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Attn: HOOT and others PSU mod advice

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Muggy

Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2001
Location
Australia
I'm directing this question at hoot since he seems to be the resident "solder stuff to make it work better" guru. Anyone else who has some thoughts on this, feel free to chime in!

I recently ordered what I thought would be a great PSU made by Channel Well Technology (CWT) from Amamax. Their reseller ratings aren't the best but it's a PSU, how bad can they screw that up? Well the answer is that they can do just about whatever they want.

The item I ordered was supposedly a CWT built Sparkle unit. Had I done some more research, I would have learned that Sparkle supplies are built by Fortron Source and not anyone else, as far as I know. Anyway, they clearly labled the unit as Channel Well (Sparkle) 420ATX, model number CWT-ATX420. So I thought great, I'll be getting a good supply from a reputable company.

Well, what I got was a TurboLink supply with the same model number as what I ordered. However, upon further inspection I discovered this unit was clearly inferior. (I'm going on what I know of the CWT unit from the review at www.mikhailtech.com. I didn't care much for his grasp of PSU technology but could tell from the pictures he took and the actual test results that this would be a decent supply.)

Here are the differences:
CWT-420
-1000 microfarad filter caps
-Substantially large heatsinks
-1 high quality (ball bearing type) thermally controlled 80mm fan
-Quite a few beefy components onboard
-heavy

Turbolink
-680 microfarad filter caps
-Downright tiny heatsinks (not the crimped aluminum crap on most cheapies but not all that large either)
-2 transparent (clear) sleave bearing fans-only one of which is temperature controlled.
-Very few components on the board
-Very light (the entire shipping box and PSU were 3 lbs)

OK, now to my question. If I am unable to return this thing for what I wanted, is it worth my time to attempt to mod this PSU? I'm thinking about adding 2 more 680 microfarad caps to the filter stage. My idea is that by having them in parallel, I'll be able to double the capacitance and get some better results under high loads. I also thought about replacing the heatsinks and sleave bearing fans with something a bit better. How about it people, think this is worth trying? If I don't go this route, I'll RMA the thing and get a Sparkle 350 at newegg for just a few dollars more than what I paid for this one.
 

toastedzergling

Member
Joined
May 25, 2002
You sure did a lot of research:) I don't think molding a PSU is a good idea, it could be dangerous, let's say you didn't glue a heatsink tight enough...
 
OP
M

Muggy

Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2001
Location
Australia
I'm not so much worried about getting hurt as I am about whether or not it will actually improve performance. I've taken apart quite a few high voltage devices (including TVs and Monitors) so I'm well aware of the risks and don't mind them. I'm less concerned about the heatsinks on this PSU as I am the filter caps. It's very possible the output devices on this unit are efficient enough to allow for smaller heatsinks. The filter caps are what have me worried. I've got an older 235 watt PSU with the same size caps and that kinda scares me!
 
OP
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Muggy

Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2001
Location
Australia
No thoughts on this yet, eh? Well, I may just do it for kicks... I'm still fighting with Amamax on whether or not this was false advertising. They mentioned something about substitutions when the right item wasn't available. Too bad that policy isn't stated anywhere on their site!
 

flounder43

Senior Lawyer-clocker
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
Location
Minneapolis
I woulnd't settle for anything less than what was ordered. I wouldn't bother with any modding, just get the one you wanted.
 

Randy

Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2001
Location
Sedro Woolley, WA.
I haven't seen Hoot post for a couple of months now :(
I agree with Flounder, send it back and get what you wanted in the first place.
 
OP
M

Muggy

Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2001
Location
Australia
I would love to do just that, except for a few nagging things. First off, Amamax may have farted around just long enough for me to miss my window of opportunity for RMA'ing this thing. Second, I'd have to pay shipping to send it back (unless there's some magical way to convince them that they screwed up enough to warrant them paying shipping). And finally, the thing was really cheap ($45 shipped) and it appears to be working just fine. I borrowed an Antec Truepower 480 a couple of weeks back and the voltages are pretty much identical. Here's what I'm getting in MBM5:

5volt 5.03(idle) 4.84 (full load)
12volt 12.5(idle) 12.1(full load) I think... It's never been under 12 though.
3.3volt N/A (this is the DDR voltage and it stays where I put it)
CPU voltages are all perfectly fine.

I've also checked it with a multimeter and it shows even less variance. I'm thinking the circuitry of the mobo might make more of a difference than the PSU will (in this case at least). So all in all this PSU is performing just fine so far.
 

larrymoencurly

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2002
Even my 300W PSUs have 680-820uF filters. If you increase the size too much, do you have to change the thermistor to limit the stress at turn-on? I ask because that PSU of mine with the 820uF caps has two thermistors in series, a big one and a much smaller one.

What kinds of components are missing from your PSU? I have a Channel Well with a small transistor and resistor left out, and on the high voltage side a small grounding capacitor isn't there. On two no-name supplies I have/had, several large chokes were left out as well.

Can you challenge the charge with your credit card? Because then it wouldn't be limited by the seller's return policy because they never sent what you ordered.
 
Last edited:
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Muggy

Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2001
Location
Australia
larrymoencurly said:
Even my 300W PSUs have 680-820uF filters. Can you challenge the charge with your credit card? Because then it wouldn't be limited by the seller's return policy because they never sent what you ordered.

What kinds of components are missing from the PSU? I have a Channel Well with a small transistor and resistor left out, and on the high voltage side a small grounding capacitor isn't there. My 250W no-name has a lot more empty space, with no filter chokes on the AC lines.
I used my debit card, it's a VISA but I'm not sure they have the same policies.

As to the second part of your comment, I've seen a nice write up on mikhailtech about the stock cwt420 and they have all kinds of stuff in them, including pots to adjust the voltage. When I look at mine, it's like a totally different model altogether. I'll post some pics of the guts when I get the opportunity.

The thing is, the model number on amamax's site is the same as what's on the PSU that I received. They could pass this off as just being a question of how you look at the product info. Bear in mind, this is the same PSU you would get in a "decent" Chieftech or other Antec "clone" case. So it's not like it's terrible. It's just not what I THOUGHT I was getting. You see my dilemna?