The Case Of the Too-Hot Transformer

Picture it. Friday night. 22:45. Outside Atlanta, GA. Cold. The wife and I were watching the final episodes of Season One of Burn Notice. Killer show. From the other room came a howl of consternation. Thomas gave it to me straight, “Dad! Can you check our Internet connection? Every website I try to visit gives me an error!” Once the episode ended, I went to work on the problem.

I checked the computer and, sure enough, it wasn’t connecting to the Internet. I then tried to ping one of the computers on the local network and it wasn’t responding, either. I checked the downstairs router and rebooted it, just to be sure. It came back up, but I still couldn’t get through it. I also couldn’t get my iPhone to connect to the router’s WiFi. 

I then headed upstairs to the data center. Actually, it’s my office, but there are a bunch of computers in there. I walked in and immediately noticed that the router (a SonicWall TZ 170) was off. Not good. I unplugged it and plugged it back in. Still bupkus. I then unplugged it and pulled the whole power cord and that’s when I felt it. The transformer in the middle of the cord was hot. I don’t mean slightly warm or somewhat heated. I mean hot as in, “Holy crap! That thing is hot!” 

The quest, then, was to find a replacement power supply amongst the boxes and boxes (and boxes) of old computer stuff that I keep for just such an occasion. I found one that fit and plugged it in. Some of the lights came on, but not all. I unplugged it and reread the label. Oops. The voltage was twice as high as it should have been. I continued looking through my boxes of computer cables and found another with the right size plug and the right voltage and amperage. I plugged it into the router, and up it came. And my wife thought there was no good reason to keep all that junk around. 

So why did the power supply fail/almost melt? I don’t know. It has been running 24/7 since 2004, but I would have expected it to last a bit longer. Oh well, it’s fixed now.

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One thought on “The Case Of the Too-Hot Transformer

  1. You waited to the end of the show? I always have to fix the internet during the commercial….

    Burn Notice is a really odd show.

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