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Thread: PSU Blowout Woes

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    Exclamation PSU Blowout Woes

    The short of it is that I have reason to believe that my blown Corsair PSU (bought from E-Buyer, now RMA’d and confirmed as DOA) has killed one or multiple of the internal components (all bought from Scan) in my recently upgraded rig and I would like some advice please on my next course of action.

    Background
    I upgraded my ancient AGP/Athlon XP rig nearly three months ago with a number of components sourced from Scan, including a 780G motherboard, Athlon X2, 4GB RAM and Radeon 4850. Owing to good reviews, I decided to get the Corsair 550W VX PSU (bought from E-buyer) instead of going for my usual choice of Enermax, which have always served me well in DIY builds over the last 10 years.

    All the components were housed within a full tower ATX case with decent airflow and cooling, and run at stock speeds. The system was operating normally until last Monday, when while using the system there was a sudden restart and an immediate metallic burning smell. I quickly looked under the desk to my floor standing tower and saw grey smoke and sparks flying out of the rear of the tower at the point where the PSU was situated. I then immediately switched off the power at the socket. The smell was extremely pungent at this point and only cleared from the room completely four days later.

    Not wanting to risk further damage to the components I did not attempt to restart as it seemed fairly clear that the PSU had failed spectacularly. With power removed and ESD strap on, I went about disconnecting and removing the PSU from the system. I then placed an order with Scan for an Enermax 525W Pro 82+ PSU (which arrived last Wednesday) and went about arranging an RMA with E-Buyer, who have since confirmed that the Corsair was faulty and have despatched a direct replacement to me.

    When the Enermax arrived I installed it, but to my horror it became evident that the Corsair’s death throes had likely taken one or more of my other components with it. I rechecked all the PSU connections, but powering up the system did nothing… no boot, no post, nothing. Unfortunately I don’t have access to any other AM2 systems to check/isolate each component against to determine whether it is just the motherboard that has been damaged or the mobo and CPU or RAM, etc. What are my options here, as all these components are less than 3 months old? Can I return the mobo, cpu, ram and graphics card to Scan for testing and if any one or all have been damaged will they be repaired/replaced under warranty? Or does the offending PSU having been purchased elsewhere cause problems in this regard?

    Suffice it to say that I will not be purchasing another Corsair Power Supply for a long time to come, if ever, after this experience. Looking around now, there seems to be quite a few incidences of the same thing happening to others with Corsair PSUs on a few forums I’ve searched through. It really is quite debilitating when something like this occurs: potentially weeks of non-use while waiting for RMA's, loss of non-backed up data (not critical, but still inconvenient) and the worry about having to replace all the components -- possibly at one's own cost -- due to a shoddy PSU. Having a 5 year warranty doesn't ameliorate this!

    And one other thing, when I ordered the Enermax PSU from Scan last week I also picked up the Akasa Vortex NEO cooler for my 4850. However, despite careful application, one of the screw heads on the metal retention bracket holding the stock 4850 cooler in place completely disintegrated within one revolution of the screwdriver as can be seen below. As a result I was not able to remove the stock cooler. I've fitted various Arctic Coolers before and while this isn't the fault of the Vortex, it is unfortunate. If anyone has advice for loosening such a screw, I’d be very interested to hear it.



    Thanks for reading.

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    Re: PSU Blowout Woes

    Ouch,

    I had a malfunction with the HX520 but luckily it only damaged a Socket A system and didn't cause much sparks. Looks like you got a really bad Corsair one. As for the screw problem. The only way I can see you getting that out is by drilling it out, and replacing it with a same thread and similiar length screw.

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    Re: PSU Blowout Woes

    you're going to have to be extremely careful whilst drilling the screw out cuz if it expands too much then you risk cracking the board

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    Re: PSU Blowout Woes

    I have always had my doubts about corsair PSUs to be honest. I also use Enermax and Tagan.
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    Re: PSU Blowout Woes

    I have had countless Corsair PSU's and not had one single problem tbh its the only PSU I buy at the moment as we have very little returns and thats comparing it to Enermax too. I feel you have just been unlucky its easy to search for problems with PSU's and come to the conclusion they are un-reliable off a couple of forum posts but you have to remember any hardware can become faulty no matter what brand. If you search for good reviews on Corsair PSU's I am sure the results would out-weigh the bad reports.

    hope you get your PC sorted though.
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    Re: PSU Blowout Woes

    Oh yes also when buying a new PSU always buy it from the retailer that most of your parts are from too, that way they can sort it all in one go.

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    Re: PSU Blowout Woes

    Firstly, the Enermax PSU you bought is FAR superior in every way to the Corsair you bought (or the HX520). This has been done to death though but is still a fact.
    Good choice.

    Secondly, i cannot see how anyone besides Corsair can be held accountable for the problems with your system 'post disintegration'.
    I doubt seriously that Corsair (or any other PSU manufacturer tbh) would be prepared to accept responsibility (maybe they will....lets see how good they really are) so your only recourse would be the house contents insurance (if you have it).
    That is the direction i would go in anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paulm@scan View Post
    I have had countless Corsair PSU's and not had one single problem tbh its the only PSU I buy at the moment as we have very little returns and thats comparing it to Enermax too. I feel you have just been unlucky its easy to search for problems with PSU's and come to the conclusion they are un-reliable off a couple of forum posts but you have to remember any hardware can become faulty no matter what brand. If you search for good reviews on Corsair PSU's I am sure the results would out-weigh the bad reports.

    hope you get your PC sorted though.
    Paul......
    If the Corsair PSUs are so good, how come you have had 'countless' units? Should 2 or 3 at the most lasted at least 5-6 years between them even with upgrades?
    Or do you just have alot of PC's?
    BTW...The reports and reviews for the Enermax unit the OP has chosen have got the BEST reports i have ever seen for a PSU.

    (and before i get my head bitten off, im just fooling around).

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    Re: PSU Blowout Woes

    OMG Blitzen

    some poeple build computers if I build one for a friend or familty etc I buy PSU's the most logical reason for me stating I buy countless / lots would be the answer to your query.

    Did I say I thought the Enermax was a bad PSU? the fact is no matter the brand all hardware can become faulty if I am wrong please feel free to correct me.

    I'm also only messing
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    Re: PSU Blowout Woes

    the fact is no matter the brand all hardware can become faulty if I am wrong please feel free to correct me.
    Nothing to be corrected as its a perfectly valid statement.

    All electronics manufacturers have a good percentage of failures (most upto 8%).
    When i worked as a Quality Manager for one of the worlds biggest (not PC stuff btw), it was plain to see. No-one fault, just the way it is.

    Once you get to the top brand PSUs.............Enermax, Corsair, Seasonic, Silverstone, etc....the drop out rates are all much the sameness.

    If you get higher returns for one than another, as you know, it doesn't mean that one is better (usually). It just means that the batches you have received may be better or worse than another etailer. This failure rate will favour some occassionally and then flip.

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    Re: PSU Blowout Woes

    For the OP there are screw removing tools with opposite handed thread so as it screws into the head of the messed one in the reverse direction it undoes it while it bites in. IF you can get one small enough its the safest option giving least pressure onto the board and should not require drilling.

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    Re: PSU Blowout Woes

    Quote Originally Posted by Blitzen View Post
    BTW...The reports and reviews for the Enermax unit the OP has chosen have got the BEST reports i have ever seen for a PSU.
    I thought the Antec Signature PSU's were top dog (price and "value" concerns aside)?

    I've used several Tagan's and the original from 4+ years ago is still in use. I like Enermax but have recently tried Hiper (only the one and that's still going strong) and the current PSU is a Corsair. Haven't had a PSU blow since I moved away from "generic" brands many years ago but I tend to use surge protectors and line conditioners for all my gear.

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    Re: PSU Blowout Woes

    Firstly, thanks for all the responses.

    Quote Originally Posted by moogle View Post
    Ouch,

    I had a malfunction with the HX520 but luckily it only damaged a Socket A system and didn't cause much sparks. Looks like you got a really bad Corsair one...
    Out of interest, how extensive was the damage in your socket A system? Did it fry all the internal components or just the motherboard? Just wondering what the typical damage "radius" is for these sorts of blowouts.


    Quote Originally Posted by moogle View Post
    As for the screw problem. The only way I can see you getting that out is by drilling it out, and replacing it with a same thread and similiar length screw.
    Quote Originally Posted by mightymouse View Post
    you're going to have to be extremely careful whilst drilling the screw out cuz if it expands too much then you risk cracking the board
    I hadn't considered drilling it, but as mightmouse notes it seems quite high risk so I will not attempt it. With all the other screws removed there was just enough clearance to use a small hacksaw, but again I'd prefer to err on the side of caution and rather stick with the stock cooler than cause considerable damage in error. Again, it's very frustrating but not the end of the world.


    Quote Originally Posted by rabbid View Post
    For the OP there are screw removing tools with opposite handed thread so as it screws into the head of the messed one in the reverse direction it undoes it while it bites in. IF you can get one small enough its the safest option giving least pressure onto the board and should not require drilling.
    Cheers, this sounds like a plan. Do you by any chance know what this tool is called specifically? No worries if not, I'll take one of the screws to the local hardware store or B&Q and ask them.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jay View Post
    I have always had my doubts about corsair PSUs to be honest. I also use Enermax and Tagan.
    When I made the decision to go for the Corsair I was cognisant of a couple of blowout stories on the OcUK forums with their HX range, but I dismissed it as guys pushing their overclocked systems too hard and some bad luck. But yeah, I've had Sparkle, Seasonic and a number of Enermax models over the years and they've all been great. Still have one Enermax in a PC here that's been going steady for nearly six years of daily use.


    Quote Originally Posted by Paulm@scan View Post
    I have had countless Corsair PSU's and not had one single problem tbh its the only PSU I buy at the moment as we have very little returns and thats comparing it to Enermax too. I feel you have just been unlucky its easy to search for problems with PSU's and come to the conclusion they are un-reliable off a couple of forum posts but you have to remember any hardware can become faulty no matter what brand. If you search for good reviews on Corsair PSU's I am sure the results would out-weigh the bad reports.
    Yeah, I agree that it's easy to pluck a trend from a bunch of anecdotal forum postings, particularly as an aggrieved customer who is now understandably biased against Corsair's PSUs and I accept your disclosure about Scan having very few returns for their PSUs. I read a number of glowing reviews for this model and others from the same range before buying the Corsair, from respected sites like the Tech Report and JonnyGURU, which assuaged some earlier concerns I had (the blowout stories mentioned above) before taking the plunge.

    However, in the same vein, while all the reporting of similar blowouts is anecdotal it should surely be significant that there appears to be many more stories of Corsair units failing that any one other brand as far as I can see? It may be that many other, high-profile brands/models are also seeing similar blowout occurrences but are going un-reported. Anyway, this particular tangent isn't really germane to the issue I would like to resolve now.


    Quote Originally Posted by Paulm@scan View Post
    ...hope you get your PC sorted though.
    Thanks. I'm assuming from your response that you (i.e Scan) would not be able to replace the damaged components purchased from Scan under warranty due to the PSU being purchased elsewhere? If so, this is completely understandable, but I would like to get a confirmation if possible so that I can pursue other options, such as my home contents insurance.

    I don't know if you guys offer such a service, but would be at all possible for me to return (at my own cost) my mobo, cpu, ram and graphics card to Scan for testing (as I don't have access to another AM2 system to isolate each component) and then if just the mobo, or mobo and cpu are dead I could either pay for direct replacements or pay for the working items to be returned and place a new order for the required replacement parts? If that would be possible could you please give me an idea of what the testing charge is likely to be? If all the parts are dead then I'll likely have to wait until next month to place another order.


    Quote Originally Posted by moogle View Post
    Oh yes also when buying a new PSU always buy it from the retailer that most of your parts are from too, that way they can sort it all in one go.
    Agreed. I would have, but at the time I was planning to use my then-current 460W Enermax until I realised when the mobo arrived that the Enermax only had a 20-pin ATX connector. I was in no rush at the time so I ordered the Corsair from E-Buyer with the free shipping (it was already quite a bit cheaper than the same model on Scan IIRC). Unfortunately, my thriftiness to save £25 looks likes its going to cost me many times that now.


    Quote Originally Posted by Blitzen View Post
    Firstly, the Enermax PSU you bought is FAR superior in every way to the Corsair you bought (or the HX520). This has been done to death though but is still a fact.
    Good choice.

    Secondly, i cannot see how anyone besides Corsair can be held accountable for the problems with your system 'post disintegration'.
    I doubt seriously that Corsair (or any other PSU manufacturer tbh) would be prepared to accept responsibility (maybe they will....lets see how good they really are) so your only recourse would be the house contents insurance (if you have it).
    That is the direction i would go in anyway.
    Yeah, I've read good stuff about this one too plus as mentioned I've never had any problems with Enermax and haven't seen any reported issues in passing as I have with Corsair. I'm sure there must be some posts out there where people have had Enermax blowouts, however as I say I haven't seen any whereas I'd heard Corsair concerns without specifically looking for them, but decided the give them the benefit of the doubt. I won't be doing that again.

    Yes, the home contents insurance route seems the most probable now. I'm not expecting Scan to replace under warranty where they are not obligated to, as it clearly wasn't their fault, but as I mentioned above if it is possible for them to test the components I purchased from them at a reasonable cost and then if only one or two are damaged I can replace/re-order at my own cost that may be more convenient. If it's a total write-off then I will obviously pursue the insurance route.

    On the other hand, it may just be sufficient to show my insurer the E-Buyer RMA report and claim back the related component costs, but I don't know whether that will suffice in terms of evidence. They may want to verify the extent of the other damage, etc.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bugbait View Post
    ...but I tend to use surge protectors and line conditioners for all my gear.
    Yeah, I'd been using an IBM AVR on my desktop for the past seven years until it finally conked out towards the end of last year -- they certainly give you that extra piece of mind. I'm looking into a replacement at the moment after this experience, atlhough I don't believe the lack of an AVR was the cause of this blowout.

    Anyway, thanks again for the replies.

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    Re: PSU Blowout Woes

    try contacting corsair?(in their section) they might be able to help since its only 2 weeks old. Hope you get ur pc sorted.
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    Re: PSU Blowout Woes

    Quote Originally Posted by BrynS View Post
    Out of interest, how extensive was the damage in your socket A system? Did it fry all the internal components or just the motherboard? Just wondering what the typical damage "radius" is for these sorts of blowouts.
    Well luckily it was actually running my socket 939 system, it stopped working on that. It would power on and act as if everythings running fine etc so I thought hmm maybe one of my components have gone bust let me try it out on another system. I tested it on the socket A system but luckily I was lazy enough to not plug the hdd's in (my fingers and thumbs were sore from a previous build). It just rendered my cpu, mobo and ram useless and the fan on the psu this time spun normal, then turned into a jump start mode where the fan would get energy to spin then stop etc. PSU was out of retailer warranty and at the time it cost £26 to send to Corsair USA (Netherlands base is almost as steep) so I decided to can the PSU and get me a different one. I still recommend them to people though not out of hate but because they generally are good, I also point out the negs such as no UK base too. Just my experience wasn't very nice and when that happens I just switch manufacturer to another one and stick with that until I have a similiar problem and cycle manufacturers hoping that down the line the bad one will have improved etc etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by BrynS View Post
    Agreed. I would have, but at the time I was planning to use my then-current 460W Enermax until I realised when the mobo arrived that the Enermax only had a 20-pin ATX connector. I was in no rush at the time so I ordered the Corsair from E-Buyer with the free shipping (it was already quite a bit cheaper than the same model on Scan IIRC). Unfortunately, my thriftiness to save £25 looks likes its going to cost me many times that now.
    Well we can never know about things like these. eBuyer are still pretty good so if you're still in the retailer warranty RMA that psu to them (who knows it might blow their rig too ) but you'll get a fast replacement. When you do get it sell it if Corsair aren't your choice of PSU at the moment.

    Even if you bought the PSU from the same retailer and it blew up along way after they still wouldn't replace it, although with eBuyer if you did send it to them they probably would replace each part.

    Hope you get it fixed soon though, I remember before an article in the PC Plus mag, where a lady had purchased a 'Dabs' branded PSU to power her then high end 7800GTX Sli setup and Core2Duo (when Core2 was brand new) and it totally obliterated her system. She was taking them to the small claims court because they refused to pay for her replacement system parts due to their PSU. I never managed to read the rest as I unsubscribed from the magazine after that

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    Re: PSU Blowout Woes

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks12 View Post
    try contacting corsair?(in their section) they might be able to help since its only 2 weeks old. Hope you get ur pc sorted.
    Yeah, I'm going to do that now and also ask whether I could send my RAM (4GB Corsair TwinX XMS2) to them for testing. The PSU and other components are all 3 months old now, although the replacement Corsair PSU I received yesterday from E-Buyer is brand new.


    Quote Originally Posted by moogle View Post
    Well luckily it was actually running my socket 939 system, it stopped working on that...
    Hmm, that was unfortunate too. You'd have hoped that most modern PSUs would have some sort of breaker to prevent catastrophic damage to the other components in the event of a failure. I agree though about Corsair; I don't dislike them as a company. Their presence on the forums here and their other very competitive products like RAM, together with the high praise their PSUs receive in reviews and from users combined with reasonable pricing makes many of their products compelling. However, even with a brand new Corsair replacement PSU I just don't want to take that risk again after this experience and the similar stories I've read elsewhere, so I will not be purchasing or recommending their PSUs for some time to come.


    Quote Originally Posted by moogle View Post
    eBuyer are still pretty good so if you're still in the retailer warranty RMA that psu to them (who knows it might blow their rig too ) but you'll get a fast replacement.
    Yeah, I've been pretty impressed with their service tbh. Apart from the 20-minute telephone queue wait to authorise the RMA, it went extremely smoothly. Filled out the online RMA last Tuesday, courier picked up the PSU on Wednesday, it was received and verified as DOA by their technicians on Friday and a brand new replacement was then despatched and received yesterday.


    Quote Originally Posted by moogle View Post
    I never managed to read the rest as I unsubscribed from the magazine after that
    Haha. Well I wouldn't take it that far, but it would be interesting to know whether there is any precedent in this matter as to whether the PSU manufacturer is responsible for all other damage incurred by a faulty unit or whether the other resellers are obliged to replace the damaged components. I'm suspecting it's just a case of the customer having no recourse but to bear the replacement cost.

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    Re: PSU Blowout Woes

    Quote Originally Posted by BrynS View Post
    Yeah, I've been pretty impressed with their service tbh. Apart from the 20-minute telephone queue wait to authorise the RMA, it went extremely smoothly. Filled out the online RMA last Tuesday, courier picked up the PSU on Wednesday, it was received and verified as DOA by their technicians on Friday and a brand new replacement was then despatched and received yesterday.
    Ahh the phone call, annoying I know but I make sure I've done everything possible and splurge it all out to the technician so he can't disagree with raising the RMA to be picked (All truth of course )
    Glad to hear the RMA times are fast for everyone.




    Quote Originally Posted by BrynS View Post
    Haha. Well I wouldn't take it that far, but it would be interesting to know whether there is any precedent in this matter as to whether the PSU manufacturer is responsible for all other damage incurred by a faulty unit or whether the other resellers are obliged to replace the damaged components. I'm suspecting it's just a case of the customer having no recourse but to bear the replacement cost.
    Bit of a grey area as I've never seen articles or threads about it going in depth. I suppose it will be just like how LCD monitors are manufactured where they say a certain amount of dead or stuck pixels is acceptable in their industry so they will say they cannot guarantee the PSU does not blow up. Even so they would use the argument that it was working fine up to a point to argue that it wasn't faulty from the start etc. Although funnily enough I emailed Consumer Direct about this and this is what they had to say:

    I asked about what course could I take if I purchased a computer PSU and it destroyed all my components or caused significant damage to my working computer.

    Quote Originally Posted by My Email
    Based on the information you have provided the key legal points in response to your enquiry are as follows:



    Under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended), all goods supplied by a trader to a consumer must be of a satisfactory quality, for their intended purpose and as described.



    Damages can be sought that fall under the term ‘consequential loss.’ In real terms this means any loss naturally occurred as a result of the Traders breach of contract. If you can prove the faulty item sold to you caused this damage, through no fault of your own, then you can make a claim to the Trader to bear those costs. Generally, it is considered reasonable that you allow the trader an opportunity to rectify the situation at no additional cost to you. You could offer the trader a reasonable deadline in which to complete this, and warn that if this is not done you will have no choice but to choose an alternate trader to do this for you and claim back any costs arising as a result of this. Alternatively you could take further legal action against the Trader.



    In the first instance you should write a formal letter of complaint to the trader in question, giving a full outline of the events to date and the remedy you are seeking. You should state that you are making ‘time of the essence’ and give the trader a time limit within which you expect a response, such as seven working days. It is advisable to obtain proof of postage for any letter you send and retain copies for your records.



    If you require any further advice or information about this case, please do not hesitate to contact Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06 quoting the case reference number.
    Good thing I did so you can try that route if all else fails.

    Hope this helps

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