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Capacitors and the Computer PSU Mon, Mar-05-2007
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Time for the good stuff, load and ripple testing. The testing was done by jonnyGURU in two phases several weeks apart, using a SunMoon SM8800 ATE and a Stingray USB scope. Loading on both tests was equivalent to 80% of maximum output - this was done to keep the poor Antec from popping in case the caps had already gone to cap heaven.

Here at last are the scope results:

Neopower 480W Before After
3.3v
5v
12v
5vsb
-12v

Whaaaaaaa!?!?! Ripple is actually worse now? Wassupwitdat! To be honest, I'm not entirely sure myself. It's likely however that the original Fuhjyyus were chosen specifically for this design by the engineers, and the different characteristics of the United Chemi-Con caps are a contributing factor. One thing I am certain of though is that this PSU now has a longer lifespan thanks to the more heat resistant properties of the Chemi-Con capacitors.

Ok, let's not panic. Maybe the FSP fared better with our little experiment. After all, isn't it the one that needs the most help with ripple?

FSP600-80GLC Before After
3.3v
5v
12v
5vsb
-12v

Oh for the love of... here too the ripple is actually worse after the recap. Why? Good question. It is likely that the new caps are somewhat different performing in circuit than the originals. What can be done about the ripple then? Well, short of a total redesign on the pi filters, nothing. And that redesign must be done at the factory I'm afraid.

My head hurts now. Maybe I should quit pounding it on the desk. Or unplug the soldering iron before I see little dancing bears cavorting across the keyb... uh-oh. Better open a window.

Conclusion

During this little experiment, I hope you gained a measure of how different quality capacitors can affect the operation of a computer power supply. I certainly learned that one cannot always tell how well these will perform simply by what capacitors are used inside them.

If nothing else, I hope you were entertained by my little odyssey into the depths of these two power supplies. Thanks for reading, and do stop by our forums to discuss the article.

Many thanks to the helpful forum members both here and at badcaps.net for the help during the research phase for this article. If you're looking for places to find good capacitors, or just have questions about capacitors in general, badcaps.com is a fantastic resource.




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