Power Supply FAQs
  • Basic power supply troubleshooting:

    • Using a multi-meter to determine voltage regulation.

    • Often voltage regulation is mistakenly reported as how much above or below the median value a power supply’s voltage is (for example: the +12V being at +12.1V, or the +5V being at +5.1V, etc.)

      Voltage regulation is actually a gauge of how much or, preferably, how little the voltages drop going from a low to high load. If one were to think about this in context; it would actually be easier for a power supply manufacturer to put all of the unit’s voltages at a higher than normal value so even under load with poor voltage regulation the unit would still be over the median value.

      To properly measure voltage regulation, a digital multi-meter should be used on a lead that has no other components on it that could potentially cause enough resistance to sway the results. First, you should measure the power supply’s voltages while the PC is idle. In the BIOS after any hard drives have spun up to full RPM is a good idle load. Next, measure the voltages again while the PC is under load. The difference between the two values is what you’re looking for. For example: If the voltage on the +5V only drops 0.05V, you are effectively witnessing 1% voltage regulation.

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