A Guide to Testing Your PC’s Power Supply

A person’s hand plugs a power cable into the PC power supply in the back of a computer.

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One of the most frustrating issues with modern life is technology trouble. We depend on digital tools, computers, and Wi-Fi to perform tasks and communicate with each other. Computer problems are never fun to deal with, especially when the process is drawn out or becomes expensive.

Your PC power supply is what gives your computer life via its placement inside your device. This unit is kind of like the heart of your computer, giving all other elements power to function. It converts high volts of power into lower volts that are usable by all the interior components. Your computer can’t function at all unless it has a continuous power supply. 

All of this means sometimes your power supply could be the reason your device isn’t working properly. Maybe it’s turning off by itself or you can’t get your computer to boot up. It’s one of the first things you should check when your PC is behaving strangely and you can’t put your finger on why.

It’s never easy to deal with computer issues, especially when you’re unsure where to start. This guide will walk through warning signs that your power supply is on the fritz and six steps to perform a simple PC power supply test.

Signs Your PC Power Supply Is Malfunctioning

You first need to know the warning signs that your power supply is having issues. Here are some of the most common red flags:

Your Computer Won’t Turn On

One of the most obvious indicators of a faulty power supply is your computer failing to power up at all. You keep hitting the “on” button or flipping the switch, but nothing happens. Always make sure your computer is plugged in before blaming the power supply unit.

Your Computer Turns Off on Its Own

Your PC may start shutting down at random while you’re using it, and this could mean the power supply is faulty. Once or twice over a long time may not be as worrisome, but when it starts happening frequently, you have an issue.

Restarts Happen Randomly

Random restarts and reboots are another indication that you need to check your PC power.

You Notice Smoke or a Bad Smell

Always pay attention to strange smells or smoke coming out of your PC. These are signs of an issue and can be pretty serious. You want to take care of the culprit before anything gets damaged further.

You Hear Strange Noises

Power supply issues may also cause noises, especially around the area where your PC power cord is plugged in at the back of your computer. Loud humming or clicking may occur, and if it does, pay attention to how long it lasts.

Strange occurrences related to your PC’s ability to function properly are often caused by a lack of memory or issues with the power unit. Make sure everything is plugged in correctly, and if the problem still doesn’t go away, it’s time to test your PC power supply.

Person about to learn how to test pc power supply

6 Steps to Test Your PC Power Supply

The good news is that it’s not difficult to test your PC power supply. This simple test will help you determine whether or not your problem is caused by a power issue. Follow these steps carefully before taking your computer to an expert:

1. Turn Off Your PC

Power down your computer if it’s not off already.

2. Find the Power Supply Unit

Locate the power supply unit in your PC, and make sure it’s unplugged from everything else, including the wall. Turn the power supply off if it has an on-off switch.

3. Find the Connector

Locate the 24-pin motherboard connector, which is the connector for the power supply unit that has many different pins and colorful cords connected to it. This is the component you will be using to do the test.

4. Prepare for the Paper Clip Test

You will then perform the paper clip test to assess functionality. Bend a standard paper clip into a u-shape, and insert one end into the pin that leads to the one green wire, and the other end into any of the black wire pins. Use pins four and five (counting from the left) if you do not see color-coded wires.

5. Use a Testing Device

You can also purchase a power-supply tester if you don’t want to do the paper clip test. It will provide the tools you need to make these same connections.

6. Plug the Power Supply Back In

Plug in your power cord and turn on your power supply (if it has its own switch), which should power up the fans connected to the power supply unit. You can rule out that the power supply isn’t getting a signal from the motherboard if everything starts properly. You can bet that your power supply is malfunctioning if the fans don’t spin, which means you should seek the services of a professional.

The PC power supply test will tell you, on a basic level, whether your power supply unit needs to be replaced. It doesn’t tell you whether you have a voltage malfunction or if the computer is overheating, for example. These could still be the culprits of your computer issues. 

You would need to use a multimeter, which measures electrical current, to test your computer’s voltage. Sometimes it just makes the most sense to get a new PC power supply unit to save time. Make sure you have a plan for your sensitive or unwanted files, like using a digital file shredder, before taking your computer in for service or recycling it.

Get Help from Shred Cube

Computer issues can lead to headaches and lots of worries that your digital files aren’t protected. Removing unwanted files from your computer doesn’t have to be challenging, and you can do it in minutes with digital file shredding tools.

Shred Cube is the first and only USB file shredder that destroys files permanently to guarantee they will never be recovered. Make your unwanted files disappear, whether you’re selling or getting rid of your computer or are worried that your files are causing computer problems you can’t solve. 

Contact Shred Cube for more information about how digital file shredding can protect your information.

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