How often do ordinary users need to test the power supply? Probably once or twice in a lifetime. This usually happens when buying a new PSU for your system, or if the computer starts to become unstable for unknown reasons, with symptoms indicating a power supply failure. In the first case, if the PC is working, then everything is in order, and if not, all components are checked by elimination and should be returned to the store if the PSU is the cause. In the second case, the easiest way is to contact a service center, where they will check the unit and say whether it can be repaired or whether it is easier to take another one.
Then a natural question arises, and who might need the device that we decided to consider in this review? Most likely, those who often encounter different power supplies in large quantities. Namely – enthusiasts, system administrators, store sellers and service employees. How exactly can it be useful to them? To answer this question, let’s look at the functionality of Dr.Power II.
|Housing surface material||Plastic|
|Display||Liquid crystal, monochrome|
|Screen size, (L x W) mm||50 x 36|
|Backlight||Yes (Blue, Red)|
|External connectors||24-pin (MB), 8-pin (CPU), 8-pin (PCI-E power), Molex, SATA (power)|
|PSU compatibility||standard ATH v12.3|
|Measured voltage values, V||Line +5 V — 4.6 / 5.5 V
Line +3.3 V — 3 / 3.6 V
Line +12 V — 11 / 13 V
Line -12 V — –10.5 / –13.4 V
Line +5 Vsb — 4.6 / 5.5 V
|Measured value of PG signal, ms||100–500|
|Dimensions, (L x W x H) mm||130 x 75 x 25|
|Average cost, $||40|
Delivery and equipment
The device comes in a fairly simple “slim” cardboard box. On its front part, it tells about the main functions and advantages of the device, and on the back, there are images of the contact connectors and a table with the nominal and limit values of the PC supply voltage. In addition to the cardboard box, Dr.Power II is protected from harmful external influences by a transparent plastic blister and a couple of adhesive films.
In the kit, in addition to the device itself, there is only a small leaflet with instructions for use.
Appearance and design
The appearance of Thermaltake Dr.Power II is not particularly remarkable. It’s a small black box with a monochrome display in the middle and a single button on the side. On the front part above the screen there is a company logo with the slogan “make your life cooler”. Under the screen, the purpose of the device is directly written – a universal ATX power supply tester. And at the very bottom is the name of the model. Everything is extremely simple and clear. The body of the tester is made mainly of matte non-slip plastic, except for the glossy insert on the top, along the rim of the display and below. And buttons on the side.
The main and only control button for this device is located on the left – in a place where it will be convenient to press it with the index finger of the right hand.
On the back there is a label with a serial number and a reminder that the device only works when the 24-pin connector is connected. There are connector signatures on the top and bottom faces.
The right side of the device is empty.
Below is a 24-pin connector, where you should connect the appropriate cable from the power supply under test.
On the top edge there is a red 8-pin PCI-E power connector, a Molex connector, SATA-power, and an 8-pin connector for the processor power wire. Connecting these connectors is optional (depending on what voltage you want to check) – the device will work without them.
We tested the functionality of Thermaltake Dr.Power II using a bench power supply – be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 (550W) certified 80 Plus Gold. Following the instructions, first all the necessary connectors were connected, and only then the power button on the PSU was pressed.
The screen lit up in blue, displaying a list of icons at the bottom indicating connected connectors. If one of them is not connected, the corresponding icon will not light up.
To start testing, press a single button on the device. And this can be done in two ways. Option A – just click. Then, to go to each next stage of the test, the button will need to be pressed again and again. Option B – hold down the key for five seconds. In this case, the instrument will test automatically, proceeding to the next step within five seconds. If any part of the test is out of range, the instrument will stop at that stage, change the screen color to red, and sound an alert. The order of testing connectors is 24-pin, PCI-E, CPU, Molex, SATA. If any of the connectors is not connected, this step is skipped. In the current picture, we see the state of the main lines of the 24-pin cable: +5 V, +12 V, +3.3 V, -12 V, +5 V standby line and PG Everything is within normal limits. For those readers who do not know what the PG (Power Good) signal is, we note that this is a way to self-diagnose the power supply, or rather, the time it takes for all power lines to enter the working state, measured in milliseconds. If everything is in order, the value should be between 100 and 500 ms. If the value is out of range, the processor usually issues a command to turn off the power supply.
The second step is to check the supply voltage for the video adapter. As you can see, everything is also normal. At least not under load.
The third stage is to check the voltage on the +12 V line of the processor power supply. Here, too, everything is exactly “like in a pharmacy.”
The Molex connector provides two voltages – + 5V and + 12V. A small drawdown on the first value, but nothing beyond the standard.
And finally – the power connector, which is usually used for modern drives. There are three tested voltages +5 V, +12 V and +3.3 V. A slight downward deviation is also visible in the first value. When pressing the button after this step, the tester returned to the home screen, which displayed a list of connected connectors. From the point of view of the Thermaltake Dr.Power II device, everything is in order with our power supply and it can be allowed for further testing of new computer hardware.
To see first hand what the error warning screen looks like in this device, we tried to run it on the residual voltage of the power supply, not connected to the network. And this is what we got: the letters F (the value is outside the limit of the measured values) for all parameters, except for the standby power line.
In fact, all that the Thermaltake Dr.Power II power supply tester can do is to perform an initial check of the PSU for its readiness to start. This device is not capable of monitoring voltage values during operation, under load, calculating ripple levels or power consumption by lines. Therefore, electronics repair specialists would most likely call it a toy, advising an ordinary multimeter instead. Nevertheless, you still need to be able to use a multimeter, and the owner of Dr.Power II only needs the ability to correctly connect the connectors and press the button. Therefore, this tester is designed for those who need to check the PSU quickly, but they do not have the basic skills for this and / or an assembled system at hand.