Why do power supplies smell?

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Why do power supplies smell?

Post by gdr » Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:34 pm

I've tried an Antec and a Nexus power supply so far, they both have some kind of odd chemical smell that takes years to dissipate. Is the odor caused by fire-retardants or the PVC cabling or sleeving? I'm not sure how toxic these chemicals are, but they are rather pungent. Do any power supply manufacturers make "greener" power supplies in terms of using safer materials?

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Re: Why do power supplies smell?

Post by edh » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:28 am

I wouldn't think there's a huge deal of choice in materials to make it greener. They're more or less made of the same materials all round. The sources of components may vary but items like capacitors are much the same material wise. Legislation like RoHS (Reduction of Hazardous Substances) has already removed some nasties from things and just about everything you can buy now is RoHS approved. Similarly some electrical cabling is marked LSZH (Low Smoke Zero Halogen) meaning that if it burns it's less likely to kill.

I would not think that the smell during normal operation is a bad sign. It might not smell too nice for some particular piece of equipment but it is not a sign that it is slowly gassing you to death.

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