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DC Regulated Power Supply – How To Use It To Find Out Shorted Components In Main Board
Very often, whenever electronic equipment malfunctions or malfunctions, we would immediately suspect a faulty breaker mode power supply. But did you know that faulty or shorted components on the motherboard or main board can cause the power supply to stop working as well?
The Switch Mode Power Supply (SMPS) is designed so efficiently that whenever any short circuit occurs on the main board, the power supply will turn itself off and stop working completely. If you are inexperienced in troubleshooting power supply problems in switch mode, you may think that the power supply has a problem when in fact the main board is the real cause of the lack of power problem.
The switch mode power supply has a current sense circuit (if you look at IC UC3842 PWM pin 3 it stated I-sense which means current sense) and if there is a short circuit on the secondary side (either on the secondary diodes or on the main board), the current drawn will increase and this will cause the PWM IC to stop generating current output and thus the power supply will shut down. All this happens in a fraction of seconds and you have no way of knowing if there are voltages coming out on the secondary side.
Some older SMPS power supply designs do not use PWM ICs, but have circuitry to detect over current draw and shut itself down whenever it detects a shorted component on the secondary side. A good example was the power supply used in the printer. Printers usually have two boards; one was the power supply while the other was the main board. If there is any short circuit on the main board, the power supply would not work. To isolate where the problem is, you need to remove the connector from the power supply board. With the power supply connector removed from the main board, you can now turn on the printer and check if there is any voltage present at the power supply connector.
If there are zero voltages measured on all supply pins (VCC), then we can conclude that the power supply has a problem and you can put all your concentration on this power supply board. What if there are measured voltages on the connectors? This means that the main board is causing the lack of power problem, most likely due to some shorted components on the main board.
For your information, dot matrix printers usually require two voltages to operate. One is 5 volts (for logic IC, eeprom and CPU) and the other is 30+ volts for motors. The question now is how do we know if the main board is the root cause of the power supply shutting down? Very simple, just use your analog multimeter set to X 1 Ohm and measure between the supply pin (say 5 volt pin) and main board ground and then reverse the probes. A good chart should not show two similar readings and if you get two similar ohm readings then that means the 5 volt line was shorted to ground through some faulty component.
If you have confirmed that the 5 volt line is the problem then how do we find the culprit since there are so many components connected to this line? TTL ICs, CPUs, EEPROMs, transistors, diodes, and even small filter capacitors are all connected to the 5 volt line. Shorting any of these components may cause the printer to lose power. You can remove any component cables (5 volt supply) on the main board and hope the short circuit goes away. Assuming if you happen to remove one of the pins of the filter capacitor and the short circuit is gone, then we can say that the real culprit is the filter capacitor.
The real problem is if the board has too many components on it and it will consume a lot of your time to isolate the problem by removing one pin at a time. It is not easy to identify the 5 volt supply pin on a spider IC that has 100 pins or more. Many spider ICs have more than one 5 volt supply pin. Some even have 4 and some have 6 to 8 supply pins. Does this mean you have to check one pin at a time until you finally find the fault? Not only that, to remove the supply pin from the spider ICs and check for any short circuits between the bases, a very good skill was also required. If you have broken the circuit board path, the main board may be considered beyond repair. Although you can repair the broken circuit trace, it does not mean that you have solved the actual fault!
Do you see the additional problem that arises when you try to detect the error? There must be some better way to handle this kind of problem. Yes, it is true that one can use the ESR meter to slowly trace to the source of the short circuit. One probe connects to ground and the other to the circuit line, and if the reading goes up as you probe further along the track, you know you’re going in the wrong direction! If the ESR value decreases as you move along the track, then you are on the right track. The problem is if the main board has double layers, 4 layers or even 8 layers? You can waste a lot of your precious time trying to trace the actual fault using the ESR meter method! After you have explained so much about the problems, now is the time you are waiting to get the answer on how to solve this type of defect quickly.
Did you know that Regulated DC power supply In addition to using it to flash electronic circuitry, it can also be used to troubleshoot and locate a shorted component on a motherboard? Assuming you’ve confirmed that the VCC supply lines are shorted to ground through some faulty component, you can easily detect this using a variable digital regulated DC power supply. If you don’t have a digital one, you can always use one with an analog panel meter, which is cheaper.
Now connect the alligator clip from the positive output supply to the 5 volt VCC pin on the main board and the negative output to the main board ground as shown in the figure. Once that’s all done, it’s time to turn on the regulated dc power supply. Slowly turn the switch clockwise and watch the voltage rise. At the same time, the current draw can be seen from the current digital meter reading. From experience, if there is a short circuit on the main board, every time the voltage increases, the current will increase dramatically, and if there is no short circuit, there will be less current draw.
Ok, back to this problem, if you notice that the current drawn also increases (rapidly) relative to the voltage setting increase, you are now sure that there is a shorted component on the main board. What does this mean? It’s good news for us, because if the current is drawn too much, we can identify the culprit by touching the hottest components on the main board. Using your finger you can touch any component that is very hot. Touch ICs, diodes, transistors, capacitors, etc. Once you find that just one component is extremely hot to the touch, then that was the culprit! This is the real cause you are trying to find! I have used this method to troubleshoot many main board problems and usually the culprit turns out to be a faulty port assembly and ram IC.
Why don’t I immediately return the output voltage from the regulated dc power supply to 5 volts since the faulty main board also uses 5 volts to operate? If I do this, and if the faulty components heat up too quickly, I’m afraid that will cause the faulty component to open circuit. If the circuit of the faulty component opens, the current draw will drop and the only clue you have to identify the culprit is destroyed! If this happens, then you may not have a higher fee to repair the board. Of course, you can still replace the SMD spider ICs one at a time, but that will probably eat up a lot of your repair time.
The above method I just mentioned is not limited to the main printer board; it can also be applied to other types of tiles, such as computer motherboard, hard disk, dvd, vcd, industrial board etc. Get a regulated DC power supply and I’m sure you can find the shorted component on the main board in no time! By the way, the specification of Regulated DC power supply the one i was using was 5A 30 volt (variable type). Have a nice day my friend!
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