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Question Electric buzzing noise from PSU under load

AMD Die Hard

Member
Sep 30, 2004
61
0
66
I have never heard a coil whine before, so I don't know what it sounds like. My power supply is making a noise like electricity making an arc whenever my GPU kicks in. It seems to run fine. Everything looks fine, I can't see anything abnormal under operation. The fan goes on and off normally. Is this what coil whine sounds like? Electricity grinding noise?

It is a Corsair HX1050 power supply.

So - Should I replace or ignore it? Doe this mean it is going to fail imminently?
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
15,109
5,909
146
Are you sure it's coming from the PSU, and not something your GPU?

Onto the main question, almost all the time when a component outputs coil whine, it's just an annoyance due to the sound. That said, you said it was 7 years old in another thread, so if the coil whine bothers you enough, you can go ahead and retire it and buy a new quality one that shouldn't have any coil whine.
 

C1

Platinum Member
Feb 21, 2008
2,263
57
91
Recommend analyzing to determine what is going ASAP on as you might end up frying a component which might even be a MB.

The noise might even just be a fan blade clicking on something or maybe like what I experienced with a PSU fan that would begin clicking intermittently due to an improperly sized shaft axial tension spring. (Manufacturing defect.)

You can easily check the fan as clicking source by temporarily stopping the bade using a soft/flexible rubber or even wooden object.

If it's an ADDA brand fan, then my bet is that you've found your problem.

https://forums.anandtech.com/threads/power-supply-fan-replacements.2505953/#post-38889572


Good Luck
 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
6,476
828
126
A coil whine is high audio frequency and high repetition frequency. An arch is usually more like a zap sound and that could be imminent failure. A buzzing/rattling/etc is more likely the fan bearing wearing out. A disposible plastic drinking straw is a good way to gently stop a fan, wooden objects can chip the blade.

If all else fails, record the noise and put on youtube or googledrive, etc, and link here.
 

AMD Die Hard

Member
Sep 30, 2004
61
0
66
Thank you all for your responses. It is most definitely not the fan or GPU. I have the PS out of the case right now and you can see that the fan goes on and off as it needs to. The fan is silent and the sound is localized , I think, to a big yellow wrapped coil in the PS.

It is not a high audio frequency, it sounds more like a computer hard drive from the 90s under load. The sound definitely cycles volume depending on the amount of load. The more load, the louder it gets. It is quiet at idle. It was loud enough to make me take the computer apart and figure out what the noise was.

@ USANDTHEM, you are a super moderator! yes this power supply is like 7 years old. In 2013, I put together this killer brand new system with an i7 4770k on an Asus z87 Sabertooth MB with 16GB DDR3 1866 using the subject Corsair HX1050. This base system lasted me through three GPU upgrades (780, 980, 1070ti).

It's final configuration is with a Gigabyte 1070ti and two samsung SSD - 500GB and 1TB. I was getting this ready to hand down to my kid, who currently has the system I built before this one. (i7-970 hex core, 24GB tri-channel memory, GTX 980, 500GB Samsung SSD). So this system is old and I just didn't want to drop in a new power supply if I didn't have to. I am really hesitant to use the PS from the current i7-970 system, because that is really really old, although I think it is a 1500W PS.

tldr; Noise isn't from fan, sounds like a 90s hard drive and I'm wondering if it is just coil whine, OR if it is dangerous OR maybe hopefully there is a story of someone who had this happen to them and it just went away?
 
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mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
6,476
828
126
It does seem like coil whine since you observed the fan and state it's not that, plus the change in load causing it is pretty telling. That is not a sign the PSU needs replaced, unless you find the noise objectionable.

It is possible that degradation of the PSU, shifted the duty cycle a bit and it's now hitting a resonant frequency where it wasn't previously, but alone all that can be known for certain is this coil was not wound tightly enough so it can make noise.

In some cases I've quieted noisy coils by liberally coating them with epoxy. If it has yellow tape around it, you may have to take that off first. I am assuming you mean an inductor when you wrote coil. If the main transformer(s) are the noise source, it is not so easy and probably more trouble to get into than it's worth to try to unwrap those because the windings are layered on them and the results with fixing coil movement are less certain. Generally for a transformer you'd have to remove it and soak in lacquer to get it to penetrate deep achieve the noise elimination, but with inductors the windings in a psu are only one level or a few, larger wires with bigger gaps.

Just don't use hot glue instead of epoxy, it has to remain stable when it heats up a bit.

The noise probably won't just go away on its own unless you do something to signficantly change the power consumption so it never enters a resonant zone, though there is the possibility that swapping out the capacitor right after it in series with a fresh, very low ESR replacement might help.
 

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