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I'm trying to fix an HP Pavilion 525w computer. It won't stay powered on long enough to even look into the BIOS. I found an enormous amount of dust on the cooling fins of the processor and have cleaned that off, but it still won't stay powered on.

Answers :

If there is/was an enormous amount of dust in the processor's heatsink, and fan, there is also an enormous amount in the power supply.

The power supply is bad. It has a weak, or failed voltage power rail.

Inside the power supply are Heatsinks. They resemble the Processor heatsink.

The fan on the back of the power supply draws air through the computer case, over the heatsinks inside the power supply, and the components inside the power supply.
(Apologize for the run-on sentence)

This is an example of what an average computer power supply looks like inside, (Switched Mode Power Supply. SMPS),


(You can Left-click on the photo in the upper right, to enlarge)

You will note that there are Electrolytic Capacitors in the power supply, (Input stage, and Output stage)
I will be referring back to them later.

The FSP200-60SPV-D power supply is a 200 Watt unit.
It has three main voltage power rails.
1) The 3.3 Volt rail
2) The 5 Volt rail
3) The 12 Volt rail

ALL the lights use less than 1 Watt

EACH fan uses 2 to 3 Watts

A typical processor uses 55 to 125 Watts.
Depends on what processor it is.

The Intel Celeron 2.4GHz processor can use up to
59.8 Watts of power,


With a weak, or failed voltage rail ,there isn't enough power to turn the processor on.

When you press the Power On button, you are making a momentary contact.
You create a temporary circuit, that feeds 5 volts to the power supply
(Soft Power On) This turns the power supply on.

The first program that is intialized is the BIOS program, on the BIOS chip.

BIOS 'See's what devices are connected, does a Ram Memory count, turns the processor on, and hands the computer over to the Operating System.
(Windows XP is an example of an O/S)

If there isn't enough power to turn the processor on, BIOS shuts the computer down.

You don't have enough power.

Electrolytic Capacitors, and the Power Supply.

Electrolytic Capacitors are essentially little aluminum 'Cans', with Electrolytic Paste inside.

(Information about Electrolytic Capacitors,


In the photos on the top right of the page, observe the second photo down. Capacitors used on motherboards, and power supply's, resemble the capacitors at the bottom of the photo.

Scroll down to the heading - Construction, and read under it about the construction of Electrolytic Capacitors)

The 'Cans' have a rubber plug on the bottom, that resembles a disk. (Seal)
The top of the capacitor is partially cut, or etched, with a shape.
The shape usually resembles an X, or a lK.

When a capacitor starts to fail, a gas develops inside. (Hydrogen Gas)
The gas expands inside the capacitor, and compromises the seal.
The rubber plug starts to push out.

And/or, the can breaks open at the shape at the top.

When so much paste is pushed out, or paste loss, you have a weak capacitor.
When too much paste is lost, you have a failed capacitor.

This creates a weak voltage rail, or a failed voltage rail.

When the processor heatsink, and fan are dirty, the cooling capacity drops tremendously.
If the processor heats up too much, it turns off.
(Thermal limit. BIOS turns the processor off)

This is a Fail Safe feature that is built into all processors.

When the heatsinks, cooling fan, and components inside the power supply are coated with dust, dirt, hair, and so on, the cooling capacity drops tremendously, and the components heat up.

Heat = Wasted Energy
The power supply strains to put out more, and more power to keep up, and eventually components inside fail.
Usually Electrolytic Capacitors.

This is NOT an invite to open your power supply!

Electrolytic Capacitors can hold a charge for Weeks, sometimes Months, after being disconnected from power!

If your fingers touch the terminals of a capacitor, or a circuit that capacitors are in, the charge can be released to YOU!

Result is a Bad shock to Fatal!

To test whether it is a bad power supply, another known, good, power supply is substituted.

If you have a compatible power supply that is known to be good, you can use it for a test.
Has to have enough, and the right kind of power cable connectors.

The wattage can be greater, it doesn't matter.
A computer only uses the power it needs, and no more.
If you have a 100 Watt power supply, and the computer only needs 100 Watts, the computer only uses 100 Watts.

(Surfing the internet uses about 100 Watts. Same as a 100 Watt light bulb)
Remove the memory[RAM]...
wipe it clean with soft cloth.
Try the same again...
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