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AX1200W - odd 'tone' sound, sparked when hitting power switch


maderas

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I have an AX1200 in my new computer which arrived a couple weeks ago, and I've heard an odd sound coming from inside the case. It's sort of like a click, but it almost sounds digital in nature; at first I thought maybe it was a tone coming from the motherboard. It happens randomly and only for a split second so it's hard to narrow it down, but lately I thought I'd narrowed it down to the PSU. The PSU also makes a slight ringing/buzzing sound that gets worse when it's under load, but it's fairly hard to hear unless I put my ear close to it so I disregarded that. However yesterday I distinctly saw something spark inside of the PSU when switching the on/off switch back and forth while I was trying to isolate the source of the sound... is this normal? I'm worried this could be a sign of something very bad.

 

Unfortunately, the system the AX1200 shipped in is prebuilt so I don't think I can return the PSU to Corsair. I'm not really sure what my options are here - I doubt the retailer is going to be willing to send me a new PSU based off my worry that there's something wrong. The computer itself has run fine other than the strange noises, but after seeing it spark I find myself way too paranoid to try putting in my second 580 as originally intended.

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The overall system is warrantied. I've contacted them as well to inquire as to what my options are, but I'm skeptical they'll be willing to ship me another AX1200. I'm hoping I don't end up having to go out and buy an entirely new one.

 

Does the sparking inside the unit when I switched it back on indicate it's defective?

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The retailer has agreed to RMA me a new AX1200 hassle-free, much to my surprise, so that's good. I had two other questions, though:

 

First, how likely is it that the PSU damaged other components inside the computer, given that the computer wasn't actually on at the time when the spark occurred (just the PSU)? It seemed to be running fine after it restarted, but I didn't do anything to really stress the PSU before I shut it down and stowed it away to wait for the replacement.

 

And secondly, how likely is it that the problem could have been caused by older wiring inside my house? This home was built in the '60s and has aluminum wiring inside it, though as far as I know it ought to have more than enough amps. What would happen to the PSU if it wasn't getting enough juice? That wouldn't cause it to short or damage other components, would it? Wouldn't it just shut down?

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1) Highly unlikely.

 

2) again highly unlikely. Household wiring doesn't quite work like that. If your PSU was underpowered due to an older electrical service, that would mean that every device or appliance in your house would be underpowered. Basically a good hairdryer would pull more current than you 1200w PSU.

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Installed the new AX1200 and the occasional click persisted. I wrote it off thinking it must be normal, or that something else in the case was making the sound. Then earlier today I moved the system so I could vacuum, and I noticed another spark when toggling the I/O switch back on.

 

It's worth mentioning I didn't bother rewiring the cables from the old AX1200 as I didn't want to undo all my cable management, but it seemed unlikely the cables could be responsible at the time. Wouldn't a loose or broken wire simply prevent the system from booting at all?

 

The computer itself seems to be running fine, so I don't think sending it back in to be repaired would do me any good. I'm stumped at this point. Is it possible that it's normal for the contacts on the I/O switch to spark on occasion? It doesn't happen all the time, and I've never noticed it while the computer is turned on. It's just an occasional occurrence when toggling the I/O switch.

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... Then earlier today I moved the system so I could vacuum, and I noticed another spark when toggling the I/O switch back on. ...

 

That spark you see is the static electricity your case and PSU accumulated when you dragged the case over the carpet and then ran a vacuum cleaner (an appliance with an electric motor in it) next to your PC. Not a good thing to do.

 

When you turn the PC on, the accumulated static electricity discharges into you (or vice-versa) depending on who/what has the better ground. Not a good thing to do.

 

And I hope you are not unplugging your PC to free up a socket to run the vacuum cleaner? Because if you are, you are removing the ground circuit that protects the PC. Not a good thing to do.

 

You can buy "static free" mats to insulate your PC from the carpet and possibly from the vacuum cleaner emanations.

 

Hope this helps ...

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That spark you see is the static electricity your case and PSU accumulated when you dragged the case over the carpet and then ran a vacuum cleaner (an appliance with an electric motor in it) next to your PC. Not a good thing to do.

 

When you turn the PC on, the accumulated static electricity discharges into you (or vice-versa) depending on who/what has the better ground. Not a good thing to do.

 

And I hope you are not unplugging your PC to free up a socket to run the vacuum cleaner? Because if you are, you are removing the ground circuit that protects the PC. Not a good thing to do.

 

You can buy "static free" mats to insulate your PC from the carpet and possibly from the vacuum cleaner emanations.

 

Hope this helps ...

 

I didn't drag it across the carpet or run a vacuum cleaner next to it. I unplugged it and set it on the table while I was vacuuming the room, hence why I had toggled the I/O switch off.

 

I really doubt it was static electricity, the case is sitting on a board on top of the carpet and it has plastic wheels. It also didn't shock me and the spark wasn't near my finger. It was inside the PSU, near the contacts on the I/O switch.

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