Can a plug kill a power supply?!

  Stuart Leyland 11:31 14 Apr 2006

Hi all.

Yesterday, the PSU on my computer which is approximately 4 weeks old died. Luckily this will be fixed by Medion sometime next week hopefully however it got me thinking. This is the 4th power supply that has gone (3 in a different computer) whilst connected to the same plug in my room.

Connected to the plug socket in the wall is a double plug with two extensions: a 4 way extension which keeps my TV, DVD player and video player in electrical supply and an 8 way extension with surge protection which satisfies the needs of my computer system. Connected to the 8 way extension are 2 monitors, surround sound system, computer, router, printer, scanner and an iPod charger. Admittedly this is possibly too many pieces of equipment to be supplied from one plug socket but it has only recently had so many additions.

To me, 4 power supplies dying whilst all connected to the same plug indicates that there is something wrong but I would expect one of the other devices to be affected also which isn't the case. Do you think I'm just unlucky with PSUs or could my theory have some substance?

Thanks very much for any input.

  Fingees 11:46 14 Apr 2006

I would suggest you purchase a surge protected extention socket, to plug into instead of a normal unprotected one.

It is possible for surges to cause damage.

There is even a surge generated when a fridge switches on or off for instance.

the surge protected extention sockets are only a couplr of pounds dearer than a normal, so better be safe than sorry, if you are having problems.

  Jackcoms 11:48 14 Apr 2006

I'm no electrician by any means, but ....

"Admittedly this is possibly too many pieces of equipment to be supplied from one plug socket but it has only recently had so many additions".

I tend to agree and suggest:

1) you seek the opinion of a qualified electrician

2) reduce the 8 items to a maximum of 4 from that particular socket

I say this because surge-protected extension leads for PCs usually come with a maximum of 4 sockets which must be done for a reason I would have thought.

  gudgulf 12:01 14 Apr 2006

With each of the socket in the double plug being capable of supporting up to 3 Kilowatt I don't think you are overloading the mains with your set up.

You may be just unlucky and had 4 faulty psu units...........alternatively the pc that had 3 psu failures may have had an internal fault that was causing the failures.

If another psu blows on the new pc THEN I would worry and maybe get the mains supply checked out.

  Stuart Leyland 13:02 14 Apr 2006

Thank you all for your advice.


The extension that all my computer equipment plugs into is a surge protected one. However, on a possible related note, whenever a light is turned off in the house, my speakers which are connected to the same surge protector as my computer make a crackling noise!


The surge protector extension that I've got has 8 sockets on it so I would imagine it is capable of protecting each socket.


It is strange that 4 PSUs have worked for a while (some for up to a year or more) and then died. I have to admit, I did consider the possibility of a fault with my old PC but then this one went as well.

My Granddad is an electrician and I may make a call and see if he can do me a favour :-)

I'll leave the thread open for now in case anyone has anything to add.

Thanks again

  Stuartli 13:05 14 Apr 2006

I would have the mains socket checked out by a qualified electrican (and the rest of the system if nceessary).

There are too many instances of problems involved from a single outlet - perhaps too many devices being run from it as well.

  Audeal 13:09 14 Apr 2006

It does not matter how many items you run from one socket. The problem is when they total more that the three Kilowatt allowed by law, and if they are all running at the same time, which I doubt very much. Drawing more than three kilowatt will either blow the fuse or cause overheating to the power system which is then a fire hazard.

I do not believe your problem is caused by this socket as no other item has had any problems.

Your just unlucky I guess.

  Ex plorer 13:46 14 Apr 2006

Hi I am not an Electrician. but it may be worth checking the Fuse in the plug to your PC, and make sure is has not got a higher capacity than your surge protector.
I think the PC plug should be 5amp. I have just checked one of mine and that’s what it was rated at.

  gudgulf 17:06 14 Apr 2006

Could it possibly have something to do with the way you use your pc?.........Is it powered up and running 24/7 for example or switched on /off frequently.

As Adeal says,it seems odd that the problem should only afflict the pc.

  Diemmess 17:30 14 Apr 2006

Just guessing as I often do..........

It is possible to have a poor contact in the switch of the wall socket, a dusting of plaster, or the remains of an insect. Perhaps even a weak spring mechanism.

If there's a poor contact there may be arcing, hence the crackle on the speakers. If arcing - that is a great way to generate all sorts of spikes and outages in succession

Replacement of the socket itself might be a good place to start.

  Diemmess 17:48 14 Apr 2006

[A fuse is there to protect the circuit not the appliance.]

The main distribution board in the house has trips which will isolate each individual circuit. (Typically 5amps for lighting and 30 amps for a 'ring' of power sockets.)

The lead to each appliance should have a fuse which is just a little above any likely use, say 3 or 5 amps for computer stuff, and these limit the current in a light thin flex.

Having too large a fuse will hazard the flex in the case of a short circuit but can't overload the computer.
This has a fuse in its PSU to stop a fire should the computer itself go badly wrong.

So the sort of extension block you use might well be 8 way surge protected but served by ONE plug into ONE domestic socket please.

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