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PC Power Supply Discussion Troubleshooting and discussion of computer power supplies

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Old 03-28-2008
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Default Power Supplies Around The World

Different countries have different input voltages

Countries around the world have different voltages coming from the utility mains. From a low 100V, used in Japan, all of the way up to a commonly used 240V.

Computer power supplies that have active power factor correction are able to automatically adjust for different input voltages. Just be sure to look at the label of the power supply to find out if your mains voltage is within the range of capability of the power supply unit. Some units will say 90~230V, others will say 100~240V, while others may just be 230V or 240V only with no option to run at lower voltages.

Power supplies without power factor correction tend to have a 110V/220V or 115V/230V switch on them. ALWAYS make sure this switch is set to the correct input voltage prior to plugging the computer into the wall. If your input voltage is 120V, using the 115V setting is acceptable. If input voltage is 115V, using a 110V setting is acceptable, etc.

For a picture of a typical 115V/230V switch, click here.

Some power supplies are sold as "230V only" or "240V only" units. This is because the input, or "primary", side of the unit is engineered to only handle the lower current of higher voltage mains. These power supplies are marked as such and should NEVER be used on AC input lines lower than the voltage specified.

For a picture of a label on the back of a 230V only PSU, click here.

My power supply doesn't seem to support my country's voltage

If the country you plan to use your computer in uses a lower AC line voltage than what your power supply supports (typically a lower voltage), it is suggested to not use that power supply for your PC. Lower voltages require more current to deliver the same amount of wattage. The components inside the power supply may only be able to handle so much current, therefore the unit may become damaged from prolonged usage.

An AC input voltage difference of -/+5V is acceptable. Therefore, if your power supply unit has a 120V/240V switch and your mains provides 115V, it is acceptable to set the switch to 120V and continue using the unit.

Different countries have different plug types

All computer power supplies have either an IEC C13/C14 (C13 is the male plug on the cord while C14 is the female socket on the unit) power receptacle or, in the case of very high wattage units, an IEC C19/C20 (C19 is male, C20 is female) power receptacle on the power supply housing. By standardizing the socket on the power supply unit, users are capable of using a good number of different power cords with different plugs on them for use in different countries.

Power supplies sold in North America typically include a power cord with a NEMA 5-15 plug. Those sold in UK and Europe typically include a power cord with a BS 1363 or CEE 7/7 respectively. Of course, which power cord comes inside the box really relies on the distribution channels used to get the power supply unit on the shelf at your retailer. Fortunately, universal PC power cords are often available at electronics and computer stores for anywhere between $3 and $5 USD. Ironically, a new power cord costs a good deal less than a mere travel adapter.
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