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PSU tick under load [BRICKING PANTS EDITION]


#1

Hey there,

I have a Seasonic 620 watt psu running a gtx 970, core i7 4790k, 1 tb hdd. It has served me well for 2 years and 7 months. But today I noticed a tick coming from it while i was playing a game that gets my gpu toasty. It's a regular tick that is present only until a few minutes after i've exited (in a complete panic) the game. I'm certain it's coming from the psu as i put my ear up to it, i've also stopped the psu fan and all other fans to rule them out. Looking inside, i didn't notice any arcing. I've no means of replacing a psu let alone a whole pc if it becomes engulfed in flames. How likely is this tick of death to be a sign of some serious issue. Should i start looking for a way to replace it or repair it, and not use said pc in the meantime?


#2

Maybe its just coil whine.

Its not bad/harmfull and at the same time its not normal. Some brands have series of power supply's that are prone to this kinda thing.


#3

What exactly does this tick sound like? Does it tick in regular intervals and then suddenly stop or does it decrease in intensity and tick rate over time until it disappears?

My #1 suspicion is that It might be just a fan with a bad bearing or something stuck in it. Often times your PSU fan speeds up under load and it only becomes audible then and afterwards while it works to cool the PSU under load.

WARNING: DON'T SCREW AROUND WITH A PSU IF YOU ARE NOT SURE ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE DOING, THE CAPACITORS INSIDE CAN GIVE YOU A DANGEROUS SHOCK. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE IF YOU TAZE YOURSELF. DO NOT JUST POKE AROUND IN THERE WITH A SCREWDRIVER.

So, warning out of the way, you could unplug it and let it discharge for a good long time (2hours is good) and if you're comfortable around electronics open it up to check on the fans. Usually if it's a good PSU you can unplug them and test them individually. They usually have 2 or 3 pin connectors and run on either 5V or 12 Volt. (See the Label on them.)

First of all give it all a good air cleaning to get any dirt out. If you can unplug the Fans, try to spin them around a bit with your fingers or blow at them in the case if you cant get at them. They should spin very easily and remain spinning on their own for a good time. Check if you can reproduce the ticking sound somehow. (Use your PC case fans as a comparison.)

If one of the fans is ticking, you have a bad fan or it's just really gunked up with dirt/dust. At this point it's really up to you if you clean/replace the fan or get a proper new PSU.

If you're not sure about all this, after 2 Years It's as good a time as any to get a new PSU ( It costs you less time(money) anyhow probably )

Alternatively there could be a bad component or some parts cooling off after thermal stress that make a ticking noise when doing so. If that is the case, RUN RUN THE HELL AWAY FROM THAT PSU. (Or just unplug all the wires to defuse the bomb). :stuck_out_tongue: /s

Either way If you're no longer comfortable using it in this state I would suggest you replace, PSU's are not something to compromise or mess with if you're not certain whats going on. If they fail they will generally either pop a fuse and die quietly or violently nuke everything in your PC.


#4

The thing is i did check if the fan was making the noise. I stopped the fan, ticking continued. The ticking is regular, it appears under load, when the gpu is hot, and it goes away some time after things have cooled down, same tick rate throughout as far as i've noticed. The psu has a dust filter on it that i clean each week, i've noticed only a light fine dust on the bezel of the fan, which is probably in the psu as well.


#5

I had something similar to your problem a while ago. (still do I think)
I think it was one of my HDDs turning on at random causing a ticking noise. Might have been my GPU fans as well.
When the screen would turn off the fans would turn on and off repeatedly. I changed out the PSU thinking it was some kind of coil whine but the noise persisted.
I think I changed out the GPU and the ticking went away for a year but now it's back again.
Might check out your PSU warranty. If it's still in warranty you might as well send it in. Better safe than sorry.
I recommend screwing around with the GPU fan curve through something like MSI afterburner to see if the tick goes away.
You could also try oiling your fan bearings for the fans you can get to.
It has been a while so I apologize for the lack of relevant information.
EDIT: It might also be a relay making that noise. Not sure why it would be turning on and off though, might be the relay that controls the fan. Turns on when it gets too hot, turns off when it cools off. Not sure if modern electronics still use mechanical relays.


#6

Just call sea sonic. It should still be under warranty so it should be fine.


#7

Nope. All digital switching.


#8

That's no fun, I can't fix digital relays.


#9

For reference THIS is exactly what i'm experiencing but it only happens under load and goes away after some time when i've stopped playing. During normal browsing it's not present.


#10

I don't know if your PSU has a relay inside but mine (Cooler Master V650S) makes an audible click when it turns on or off. That being said if it's a relay you'll be hearing a kinda loud click. If it's not that loud and the PSU it's not shutting down I doubt it's a relay.
Try to dust it out because it's might be a "chunk" of dust making a bit of contact.
Also I would follow the advice of not taking it apart.
Did you noticed something weird when the PSU started clicking? Glitches, stutters, clocks dropping?


#11

I've googled a bit and it seems a good number of people had this problem (search for ticking, chirping, scratching, clicking), even when I limit the search to only Seasonic. Some switched to another brand, others went the RMA route, others yet were experiencing chirping for years without other problems. No one has reported (that I've seen) that their Seasonic PSU has died after experiencing this.

Since I'm planning to buy a new PSU for myself and was considering Seasonic, I put a little more effort into this and the most interesting stories I've found are:

This guy was experiencing chirping on college but not at home, on the same machine, even while using a UPS both times. That's just X-files territory, unless an EE would like to elaborate on it... I'm all ears.

This guy (post #6) and this answer mention that it could be capacitors. In the first link, the guy explains that the chirping is actually gas being rapidly released and than re-sealed somewhere on a failing cap. A chemical reaction from a possible short supposedly produces the gas. The OP there went for a replacement and "this one is making the same chirping noises now too, even when i turn the computer off"...

Now, that could be a bad series or a crappy model, but I've heard stories of branded PSU's deteriorating rapidly due to a bad electrical grid. A thing you can try first is take your PC to a friends house and try it there to see if the electrical grid is screwing up your PSU somehow. Do the same gaming there, maybe you'll end up with the same result as the guy from the first link (the ex-college guy).

If you know anyone who has a UPS, ask if you can borrow it just for a test.

Lastly, (and I don't recommend this, especially if it's under warranty) you could open the PSU and take a peek. Other than that, if you have an electrical repair shop nearby, you could take it there.


#13

Blockquote

Im having this problem now with an antec Neo eco 620w. I know it is like a tier 5 psu, but i didnt knew the tier list when i bought it, and it seemed pretty good quality at that time to me.

Anyway, it has Worked well for about 5 years, and now its Making that ticking noise that you can hear in the video of the post im replying to. I recently built a new rig on it so im worried.

I Openned it Up because its past its warranty, and i dont see any blown capacitors nor burnt áreas. Its not the fan because i connected it without the fan and the ticking is still there. I know its dangerous so i wont mess around with it anymore.

MY QUESTION IS if i can still use it. The psu itself has been Making this noise for a while (maybe a year on the previous rig). I thought that coil whine was a High pitch constant noise, not this ticking noise, so i always imagined it was a fan touching something and as the pc was quite old never checked it until now.

But Reading about how it could blow Up my new rig now in frightened to even turn on my pc. Even though i have read a lot around and asked, no one seems conclusive on whats exactly is the problem or if you tolerate the noise to just keep using it. I know that for peace of mind the clear choise is to just buy a new one, but i dont have the Cash right now, after buying all the other parts.

What is your advice? Keep using it like a lot of people do? Or just wait to have a new one? It amazes me how psu seems like a lottery between people burning their rig or their entire house, or deciding to live with it until something blow, which seems to never happen in some cases, no Matter brand nor model.

Sorry for the Long reply, im just too deep in this subject right now…


#14

sure you canhammer :rofl:

no the ticking you might be hearing may be coming from a capacitor or thermistor
slight shorts in electrolyitcs can often sound like ticking.
but if i was a betting man i would lay odds on a fan bearing sticking momentarily.
psu are not that expensive to replace if they are noisy. or if you have the fans on hand its easy to replace them.
detecting a sticking bearing can be tricky is it is not very bad.
you can take the fans speed divide it by the number of blades and set a strobe at the resulting number, mark one blade and turn the strobe on it should show the mark in a very small area of variance of position when running.
a sticking bearing will jar it into many places during the strobe flash. (this method we used when testing the rotation and bearings on large industrial motors)


#15

If you are not experience with repairing power supply systems just replace it for your peace of mind!
power supplies are built in three main sections, power stepdown transformer, rectifying/conversion, and filter/regulation. with regulation dividing the voltages into the multiple values needed 12v, 5v, 3v and so on and you need to know exactly what you are doing with them.
rather than risk your mobo, drives, and periferal cards its safer to just replace the psu.


#16

my advice is get a new power supply. I’ve heard mosfets making a cracking sound before, they don’t last long after. A power supply is what. . . 70 bucks? just get one and don’t screw around with this in any way unless you are very experienced with mains power and electronics safety.