Saturday, May 23, 2015

Today's morning irritation

Brought to you by Antec.

My PC has occasionally been powering down a few seconds after powering up over the last few weeks. This morning it was consistent so the thing wouldn't start up at all.

I dropped in a new power supply (I always keep a spare power supply around).  Didn't help. Unplug a few things, then a few things more, then everything.  Didn't help.  I'm thinking "Crap.  I have a dead mainboard."

But in the process of "unplug everything" I unplugged the power switch and then went "duh, need the power switch to turn it on, genius" but then I thought about the symptoms and thought "Hey, it's acting exactly like the power switch is being held on.

I pulled off the power switch connector, then when I plugged it back in the mainboard started up. Tada, the power switch was shorted.

Good, I won't be scrounging up a mainboard out of the junk box today to get another machine up and running. I really had other stuff to do today.

Turns out that the Antec case design puts the leads to the power switch right up against a bare cut piece of metal. They rely on some heat shrink tubing to insulate it. This is guaranteed to fail eventually. I confirmed with my meter that a slight bit of pressure on the switch causes one of the wires to short to the case.


Luckily the sheet metal on modern cases is paper thin so it was easy to bend the metal away.  This leaves the switch a little wobbly as it uses that little flap to stabilize the switch holder. But it's stable enough for now. If it becomes a problem I'll design and 3D print a new holder with a strut out to the side to take its support from farther out in the case.

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