Benefits of Power Supply Preventive Maintenance
Preventive Maintenance (abbreviated PM) is defined as “proactively replacing components before they fail”. The benefits of PM are many. When related to power supplies, it usually means replacing old fans and capacitors. When a fan starts to fail, the airflow either stops or starts to slow down. When this happens, capacitors begin to dry out. Once the electrolytic fluid dries out, the capacitors start acting more like resistors. This resistance is called “Equivalent Series Resistance” or ESR for short. When the ESR increases above acceptable levels, it causes all kinds of problems. These problems ultimately cause failures in every section of a power supply. The most critical of these sections include the DC outputs and switching sections. Once the capacitors fail, the switching sections fail. Once the switching sections fail, the drive sections fail. Once the drive sections fail, the control sections fail. As you can see, there is a cascading effect of failures, making it very difficult to repair without the proper documentation or schematics.
Very old capacitors leak. The seals around the bases and legs of radial capacitors break down and leak a fluid that is very similar in chemical composition to anti-freeze. This solution is very destructive and will actually dissolve copper traces and soak into printed circuit boards. Copper traces are fairly simple to repair. However, once the solution soaks into the printed circuit boards, the pc boards lose their insulating properties. The affected areas of plastic, which are normally perfect insulators, start acting like resistors. Once this happens, the power supply or printed circuit board is non-repairable.
Power Clinic Incorporated makes a living out of repairing power supplies. However, if we had one message to relay to our customers, it would be to replace the capacitors and fans BEFORE the unit fails. Replacing capacitors and fans before a power supply fails takes minimal time to perform, and zero time to troubleshoot. We are able to refurbish working power supplies much faster. Therefore, we can pass that savings on to our customers. The benefit of preventive maintenance means your equipment stays in service ten times longer. Call us today, and let us propose a plan to keep your equipment running well beyond the support of the original equipment manufacturer.