Huntkey Balance King 4500 450 W Power Supply Review
By Gabriel Torres on February 26, 2010


Introduction

From six different power supply models from Huntkey we tested to date, five of them couldn’t deliver their labeled wattage, literally exploding (we posted the videos of the explosions on YouTube). They offered us money to take the reviews down and also started a campaign to make other manufacturers to boycott us, which actually backfired on them. You can read the whole story here. We got our hands on a model from a series we haven’t reviewed yet, Balance King, so we were really curious to see if this model would work fine or would also explode like its sisters. Check it out.

Huntkey Balance King 4500 450 W power supply
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Figure 1: Huntkey Balance King 4500 450 W power supply.

Huntkey Balance King 4500 450 W power supply
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Figure 2: Huntkey Balance King 4500 450 W power supply.

Huntkey Balance King 4500 450 W is 5 ½” (140 mm) deep, using a 120 mm fan on its bottom. It doesn’t have any PFC circuit, being based on the obsolete half-bridge topology.

No modular cabling system is available and only the main motherboard cable has a nylon protection, that doesn’t come from inside the unit. Most wires are 18 AWG, which is the minimum recommended gauge, but the wires used with the SATA and peripheral power connectors are 20 AWG, i.e., thinner than the recommended. The cables included are:

The number of connectors is satisfactory for a 450 W product, although we’d prefer if the manufacturer had separated the two video card power connectors in independent cables, and also the SATA and peripheral power connectors we think should be installed on separated cables.

Huntkey Balance King 4500 450 W power supply
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Figure 3: Cables.

Now let’s take an in-depth look inside this power supply.

A Look Inside The Huntkey Balance King 4500

We decided to disassemble this power supply to see what it looks like inside, how it is designed, and what components are used. Please read our Anatomy of Switching Power Supplies tutorial to understand how a power supply works and to compare this power supply to others.

This page will be an overview, and then in the following pages we will discuss in detail the quality and ratings of the components used. The first thing we wanted to check was whether this unit was based on the same design as other Huntkey power supplies we’ve tested to date. The answer was negative: Balance King 4500 uses a different internal design from Green Star, V-Power and Titan series.

Huntkey Balance King 4500 450 W power supply
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Figure 4: Overall look.

Huntkey Balance King 4500 450 W power supply
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Figure 5: Overall look.

Huntkey Balance King 4500 450 W power supply
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Figure 6: Overall look.

Transient Filtering Stage

As we have mentioned in other articles and reviews, the first place we look when opening a power supply for a hint about its quality, is its filtering stage. The recommended components for this stage are two ferrite coils, two ceramic capacitors (Y capacitors, usually blue), one metalized polyester capacitor (X capacitor), and one MOV (Metal-Oxide Varistor). Very low-end power supplies use fewer components, usually removing the MOV and the first coil. 

This power supply is flawless on this stage, providing all the required components, including the MOV’s.

Huntkey Balance King 4500 450 W power supply
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Figure 7: Transient filtering stage (part 1).

Huntkey Balance King 4500 450 W power supply
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Figure 8: Transient filtering stage (part 2).

In the next page we will have a more detailed discussion about the components used in the Huntkey Balance King 4500.

Primary Analysis

On this page we will take an in-depth look at the primary stage of Huntkey Balance King 4500. For a better understanding, please read our Anatomy of Switching Power Supplies tutorial.

This power supply uses one T15XB80 rectifying bridge, which supports up to 15 A at 100° C if a heatsink is used – which is not the case – but only 3.2 A at 25° C if a heatsink isn’t used. The difference is outrageous and Huntkey should have added a heatsink to this component. At 115 V this unit would be able to pull up to 368 W from the power grid; assuming 80% efficiency, the bridge would allow this unit to deliver up to 294 W without burning itself out. Of course we are only talking about this component and the real limit will depend on all other components from the power supply. This is the same component used on Huntkey Green Star 350 W, Huntkey Green Star 450 W, Huntkey Green Star 550 W, Huntkey V-Power 550 W and Huntkey Titan 650 W (but at least on this last model the manufacturer added a heatsink).

Huntkey Balance King 4500 450 W power supply
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Figure 9: Rectifying bridge.

Balance King 4500 uses two 2SC3320 power NPN transistors on its switching section using the obsolete half-bridge design, supporting up to 15 A at 25° C (unfortunately the manufacturer from these transistors do not say how much they can deliver at higher temperatures). These are the same transistors used on Green Star 550 W, V-Power 550 W and Titan 650 W (Rocketfish 700 W) from Huntkey. These transistors are more “powerful” than the ones used on the 350 W, 400 W and 450 W versions from Green Star power supplies.

Huntkey Balance King 4500 450 W power supply
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Figure 10: Switching transistors.

The primary is controlled by a KA7500B PWM controller, which is physically installed on the secondary.

Huntkey Balance King 4500 450 W power supply
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Figure 11: PWM controller.

Now let’s take a look at the secondary of this power supply.

Secondary Analysis

Huntkey Balance King 4500 has six Schottky rectifiers on its secondary.

Since this power supply uses a half-bridge configuration to calculate the maximum theoretical current each output can deliver is easy: all we need to do is to add the maximum current supported by all diodes.

The +12 V output is produced by two STPS20S100CT Schottky rectifiers connected in parallel, each one supporting up to 20 A (10 A per internal diode at 150° C, 0.71 V maximum voltage drop). This gives us a maximum theoretical current of 40 A or 480 W for the +12 V output.

The +5 V output is produced by two STPS3045CT Schottky rectifiers connected in parallel, each one capable of delivering up to 30 A (15 A per internal diode at 155° C, 0.57 V maximum voltage drop), giving us a maximum theoretical current of 60 A or 300 W for the +5 V output.

The +3.3 V output is produced by another two STPS3045CT Schottky rectifiers, giving us a maximum theoretical current of 60 A or 198 W for the +3.3 V output.

The secondary was improved in comparison with Green Star 450 W, Green Star 550 W and V-Power 550 W models: all these models use the same rectifiers for the +12 V output, but have a lower limit of 30 A/150 W (Green Star 450 W) or 40 A/200 W (550 W models) on +5 V output and 30 A/99 W (Green Star 450 W) or 40 A/132 W (550 W models) on +3.3 V output.

All these numbers are theoretical. The real amount of current/power each output can deliver is limited by other components, especially by the coils used on each output.

Huntkey Balance King 4500 450 W power supply
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Figure 12: +3.3 V, +5 V and +12 V rectifiers.

The monitoring circuit is built using two LM339 integrated circuits (each one has four voltage comparators inside).

Huntkey Balance King 4500 450 W power supply
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Figure 13: Monitoring circuit.

The capacitors from the voltage doubler are from Teapo and the capacitors from the secondary are from Teapo and Fcon.

Power Distribution

In Figure 14, you can see the power supply label containing all the power specs.

Huntkey Balance King 4500 450 W power supply
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Figure 14: Power supply label.

This power supply has two +12 V rails (the monitoring integrated circuit really provides monitoring for two +12 V channels and we could clearly see the two current sensors installed on the printed circuit board), distributed like this:

This distribution is perfect, as it put the CPU and the video card on separated rails, being the typical distribution on power supplies with two rails.

Now let’s see if this power supply can really deliver 450 W.

Load Tests

We conducted several tests with this power supply, as described in the article Hardware Secrets Power Supply Test Methodology.  

Since we didn’t know beforehand if this power supply would be able to deliver its labeled power, we decided to test it differently from our usual procedure. We tested it under several load scenarios, starting from 85 W, then moving to 100 W and then increasing power in 25 W steps until we reached the maximum the unit would be able to deliver.

If you add all the power listed for each test, you may find a different value than what is posted under “Total” below. Since each output can vary slightly (e.g., the +5 V output working at +5.10 V), the actual total amount of power being delivered is slightly different than the calculated value. On the “Total” row we are using the real amount of power being delivered, as measured by our load tester.

The +12VA and +12VB inputs listed below are the two +12 V independent inputs from our load tester. During this test the +12VA input was connected to the power supply +12V1 rail, while the +12VB input was connected to the power supply +12V2 rail (EPS12V connector).

Input

Test 1

Test 2

Test 3

Test 4

+12VA

3 A (36 W)

3.5 A (42 W)

4.5 A (54 W)

5.5 A (66 W)

+12VB

2.5 A (30 W)

3.25 A (39 W)

4 A (48 W)

5 A (60 W)

+5V

1 A (5 W)

1 A (5 W)

1.5 A (7.5 W)

1.5 A (7.5 W)

+3.3 V

1 A (5 W)

1 A (5 W)

1.5 A (4.95 W)

1.5 A (4.95 W)

+5VSB

1 A (5 W)

1 A (5 W)

1 A (5 W)

1 A (5 W)

-12 V

0.5 A (6 W)

0.5 A (6 W)

0.5 A (6 W)

0.5 A (6 W)

Total

85.7 W

100.6 W

125.9 W

149.6 W

% Max Load

19.0%

22.4%

28.0%

33.2%

Room Temp.

34.2° C

34.9° C

35.3° C

35.8° C

PSU Temp.

35.5° C

36.4° C

37.1° C

37.6° C

Voltage Regulation

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

Ripple and Noise

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

AC Power

110.1 W

127.7 W

157.0 W

185.5 W

Efficiency

77.8%

78.8%

80.2%

80.6%

AC Voltage

115.2 V

114.7 V

114.7 V

114.4 V

Power Factor

0.589

0.600

0.618

0.631

Final Result

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass


Input

Test 5

Test 6

Test 7

Test 8

+12VA

6.25 A (75 W)

7.5 A (90 W)

8.25 A (99 W)

9.25 A (111 W)

+12VB

6 A (72 W)

7 A (84 W)

8 A (96 W)

9 A (108 W)

+5V

2 A (10 W)

2 A (10 W)

2.5 A (12.5 W)

2.5 A (12.5 W)

+3.3 V

2 A (6.6 W)

2 A (6.6 W)

2.5 A (8.25 W)

2.5 A (8.25 W)

+5VSB

1 A (5 W)

1 A (5 W)

1 A (5 W)

1 A (5 W)

-12 V

0.5 A (6 W)

0.5 A (6 W)

0.5 A (6 W)

0.5 A (6 W)

Total

174.7 W

201.0 W

226.0 W

248.6 W

% Max Load

38.8%

44.7%

50.2%

55.2%

Room Temp.

39.2° C

38.9° C

40.0° C

38.8° C

PSU Temp.

38.5° C

39.5° C

40.7° C

41.2° C

Voltage Regulation

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

Ripple and Noise

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

AC Power

216.2 W

248.3 W

279.2 W

308.5 W

Efficiency

80.8%

81.0%

80.9%

80.6%

AC Voltage

113.9 V

112.7 V

112.7 V

111.9 V

Power Factor

0.642

0.654

0.659

0.671

Final Result

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass


Input

Test 9

Test 10

Test 11

Test 12

+12VA

10 A (120 W)

11 A (132 W)

12 A (144 W)

13 A (156 W)

+12VB

10 A (120 W)

11 A (132 W)

11.75 A (141 W)

12.75 A (153 W)

+5V

3 A (15 W)

3 A (15 W)

3.5 A (17.5 W)

3.5 A (17.5 W)

+3.3 V

3 A (9.9 W)

3 A (9.9 W)

3.5 A (11.55 W)

3.5 A (11.55 W)

+5VSB

1 A (5 W)

1 A (5 W)

1 A (5 W)

1 A (5 W)

-12 V

0.5 A (6 W)

0.5 A (6 W)

0.5 A (6 W)

0.5 A (6 W)

Total

273.8 W

296.7 W

321.2 W

343.6 W

% Max Load

60.8%

65.9%

71.4%

76.4%

Room Temp.

40.3° C

41.9° C

40.6° C

42.7° C

PSU Temp.

42.6° C

44.7° C

44.8° C

46.3° C

Voltage Regulation

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

Ripple and Noise

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

AC Power

341.6 W

371.6 W

407.4 W

440.0 W

Efficiency

80.2%

79.8%

78.8%

78.1%

AC Voltage

112.6 V

112.2 V

111.9 V

111.2 V

Power Factor

0.673

0.678

0.682

0.688

Final Result

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass


Input

Test 13

Test 14

Test 15

Test 16

+12VA

14 A (168 W)

15 A (180 W)

16 A (192 W)

17 A (204 W)

+12VB

13.5 A (162 W)

14.5 A (174 W)

15.5 A (186 W)

16.5 A (198 W)

+5V

4 A (20 W)

4 A (20 W)

4.5 A (22.5 W)

4.5 A (22.5 W)

+3.3 V

4 A (13.2 W)

4 A (13.2 W)

4.5 A (14.85 W)

4.5 A (14.85 W)

+5VSB

1 A (5 W)

1 A (5 W)

1 A (5 W)

1 A (5 W)

-12 V

0.5 A (6 W)

0.5 A (6 W)

0.5 A (6 W)

0.5 A (6 W)

Total

367.8 W

389.7 W

414.9 W

443.6 W

% Max Load

81.7%

86.6%

92.2%

98.6%

Room Temp.

44.2° C

46.4° C

48.0° C

49.3° C

PSU Temp.

48.0° C

50.8° C

53.0° C

55.6° C

Voltage Regulation

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

Ripple and Noise

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

AC Power

476.0 W

512.0 W

557.0 W

641.0 W

Efficiency

77.3%

76.1%

74.5%

69.2%

AC Voltage

110.8 V

110.5 V

109.9 V

109.6 V

Power Factor

0.694

0.701

0.705

0.717

Final Result

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

It is important to note that we were very generous with temperatures, because we started testing this unit at 85 W, a load that doesn’t produce a lot of heat inside our thermal chamber. We didn’t want to heat our thermal chamber with the power supply running at a higher load because we didn’t know beforehand if the power supply would be able to deliver any higher load. Therefore we decided to play on the safe side.

Huntkey Balance King 4500 achieved a performance above we of what we were expecting: all voltages were within 3% their nominal voltages on all tests except on tests 15 (where the -12 V output got out this tighter range) and 16 (where -12 V and +12 V outputs got out this tighter range), but still inside the correct range (5% for all positive voltages and 10% for -12 V) – translation: voltages closer to their nominal values than required, which is terrific –, and noise and ripple was always low, which is obviously desirable. During test 16 noise level at +12VA was 31.2 mV, at +12VB was at 31.4 mV, at +5 V was at 17.6 mV and at +3.3 V was 10.4 mV (the maximum allowed is 120 mV on 12 V outputs and 50 mV on +5 V and +3.3 V outputs).

Efficiency was above 80% when we pulled between 125 W and 275 W, which isn’t bad at all for a low-end power supply based on the half-bridge topology. On all other tests we saw efficiency between 75% and 80%, except on test 16, where efficiency was at 69.2%. Usually when efficiency drops sharply like it happens from test 15 to test 16, it means that the unit has already passed its adequate operating point. Therefore if we were the ones labeling this unit, we would prefer labeling it as a 420 W or even 400 W unit.

This is better supported by what happened during test 16, with the power supply delivering 450 W. We will explain this in details in the next page.

Load Tests (Cont’d)

Right after we collected all data during test 16, the power supply burned, burning the fuses from our load tester. On the video below you can see the whole test 16 in action. Notice how at the end the power supply burns and our load tester “resets,” which indicates that its fuses had just been blown.

After replacing the fuses, we tried to turn the power supply back on, configuring our load tester with a lower load. We always do this when fuses blow, because sometimes the power supply is still working fine. As soon as we hit the “on” button from our load tester the unit exploded really hard. Unfortunately our camera was turned off during this moment. After opening the power supply we could see that the switching transistors were the components that exploded. Also, one of the electrolytic capacitors was swollen (see Figure 18), ready to leak and/or explode. On the pictures below you can see the evidence.

Huntkey Balance King 4500 450 W power supply
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Figure 15: Switching transistors exploded.

Huntkey Balance King 4500 450 W power supply
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Figure 16: Evidence of the explosion.

Huntkey Balance King 4500 450 W power supply
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Figure 17: Evidence of the explosion.

Huntkey Balance King 4500 450 W power supply
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Figure 18: Electrolytic capacitor almost exploding.

Main Specifications

Huntkey Balance King 4500 power supply specs include:

Conclusions

Huntkey Balance King 4500 performed better than its sisters from Green Star and V-Power series. The highlights from this power supply include an exceptional voltage regulation for a low-end product (all voltages were within 3% their nominal voltages on all tests except on our 425 W and 450 W tests – translation: voltages closer to their “face value” than required) and very low noise and ripple levels. In summary, it doesn’t offer any risk to your components.

Efficiency was above 80% when we pulled between 125 W and 275 W, which isn’t bad at all for a low-end power supply based on the half-bridge topology. On all other tests we saw efficiency between 75% and 80%, except on our 450 W test, where efficiency was at 69.2%.

However, after a few minutes working at 450 W the power supply exploded. So it can deliver its labeled power for only a few minutes. Therefore if we were the ones labeling this unit, we would prefer labeling it as a 420 W or even as a 400 W unit.

So the only real problem with this unit is its inability of delivering 450 W continuously. If you are going to build a PC that will pull between 125 W and 275 W.

But frankly if you are really on budget you are better off buying an OCZ StealthXStream 400 W, which costs around the same, provides a way higher efficiency, won’t explode if you try to pull its labeled wattage continuously (and we could easily pull 450 W from this OCZ unit) and shuts down if you try to pull more than it can deliver.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Huntkey-Balance-King-4500-450-W-Power-Supply-Review/937


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