Pat's Log
Fri, 22 Sep 2006

Antec's (Lack of) Quality Control
20060921 I'm a little angry. After all that work on the car's fender made me feel good about the vehicle I drive, I go in yesterday for emissions testing, and it fails. The results were exactly the same as the last test, meaning that if I invest 450 dollars I'll get a conditional pass. That 450 is supposed to cover repairs to rectify the situation, but it sure didn't last time. So, I'll pay, get a pass, and have to pay again in a couple of years when they still don't know what the problem is. Anyway...

A while back at work, I was working on a running computer, so that I could feel if a hard drive was spinning up as it should. Unfortunately, there was one of those flimsy Y-splitters for power, and one of the wobbly pins shorted with another. I've had this happen before. It's usually a matter of just changing the power supply's fuse. This time was worse. The power supply died, and it took the brand new UPS with it.

I finally got around to doing a post-mortem on the UPS and power supply. The UPS is shot for unknown reasons. It thinks there is an overload when nothing is plugged in, meaning that one of the FETs probably went bad. But why is the UPS affected at all?

Opening the power supply, the real issue became immediately apparent. The main fuse in the unit is the standard ceramic tube, sandwiched into leads that make it suitable for mounting on a board. To save space, they mounted it vertically, heatshrinked the lead that comes back down to avoid shorts, and then heatshrinked the unit as a whole to prevent contact with neighbouring components. The problem is that the heatshrink on the lead that loops down is nonexistant in the area that matters. The outer heatshrink was pressing the exposed lead up against the lower contact, making the fuse effectively "not there."

I mailed Antec and got the response I more or less expected:

There is no way to determine what transpired regarding your power supply cause damage to your UPS. We would have to test your system completely in its entirety to get an accurate analysis of what happen. Now for the simple fact that you have already open the power supply up there has obviously be some tampering of the power supply by an unauthorized Antec service representative. With that being said there not much we could. do.

Never mind that I would not have known about the problem had I not "tampered" with it. I'm tempted to write back saying that small-claims court could easily settle this. They won't show up. I'll get the few hundred dollars to replace the UPS and my court fees. If they do show up, it still not a problem. Any idiot can see that the fuse doesn't do anything. It could just as well have burned the building down. They ought to recall all of their power supplies.

[] | posted @ 02:59 | link

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