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'[PICLIST] Microchip Power Bricks'
2001\01\30@032407 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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I have had two of the Microchip 9 volt power bricks die on me in the last 6
months.  These are the ones used for most of Microchips dev tools, the Pic
Start Plus, ICD etc.  Microchip have replaced them but I was just wondering
if anyone else has seen this problem?  I did take one apart "just to see
what was inside" and it's a tiny switch mode supply.  A non-functional one
had nothing visibly burnt etc. but I didn't get time for a full analysis.

Mike

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2001\01\30@041343 by Roman Black

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Michael Rigby-Jones wrote:
>
> I have had two of the Microchip 9 volt power bricks die on me in the last 6
> months.  These are the ones used for most of Microchips dev tools, the Pic
> Start Plus, ICD etc.  Microchip have replaced them but I was just wondering
> if anyone else has seen this problem?  I did take one apart "just to see
> what was inside" and it's a tiny switch mode supply.  A non-functional one
> had nothing visibly burnt etc. but I didn't get time for a full analysis.
>
> Mike


Yes, they're badly designed and run very warm
(at least mine does on 240vac). I pulled mine apart
when I first got it and inspected it. They use
a cheap mains SMPS. Don't like it at all. The
only benefit it might have over a "real" power
supply is the reduced shipping costs...

I think it should be marked with a duty-cycle
for usage time, as it gets much too hot when
operated continuously even if the picstart
is not running. Pretty disgusting really as
it doesn't have a power switch and you have
to go crawling around behind computer desks
to unplug the pathetic thing! Mine hasn't
failed yet but I try to only run it for a few
minutes at a time.

Maybe they work ok with 110vac but I'm not
impressed with it at all. The first picstart
I bought had a proper plugpack (wall-wart).
:o)
-Roman

PS. If you wan't to fix them try replacing
all the electro caps. Or just throw it in the
bin with the rest of the trash.

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2001\01\30@043646 by Dwayne Reid

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At 08:23 AM 1/30/01 +0000, Michael Rigby-Jones wrote:
>I have had two of the Microchip 9 volt power bricks die on me in the last 6
>months.  These are the ones used for most of Microchips dev tools, the Pic
>Start Plus, ICD etc.  Microchip have replaced them but I was just wondering
>if anyone else has seen this problem?  I did take one apart "just to see
>what was inside" and it's a tiny switch mode supply.  A non-functional one
>had nothing visibly burnt etc. but I didn't get time for a full analysis.

What is your mains supply?  I have been using several of those for many
years now at 120 Vac with no failures to date.  Are you on a 230Vac supply?

If I recall correctly, someone else has also had failures on those.  I
*think* that a fusible resistor was the culprit.  BTW - he was using 220 -
230Vac supply.

dwayne



Dwayne Reid   <dwaynerspamKILLspamplanet.eon.net>
Trinity Electronics Systems Ltd    Edmonton, AB, CANADA
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2001\01\30@043854 by Andy Shaw

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Yeah I had one of these fail on me (UK 240V). I just gave up and dug out a
brick I had that provides the same voltage. It used to get hot in use so I
suspect it was operating close to some sort of limit. On a similar subject,
my ICE2000 came with a US style power lead (purchased in the UK from
Farnell), isn't that just a pain!

Andy

{Original Message removed}

2001\01\30@054604 by Andy Stephenson

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Michael,

Of the two that failed on me, both cases were an O/C 1W ish resistor.

Can't remember the component ref or value, but have a look around. The
first one to fail, put a hole in the res body, the second one did not.

Rgds...

...Andy

Michael Rigby-Jones wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2001\01\30@062958 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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{Quote hidden}

I am using a nominal 230v supply in the UK.  The first brick failed
completely which was an obvious failure.  The second measures 9v off load,
but when plugged into our Pro Mate production programmer, just has enough
power to light the LCD backlight, but thew programmer itself dosen't work.
I assumed the programmer had broken, and I've been meaning to get around to
returning it until I thought to try a different PSU on it.

Anyone know a source of *reliable* 9v only regualted supplies, that are
easily obtainable?  I'd rather not use the variable voltage ones that most
stores stock.  Turning them up to 12 volts (as someone is bound to do) might
not be healthy for the dev tools :o)

Mike

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2001\01\30@065525 by Roman Black

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Michael Rigby-Jones wrote:
{Quote hidden}

Why not buy a 12v plugpack and just put a 7809 9v
(3-pin) regulator in it? You can probably fit it
in the plugpack or on top with a small heatsink
if you need that much current. :o)
-Roman

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2001\01\30@065708 by Andy Shaw

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Hi,
Farnell (http://www.farnell.co.uk) seem to have a good selection (though the prices
seem a little high).

Andy



----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Rigby-Jones" <mrjonesEraseMEspam.....nortelnetworks.com>
To: <EraseMEPICLISTspammitvma.mit.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, January 30, 2001 11:30 AM
Subject: Re: Microchip Power Bricks


> > {Original Message removed}

2001\01\30@070321 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Andy Stephenson [SMTP:RemoveMEandy.stephensonEraseMEspamEraseMEASAMICROS.COM]
> Sent: Tuesday, January 30, 2001 10:37 AM
> To:   RemoveMEPICLISTspam_OUTspamKILLspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU
> Subject:      Re: Microchip Power Bricks
>
> Michael,
>
> Of the two that failed on me, both cases were an O/C 1W ish resistor.
>
> Can't remember the component ref or value, but have a look around. The
> first one to fail, put a hole in the res body, the second one did not.
>
> Rgds...
>
> ...Andy
>
You inspired me to open them up and take a look!  There is a 200 Ohm 1W
resistor (R3) that on both faulty supplies are well cooked, as is the PCB
underneath.  However, both resistors are functional, and I can see no bad
solder joints.  I also checked the fuse, the surge limiting thermistor, the
diode bridge, and something that looked like a low value fusible resistor as
well.  Nothing obvious at all I'm afraid.  The last one to fail has also
been getting *very* hot around the main switching transistor (MOSFET?), the
PCB is noticeably brown underneath this device.  What has probably not
helped is the nice piece of insulating foam that the PCB sits on, helping to
keep everything nice and hot.

Roman suggested changing the electroylitics, of which there are several, but
to be totaly honest, the value of the supply is neither worth the cost of my
time or the cost of replacements.  I'll chop the low voltage cable (with
power plug) off and use it on a bench supply for now.

I really dislike switchers.  I know they have their place, but any time I've
had to repair one, I hate the point at which I have to plug it in and try
it.  I probably just a big coward, but after witnessing a couple of
"catastrophic failures" (not my own!) I usualy put it on the end of an
extension lead and stand the other end of the bench to power it up!  At
least linear supplies generaly hum quite loudly followed by a waft of smoke
if they fail.

In summary it looks like it is basically a poor design that is not
adequately rated for it's intended use.

Cheers

Mike

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2001\01\30@070326 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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Farnell's prices are *always* a little (or not so little) high!  Thanks for
the tip though.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Andy Shaw [SMTP:EraseMEandysspamspamspamBeGoneSCO.COM]
> Sent: Tuesday, January 30, 2001 11:52 AM
> To:   RemoveMEPICLISTKILLspamspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU
> Subject:      Re: Microchip Power Bricks
>
> Hi,
> Farnell (http://www.farnell.co.uk) seem to have a good selection (though the
> prices
> seem a little high).
>
> Andy
>
>
>

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2001\01\30@072022 by Caisson

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> Van: Michael Rigby-Jones <spamBeGonemrjonesSTOPspamspamEraseMENORTELNETWORKS.COM>
> Aan: KILLspamPICLISTspamBeGonespamMITVMA.MIT.EDU
> Onderwerp: Microchip Power Bricks
> Datum: dinsdag 30 januari 2001 9:23

Hello Michael,

> I have had two of the Microchip 9 volt power bricks die on me in the last
6
> months.  These are the ones used for most of Microchips dev tools, the
Pic
> Start Plus, ICD etc.  Microchip have replaced them but I was just
wondering
> if anyone else has seen this problem?  I did take one apart "just to see
> what was inside" and it's a tiny switch mode supply.  A non-functional
one
> had nothing visibly burnt etc. but I didn't get time for a full analysis.

Well, I had two of them fail in less than two years (240 volts supply).
The cost of having them repaired-with-no-cost exeeded the prize of a
stabilized wall-wart (having to send it by mail) , so I have not taken the
trouble to have it re-repaired ....

I was less-than-pleased to hear that they (the Dutch outlet of Microchip
stuff) could not tell me what part of it went bad.  It did not give me the
opportunity to replace the offending part myself.

Regards,
 Rudy Wieser

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2001\01\30@072438 by dre Domingos F. Souza

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>Anyone know a source of *reliable* 9v only regualted supplies, that are
>easily obtainable?  I'd rather not use the variable voltage ones that most
>stores stock.  Turning them up to 12 volts (as someone is bound to do) might
>not be healthy for the dev tools :o)

       Surely it won't matter. Any kind of logic circuit that is WELL done, has a PSU of some 9-12V and an internal regulator to supply +5V to the logic part. I'd be crazy to project something that gets it's 5 volts from a "regulated wall-brick".


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       Alexandre Souza
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       Linux User #85093

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2001\01\30@072444 by dre Domingos F. Souza

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>I really dislike switchers.  I know they have their place, but any time I've
>had to repair one, I hate the point at which I have to plug it in and try
>it.  I probably just a big coward, but after witnessing a couple of
>"catastrophic failures" (not my own!) I usualy put it on the end of an
>extension lead and stand the other end of the bench to power it up!  At
>least linear supplies generaly hum quite loudly followed by a waft of smoke
>if they fail.

       Some time ago there was a common joke in my lab: "Alexandre turned indian" and everyone around would start to "hummmmmmmmmmm" for a long time. That's because I used to fix a switcher that ALWAYS blows the +5v capacitor (when it fails, it raises the voltage to +35V!!!!!) and I get that lovely aluminium can right between my eyes, making that mark of the "third eye" in me. So they say I've got to be an indian :o) Of course I solved the problem assembling a "shield" made of clear acrylic foldable between me and the damm switcher. And now I have a good view of an exploding capacitor, he he he :o)


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2001\01\30@073103 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Alexandre Domingos F. Souza [SMTP:TakeThisOuTxandinhoKILLspamspamspamINTERLINK.COM.BR]
> Sent: Tuesday, January 30, 2001 12:27 PM
> To:   .....PICLISTspamRemoveMEMITVMA.MIT.EDU
> Subject:      Re: Microchip Power Bricks
>
> >Anyone know a source of *reliable* 9v only regualted supplies, that are
> >easily obtainable?  I'd rather not use the variable voltage ones that
> most
> >stores stock.  Turning them up to 12 volts (as someone is bound to do)
> might
> >not be healthy for the dev tools :o)
>
>         Surely it won't matter. Any kind of logic circuit that is WELL
> done, has a PSU of some 9-12V and an internal regulator to supply +5V to
> the logic part. I'd be crazy to project something that gets it's 5 volts
> from a "regulated wall-brick".
>
>
I would have thought so, but I don't particularly want to chance toasting
some expensive tools to be honest.

Mike

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2001\01\30@074131 by Bob Ammerman

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I could be wrong, but I think that mChip supplies a conventional linear wall
wart to those of us in 110V land. Mine are heavy and don't get all that
warm.

Bob Ammerman
RAm Systems
(contract development of high performance, high function, low-level
software)

{Original Message removed}

2001\01\30@075608 by Roman Black

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Bob Ammerman wrote:
>
> I could be wrong, but I think that mChip supplies a conventional linear wall
> wart to those of us in 110V land. Mine are heavy and don't get all that
> warm.

The one I got with my original dos picstart years
ago was a normal one. (I never used it!! original
picstart collectors item anyone??)

The one I got about two years back with the new
Picstart Plus is the awful switcher one but did
come with a US mains lead. Since the mains lead
plugs in I just use an Aussie one.
-Roman

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2001\01\30@094846 by William Bross

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At 11:52 PM 01/30/2001 +1100, you wrote:

I have had a number of their PSUs go bad over the years -- 2 of the big old
switchers on my Picmaster and 3 of the small PSUs on my Promate and
Picstart+.  I normally just call my Microchip FAE and I get a new one in a
couple of days.  You can also fill out the service request on their website
at:
http://www.microchip.com/10/tools/support/service/index.htm

Bill

>Bob Ammerman wrote:
>>
>> I could be wrong, but I think that mChip supplies a conventional linear
wall
{Quote hidden}

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2001\01\30@110115 by mike

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On Tue, 30 Jan 2001 11:51:41 -0000, you wrote:

>Hi,
>Farnell (http://www.farnell.co.uk) seem to have a good selection (though the prices
>seem a little high).
CPC (http://www.cpc.co.uk) have a wide range of well priced PSUs
e.g. 9V 0.5A regulated linear #pw00413 UKP3.96
9V 1.67A switchmode #PW00523 UKP12.93


Electrospeed (http://www.electrospeed.com) also do a huge range of PSUs

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2001\01\30@204451 by Roman Black

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William Bross wrote:
>
> At 11:52 PM 01/30/2001 +1100, you wrote:
>
> I have had a number of their PSUs go bad over the years -- 2 of the big old
> switchers on my Picmaster and 3 of the small PSUs on my Promate and
> Picstart+.  I normally just call my Microchip FAE and I get a new one in a
> couple of days.  You can also fill out the service request on their website
> at:
> http://www.microchip.com/10/tools/support/service/index.htm
>


Sounds like a case of "release a disfunctional product
and just replace the failures"... I could never do that!
It would irk me severely that my name was on a crap
product that is not reliable! Just lucky they fail in
a way that doesn't (usually) destroy the Picmaster...
-Roman

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2001\01\30@210415 by Andrew E. Kalman

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Roman wrote:

>Sounds like a case of "release a disfunctional product
>and just replace the failures"... I could never do that!
>It would irk me severely that my name was on a crap
>product that is not reliable! Just lucky they fail in
>a way that doesn't (usually) destroy the Picmaster...


Some time ago our PICMASTER started acting a little funny, in that
the green power LED would sometimes light and other times not.
Everything else about it seemed to work fine ... 4-6 months later I
decided to investigate, and found that one of the two +5V fuses (the
non-socketed one, of course) had blown. Dunno why. Anyway, replaced
it with an in-line, socketed fuse and all is well again.  The PS is
not a brick, though -- it's a big momma made in Germany.

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2001\01\31@021611 by Nigel Goodwin

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In message <spamBeGone3A776D7D.6E02EraseMEspamezy.net.au>, Roman Black <fastvidspamBeGonespamEZY.NET.AU>
writes
>Sounds like a case of "release a disfunctional product
>and just replace the failures"... I could never do that!
>It would irk me severely that my name was on a crap
>product that is not reliable! Just lucky they fail in
>a way that doesn't (usually) destroy the Picmaster...

I suspect that MicroChip just buy the PSU in - probably from the
cheapest quote!. SMPSU's usually fail 'safe', it's uncommon for them to
damage the product they feed - they often have a 'crowbar' circuit which
kills the supply if the output gets excessive.

As a TV service engineer I repair a LOT! of switch mode PSU's,
incidentally, the first domestic use of a SMPSU was by Ferguson in their
3000 series colour TV's - around 1970, and was totally discrete.
--

Nigel.

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'[PIC]: Microchip Power Bricks'
2001\02\01@161304 by Peter L. Peres
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>At least linear supplies generaly hum quite loudly followed by a waft of
>smoke if they fail.

You must be one of them lucky guys who evaded being sprayed by a failing
large electrolytic in a linear supply ;-) I don't know what causes asthma
but THAT certainly does it, at least temporarily ! I once worked in a
restricted space and had this happen and I thought I had a 50% chance to
make it to fresh air in time.

Peter

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2001\02\01@161330 by Peter L. Peres

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>reliable 9V power bricks

In this country one walks into a sell-everything-electronic shop and asks
for a replacement powerbrick for Panasonic (or was it Sony) telephone
answering machines. This is 9Vdc regulated 800-1000mA and you can choose
connector polarity (when buying, not by switch). About $10-12. I just so
happen to know that the transformers they use have thermal fuses fitted so
I trust them for unsupervised operation.

Peter

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2001\02\02@033723 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Peter L. Peres [SMTP:.....plpRemoveMEspamACTCOM.CO.IL]
> Sent: Wednesday, January 31, 2001 7:04 PM
> To:   .....PICLISTSTOPspamspam@spam@MITVMA.MIT.EDU
> Subject:      Re: [PIC]: Microchip Power Bricks
>
> >At least linear supplies generaly hum quite loudly followed by a waft of
> >smoke if they fail.
>
> You must be one of them lucky guys who evaded being sprayed by a failing
> large electrolytic in a linear supply ;-) I don't know what causes asthma
> but THAT certainly does it, at least temporarily ! I once worked in a
> restricted space and had this happen and I thought I had a 50% chance to
> make it to fresh air in time.
>
> Peter
>
Never had an electolytic explode in my face, although I have seen more than
a few tantalums spontaneously ignite!

I used to work for a railway signalling company and one of the products was
a hefty, non regulated linear supply.  The transformer had a VDR across one
of the primary windings to absorb the regular surges found on railway
supplies.  Unfortunately, the women building the units sometimes connected
these accross the wrong tappings.  As an apprentice I worked on in the test
area for some time, and one of my jobs was to test these PSU's.  I can
remember swithing a supply on, and hearing a very loud humming, so I
switched it off quickly and called over the supervisor.  He sat down and
switched the PSU back on and after a couple of seconds of humming the VDR
literaly exploded.  The poor guy was on an office type chair with castors,
and the fright of the explosion made him jump so much he went flying down
the workshop on this chair!  By this time the unit was well and truly on
fire.

So I guess linears can be pretty dangerous, but they *usualy* give some
warning as to their impending failure.  The first time you know a switcher
has expired is when you are picking the insides of a cap out of your hair...

Mike

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2001\02\04@121739 by dre Domingos F. Souza

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>Never had an electolytic explode in my face, although I have seen more than
>a few tantalums spontaneously ignite!

       It's FUN! After the acrylic shield, of course :o)




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       All the best!!!
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