replaced it with an outboard DM311 chip circuit. I had no way of knowing what a controversy I was starting by posting the repair on badcaps. Until then, everyone thought the 12E was trash, not fixable and reliable. I think most have now come to a consensus that the 5vsb was the major problem with this power supply, and once the circuit is modified, the 12E is built like a tank. It did need some old wimpy capacitors changed. That original repair is still powering a computer in my garage.

So......if repairing computer power supplies has become one of your passions, how about sharing some pictures of your stash.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 100_3633.JPG (1.00 MB, 63 views)
File Type: jpg Antec stack.JPG (705.1 KB, 48 views)
File Type: jpg Attic mess.JPG (856.3 KB, 42 views)
File Type: jpg Bestec stack.JPG (812.2 KB, 39 views)
File Type: jpg Diablotek stack.JPG (761.0 KB, 32 views)
File Type: jpg 100_3632.JPG (730.5 KB, 32 views)
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Old 12-26-2018, 08:53 AM   #2
everell
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Default Re: Fixin computer power supplies as a hobby

Once you have repaired a computer power supply, the best test for a long term reliable repair is to put it in a computer, and run it for an extended period of time. After repairing (and modifying) many power supplies, running several power supplies for an extended period of time becomes not practical.

Over the years, I have been given several older computers, some Pentium 3, some Pentium 4. I also purchased several very cheap at a thrift store. I finally purchased three racks (which, by the way, cost me more than the computers!). The racks are now filled, and I have 30 operational computers in my garage, most running my repaired power supplies. Here are some pictures showing how this can be done.
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File Type: jpg shelf 1.JPG (888.9 KB, 56 views)
File Type: jpg shelf 2.JPG (998.8 KB, 47 views)
File Type: jpg shelf 3.JPG (832.8 KB, 42 views)
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Old 12-26-2018, 05:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: Fixin computer power supplies as a hobby

I curse power supplies when they fail, once for the downtime and especially once again if it takes something out with it -- it can't be a passion

Lest not forget the monitor PSUs you probably fixed along the way with the ATX PSUs...
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Old 12-29-2018, 01:17 AM   #4
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Default Re: Fixin computer power supplies as a hobby

Good to see your back at BCN, everell!

Man, that's an amazing collection you got there - both PSUs and computers.

Now you need one last part done: install some older classic games onto those PCs and open up a retro LAN/gaming cafe.
(Though in all honesty, the setup of that will probably take a lot of time - time that you can spend instead fixing more PSUs ).

Anyways, I myself am also guilty of fixing PSUs as a hobby. But some of them (actually many of them this last year) have been put back into computers/service. And knowing that I recapped them and fixed them right, I feel more at east when using them.

Sorry I don't have a (recent) picture of my collection. I do have an old one, but it only shows about 10 units or so. I now have over 30 odd PSUs in the house. Some of them will go back into their original machines once I finish fixing/recapping them. And some I'm fixing just because they are cool/rare units from back in the day.

By the way, I used to work in a big computer store 2 years ago as a technician. I saw A TON of PSUs come through there and go to recycling. There were lots of ones I wish I could have taken. But unfortunately, store policy does not allow to take anything designated as discarded by the customer and goes to "recycling". The few PSUs I did manage to take, I was given directly by a few customers whom I asked.
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Old 12-29-2018, 04:54 PM   #5
everell
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Default Re: Fixin computer power supplies as a hobby

Pictures on this forum always make a big difference. Also nice to see an occassional picture of the guys (and gals) crazy enough to attempt repairing computer power supplies. So I decided to post a photo of me....I'm the one standing on the running board.
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Old 12-30-2018, 01:48 AM   #6
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Default Re: Fixin computer power supplies as a hobby

the giant stack of psus almost reminds me of a horror movie! what is that metal boxy thingy with appendages sticking out of it?! dont eat me!! aaaaaah!
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Old 01-09-2019, 08:59 AM   #7
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Arrow Re: Fixin computer power supplies as a hobby

I agree that fixing dead power supplies is fun and definitely a learning experience. Some of those designs are one of a kind even though the general ideas stay the same.

My thinking on this subject overall is that the designers are not stupid. Sure many times popping in a few new capacitors will get it going. But manufacturers are aware of the figures on MTBF and try to get the supply to the finish line before the whole thing blows up. Sometimes there are actual crummy designs that need to be modified. You want to risk your computer by trying out a new mod? Transistors and capacitors are not the only parts that fail. Parts age and their specs change. At some point after a good life span the circuit won't work, but it is often not because one or two parts have failed.

Personally, I save myself the time and the headaches of waiting until my main computer PSU dies. I put in a new one every 4 or 5 years, even though the old one has not failed. It isn't because the old one "isn't worth fixing". Some kid will find it very worthwhile to spend months fixing it and learn a lot doing it, too. Judgement call is part of the profession.

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Old 01-17-2019, 05:38 PM   #8
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Default Re: Fixin computer power supplies as a hobby

I thought I was bad having and keeping my limit to 10 broken power supplies at a time. I'm jealous now. This was an awesome thread to stumble on. I'm just staring at the pics now.
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Old 01-17-2019, 06:35 PM   #9
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Default Re: Fixin computer power supplies as a hobby

i am saving old supplies for when scrap price goes up on them . same with other computer scrap .it was good here then they stopped buying it .
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Old 01-17-2019, 08:43 PM   #10
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Default Re: Fixin computer power supplies as a hobby

Quote:
Originally Posted by petehall347 View Post
i am saving old supplies for when scrap price goes up on them . same with other computer scrap .it was good here then they stopped buying it .
Make sure to save any mid and high-end AGP video cards - especially nVidia. Even the price of old cards like the GeForce 3 and 4 TI has gone a bit whack - selling regularly for $20-50 on eBay, per card. Higher end cards like the FX5800/5900/5950, 6800 GT, 7600 GS, and 7800 GS/GT get even more insane prices - anywhere from $30-$200 (yes, you got that right - TWO HUNDRED bucks for some of these!) So save these if you see them. ATI AGP video cards, on the other hand, haven't gone to crazy prices like that. But they will still fetch you a pretty penny ($10-100 per card, depending on what you have, and depending on demand).

Oh, and if you have any VooDoo video cards... consider that a good retirement fund.

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