|A member of the Funky Media Group|
|Review: ThermalTake Dr. Power II PSU Tester|
|Posted by Ed Smith|
|Friday, 11 November 2011 02:11|
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The Box and the Tester itself
The box is a nice compact simple affair, which I appreciate. No wasted space, no lurid advertisements, no wildly excessive packaging.
The rear is nice and specific about what it does, as well as listing the Intel (ATX) specifications. P.G. stands for Power Good, it's a signal that the PSU sends to the motherboard (or tester, in this case) when the PSU is 100% fired up and ready to rumble. Once the motherboard gets the PG signal, it lights the CPU off and things start happening.
Time to open the box and see what the Thermaltake Dr. Power II looks like!
It looks like a thing with a screen and a button! I love things with screens and buttons!
The back has even less to say and isn't really worth the bandwidth of a picture, so we'll skip it and move onward. Lets see if we can find where the PSU plugs in...
Look at that! I found plugs!
There's a ATX24P plug, which must be plugged in for the unit to function, and in the upper picture you can see a 8p CPU connector, a 8p PCIe connector, a Molex HDD connector, and a SATA Power connector. You don't have to use those, but if you do the meter will tell you what the voltages on those lines is. If your PSU has multiple rails (real ones, not pretend ones that are listed on the box and don't exist inside the unit) you'll want to plug them in to get the voltages of those rails. For a single rail PSU it doesn't tell you anything more than the 24p connector does.
Now we get to the interesting part, me being me I'm going to rip this thing apart and see what is inside. Partly because I like taking things apart (always have), and partly because I want to see if Thermaltake has done anything about the main issue facing this sort of tester.
You see, most power supplies really don't like zero load operation, they need at least a couple watts of load to function properly. With no load the voltage outputs go in creative directions and fluctuate wildly, which annoys PSU testers and causes them to say the PSU is dead when it really isn't.
Anyway, here's what is inside this tester:
See those pinkish tubes? Those are 2w power resistors. Their job is to consume a few watts of power to prevent the issues I was just talking about. Well done Thermaltake!
They put a 3.7w load on 12v, a 1.5w load on 5v, a .22w load on 5vStandBy(this line also power the unit itself), and a 1w load on 3.3v. Not much, but enough to smooth the PSU's output out. More wattage burnt means higher temperatures anyway, and if you built a juicy load into the tester it would need a heatsink and a fan and cost a lot more.
The brains of the operation are inside a single HOLTEK HT46R64 8bit microcontroller. The datasheet for the microcontroller says that it has a built in LCD driver, ten analog-digital converter inputs, and generally looks like it is built for just this purpose. It's an excellent choice, though I must admit I was hoping to see a dedicated ADC chip (or ideally the heart of a digital multimeter) for voltage reading.