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My PSU smells!

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#1
Something weird is going on. Recently, I found out my PSU smells under load. It's borderline that oh shit! burning smell. Not there yet, but it does smell of burning a little bit. Quite hot air comes out as well. I originally thought it might be something else and the PSU was only sucking it in, but no. CPU fan doesn't smell, nothing around graphic card smells either. And it's not stuck PSU fan either, judging by normal RPM reported by monitoring software.
It's really weird, because other than the smell (which only happens during load) there doesn't seem to be anything wrong.

What are you thoughts?
 
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#2
Take a can of compressed air and blast that dust away.
 

Krazy Owl

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#3
Condenser starting to leak. Chemical leakage make it smell bad and bad for lungs. Open it and look for popped condensers.
 

Aquinus

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#4
Condenser starting to leak. Chemical leakage make it smell bad and bad for lungs. Open it and look for popped condensers.
Condenser? What is this, an air conditioner? :p

I think you mean capacitors, bulging or blown capacitors.

How old is it and what is it rated for?
 
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#5
See my specs :p
It's a senior, actually. I managed to find it in history of orders. May 2008.
 
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#6
It prabably a bug that climbed in there
 

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#7
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#8
All those years I lived under the impression there was only one type, heh. I think it's 425W.

Guess I will have to open it after all, who knows what's going on inside. I try to get some of the dust out with vacuum cleaner once in a few months, but guess it's not enough without taking the cover off.
 
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#10
its likely burning/heated dust, as others have said.

could be a leaky capacitor since its old, but dust is step one.
 
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#11
strange one, yeah blow all the dust out with a can of air, and if its still there could mean its getting to the end of its life, a bad burning smell off electronics usually means game over, be carefull it doesnt mess your other parts up
 
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#12
Make sure the PSU fan is still working,i had a fan in an old psu that stopped working which caused it to overheat and also put out a bad smell,all i did was open it up and replace the fan.
 

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#13
While it could be dust, I'm leaning more towards component failure. It doesn't hurt to blow it out with compressed air.

PSUs have dangerous voltages inside, so I don't recommend opening it unless you know what you're doing and it sounds like you have no experience with these things. Get a friend who's done this before to look at with you.

Ultimately, get another PSU and one with a higher wattage rating, too. While Enermax is a decent brand, you don't want the inconvenience of it failing at an awkward moment with the potential for damage to the rest of the PC.
 
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#14
425 watts seems a bit on the small side for a 3770 and 5850, might be a good excuse to upgrade to something beefier if you can.
 
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#15
PSUs have dangerous voltages inside, so I don't recommend opening it unless you know what you're doing and it sounds like you have no experience with these things. Get a friend who's done this before to look at with you.

Ultimately, get another PSU and one with a higher wattage rating, too. While Enermax is a decent brand, you don't want the inconvenience of it failing at an awkward moment with the potential for damage to the rest of the PC.
While I don't dig in PSU on regular basis, I do know what's inside, and I did touch a bit of hardware in my life :p And are you seriously thinking I'd open the thing switched on or even plugged in a socket? I can't type THAT badly to give that impression.

When it comes to wattage, I strongly believe this whole hunt for astronomical numbers is one huge marketing bullshit and 90% of people including enthusiasts felt for it. I once did very rough calculation before I upgraded to i7, and still wasn't even close to 400W if I remember correctly.
Anyway, next PSU will be Seasonic SS-550RM. It just depends when will I buy it.
 

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#16
And are you seriously thinking I'd open the thing switched on or even plugged in a socket? I can't type THAT badly to give that impression.
No, of course not! :) And I didn't suggest that either, lol. The point is that the capacitors can retain a lot of charge at high voltage for some time after the power is disconnected, which could hurt quite a bit and perhaps even cause a heart attack if someone is really unlucky. For this reason, if someone isn't familiar with these things, it's best leave alone or work with someone who's done it before. As you have that experience, it's all good.

As far as power used, your PC may well not be stressing that 425W PSU most of the time, but there might well be times when it does, such as adding another graphics card perhaps, or heavy overclocking with extra voltage on the CPU. Basically, it's good practice to run a PSU well under its limit to avoid problems.

That Seasonic sounds like a good choice. Excellent brand.
 
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#17
Ah! I see what you mean. Didn't know about that, but I wouldn't open it right away anyway (takes enough time to untie/unplug the mess of cables I assume).

Of course I would doubt it could feed the PC enough if I went for say Radeon 7970 (which I will get, sooner or later), but as of now, it's plenty enough. Gotta find someone who has that thing you plug into a socket and which measures power consumption of whatever is plugged behind it.
 

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#18
The components in a PSU should not get hot enough to burn dust. If they are, something is very wrong. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
 
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#19
I wouldn't think so either.
But still, lol.
 

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#20
Those wattage meters? You can usually find them in electronics hobby shops and aren't too expensive. Here in the UK, Maplin has them. That reminds me to get mine back off my friend...

btw, there's an easy way to discharge (at least mostly) those capacitors: switch off the PSU at the switch on the rear or pull out the power cable and then turn on the PC with the front power switch. Chances are that you'll get a little blip as the energy stored in the capacitors try to start it, but then discharge almost immediately. Note that I haven't done controlled tests with a voltmeter to check for residual charge after doing this, but it will certainly take a big chunk out of it and may well make them safe. It all depends on the particular PSU.

Personally, I don't like to poke around with high voltages, not because I don't understand the principles, but because I've been electrocuted before, which is extremely painful and can be dangerous. I'm also not the most agile of guys, so I might well blunder into something still hot with voltage. :laugh:

EDIT: I've got a Corsair 850W PSU in my rig and I've never even got near to stressing it out with the components I use and the light overclocking I do (a gigahurtz for a Sandy Bridge CPU is nothing). This gives me total peace of mind that I don't have to worry about power issues, whatever I plug into it.
 
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Krazy Owl

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#21
The price of these meters VS Buying a new psu!?!? Choice is easy i think. Why buying a psu tester to tell you that you need to buy a new psu. Buy a new psu right away and stop messing around with components that could die because of faulty psu and set your place on fire.
 

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#22
The components in a PSU should not get hot enough to burn dust. If they are, something is very wrong. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
Yep, pretty much this. Either something is getting too hot and burning something, which means whatever is getting too hot is about to die, or caps are starting to leak and they are about to die.

Either way, a new PSU is the solution.
 
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#23
The components in a PSU should not get hot enough to burn dust. If they are, something is very wrong. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
Actually, it's a regular occurrence that the main transformer reaches a toasty 75°C, because it's usually in the "wind gap" area of an overhead fan... This is quite enough to get the dust to a burning smell. And it's also inside the safe operating zone. Some PSUs use overpowered components because they're designed to work hot, like passively cooled PSUs, for example.

As for the OP's problem, cleaning out dust would probably solve it completely. I don't believe the smell is capacitor electrolyte leaking out, as that would smell differently. Aside from that, the MODU82+ has working protections in place, and it would shut down due to out of spec output - and the PC would show signs of instability.
 
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#24
Condenser starting to leak. Chemical leakage make it smell bad and bad for lungs. Open it and look for popped condensers.
Might be the air handler too!
 

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#25
maybe a bug. bugs burn easily. also 5850 is a bit too much on an old 425W PSU