Dell Poweredge 1800 Power supplies- The Holy Grail of Power Supplies

Have a Dell Poweredge 1800 Server with a dying or dead power supply?  First of all, let me send my condolences, and know that there is a solution or two.

The Poweredge 1800 server came with 2 versions of power supplies; redundant and non redundant.  These “mini towers” were a great small business solution for financial and space purposes.  As with most things, there is a time to be born, a time to die, a time to work and a time to panic.

It seems like the last 6 months of 2010 have seen a large number of Dell Poweredge 1800 power supplies fail. The first part of the year, it seems the Non Redundant Power supplies were hard to find and the redundant pretty common. Now they are both very hard to find, but it seems like the non redundant power supplies are a little easier to locate then the redundant.

So, is a new server not in your budget and your Dell Poweredge 1800 is down? There are options.  You can convert each system. Example, if you have a PE1800 Server that has redundant power supplies, but you can’t find any replacement redundant power supplies, but can find non redundant power supplies you can remove the power distribution board and ribbon cables and install a non redundant power supply. Best practices always preaches that: redundancy is best, redundancy is best, redundancy is best, but in cases of late with this model of server, non redundancy may be your only option to limp you along until budgets loosen up or you’re so frustrated you take a sledge hammer and beat the PE1800.

It is also possible to convert the Non redundant power supply unit to a redundant unit. You just add a power distribution board and ribbon cables hook it up and you’re good to do.

Both types of power supplies are hard to come by, but if you find yourself down and needing one, I hope this helps.

23 thoughts on “Dell Poweredge 1800 Power supplies- The Holy Grail of Power Supplies

  1. Tom says:

    How about options for non-Dell PSU’s? I’m a home user running a basic WHS setup with a PowerEdge 1800 bought off eBay for $150. I’ve probably tripled that cost with the addition of more RAM, a SATA-II controller, drive caddies and a couple of WD 1TB drives. The idea of spending another $350 on a PSU is insane for my situation. Before I ditch the whole thing and build a plain white box, do you know of any alternates to Dell hardware? I’d even be willing to buy a commercial-grade PSU & re-wire it myself, assuming I could get a wiring diagram, which is equally impossible.

    • I don’t know of any alternatives. I do know some people have repaired them and if you want I can see what the cost of that process is. I know the expense is crazy. Finding the servers isn’t necessarily difficult, but to buy enough of them in one place that makes it cost effective with shipping is the challenge. In regard to a wiring diagram, you right that would be hard to follow, but if you had another PSU you may be able to do it. I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more help on that power supply.

      • Tom says:

        Thanks anyway. I haven’t had a failure yet, just a scare (when the power cable was wiggly in the socket and the machine restarted.) I might resort to duct tape in the interim. If the PSU (or any other proprietary component) fails, I’ll probably end up parting it out on eBay or Craigslist.

      • yeah that server is kind of an oddball with that power supply issue. I have talked to so many people that are doing the same thing- either parting it out or putting it on craigslist.

  2. remylefevre says:

    Good day

    Tom, I have a small question for you, I’m about to get a 1800 from work, I know the actual S-ata controller can’t deal with drives bigger than 250gb, which S-ata II controller did you put on your 1800 ?


    • Tom says:

      So sorry I didn’t see this until 13 months later! I ended up not using the add-on SATA controller (which was whatever was on sale @ Newegg at the time.) I have two WD Caviar Black 1TB drives running via the onboard SATA controller and both are recognized at their correct size.

  3. techman says:

    Recently we have seen a large amount of the so call redundant power supplies both breaking at the same time even though they are plugged into a UPS. At this point most IT professionals suspect Dell knowingly sold defective Poweredge 1800 with defective power supplies.

    The truth is the company has really lost its way.

    • I was speaking with our CIO and she mentioned that during the time that these were manufactured there were some bad capacitors that seem to run through much of their equipment- servers and PCs. Thankfully this has improved. but it really has caused some grief with the owners of these machines.

  4. Todd Bartlett says:

    Details on the failures of these redundant power supplies:
    Two observations:
    Most all of these power supplies fail ONLY when powered off.
    Most all of them have simultaineous failure of BOTH redundant power supplies at the same time.
    Cause: It is the startup circuit that fails. The electrolytic capacitors in both redundant power units age and dry out at the same rate. Once they have failed the power supplies will continue to operate normally until the first power outage or failure. At this point, the power supplies will not power back up because the startup circuit is faulty.
    Hopefully this helps understand the problem.

  5. Sh2006 says:

    It’s a nice topic with what I need. My client has a dead PE1800 last night, and it has redundant power supplies. I was wondering whether it’s possible that both PDUs failed at the same time. It looks like it’s possible. Shall I just order a non-redundant PDU, or a non-redundant PDU plus motherboard in case that the mobo is bad, too? How shall I know? Any suggestion? There is no light at all when plug-in one or 2 PDUs.

  6. yepyep says:

    The power supplies don’t fail at the same time, however…they FAIL WHILE POWERED ON, and only exhibit the failure when powered off. There is a circuit that is only used during power-on that fails while powered on, so you don’t realize it until you power cycle….FUN!

  7. Has anyone looked into repair? My PE1800 went down during a power outage yesterday, and now won’t come back up. I had this issue in the past, and usually unplugging it for a while fixed it. Seems like the problem is sticking around this time.

    I can’t justify buying a new PSU. I got the PE 1800 as well as a Precision 470 workstation for a total of $150. The cost of the PSU is more than the price I paid for both systems.

    Seems ridiculous that this many people have experienced these failures.

    • Hi Patrick!

      There are some companies out there that do repair. More times than not the caps fail on the power supplies. We have seen and tested power supplies that have been repaired, but none has ever passed a longevity test so we haven’t not sold any nor do we repair them. Some companies may find success in repair, we have just not seen it.

    • Thanks for the reply. I actually found a post on the PowerEdge forums that explains how to make a standard ATX PSU work. As it turns out, there’s really only one wire in the connector that is different, and all that needs to be done it to pull that wire out, and move it to the correct spot (which is an empty pin on a standard ATX supply).

      So, for about $70, I was back up and running again.

      • Tom says:

        Are you willing to share the posting or how you did it? I would love to have this handy if/when my PSU dies. I looked for ages for a wiring diagram in case I needed to re-wire a standard PSU but never found one. Sounds like you were more successful.

    • Tom says:

      Hi thanks. Specifically I thought that Patrick McCaffrey indicated he had a link showing how to convert a standard ATX PSU to work in in the 1800. Your video is about installing a non-redundant Dell PSU in a machine that previously had redundant PSU’s. I’m still hoping to future-proof my machine by not having to purchase a proprietary Dell PSU if/when mine dies. Thanks, TOM

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