Fried OptiPlex GX110 Power Supply

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Richard, Jul 7, 2003.

  1. Richard

    Richard Guest

    My trusty GX110 got hit by a power outtage last night--went right through
    the so-called surge protector and stunk up the whole basement with
    "electrical fire" smell.

    Can anyone help me with these questions:

    1) How good are the odds that a new power supply will get the box up and
    running (ie, that the board, etc., didn't get fried as well)?

    2) What replacement options are there from Dell (first choice) or some other

    Thanks for any help.
    Richard, Jul 7, 2003
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  2. Richard

    Richard Guest

    I answered my second question with

    Still wondering if anyone's had a Dell PC take a bad power hit and pull
    through with just a swap of power supply.
    Richard, Jul 7, 2003
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  3. Richard

    Pen Guest

    The chances are something else went if the machine was on. If off
    it's 50/50, but a physical inspection might give some good clues.
    Frankly I would just claim the whole thing on my homeowners
    insurance rather than mess with it.
    Pen, Jul 7, 2003
  4. Richard

    HH Guest

    With only a surge protector, I'd wager the motherboard is gone. Next time
    use a UPS. APC and Belkin make good ones.
    HH, Jul 8, 2003
  5. Richard

    Richard Guest

    I ordered a Belkin UPS along with the refurb Dell desktop that will replace
    the GX110. 20 years of using surge protectors only, and it's the first time
    this has happened. We just moved into our home, and the neighbors say
    that we're prone to about six power outtages a summer. Good call on the
    UPS--I ordered the cheap one, though. Maybe I should rethink that...

    An HP D135 printer on the same surge protector is toast, too. Looks like
    it's time to take that suggestion about filing a homeowner's insurance

    I ordered a power supply in the off chance that will breathe life back into
    the GX110. Doesn't sound like the odds are too good, though.

    Thanks for the guidance, folks.

    I sure hope the disks are OK.
    Richard, Jul 8, 2003
  6. Richard

    Richard Guest

    No, I'm not confusing outage with surge. The event was a power
    outage, and judging from the smell coming from my Dell GX110
    was immediately preceeded by a pretty good surge. We've had
    other outages without incident. Local power authority says that
    this outage was caused by the loss of a major power line.

    Neighbors say outages in our neighborhood average about six
    a summer. Average duration, about an hour.

    That said, I'll immediately look into having "whole house"
    protection put in place, and I thank you for bringing this up
    and explaining it so clearly.
    Next stupid question of mine: Does "motherboard gone" mean
    motherboard, CPU, RAM, and possibly the disk controllers
    are all gone?

    Thanks for the reference to the discussion at alt.cert*.a-plus.
    I've just started reading it, and it looks very informative.

    Best regards,
    Richard, Jul 9, 2003
  7. Richard

    w_tom Guest

    Power supply can be tested separately - albeit more complex
    - as demonstrated by that site that also provided voltage

    Motherboard is rather more complex. But power supply
    controller function on motherboard can be observed by
    monitoring those purple and green wire voltages.

    How a motherboard is damaged can reveal other problems. For
    example, if a motherboard is mounted using multiple conductive
    standoffs, then more potentially destructive paths exist for a
    common mode surge - numerous points of damage. Single point
    conductive standoff near power connector makes a motherboard
    more resilient to surge damage and even crashes due to static
    electric shocks.

    Power supplies must contain overvoltage protection as
    required 30 years ago and by Intel specs. However if that OVP
    is not installed in power supply (and it usually does not
    exist in sub $80 power supplies), then a power supply failure
    or a failure caused by external events may easily destroy all
    ICs on motherboard, hard drive, RAM, etc.

    It is not possible without detailed technical documents to
    determine if motherboard verses CPU are damaged. Only way is
    to test each in another known good system. BTW, previous test
    using only motherboard and power supply assumed CPU was also

    Surges form a path through system. Only when a part has
    both incoming and outgoing path, can that part be damaged.
    Classic example of surge damage is incoming on AC electric,
    bypassing power supply using a direct connection from AC
    electric wire to chassis, through motherboard ground plane and
    modem, then outgoing on phone line to earth ground. Only item
    typically damaged is modem's DAA section - often the off hook
    relay or current limiting resistors. Classic error message is
    'No Dialtone Detected'.

    Motherboard IC were all exposed to same surge. But
    motherboard ICs had no outgoing surge path - therefore not
    damaged. That isolation is an important reason by some parts
    can be damaged and others are not.

    However a power supply overvoltage can literally damage most
    every IC on motherboard, disk drive, etc. This failure is so
    catastrophic that all power supplies must have OVP - although
    too many have no such function to sell at less than $80.

    This gives but some idea how system destruction could
    happen. If simply an AC mains surge, then damage would be
    limited. However if power supply did not have OVP, then
    damage could be to everything - except maybe CPU that has its
    own voltage regulator. Just some ideas of how to determine
    what is damaged - and why.
    w_tom, Jul 9, 2003
  8. Richard

    Richard Guest

    I just got the replacement refurb Dell, and swapped the disks
    from the fried PC in. Several attempts to boot got me either:

    1) Unable to locate hard disk 0 or 1


    2) Windows 2000 Pro screen, followed by Blue Screen of
    Death with an INACCESSIBLE BOOT DEVICE message.

    Doesn't look too good for the disk drives, I'd say.
    Richard, Jul 9, 2003
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