the power supply that could

Sun Jul-23rd-2006 // Filed under: Random Crap

So, the power supply on my work computer gave up the ghost last night. I wasn’t very surprised by that finally happening; it’d been giving me trouble for a while now — the computer had been locking up every once in a while, and sometimes it just would just freeze during the boot-up sequence. I suspected that the power supply was the problem. During the boot-up sequence, the computer froze up just when the hard drives really started to spin up to speed, and that seemed like a dead giveaway. That was pretty much confirmed when the display driver started to occasionally flash these “hey, I’m not getting enough power here, so I’m downgrading performance” messages. Amazingly enough, journalism and other assorted work isn’t making me filthy rich here, so I figured I’d just put off spending money on a new power supply as long as I could. I never smelled any smoke or anything, and most of the time, it seemed to be doing okay.

But last night the damn thing finally died on me, subsequently making my already depressing work schedule that much more awful. Yeah, uh-huh, there’s a lesson there. Let’s take that as read; point is, today I had to buy a new one. On a Sunday. Luckily, that one huge and overpriced store is open on Sundays, and amazingly, they even had a suitable replacement in stock! I went right in and bought one. (While I was at it, I also picked up a new and bigger Wacom tablet, which I haven’t budgeted for, but what the hell. Mediocre artists need new toys to compensate for lack of ability. It’s a fact. Shut the hell up.)

So, I came home, unscrewed the old power supply and out of idle curiosity, I peered in there through the grille. Looked like macaroni and cheese in there. Vaguely organic-looking strings of melted plastic were all over the place. I was a little shocked — not by the damage itself, but by the fact that despite all that, the damn thing still worked. Y’know. Kinda. Even though it was having a lot of trouble squeezing out the juice the computer needed to run, last night I could still boot it up after a fashion. Sure, I had to disconnect my other hard drive, and the old floppy drive (that I probably haven’t used in, oh, three or four years, I guess, because geez, it’s the goddamn 21st century and all), and the other CD drive, but I could still get Windows up and running. Not that I could do anything, what with everything grinding to a halt every two seconds when the hard drive ran out of power and Windows had to wait for its precious swap file to become available again, and anyway, the display driver was hitting me with “Och, Cap’n, she canna take much more o’this” messages faster than I could hit “OK”, but it was still putting out enough power to keep the CPU happy with half of its insides looking like a Gigeresque painting of vaginas built out of razor blades (and fans and transformers and whatnot — surely the hallmark of any classic Giger painting).

Motherfucker worked hard, yo. I was downright impressed.


  1. Pix plz.

    Comment by Ripa — July 23, 2006 @ 1153695430

  2. I just pried the cover open (And voided my warranty in the process! GASP!), and I’m sad to report that once you look at it from above instead of peering through the grille, all of the drama just goes away — it’s just melted plastic, and there’s nowhere near as much of it as it seemed when looked from the more mysterious vantage point. Smoke and mirrors. Bummer.

    Anyway, because I’m a fucking moron, I’ve lost my digital camera, and my cell phone’s very crappy camera can only produce very crappy pictures. I guess you can still make out (some of) the brown splatters in there in the picture here.

    (I can’t quite tell where that brown plastic originally came from, either — it seems to have splattered around fairly liberally, but I have no clue which part in there went boom — nothing really looks particularly scorched, burst or otherwise damaged.)

    Comment by Mikki — July 24, 2006 @ 1153701336

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