Detailed explanation of PC parts shortages as of late May 2020

biggles

2[H]4U
Joined
Jul 25, 2005
Messages
2,093

It would be accurate to just say "pandemic". The detailed answer some may be curious to know:
1. Lunar new year production shutdown early in the year
2. Pandemic shut down of factories, exacerbating #1
3. Air freight cost increase, PC parts were previously shipping on passenger flights. But passenger flights way down.
4. Boat freight cost increase or unavailable due to medical supplies taking priority
5. Stimulus checks in USA increased demand for PC parts. Increased demand surprised suppliers as this is seasonally a low demand time of year.

There is also discussion of some parts being in supply but the companies can't get them to stores due to a lack of transport options. Not a good time to build a PC, unfortunately.
 

GotNoRice

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 11, 2001
Messages
10,263
Yeah... very difficult to buy a PSU right now. I had the PSU in my fileserver start to act weird, causing random reboots. I tried to buy a replacement and everywhere is either sold out, or raised their prices considerably; basically price gouging. The only option seems to be places like eBay, but even then you have people trying to sell 10+ year old PSUs for probably more than they paid when they were new. A "good" deal pops up here and there, but they sell out quick. I don't actually mind older PSUs; the PSUs in both of my main computers are over 12 years old, but in those cases I've owned them since they were knew, and I know that they have never been abused, and have been kept well clean. I'm not eager to pay retail price for a used PSU that has probably spent most of the last 10 years mining cryptocurrency while clogged with dust, hair, and tobacco smoke. In the last month, I've been forced to use a few "lower quality" PSUs that I dug out of the closet. PSUs that I'd never use if I actually had a choice, but at least they "work" for now. Hopefully I can replace them with real PSUs before one of them starts a fire.

On a positive note, I've upgraded my CPU, Motherboard, RAM, AIO cooler, and GPU all within the last year. In each case, I was on the fence about spending the money, but now, in retrospect, those decisions seem almost prescient as I'd be screwed if I tried to buy all of that now.
 

Zicro

Weaksauce
Joined
Oct 20, 2007
Messages
112
In a month or two things will normalize. Just hold off until then.
 

GiGaBiTe

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 26, 2013
Messages
1,791
Yeah... very difficult to buy a PSU right now. I had the PSU in my fileserver start to act weird, causing random reboots. I tried to buy a replacement and everywhere is either sold out, or raised their prices considerably; basically price gouging. The only option seems to be places like eBay

I always repair mine when they start acting weird or stop working. Most of the time it's worn out caps, especially the tiny ones crammed in among the mosfets and switching transformers. Those things have a hard life from being cooked by the heat. Other passive components like power resistors and diodes can die as well, but usually as a result of a cap failing and pulling heavy current through them, causing them to fail. I had one Antec Aria PSU where a cap shorted out in the same circuit as a zener diode. It caused the zener diode to clamp hard and pull so much current that it burned a hole through the PCB. That was a fun repair, I had to dead-bug style repair the thing lifted off the PCB to avoid the charred areas and missing traces, but it worked and still works over 10 years later.

Dead mosfets do happen, but not as often. You generally can't just swap them, a bit of diagnosis is required to see why they failed, else you risk blowing them again.

It's not terribly difficult to repair a PSU and put it back into service, and costs a whole lot less in parts than buying a new unit. Of course you have to factor in your time, but my time for myself is free, especially during the pandemic.

my explanation is simpler; shit's fucked yo!
first time ive had a system i built "increase in value"

I had my GTX 1070 Ti almost triple in value back during the mining craze. I bought it literally a couple weeks before it happened at $400. Two weeks later, nobody had the GPU for less than $1100, and it stayed like that for months. Of course I would have never sold it because the next GPU down I had was an RX570 and that's like an 95% drop in performance.
 
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Mattdk

n00b
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Oct 21, 2011
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I always repair mine when they start acting weird or stop working. Most of the time it's worn out caps, especially the tiny ones crammed in among the mosfets and switching transformers. Those things have a hard life from being cooked by the heat. Other passive components like power resistors and diodes can die as well, but usually as a result of a cap failing and pulling heavy current through them, causing them to fail. I had one Antec Aria PSU where a cap shorted out in the same circuit as a zener diode. It caused the zener diode to clamp hard and pull so much current that it burned a hole through the PCB. That was a fun repair, I had to dead-bug style repair the thing lifted off the PCB to avoid the charred areas and missing traces, but it worked and still works over 10 years later.

Dead mosfets do happen, but not as often. You generally can't just swap them, a bit of diagnosis is required to see why they failed, else you risk blowing them again.

It's not terribly difficult to repair a PSU and put it back into service, and costs a whole lot less in parts than buying a new unit. Of course you have to factor in your time, but my time for myself is free, especially during the pandemic.

Do you use special soldering equipment to repair them? After watching Louis Rossmann videos I really want to start doing more repairs, but the initial cost for the tools is a little high.
 

GiGaBiTe

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
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Do you use special soldering equipment to repair them? After watching Louis Rossmann videos I really want to start doing more repairs, but the initial cost for the tools is a little high.

Power supplies are almost always through hole for everything with single sided PCBs. You can get by with just a soldering iron and solder wick for most everything but the mosfet heatsinks. Those have a ton of thermal mass, so you'll either need a very high power iron (like 80W) or use a desoldering gun plus a soldering iron to deal with the giant ground plane and heatsink. To diagnose more complex problems with a switching power supply, you'll need an oscilloscope, curve tracer and an isolation transformer/variac to avoid blowing up your scope if you have to probe the mains side of the PSU. I don't have a scope or curve tracer myself because I've not had to work on a super complicated SMPS yet.

I wouldn't recommend Louis Rossmann as a starting point for power supplies. General purpose low voltage circuit boards and PSUs are entirely different animals. In PSUs, you're dealing with high voltage AC, high frequency high voltage AC and sometimes high voltage DC. Mr. Carlsons Lab is a better resource for learning about power supplies and other high voltage circuitry. He also has a patreon where he puts up his designs and has more educational material.

You don't need the stupid expensive Hakko/Quick gear that Louis Rossman recommends. I have a few Weller soldering irons, and a Chineseium desoldering gun, as well as a Chineseium hot air station. Both of those Chineseium things were around $300 together plus consumables like tips and filters. I won't say they're trouble free, but they're worth it for what I paid for them.

I have an older version of this (hot air + soldering + DC power supply):
https://www.ebay.com/itm/254422115041

Also an older version of this (vacuum desoldering gun):
https://www.ebay.com/itm/302470622082

80W Weller soldering iron:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/233261045418
 

Nobu

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jun 7, 2007
Messages
6,416
my explanation is simpler; shit's fucked yo!
first time ive had a system i built "increase in value"
For real. They're (trying to) sell ryzen 2400g on ebay for the same price you could have a 3200g new, some even "for parts". A 3400g is just $50 more, not going to spend that much on a used, last-gen processor that has bent pins or is otherwise fried... o_O
 

Mattdk

n00b
Joined
Oct 21, 2011
Messages
57
Power supplies are almost always through hole for everything with single sided PCBs. You can get by with just a soldering iron and solder wick for most everything but the mosfet heatsinks. Those have a ton of thermal mass, so you'll either need a very high power iron (like 80W) or use a desoldering gun plus a soldering iron to deal with the giant ground plane and heatsink. To diagnose more complex problems with a switching power supply, you'll need an oscilloscope, curve tracer and an isolation transformer/variac to avoid blowing up your scope if you have to probe the mains side of the PSU. I don't have a scope or curve tracer myself because I've not had to work on a super complicated SMPS yet.

I wouldn't recommend Louis Rossmann as a starting point for power supplies. General purpose low voltage circuit boards and PSUs are entirely different animals. In PSUs, you're dealing with high voltage AC, high frequency high voltage AC and sometimes high voltage DC. Mr. Carlsons Lab is a better resource for learning about power supplies and other high voltage circuitry. He also has a patreon where he puts up his designs and has more educational material.

You don't need the stupid expensive Hakko/Quick gear that Louis Rossman recommends. I have a few Weller soldering irons, and a Chineseium desoldering gun, as well as a Chineseium hot air station. Both of those Chineseium things were around $300 together plus consumables like tips and filters. I won't say they're trouble free, but they're worth it for what I paid for them.

I have an older version of this (hot air + soldering + DC power supply):
https://www.ebay.com/itm/254422115041

Also an older version of this (vacuum desoldering gun):
https://www.ebay.com/itm/302470622082

80W Weller soldering iron:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/233261045418
Thanks for the information. I have a couple old PSU's I can practice on and hopefully bring back.
 
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