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PSU Clicking Noise It's not the Fan or Coil Whine

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This is as weird as it is my Antech HCG 520w which is a Seasonic S12II-520 has been working flawlessly until yesterday when suddenly heard a low frequency clicking noise coming from back of the unit.
Here's what I've tried:
- Stopped the PSU fan and made sure it's not the source.
- Opened the case and cleaned the dust.
- Tried using an outlet in another apartment to see if it's bad wiring.
But nothing helped. It mostly happens when the PC is under load. This video describes the situation exactly:

Please don't reply "it's coil whine" and "nothing to worry about". I guess there's something more and worse. RMA is not an option as well. Seasonic disappointed me just google "Seasonic PSU clicking noise" and you'll see. I just want to know the cause. :confused:
 
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I won't say it is coil "whine" because it clearly isn't.

I surely would have said it was fan bearings beginning to fail or the fan blades scraping a wire or scraping something else. But you stopping the fan eliminated that possibility.

Are you 200% sure it is coming from inside the PSU? If not, I would pull the PSU and with it isolated outside the computer case but still connected to the motherboard (if you don't have a tester), start it up. Because computer cases are cavernous metal chambers, it is not uncommon for sounds to bounce around and resonate throughout the case, making the source of the sound hard to pinpoint. With it outside the computer case, it should then be apparent if the sound is coming from inside the PSU, or somewhere else inside the computer case.

It is very rare these days for a failing PSU (especially a good quality one like those from Seasonic) to cause collateral damage to connected devices. But it can happen. For that reason, if you verify the noise is coming from inside the PSU case, I would start saving for a new PSU and replace it as soon as you can. You can then always save that one as a temporary spare, and/or for testing fan and drive motors.
 
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I would pull the PSU and with it isolated outside the computer case but still connected to the motherboard (if you don't have a tester), start it up.
Already did this. Not with a tester though.



 
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A tester for this purpose is just to fool the PSU into thinking it is connected to the motherboard so it will turn on. It is the same as shorting the two pins, but a tester also puts a small "dummy" load on the PSU. Most PSUs don't like running without some sort of load. They tend to be less stable and may not output proper voltages. But since you are not checking voltages and only want the fan to spin up, no big deal here.

If you were able to start it outside the computer case and could still hear the noise, and you are sure it is not the fan bearings or blades hitting something, then I don't see where you have a choice but to replace the PSU. Sorry.

Has the warranty expired and that's why you said RMA is not an option?
 
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A tester for this purpose is just to fool the PSU into thinking it is connected to the motherboard so it will turn on. It is the same as shorting the two pins, but a tester also puts a small "dummy" load on the PSU. Most PSUs don't like running without some sort of load. They tend to be less stable and may not output proper voltages. But since you are not checking voltages and only want the fan to spin up, no big deal here.

If you were able to start it outside the computer case and could still hear the noise, and you are sure it is not the fan bearings or blades hitting something, then I don't see where you have a choice but to replace the PSU. Sorry.

Has the warranty expired and that's why you said RMA is not an option?
Yes the warranty has expired I guess. Just wanted to know what causes this out of curiosity. Is it bad PWM controller or circuitry? It is working great and voltages are good too. Found this but I doubt if it could solve the problem. I need someone with good knowledge in power electronics to explain this as I'm out of ideas!
 
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Sure sounds like the same noise. If you are adventurous, you might try using a stethoscope (or long paper towel tube) and see/hear is you can pinpoint the component(s) making the noise. Then use a soldering iron to touch up the contacts, or if you find it is coming from a transformer or coil vibrating, use some hot glue to stop the vibration.
 
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I've found the faulty components and by replacing some resistors it's working flawlessly now.
I'll explain which resistors must be replaced when I have the chance in detail.
 
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I'd be curious because resistors are not known to make any noise. I wonder if just reheating the solder joint and re-flowing the solder would not have accomplished the same thing without actually replacing the component.
 
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erious injury can result. 99.9% of people here shouldn't be digging around inside of a PSU.
Agreed. A fact many forget or just choose to ignore or down play is that anything that plugs into the wall can kill! :eek: And that certainly includes power supplies.

But also, even if you unplug the PSU from the wall, the big capacitors in a faulty PSU can retain their charge - in some cases for several hours or even days! This can catch even an experienced technician off-guard! If he or she has a weak heart (or has a pacemaker) it could make for a very bad day. And why would you be digging around inside a PSU if not faulty?
 

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I've found the faulty components and by replacing some resistors it's working flawlessly now.
I'll explain which resistors must be replaced when I have the chance in detail.
Hey, could you share with us which resistor needed to be replaced? This problem is affecting quite a lot of people online from what I've seen, including me.
 
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That information would not be useful to others unless they had the exact same PSU model and revision.
 
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Hey, could you share with us which resistor needed to be replaced? This problem is affecting quite a lot of people online from what I've seen, including me.
SOLUTION

You need to replace these two resistors. In my case R324 and R325 were the faulty ones or probably there was something wrong with the soldering. I am using this PSU for writing this and it's working perfect. After about a year of heavy use I can confirm the problem is gone. :)
 

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supernabbolone

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SOLUTION

You need to replace these two resistors. In my case R324 and R325 were the faulty ones or probably there was something wrong with the soldering. I am using this PSU for writing this and it's working perfect. After about a year of heavy use I can confirm the problem is gone. :)
Thanks a lot man, i'll have them checked. I'd really like keep my seasonic psu operative for quite some time

That information would not be useful to others unless they had the exact same PSU model and revision.
Well i've got an S12II-430, i suppose they must be quite similar. I've been walking in complete dark from what i've been reading online, noone was able to pin point the problem, many were simply saying it must be coil wine, which isnt the case here; this information is at least a nice hint. From what the seasonic support told me the problem could be due to a degraded PFC circuitry. Anyway, i'll have my psu checked with an oscilloscope by a trained technician, this info could be helpful for him. I'll report back once done
 
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Well, I hope you are right. If not the exact same model, there could be many differences to include different values for those resistors, different circuit layout on the board, and more. The fact is, resistors should not make noise at all. Noise suggests something is vibrating and that's not supposed to happen. And the vibration is causing something to bang, rub, or scrape against something else - perhaps a microfracture in a component. Fortunately, most resistors are labeled or color coded to show their value. But not all are.

BTW, what do you mean by low frequency? Do you mean the same clicking sound happens like once every second instead of 100 times per second? Or do you mean low "audio" frequency, like a low bass note from a tuba vs a high note from a piccolo?

I'm just wondering if a relay is "chattering".

As mentioned earlier, you might try pinpointing the culprit by sticking a paper towel tube to your ear and use it like a stethoscope.
 

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BTW, what do you mean by low frequency? Do you mean the same clicking sound happens like once every second instead of 100 times per second? Or do you mean low "audio" frequency, like a low bass note from a tuba vs a high note from a piccolo?

I'm just wondering if a relay is "chattering".

As mentioned earlier, you might try pinpointing the culprit by sticking a paper towel tube to your ear and use it like a stethoscope.
not my vid, but this is the noise.
the psu in this case also happens to be my same exact model

yes indeed, the sound seems to be "electromechanical" to me, hence I'm almost sure it's a relay. and the relay should be probably linked to an NTC thermistor, decoupling it from the circuitry once it gets hot to be more efficient. Not every psu has a relay from what read, it seems it's an elegant solution in upper tier models to gain some little more energy efficiency
 
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According to the list below the S12II is "Tier D - Potentially dangerous, but only in specific situations"

 

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According to the list below the S12II is "Tier D - Potentially dangerous, but only in specific situations"

Well yeah, according to the source they put 40 A on a 3.3v rail on a 350 watt psu... and it died because it had no OCP, as listed by specs. That's the reason why he got a D. Other than that it had the best build quality, components and energy efficiency levels. I mean ok, but these A, B, C, etc tier lists always leave me somewhat perplexed, and I'm dealing with a faulty unit myself that I didn't buy cheap. Throughout the years I've seen psu producers continuously going up and down in their consensus rankings on forums and enthusiasts' opinions, often for trivial or even no real reasons.
 
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not my vid, but this is the noise.
Sorry, but I guess my ears are just too old to isolate the ticks from all the other noises in that video. I could, however, hear ticking in the 3rd video the OP posted in post #3.

If me, I would pull the PSU out of the computer case, move it away from the computer and any source of sounds, and connect it to a PSU Tester. The tester will trick the PSU into starting in the same way the paper-clip method does, only these testers also impose a small "dummy load" on the supply - a good thing. Then it will be easy to verify the sound is actually coming from within the PSU and maybe let you even focus on the offending component. That said, unless a qualified electronics technician, I do not recommend opening the PSU case. There are "deadly" voltages inside!

It might be good to do this sound test in a dark room too - just to "see" if any arcing is going on.
 

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SOLUTION

You need to replace these two resistors. In my case R324 and R325 were the faulty ones or probably there was something wrong with the soldering. I am using this PSU for writing this and it's working perfect. After about a year of heavy use I can confirm the problem is gone. :)
You saved my power supply thanks man !
I just resoldered the 4 resistor and it works. R324 and R325 plus the two near them.
i though i was bad cap somewhere but didn't found any.
 
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love it when problem solved without throwing money at it.
 

udosat

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SOLUTION

You need to replace these two resistors. In my case R324 and R325 were the faulty ones or probably there was something wrong with the soldering. I am using this PSU for writing this and it's working perfect. After about a year of heavy use I can confirm the problem is gone. :)

How could you found this fix? I searched internet for almost a week but nothing work until your guide. It already atleast 3 same PSUs fix with the same resisters which looks like Seasonic do it for a purpose.

Thanks million times!!
 

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I registered just to say thank you very much for the resistor solution!

I had these clicks for a very long time, and while not very loud in my case, they are still annoying. I passed my soldering iron on the 2 mentioned resistors and the ones next to them to reflow the solder, and so far no clicks whatsoever :)
 
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