“Cracking” Sound from Power Supply Unit: Reasons & Fixes

It’s never pleasant when something inside your computer starts making unnatural sounds. Because this is most likely a sure sign of some kind of breakdown, and then a repair work.

Cracking Sound from Power Supply Unit

Why does the computer power supply start to crackle?

So, one day you may encounter the fact that the power supply starts making cracking sounds. This can only happen when you start the PC, and then disappear or else persisting all the time as you use the computer.

In any case, this raises suspicions that the PSU could fail to start at some point, suggesting that it’s wise to address immediately. But to do this you need to determine the cause of the problem.

Possible causes of crackling noise in the computer power supply

Among the various reasons your power supply may buzz, some can be rectified on your own. Therefore, we will move from the simplest to those that are more difficult.

1. Effect of dust

How can one overlook the issue of dust? It can ruin anything, and since air is constantly moving inside the case, dust also flies in, but not all of it flies out. And it can also end up inside the power source, also sticking to the cooler blades. Needless to say, how much this interferes with the work.

Dust is bad because it collects on internal components and interferes with their operation, but first of all, it causes them to overheat. After all, they naturally heat up during use, and the presence of dust not allow the heat generated to be removed.

Consequently, a cracking noise may arise from dust accumulation causing overheating, or dust getting into places where it doesn’t belong. A thorough cleaning should resolve the issue.

To clean the device itself and its fan, use compressed air. Use it only when the PC is turned off and avoid inserting any sharp objects inside the device to pull dust out of it – this can damage PSU connectors or completely break the power supply.

2. Residual load and overheating

Sometimes it happens that the power supply crackles only when the computer is turned off. This occurs due to the gradual release of voltage, a result of the processor frequency resetting slowly. In this case, it is usually recommended to do nothing, as this does not impact the power supply’s functionality. When replacing the device with a newer one, this effect may disappear.

The crackling sound may also be a symptom of the power supply overheating. This overheating can result from a buildup of dust inside the device, cooler malfunctions, or significant wear and tear on the power supply, pushing it to operate beyond its intended capacity.

While dust removal and cooler replacement are possible fixes, only a professional can accurately assess the device’s remaining lifespan, so it’s better to take it for repairs before buying a new one.

3. Weak or damaged components

Damage to internal components is a common reason why a power supply starts to crack. This can happen over time, or it can be an initial problem, since the device was originally made with defects or was simply designed for a different load. After all, if you change any part inside the case, you only roughly estimate whether the power supply can handle it or not. And the load on it increases, and at some point it turns out to be close to the limit. This is what causes the crackling noise.

In any case, only a specialist can help you here and, most likely, replace the equipment.

Checking and diagnosing the computer power supply

You can inspect the inside of your PSU, but be aware that doing so will void your warranty. If you have knowledge of electronics, you might recognize some components. This allows you to perform basic checks, such as identifying swollen capacitors, which are easily noticeable. If you’re skilled in soldering, you might even consider replacing them yourself

Steps to eliminate crackling noise in your computer power supply

If you’re not skilled in electronic repairs, all you can do is to clean the device and check that it is securely mounted inside the case. For cleaning, opt for compressed air, but remember to only use it when the computer is powered off and unplugged.

Sometimes, replacing the cooler might be necessary, which you can undertake yourself. Additionally, make sure to check the power supply connection to ensure it’s properly connected and that the cable is undamaged.

Replacement and repair

If cleaning the power supply does not help, it’s likely that one or more internal components will need replacing. Usually there is nothing complicated about this, but it is better to entrust this task to a professional, since only he will be able to determine exactly what has gone wrong and correctly repair the problem.

For example, replacing capacitors or repairing chokes can be executed with relative ease by an expert.

But if it is impossible to repair or it is too late, all you have to do is replace the device.


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