Home Horror Stories 220, 221, Whatever It Takes [story]

220, 221, Whatever It Takes [story]

220, 221, Whatever It Takes [story]

I was working for a local community college and my boss asked me to go check out a machine in the admin lab. The admin lab was a small room with 4 PCs in it that the people in the admin office could use for guests or demos or some such crap. One machine was acting strange, it would turn on…then suddenly turn off, before POST was even finished. I worked at it and worked at it and swapped out parts and did everything I could. I really wanted to figure it out and impress my boss but I was stumped. I called my boss and had him come take a look at it. We were both looking at the PC, after about an hour, with completely stumped looks on our faces. It was a Gateway desktop case and the cover was off. I had my face inside the case looking around inside and we were flipping the power switch on and off…i don’t know why…that’s like kicking a TV that doesn’t work…sure it might have some effect but it doesn’t really fix anything.

Well I had my face inside and one last time my boss flipped the on switch and BANG!…the power supply exploded in my face. My ears rang for days. Sparks hit my face and the back of the PS blew out so I had a few nicks and scratches on my face as well. My boss said he had never seen such a thing happen…

The problem…two weeks before they had reran some wiring to the room and the outlet wasn’t running at 110, it was running near 220. Those machines didn’t get used that often so no one had turned them for two weeks. Safety mechanisms in the desktop were working perfectly to switch it off when it detected a power problem but those mechanisms don’t last forever. The last time he turned it on it finally just blew the power supply right out…into my face.It was a quick way to learn respect for my chosen field.

achievement unlocked!

via: [Spiceworks Community]

Picture Source: [Aip.org]



  1. Last time I checked (and I work for a place that sells electrical supplies), 220 outlets are physically different from 110 outlets. How committed the criminal act of making a 110 power cord plug in to a 220 outlet?

    • 220 was wired to a 110 outlet. It’s not difficult to do if you’re splitting a cable carrying 220 for your 110. Connecting the outlet across the 2 hot wires instead of one hot and the neutral will do it.

      The result is a 110 outlet that fries anything plugged into it. This power supply was doing its job to protect itself, but if you’re stubborn and keep trying…

      As for exploding PSUs, I’ve had 2 go off in my face. Not fun.


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