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A Reader Asks: Blown PSU and the Infamous 230V/115V Switch - A Reader Asks: Blown PSU and the Infamous 230V/115V Switch
Mon, October 30 2006 | 3:09PM | PermaLink Feedback?

A Reader Asks...

Q: A relative of mine decided to change the power switch on the back of my newly made PC from 230v to 115v. Seeing as I am located in Australia (where the wall voltage is 240V, 50Hz) the usual happened... I wasn't there at the time, but I noticed I could not start up my computer. After much time I realized what had happened. My PSU had been blown!

My question is, whether the hardware on the PC is still alive or not. I know definitely not the $400 PSU...

A: There is a 50% chance that some, or all of the hardware in your PC is still workable. If you had a good quality power supply it's likely that the internal fuse blew without taking down the entire motherboard with it.

To find out where your new PC stands - as either a burned out hunk of electronics, or salvageable - I'd recommend replacing the power supply and try re-starting up the computer again. If it works, then all this little experiment in 230V/115V switchery cost was a new powersupply. If it doesn't work, then you'll will need to try re-starting your damaged PC with only the most basic hardware components installed (video, memory, cpu, hard drive.) to discern which components are fried.

If the PC starts up with the basic hardware, add one component at a time as you go through and test the rest of the parts. If there are any parts with visible scorch marks, it's best to assume those components are toasted.

Be warned though. If the hardware in your PC was seriously damaged because of the power failure, and you decide to try it in another computer because the motherboard of the damaged PC doesn't work, you could also damage the good PC you are testing that hardware in. If want to try potentially damaged hardware in another PC to see what works and what doesn't, do it in an older computer if possible... in case it takes a bullet too.

There's some good advice on the subject of killing computers in PCSTATS' Beginners Guide to the Most Common Ways to Kill A PC.

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