Computer Died – Solved

By Martin Jansen, Owner Jansen-PCINFO

If you guessed the power supply based on my meager amount of clues, you were correct.  Of course when the power supply blows like that there is a concern that it might take the motherboard and other components with it.

So it was with some trepidation that I ordered a new (to me) power supply on eBay.  Fortunately there were plenty available for the Dell Optiplex MT 7010 and other similar models for around $20.  The pigtail on these power supplies is particularly long – about 10 inches.  The trick I use to speed shipping is searching for the closest vendor at the best price and select Buy it Now.


It really didn’t take much to troubleshoot the power issue.  First I disconnected everything from the back of the computer and took it down to my basement office.  Some Dell Computers have a green LED light on the PSU indicating it is getting power.   When I attached a power cable nothing lit up.

Then I gave the PSU a sniff test.  Yes, definitely an electronic burnt smell from the fan side.  Probably a blown capacitor.   I didn’t need to check further.

The Wait

The power supply would take a few days to arrive from Michigan.  So I didn’t hesitate to get another computer, Dell SFF Optiplex 3010, that I had in the basement.  It has an i3 processor, 6GB RAM and a 240GB SSD – plenty of hardware to run Linux Mint Cinnamon 21.1.  I used that computer until the new PSU arrived.

I also checked my other Dell computers for a suitable PSU, but all had shorter pigtails.

New (Used) PSU

On the third day the new (used) PSU arrived and it took me about 10 minutes to hook it up.  The PSU tested good in the basement, so I brought it upstairs and plugged everything back in.

The moment of truth.  Would everything work when I powered the computer on?  YES! I am happy to write that everything is working just like nothing ever happened.  Fortunately for me, the old PSU died quietly without taking out any other components.

Thanks for all the suggestions and help I received on social media.  Some people suggested I just pull the drives and move on to a newer computer, but I like the 7010 just as it is.  It’s rare to find a desktop computer with so many USB ports these days.