Thermaltake Dr. Power II PSU Tester
Reviewed by: BluePanda
Reviewed on: November 9, 2011
So things aren’t working right, your computer won’t boot, and you just can’t figure out what is going wrong. You don’t have any spare parts laying around that work, so now what? Trouble-shooting has been and always will be a pain in the butt. Any time you get a bunch of new hardware and something doesn’t work, it’s testing one thing after the next when trying to determine what the problem is.
Thermaltake though, seems to be leading us down the right path with their new Dr. Power II, an ATX PSU tester that only needs your PSU to test it. Perhaps you have a rail that just isn’t supplying enough power, or maybe your SATA drives aren’t being powered at all. This quick tester can either confirm you’ve got a dead or dying PSU, or it can mark one item from your rig off as not the problem in only a matter of seconds.
Today we take a look at Thermaltake’s Dr. Power II to see how it works and to check how well the PSU's I’ve got around here are working.
The Dr. Power II comes in a small little box, something your old Game Boy classic might fit in. The packaging is printed in color with black, red, and white dominance, it also has a nice little hang tag for stores to use when displaying the tester. The front of the box gives you a quick peek at the large display and the back a quick glimpse at what parts you can test out, such as a 24-pin connector, PCI-E 6 pin or 8 pin, SATA, 4 pin Molex, and a CPU 4 pin or 8 pin connector. So regardless of the brand or model of PSU, the Dr. Power II ensures you can test it out.
The top of the box reads “Dr. Power II” as you are about to open it up, and I can’t help but think of Dr. Mario. However, that’s not quite what is inside the box. You’ll open it up to find a brief instruction guide and a lightweight plastic device with a LCD panel and single button. No need for batteries though, that PSU of yours is what makes it work. That is if your PSU isn’t completely dead.
So out of the box it isn’t anything too exciting. It just looks like an old video game with no buttons to press. The front reads the Thermaltake tag line “COOLall YOUR LIFE," which is funny considering this is one product of theirs that actually has nothing to do with thermal properties, unless you are finding out you over heated your PSU of course. It then reminds you what it is, “Universal ATX Power Supply Tester," so when you find this in your closet months down the road you know what it is. It finally tells you that it’s the "Dr. Power II," and not it’s older Dr. Power cousin with tiny LED indicators, this one actually has a screen. Don’t forget it’s the second generation! The back just gives a reminder that you need to plug in the 24 pin connector or it won't tell you anything at all.
On the side you will find the single button that runs the whole Dr. Power II. It looks like a power button but it really isn’t one. It’s basically the “everything” button. You are either allowed to toggle between tests in Mode A, or have it cycle through the tests on its own with Mode B. It really isn’t complicated if you glance at the help guide. There you will learn that less than a 5 second press and the device will cycle through each test in Mode A, whereas a hold for 5 seconds or more kicks it into Mode B, which cycles through the tests for you automatically. No rocket science here.
The top back labels the plugs, in case just looking at it wasn’t obvious enough. I feel the hardest one to notice at first is the SATA connector, as it really just looks like a chunk of PCB sticking out of the top. But, with a closer look, you can see it is a bit more. It is very easy to plug everything in at once, as long as your Molex cable doesn’t have funny clips. My 400W PSU ended up needing some extra encouragement to fit in this plug, as it had some extra clips on the Molex connector. Otherwise, it’s as easy as plugging things into your rig.
The bottom end plugs into the 24 pin connector and the 24 pin connector only. Without this plugged in, the Dr. Power II won’t even work. So make sure you do plug this one in. It’s just like the connector on your mother board so if you have the 20 + 4 split connector, it works just the same.
Overall the Dr. Power II is a pretty simple and self-explanatory tester. If you can’t plug your power supply into this, I can assure you it’s probably not your hardware causing you the issue in the first place (unless you managed to dig up an AT PSU for testing!). To see it in action read on!
130mm x 75mm x 24.7mm
Black with Blue/Red LCD Screen
24pin, PCI-E, CPU, Molex, SATA
- Supports ATX PSUs up to ATX 12V v2.3
- Oversized LCD panel accurately shows the value of each rail to one-tenth of a volt
- Built in output connectors, low voltage, high voltage, no voltage, PG alarm system
- Easily troubleshoot system failure due to unstable PSU
- Built in alarm to identify user when PSU demonstrates abnormal behavior
- 3 year warranty
All information provided by: http://www.thermaltake.com/products-model.aspx?id=C_00001777
Testing the Dr. Power II wasn’t too difficult. Especially considering I didn’t have a dead PSU lying around, nor was I ready to sabotage one to create a dead PSU for myself. So, unfortunately I could only confirm the working order of the tester. So with my extra 400W PSU plugged into the wall I ran through both Mode A and Mode B to see how easy it was to use. (I will locate a dead PSU and test that feature and update this review.)
- PSU: OCZ Fatality 400W (known working)
So with everything wired up to the tester it looked like quite the mess of cable work. I tried powering it on without that 24-pin connector and no surprise there, it doesn’t turn on. However, if you’ve got the split connector with 20 pins, you can get it to work without the extra 4 pins, which of course also makes sense.
Flipping the switch on the PSU and it’s ready to go. The first time through, I cycled on my own with the Mode A feature. If you happen to look away for too long it powers itself down, so pay attention when you’re testing your PSU. But, with the screen changing to red and making noise, I’m sure you would know when there has been a failure. The first screen shows what you have plugged in. If you don’t see a reading on the LCD for something you have plugged in, hint hint, that something isn’t providing voltage!
The other screens are pretty self-explanatory. The bottom of the LCD displays which screen is currently active for each connector, and has them labeled 24P, PCI, CPU, MOX (Molex), and SATA. It shows you which rails are which and what voltages your PSU is providing in comparison.
Needless to say, this is a pretty easy tool to use. I took a quick video of it running through the process in Mode B, just to give you an idea of how simple this really is.
In conclusion, the Dr. Power II is a quick way to test for trouble-shooting a problematic build. Although it won’t tell you what the problem is if your PSU is working, it can at least eliminate one potential part of the problem. It’s always a process of elimination when it comes down to it. But, if it's a malfunctioning PSU, or just a dead one all together, then you have your answer quickly. Making your next step ordering new or creating an RMA on your existing PSU to get your rig back in working order. This tester does come with quite the price tag. But if you build a lot, don’t have a lot of parts laying around to test with, or don’t want to possibly break good hardware with a bad PSU, then this tester can be your new friend.
- Eliminates or finds the PSU as the problem
- Easy to use
- Simple shape, easy to store, can’t break it
- A little high in price