How To Fix Power Supply Unit (PSU) Making Clicking Noise


The power supply unit on a desktop rarely shows signs of malfunctioning. However, it might start making a clicking noise either occasionally or continuously in some cases. There can be several reasons why your PSU is making a clicking noise. In this article, we will take a look at some of the reasons and how you can fix them.

Causes Of PSU Making Clicking

The clicking noise made by a power supply unit is often due to mechanical malfunctioning. The only mechanical part of a PSU is its fan for air ventilation. Furthermore, clicking noise in some cases is a sign of a PSU nearing the end of its life. The noise can occur at short intervals and sound like fan blades hitting something. 

Possible Fixes

Here are some possible fixes you can try for your clicking power supply unit:

Changing The Fan

If the fan’s bearing is making a noise, change your fan to resolve the issue. However, a fan’s bearing isn’t always the culprit. Sometimes, the blades get worn out, or perhaps a minor crack or a blunt blade edge triggers a clicking noise while cutting off the air.

Sometimes the fan’s axis loosens, causing the axis to hit the fan’s body. This results int he PSU making a clicking noise as the fan blades rotate. The majority of issues related to a loosened fan axis can be resolved by simply replacing the fan.

A replacement PSU fan is quite affordable but it demands unscrewing the PSU box, which can be tricky. Screwing back the PSU demands ensuring that no wires are in the way of fan blades when it rotates. Furthermore, going for a really cheap fan for a PSU may fail to solve the purpose due to the low rotating speed of the fan, which can result in hot air build-up inside the PSU.

Making Correct Connections

Correct connections imply connecting all the components on the motherboard correctly. Any incorrectly installed component such as a hard disk/SSD, graphics card, or other PCI cards can cause a clicking noise the moment your PC boots up. Furthermore, if your PC shuts down entirely during the boot-up after making a clicking noise, it’s probably a sign of faulty connections.

Alternatively, it can also be a sign of loose connections. Loose connections force motherboards to shut down the PC altogether to avoid short circuits and/or component failure. Whether loose or incorrect connection(s), the PSU can make a clicking noise due to unexpected power supply stopping. Open up your PC cabinet and tighten each and every component’s connection manually. Check for DVD writer, SSD, hard disk, and PSU wires and ensure they’re all nice and tight.

Installing PSU Correctly

An incorrectly installed PSU unit can result in the clicking noise you are hearing. This happens when the wires of the PSU aren’t plugged properly into the motherboard. When the PC is booted up, the power supply is started, causing the motherboard to distribute the power supply to all the components installed on it. However, in case of an incorrect PSU installation, the PSU fails to deliver the power supply to the motherboard, causing an instant shutdown with a clicking noise, indicating something wrong with the PSU, probably an incorrect installation.

One solution is to ensure PSU wires are plugged into the motherboard correctly. Some PSUs come with a user manual for a correct installation guide. Most PSUs and motherboards are designed to prevent a short circuit and/or catching fire in case of an incorrect power supply unit installation, but that doesn’t allow overlooking the situation.

Avoiding Overusage

Overusage forces constant supply by the PSU. Overworking PSU undergoes rigorous wear and tear in a short time, triggering a clicking noise. If you’re using your PC for prolonged hours, consider shortening each working session, putting your PC to sleep instead of shutting down to avoid loss of unsaved work, and keeping your ambient cool. This reduces stress from the PSU’s fan and can avoid clicking noise.

If your PC starts making a clicking noise only after some time, for instance, after an hour or two, perhaps over-usage is the main culprit. Try putting your computer to sleep and checking if the clicking noise persists. If it does, maybe over-usage isn’t the main culprit in your case.

Cleaning Up The Filter

Chocked fans, filters, and/or ventilators cause clicking noise too. Any dust particle nearly the size of grain can get trapped somewhere, causing the clicking noise. In some cases, large dust particles get stuck in the fan blades. Similarly, choking filters discourage hot air from escaping from the PSU unit, triggering a clicking noise.

If the outlet vent is being blocked by something such as a wall, consider making way for the air to escape properly. PSU fan failing to remove air from the unit witnesses excessive tension on the bearing, which initiates clicking noise in a PSU.

Keeping Power Supply Uninterrupted

Even a PSU needs an uninterrupted power supply and this can be done through a UPS or an inverter. A UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) is the most preferred device to secure a constant and non-fluctuating power supply to the PSU. UPS serves of high importance in regions with frequent blackouts/power cuts since it allows PSUs to shut down properly. Electronic components undergo damage due to sudden power loss, and a UPS ensures that the PSU doesn’t go off right away.

In case of a power cut, shut down the computer the right way so that the motherboard stops PSU the way it should be stopped. The UPS buys some time for the motherboard to shut down all the components properly to avoid any damage caused due to sudden power loss.

Replacing The PSU Before It’s Too Late

If no fixes work, perhaps it’s time to replace your PSU as it might have ended its life. A dying PSU can never be repaired, leaving the user with the only option of replacing it. PSUs aren’t costly anyway, and several brands offer reliable PSUs with a long operational life. A dying PSU would make a clicking noise continuously no matter how cool and stress-free you keep it.

PSUs come to the end of their lives due to old age or excess usage. Overlooking any warnings can also force the PSU to retire sooner than expected. Avoiding replacement of your PSU can leave irreversible damage to other components too.

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