Power Supplies are one of the most essential components of your computer. They are the powerhouse that ends up providing all the electricity needed to the different parts of your PC. So it is pretty clear these power supplies can cause huge problems if something goes wrong with them.
In certain scenarios, if your power supply does run into a problem though, a clicking sound will start to appear. Which might be a little scary for you at the start. But worry not, as this sound might mean different things. Though all of them are related directly to your Power Supply Unit (PSU).
Power supply clicking is when the voltage regulator of the PSU keeps switching the power by turning it on and off alternatingly. This keeps in sync with the blinking lights. An issue can be limiting the PSU to deliver power to the motherboard. Check the PSU installation and connections to fix the issue.
Mostly, if a power supply ends up malfunctioning, your whole PC can get damaged, if not completely ruined. There have been many different instances where, either due to power going out or people not installing good power supplies, they have lost their entire expensive builds.
Because of this, Richard Cownie – a PC builder on Quora has come to an interesting conclusion. After building 5 PCs by hand, it is better to go with an expensive power supply from a well-known brand than to cheap out with this component. According to him, you end up saving money in terms of efficiency, have less fan noise, and have a reliable product for years on end.
Few things you should know
What is a Power Supply?
The Power Supply or the Power Supply Unit (PSU) has one job. To turn the incoming Alternating Current (AC) to Direct Current (DC). Most of these modern units come in an ATX format.
This format defines the unit’s specifications. Other than that, some of these modern products come with a manual switch for selecting the input voltage while some come with this feature automated.
Be careful when handling your Power Supply. As even when you have the PC turned off, ATX units always provide a standby 5 Volt power supply to run some of the peripherals and give standby functions to your computer.
Does the Clicking Sound always mean something bad?
The problem is not the clicking sound itself. But rather, how loud it is and at what times does it come. Some Power Units always make a clicking sound when you start your PC up.
If this happens a few times randomly and the clicking stops after a few minutes, then you have nothing to worry about. But if the clicking sound is constant or coming at specific times, then you better have a look yourself or take it to a professional.
How to Fix Power Supply Clicking
There can be multiple different reasons as to why your Power Unit is making this noise. Some can be harmless while others can be deadly for your PC and your wallet. We will, list them down one by one and explain how you can fix them too.
Make sure the noise is from the Power Supply
The first step to solving any problem is to identify the source. Sometimes, it can be that the clicking sound is coming from some other component all together. This won’t always be the case as Power Supplies do end up creating this sort of noise. But before you go ahead and think about other fixes, this can be an easy way to be sure.
Some other hardware components that create sounds like this include your CD-Rom, Storage device, Cooling systems or your Speakers.
Was PSU Installed correctly?
If you have made sure that the Power Unit is the source of the noise, you then need to think about the first time when you were installing the unit itself. Ask yourself and think if the PSU was installed correctly or not.
You can make sure by taking a look closely, preferably when the PC is turned off. You can check out the video below which details the steps to install it correctly.
Sometimes the PSU gets installed in the wrong orientation. Due to this, it ends up suffering in terms of cooling. As the air intakes get switched up. This ends up causing the Power Supply to overheat.
If this is the problem, just switch the PSU around.
Check the Mounting Screws & the Wires
If the Orientation of the PSU is correct, you could then check to make sure if the PSU has all its mounting screws tightly fastened or not. Sometimes, these mounting screws end up loosening up and even coming off their mounts. In this scenario, the Power Unit ends up rattling, hence making the Clicking Sound.
If the mounting screws are not tightly fastened or have come out entirely, either tighten them up or replace the missing ones. Before you do this, make sure your PC has been turned off completely and main power supply is off.
Just like the screws, the wires can also come undone. This can be because of wear and tear, or an external force or simply because they weren’t fastened properly to start with. Just like the screws, once you have figured out which wires are loose, if any, either fasten them up or replace them completely.
Connections of the Power Supply with other Components
As we explained to you above, the PSU is connected with all other components of your PC. These other components are your motherboard, the graphics card (If you have one attached, and some other cables present in your computer).
So if you have made sure that the PSU is fastened properly and is connected properly too, you need to then make sure your supply is properly connected to all these other components.
Sometimes your PSU makes the clicking sound in order to warn you about one of these connections. In the scenario that it does, your PC would have probably shut down. Worry not as for the first time, this is a fail-safe designed to make sure the power supply cuts off if there is a voltage difference.
So, once you have turned your PC off and removed the main power cable, inspect all the other connections that your PC has with these components. Make sure they are fastened properly and that each connection has been joined appropriately too.
Overclocking might be the culprit
Generally, Overclocking is a practice that is followed by a lot of people around the world. Overclocking is when you run your PC faster, extracting the most possible out of your hardware.
In situations like this, when your PC is running faster, it can be easy for different components of your PC to heat up. This might be because you do not have an adequate cooling system installed or you might just be asking too much out of your hardware.
In order to check if this is the case, when you do hear the Clicking sound, try to point out if you are overclocking the system or not. If you are, and the clicking sound is coming, slowly bring your PC to a normal state and observe if the clicking sound continues.
If it still does, you will have to stop extracting so much out of the system. In scenarios like this, because of the extra load, some of the components of your PC also get permanently damaged. So you will have to inspect your PC closely after turning everything completely off.
The PSU Fan may be Broken or Dusty
PSU’s come with fans installed in them to manage the heat that is solely produced by them alone. In certain scenarios, if you do not have clean environments, these fans can gather dust in them. Which can lead to the fans being clogged.
This is a normal occurrence as dust is a normal environment factor at most places. Though if you do have your PC on the ground or in an enclosed space, the chances of this happening increases.
Other than dust, sometimes the fan itself breaks. In either of these cases, you will need to replace or clean the fan up.
After you have turned your PC off completely, take a look into the PSU. You will need to unscrew the power supply so do be careful and make sure it is not connected. Then go ahead and inspect whether the problem is dust or if it has been broken.
If the problem is dust, carefully remove it using canned air and brushes. Be gentle as these parts are delicate and can easily break.
Voltage Regulator could be Fluctuating
Voltage regulators are used by Power Supplies in order to monitor the incoming voltage in the device. These are failsafe’s installed by the manufacturer in their products. The reason being, where ever you might live, voltage fluctuations can be common.
When these fluctuations happen, sometimes the power breaks and then comes back suddenly while in other cases there might be a voltage surge. Both of these cases are harmful and can even be deadly for your PSU and your PC as a whole.
The clicking sound might just be your voltage regulator turning your Power Supply Unit On and Off. This happens because there might be spikes happening from the power supply itself. In this situation, turn your PC off and leave it for a bit until the power becomes stable.
Though if this is a prolonged situation, the voltage regulator might end up getting damaged. If that happens, you will have to get the regulator either fixed or changed.
Disconnect extra peripherals
Because we all want our PCs to look good, we end up connecting multiple Peripherals to our hardware. These can be RGB lights, extra fans, etc. Because of these extra components, the PSU ends up working harder to supply power to them.
Because of this over-usage, your power supply might end up making clicking noises. So if you do have any extra peripherals attached, disconnect them.
If the clicking sound is only common when these extra pieces of hardware are attached, you might need to get a bigger power supply or leave these products unattached.
Your Power Supply might actually be failing
We know you might not want to hear this but in certain scenarios, your power supply might actually just be failing. Hence the clicking sounds.
If you have checked all of the above-mentioned problems and none seem to have fixed your problem, it might be better to admit that your PSU needs changing.
Remember, this piece of hardware provides power to all your other expensive components. So it is better to get this changed than to have your whole PC changed completely.
Just like we mentioned in the beginning, it is always better to go for expensive PSUs that are from a well-known brand. This is an essential piece of hardware that can have dire consequences if something goes wrong with it. Once you do get a good PSU, you will have better efficiency as well as better peace of mind.
And when you have thousands of dollars invested in your PC, it is always better to be safe than sorry.