Testing a Power Supply with a Paper Clip

I’m going to change things up a bit today with a blog post that isn’t SQL related. Instead, it is about an interesting troubleshooting experience I feel like sharing.

My wife walked in the other night saying she was working on her PC, had walked away, and when she returned she noticed her PC was off and it would not turn back on. This was a PC that I had built for her late last year so was hoping it would be a quick fix since the parts are only a few months old.

We started with what would be considered the simple fixes. I tracked down a different AC cable to use for testing and tried plugging the cable into different outlets but neither of these possible fixes made a difference.

Never Easy

The next step was to open up the case and double check connections. After some unplugging and replugging, I still wasn’t getting any power. There were no lights, no beeps, no response of any kind.

I decided to take out the power supply and try the paper clip test. Thankfully, my wife had gone to bed at this point or else she probably would have been afraid of me electricuting myself.

Paper Clip Test

For the first step, I verified the I/O switch was flipped to “O” on the power supply and made sure the power supply was completely unplugged except for the AC cable into the wall. On the 24 pin connector, I used a paper clip to bridge pins 4 and 5, highlighted below:

If the power supply still had some life to it, I could flip the I/O switch to “I” and notice the fan spinning. I followed these steps but there was still no response. On the bright side, I knew at least one part that was going to need replaced.

Power Down

It was after midnight and I knew I had to be up at 5am so it was time to call it a night. I started the warranty process the next morning to get a replacement. Part of that process was to cut the 24 pin connector and send a photo of that along with the serial number in the same photo. If you noticed the photo above looking a bit odd, that’s why. We’re now waiting on a replacement power supply and will hopefully not discover any other issues once we get the replacement installed and boot the PC.

Thanks for reading!

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