I have a desktop PC that gets light-duty use and is about 5 years old. Yesterday, after being on for a half hour on a medium-warm day, it started giving off dense smoke. We killed the power, opened it up, tried a restart, and discovered the problem -- the power cable to the hard drive immediately started smoking again. It had melted onto the HD at the connection. Part of the power cable farther toward the power supply box was also blackened, though maybe just from smoke.
I tested the hard drive on a different PC and it seems to work fine. So it seems obvious that the power supply or the power supply cable to the HD caused this problem, not the hard drive. I'm about to replace the power supply and its set of cables with a new one and see if the PC works again.
A few questions:
1. Anything wrong with what I'm planning to do -- just install a new power supply and see if the PC works okay? Anything else I should do first?
2. How rare is this kind of an power supply failure event? In the past I've left a PC on when I'm not home, or overnight. I'm thinking maybe that's not a good idea in the future.
3. Is an event like that likely to generate enough heat to cause a larger fire, or likely to burn out inside the PC case? Any experience?
4. I'm planning to buy this power supply:
Last year I used this model to replace a failing power supply (which was causing screen flicker, not smoking) in a different PC, which, perhaps not coincidentally, was custom built by the same shop as built yesterday's problem PC. Any objections to this Corsair power supply?
5. Is it reasonable to expect a power supply to last more than 5 years? In my previous computers, they did, but I'm 0 for 2 with the last two PCs. Should I plan on preventatively replacing power supplies in computers that pass the five-year-old mark?
I know that's a lot of questions; thanks for answers to any of them.