Power supply

A power supply is a hardware component that supplies power to an electrical device. It receives power from an electrical outlet and converts the current from AC (alternating current) to DC (direct current), which is what the computer requires. It also regulates the voltage to an adequate amount, which allows the computer to run smoothly without overheating. The power supply an integral part of any computer and must function correctly for the rest of the components to work

You can locate the power supply on a system unit by simply finding the input where the power cord is plugged in. Without opening your computer, this is typically the only part of the power supply you will see. If you were to remove the power supply, it would look like a metal box with a fan inside and some cables attached to it. Of course, you should never have to remove the power supply, so it's best to leave it in the case.

One key way to keep your PC in good condition is to make regular checks on the power supply unit (PSU). Usually situated in the top of your PC tower and distributing power to all of your PC hardware, the PSU is one vital component you cannot do without

Ways to Maintain Your PC Power Supply

Getting the most out of your PC means taking care of each component – and the power supply unit (also known as the PSU) is one vital piece of hardware that needs to be kept in full working order so that you can get the best out of your computer

The PSU is the part of your computer that you connect to the mains electricity supply via the "kettle lead" style cable. It is absolutely vital that the power supply is correctly setup, securely fitted and adequately cooled in order to guarantee the best performance from it, and by extension, your PC

Maintaining your PSU is relatively easy – it's mainly a case of keeping the device clean and dust free.

What the PSU Does

A key part of your PC's hardware, the power supply unit distributes power from the mains around various internal components of your PC. The hard drives, DVD RW drive and floppy drives all get their power from the PSU, as does the motherboard, the CPU and any graphics cards you might have installed

It's also worth remembering that the cable you use to connect your PC to the mains electricity outlet on the wall can degrade over time, so make sure you change this cable every 18 months or so.

Cleaning Your PC Power Supply

If you're carrying out any sort of maintenance on the inside of you PC, you should have a specialist cleaning aerosol air duster. This is basically "air in a can" that comes with a direction nozzle for you to point and squeeze.

  • These cans are great for clearing dust out of your PC, and can be used on your PSU. It is important however not to point the air into your power supply from outside the PC chassis however – when you switch your PC back on, the dust will just get sucked back into the PSU.
  • Effectively clean your PSU by disconnecting your PC from the mains, removing the side and lying the chassis on its side with the motherboard closest to your desk or bench. Spray your jet of concentrated air at the internal power supply fan – this will force the dust into the PSU and out of the external fan grille
  • For extreme dust that has really caked onto your PSU, you'll find it is easier to disconnect the power supply cables from the motherboard, drives and other devices, and remove the unit from the chassis. You can then use a vacuum cleaner hose attachment (the sort that doesn't have a brush) to suck up the heavy duty dust to give your PSU a good clean out
  • You can reduce dust build up in your power supply unit by maintaining a clean and healthy working environment, regularly cleaning your desk, vacuuming your floor and using an anti-static duster on your PC, monitor and peripherals


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