Introduction to PC Power Supplies

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Introduction to PC Power Supplies

In this section we will explore the essentials of electricity, the details behind powering a pc, how to install and maintain power supplies, and how to understand fire safety and power supply troubleshooting. Power supplies are typically built have fans and wires connecting to external devices.

To understand power supplies, we should first understand basic electrical concepts. Voltage (V) is a unit of electron pressure in a wire, current or amperes (A) measures the flow of electrons in a wire, wattage or watts (W) measure the power consumer or needed by an electrical device, and resistance or ohm (Ω) measures impedance.

Wires have amperage ratings that define how many amperes the wire can handle. Exceeding this limit can cause overheating problems with your wire. Circuit breakers are built to break automatically in this case and protect the current.

There are two types of electrical current, AC and DC. AC, or alternating current, is typically provided by the electrical grid like wall sockets. DC, or direct current, is the type of technology used in batteries and only flows in one direction at a time. PCs use DC voltage, but it must first be converted from AC current via the power supply. It’s important you choose the correct voltage for your power supply or you may risk a potential fire.

Each section of your typical wall outlet carries a different purpose and measuring the supply of your outlet requires the use of a multimeter. These devices can measure voltage, resistance, and continuity or electric circuits. However, this device can be dangerous if not used properly. Using this device or possibly a circuit tester, you can see if your outlet will provide the power needed to your power supply. Surge suppressors are useful for preventing surges and protecting your PC. These devices usually contain a large number of individual outlets.

Uninterruptible Power Supplies, or UPS, can provide your PC from power surges and dips. These devices provide a constant supply of electricity to your device and prevent loss of important data. Sometimes the UPS will come with software for configuration on your PC. Choosing the right UPS depends on your power needs.

Your power supply behaves like a sort of transformer that converts AC power into DC power. This power is then used across the motherboard to power various components. These supplies come in many shapes and sizes, but the standard size for desktops is 150 mm x 140 mm x 86 mm. This power supply connects via a 20/24 pin connector to the motherboard. Peripheral connections on these devices include Molex, Mini, SATA, and PCIe. These connectors can only be plugged in one way and can be configured in the CMOS menu.

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