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HP EX487, 4GB, E5300 CPU, OCZ Octane 128GB SSD, 500GB HDD - needs PSU


msawyer91
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Some of you probably saw my note yesterday about my EX487 power cycling itself. Today I removed all doubt--the power supply needs to be replaced.

 

Between my family, my full-time job and my side business, I just don't have the time to deal with repairing this server. It wasn't an easy choice, but I decided to sell it to a good home. Because the PSU requires replacement, I'm selling the server as is, for parts.

 

Here's the full description on MediaSmartServer.net with pictures: http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=13087

 

Shoot me a PM if you're interested or have questions. The asking price is $250 which includes shipping to US. I'm open to offers, and am willing to ship internationally, although international shipping will incur additional costs. PayPal is preferred, but as a business owner I can accept checks drawn on US accounts, ACH and credit cards by fax.

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Yep, sellers remorse kicked in. I decided to keep it and order a new PSU for it instead. PSU came yesterday and I stress tested it yesterday to confirm that the old PSU was in fact the problem. The server never had any trouble with the new one, so later today or maybe this weekend I'll rebuild it and put it back into production.

 

I cracked open the old PSU and saw that while it looked good overall, on closer inspection a couple of the capacitors' domes were bulging a little bit--when they should be flat as a board. That would likely explain the intermittent drop-outs the PSU experienced under continuous high load.

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Replace a few capacitors and you likely would have a spare PSU for your unit.

Don't tempt me. That thought has crossed my mind. It might be tricky, however, as a bunch of them seem grouped together in a pretty tight cluster and that's where my bulbous capacitors reside. It looks like two of them for sure have curved domes--possibly a third.

 

What causes capacitors to bulge anyway? Do they just wear out? These PSUs have always been plugged into UPSes that have power tuning capabilities to help provide additional layers of protection against power sags, spikes and surges.

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One of the most common reasons for electrolytic cap failure is the caps being made with improper or contaminated electrolyte. This was a real problem with mobos in the early to mid 2000's. The electrolyte could 'attack' the aluminum foil in the cap and eat away at it, causing the electrolyte to heat up and build up pressure inside. The reason the top of the cap typically bulges is because the little crosshair on the top of the cap is not by accident; it's a pressure relief seam specifically designed to prevent the cap from exploding.

 

If you buy high quality caps to replace the existing ones they likely will last many years.

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Capacitors deteriorate with age and over voltage.  It is possible that your UPS has deteriorated with time as it also uses capacitors, diodes, etc to clamp off voltage spikes, etc.  You might consider thinking about how old the UPS is.  Unfortunately I don't know a way to test the filtering capability of a UPS to see if it's working correctly.

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If I decide to take on the endeavour of replacing capacitors destined for the electronics graveyard, do you have any recommendations on where I can get high quality ones? Having never gone capacitor shopping before, I'm not quite sure what to look for, except perhaps for end-user reviews.

 

As for UPSes, I've replaced several over the years. It seems that battery failure is the most common issue as the UPS progresses into geezerdom. Usually when the batteries start beeping, I don't bother trying to replace the battery. I just replace the whole unit. APC's battery prices, even factory direct, are not much cheaper than the whole UPS, so why not replace the whole unit? That way I get fresh capacitors and other components.

 

Luckily, on the last Saturday of every month (except December) where I live, the township hosts a countywide electronics recycling event. I've remanded desktops, cracked LCDs, TVs, VCRs and all sorts of failed electronics to this event on many different occasions. I don't know if the stuff really gets recycled properly or if it's just a "feel good" event but the stuff still winds up in a landfill. I'd like to think I'm doing my part to help the environment.

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I do replace the batteries in my UPS units. One of my units is 10 years old or more. I use the same batteries that are used in commercial alarm & access control systems. They typically cost around $20, and the units usually have 1 or 2 of them. Normal lifespan for one of these batteries is 4 to 5 years.

 

Since my UPS units typically cost $200 to $500, the cost of the batteries is well worth it.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but most UPS's use Lead Acid batteries, and definitely degrade with usage.  IIRC, you should replace the battery every 2-3 years, even if you've never had cause to use them. I could be crazy about that, but I *swear* that is what is recommended. Must have read it somewhere....

 

 

Oh, and speaking of UPS's, I saw a nice 1350VA one at Costco for $90. I may have to buy it, as mine is ... 4-5 years old... and I haven't replaced the battery...

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