How to Care for a Computer Power Supply: PC Maintenance Guide

How to Care for a Computer Power Supply: PC Maintenance Guide
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Ways to Maintain Your PC Power Supply

Getting the most out of your PC means taking care of each component – and the power supply unit (also known as the PSU) is one vital piece of hardware that needs to be kept in full working order so that you can get the best out of your computer.

The PSU is the part of your computer that you connect to the mains electricity supply via the “kettle lead” style cable. It is absolutely vital that the power supply is correctly setup, securely fitted and adequately cooled in order to guarantee the best performance from it, and by extension, your PC.

Maintaining your PSU is relatively easy – it’s mainly a case of keeping the device clean and dust free.

What the PSU Does

A typical desktop PC power supply unit (PSU)

A key part of your PC’s hardware, the power supply unit distributes power from the mains around various internal components of your PC. The hard drives, DVD RW drive and floppy drives all get their power from the PSU, as does the motherboard, the CPU and any graphics cards you might have installed.

In order for your PC to correctly receive power, the PSU must be correctly setup for your country or region using the red voltage selector switch.

It’s also worth remembering that the cable you use to connect your PC to the mains electricity outlet on the wall can degrade over time, so make sure you change this cable every 18 months or so.

Cleaning Your PC Power Supply

If you’re carrying out any sort of maintenance on the inside of you PC, you should have a specialist cleaning aerosol air duster. This is basically “air in a can” that comes with a direction nozzle for you to point and squeeze.

An aerosol air duster in use

These cans are great for clearing dust out of your PC, and can be used on your PSU. It is important however not to point the air into your power supply from outside the PC chassis however – when you switch your PC back on, the dust will just get sucked back into the PSU.

Effectively clean your PSU by disconnecting your PC from the mains, removing the side and lying the chassis on its side with the motherboard closest to your desk or bench. Spray your jet of concentrated air at the internal power supply fan – this will force the dust into the PSU and out of the external fan grille.

For extreme dust that has really caked onto your PSU, you’ll find it is easier to disconnect the power supply cables from the motherboard, drives and other devices, and remove the unit from the chassis. You can then use a vacuum cleaner hose attachment (the sort that doesn’t have a brush) to suck up the heavy duty dust to give your PSU a good clean out.

You can reduce dust build up in your power supply unit by maintaining a clean and healthy working environment, regularly cleaning your desk, vacuuming your floor and using an anti-static duster on your PC, monitor and peripherals.