Fixing XFX Power Supply Noise

desk frameSince I work from home now, I started to try and make everything in the home office as quiet as possible. I replaced the fluorescent light ballasts with new ones that do not buzz. In fact, when replacing one of the ballasts, I found that it was actually burned out! I swapped out the tubes as well with new LED ones. The next thing was to tackle the tower Windows Server box that sits in the office. I took the case completely apart and installed all new Noctua fans except for the CPU cooler fan. The fan power control for the motherboard was still too noisy, so I used a Noctua fan controller instead to power most of the fans to be slower. This reduced the noise and I was able to work in a quiet office for several months. What eventually cropped up was the power supply started to make some fan noise. This Windows Server runs all the time, so some components can fail over time.

The Power Supply

This is actually the second XFX power supply. The original XFX 850 failed after a couple of years. I sent in for warranty and received a new replacement. In the mean time I purchased this model:

XFX ProSeries P1-1050-BEFX 1050 W ATX12V 2.2 / ESP12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply

Now after a few more years with the 1050, it started to whine and make fan noise when the tower would heat up. Trying to get warranty service for slight fan noise, will probably be hard and this power supply is out of warranty at this point. It has been running for 9 years!

desk frame

Do not do this if you do not know what you are doing. It is best to just buy a new power supply if you are not proficient with electronics.


I disconnected the power cord from the power supply, then held the power button for a couple of minutes on the computer to discharge some of the electricity. Next, I disconnected all the computer cables from the power supply and unscrewed it from the tower case. After this, I unscrewed the main screws and carefully opened the power supply. The HA13525H12F-Z fan is partially glued to the case, so I recommend a plastic tool to detach it.

Once I had it opened, I did not detach the fan power line to the supply. After using a can of compressed air to clean off the dust, here is what it looked like:

Butcher Block Desk

The power supply and fan were not as dusty as what I thought it would be. Make sure you do not touch the blue capacitors as they may still have a charge. You can google the fan model number HA13525H12F-Z if you want to replace it with a new one. For me, I just want to see if I can keep the original fan after some maintenance. A replacement fan would most likely be $25 or more and so it would be easier to just buy a new power supply.

Butcher Block Desk

This is perhaps one of the easiest fans to work with. It literally snaps apart and once you have it disassembled, you can clean the inside with some cotton swabs and a bit of rubbing alcohol. Be careful, as you do not want to break any of the copper coils.

What I noticed is that there really was not much lubricant left, so this can explain the whining sounds. I used some sewing machine oil and a bit of Permatex Anti Seize lubricant. Less is more in this application, because you do not want any oil or lubricant spilling out. Clean up any excess and check it once more, after snapping the fan back together.

Butcher Block Desk


After this maintenance, my fan noise is now gone and I hope to get a few more years out of this power supply. Another plus is that I kept more electronic waste from the landfill.

HP EliteBook 840 G3

HP EliteBook 840 laptopLast weekend, my son returned to me the used HP EliteBook 840 G3 laptop that I had gotten him for college. He no longer was using it and it was buried in his old bedroom under some of his belongings. He did tell me that the laptop no longer started and that it had a low battery screen. Once I had some time, I inspected it and sure enough, the laptop would not even light up the display and so it seemed it was dead. I spent a couple more hours trying to figure out what it was. I opened it up and tried a variety of options, such as removing the internal battery and disconnecting the CMOS battery. Nothing seemed to work. I even connected an external display to see if that would work.

3 Long, 2 Short Beeps No Display

Finally, I removed both memory SODIMMs and found that it was one of the SODIMMs that was bad. The original Samsung memory would cause the computer to startup with the 3 long beeps, followed by 2 short beeps. The second SODIMM was a new Corsair module that I had added when I bought the laptop originally. Apparently the HP BIOS will not display a screen if one of the memory modules is bad. I have only seen memory go bad one other time on a Dell server. However, I assumed that if the memory module was bad, the BIOS would still boot and display an error. HP does not do that.

I ordered a new 8GB SODIMM and a new battery. The original battery would not charge, so that definitely needed to be replaced.

The laptop was on Windows 10, so I decided to wipe it and install Windows 11. Since this is an old laptop, HP no longer supports it and so the HP Support page will not list any updates for Windows 11. However, I the laptop runs Windows 11 fine. There is a Windows Updates issue where it keeps trying to install the Conexant driver.

Additional Notes

For the issue with audio driver Conexant, I had to run the Windows Update Troubleshooter and force that particular update to no longer show up in Windows Update. Audio is working on the laptop, so the installed driver works fine.

The other issue I noticed was that the battery would not charge past 78 percent. For this, I had to go into the HP BIOS, hit F1 and choose to go into the setup. Under the Power Management, you have to choose to allow HP to manage the battery and then it will charge to 100 percent. The default option tries to save battery cycles.

This laptop also had the LCD screen replaced. The screen ended up going bad shortly after I originally bought it. In all this laptop has lasted a lot longer than I expected. I am not fan of the HP BIOS and I know the Dell Latitudes are pretty cheap when bought used, but they tend to run hot. Next time I will probably try to get a Thinkpad.

Power Tools for the Home

Power DrillA long time ago, I told my wife that I wanted one of those cool looking Dewalt power drills. She ended up buying me just that and for several years, that Dewalt drill stayed in my home office unopened! Truth be told, I had no desire to do any manual labor or install shelves. Eventually I got bored with my other hobbies and started hanging out at home improvement stores. I decided to actually open the Dewalt case and my journey into the world of power tools really began. This is what I found in regards to what I like about power tools. Your journey may be different and you may form an opinion that varies from what I have written below. Again, it is all about learning and of course safety. Take your time and be careful always.

Investing In A Brand

The most common power tool that everyone can use is your basic power drill. Making holes is a lot easier when you have a power drill and a basic drill is useful for every home improvement project. Drills come in a wide variety of models and kits. Before committing to any one drill, think about what you will need in the future. Pick a brand that is in your price range and there are many brands from the big pro brands like Milwaukee, to the home improvement store brands that Menards and Lowes have, to Dewalt who has so many models that they cover the spectrum for both do-it-yourself people to construction pros.

The reason that I advise to pick a brand, is because, the manufacturers really make their money off the batteries they sell. You will find a ton of great deals on a drill combo kit, but they say you want to buy a saw from a different manufacturer, well you will have to invest in batteries for that too. It is best to pick a brand and try to save, by not having to invest in different batteries.

Next, you will want to consider Volts and battery capacity. Most brands have a less powerful, more compact line of power tools that fall into the 12volt range. The regular lines are in the 18-20volt range or higher. If you see yourself buying more power tools, I would recommend going with the higher volt range line. You never know if you will buy an impact wrench or saw just cause you need to. Battery capacity or size is how long the battery will last. The bigger the size of the battery the more it will last. A great add-on that comes in handy are work lights. When the power is out in your house, bigger capacity batteries and a handy light are a lifesaver.

The Right Tool

Having the right tool for the task at hand makes all the difference. For example, I read a few books on making your own work bench and I thought, that is a great idea. I can make my own work bench from wood at Menards and it will be exactly the same as what is in the book. Then you get deeper into the project, and you find out that to make your own work bench, you need a router, you need a table saw, you need a sander, etc. Yes, you can make your own work bench, but you need to have all these tools! Here is a list of what tools to possibly include in your combo kit or later when you need them:

Hammer Drill
You will need a hammer drill or what I call the big drill if you are going to drill into concrete or build a deck. For those types of jobs, you do need the bigger drill.

Impact Driver
If you are buying a kit, then it will come with an impact driver. I find myself using a driver more often than I thought I would. It makes assembling furniture so easy. Depending on the brand and model, the lower priced drivers will not have multiple speeds or auto-mode. I noticed that for some models, there is a switch to change the speed mode and for others, it will have an auto-mode feature. The more speeds the more versatile the driver is.

Circular Saw
A good circular saw will save you time and makes projects so much easier. I have both a smaller size saw and the standard 7 and quarter size one. The smaller size one is easier to use for most jobs and a bit lighter. However, Makita has full size circular saws that are incredibly light, if weight is the main concern.

Reciprocating Saw
My goto tool for yard work and tearing down a shed is the reciprocating saw. Smaller ones are great for trimming bushes and light tree work, while your bigger ones are great at cutting down bigger tree limbs and tearing down walls. I find them safer than chain saws and easier to work with as well. You don’t need to adjust chains, just replace the blade and you are good to go.

Impact Wrench
If you are a Sunday mechanic, you will appreciate a cordless impact wrench. Only recently have power tools been able to do the work of some air powered tools. The impact wrench helps me untighten my oil plug, where before I use to struggle getting it off all the time.

Work Light
This is a nice to have. You already have batteries, so a work light is a no brainer. They are great for working in your garage without great lighting or anywhere where you need a spotlight.

And More
You can get more tools to add to your collection like sanders, routers, grinders,… but all those are just more specialized and you will probably get them anyway.