Yesterday I started to smell a burned plastic scent coming from my computer, then I followed my nose to the power supply. Today I was informed by well over a dozen people that my power supply is probably trying to kick the bucket. This doesn't surprise me, honestly, since the desktop is a slimline HP model with a standard 240 watt power supply, and I know that OEM power supplies are typically only just powerful enough to run the PC, but that running a power supply near its max output can really stress it, sometimes to the point of failure. Additional information: about two weeks ago I disassembled my PC and stripped it all the way down to the case, then about a week later I cleaned everything, inspected the components, and reassembled it, and also applied some Arctic Silver thermal paste to the CPU. I fired the computer up, and it was running great up until yesterday night. I don't think I damaged any of the components during any of this; I was pretty careful not to bump, bend or drop anything, and I took precautions to make sure I didn't short anything out from static charge, so I don't think that's the reason why the PSU bit the dust. My dad seems to think that something I did when I was working on the computer damaged the power supply, and that I'm just saying "it was a coincidence". He's been cool about it and doesn't seem upset, it's more like one of those "I told you so" deals, but I think that, ironically enough, it really is just a coincidence that my power supply died a week after I messed with the hardware. I don't mean to sound full of myself, although I admit that I can be pretty full of myself a good chunk of the time, but I just don't think I caused it...at least I don't see how I could have. I admit, the possibility has crossed my mind that perhaps I did damage it in some way, but I'm not sure how. Realize that at some point I will show the posts here to my dad, so please provide as much detail as possible regarding this issue, in a most unbiased manner, preferably. Thanks!
If the system is still running i dont think you "cooked" the power supply, it might be in the process of slowly dying though, but for the most part nothing you can do to the system will slowly kill a power supply, it will generally be really fast or extremely slow(months), one week is both too quick and too slow to be something you did, it was likely a preexisting condition.
Cleaning a PC out will up performance a little, kill some over heating issues and actually may have an influence on the PSU. I've seen it before, took a perfectly working PC with generic PSU, redid the build (cleaned it out, freshened everything up) and suddenly the PSU pops. I'm willing to bet that the issue was there (generic PSU's are sooo reliable, after all) and that you redoing the build actually just surfaced it.
Smell of plastic? I'm guessing you moved something a little inside the PSU when you rebuilt it, making an already overheating PSU touch something it shouldn't.
To be clear - the fact that you cleaned the PC really does play a factor, but it's not necessarily your fault that it's now starting to go.
My recommendation: Buy a Gigabyte ODIN 370W PSU and replace the generic PSU ASAP. This PSU is super cheap (about $40), powerful enough for that rig and pretty good quality. Oh, and do it before something else on the rig gets damaged as well (crapping PSU can easily damage the motherboard and everything on it as well).
Well, I'd like to stick any old generic PSU in it...the problem is finding one that will fit inside the case. The power supply is a non-standard size, and on top of that it's proprietary to HP, and designed specifically around the case layout of this PC. It's an s5250t desktop, and unfortunately because they stopped making it some years ago, it's next to impossible to find a replacement power supply for it, and the one's I have found are either not made by HP (which is not very promising in terms of reliability) or cost upwards of $80...meh...some days I really hate technology. You try to clean it out, and it says "o btw i decidded i dosnt leik u anymoar k thx" and it goes "hurrrrgghghhh blahhhhh" and dies. Thank you technology, for always finding a way to make life so much more of a pain