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The story of the faulty PC capacitors in 2002

Chuck(G)

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Jan 11, 2007
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The whole parts business is shot through with fakes and bad brands. Just a look at the badcaps.net forum should confirm that.

The major difference between the time before 2000 and now is that people aren't surprised when a computer, display or cellphone goes belly-up after 6 months. E-recycling is a major business now, so there's little impetus to actually improve the quality of electronic goods. That will come back to bite us.

I'll believe that things are getting better when manufacturers start offering a "no questions asked, full service" five-year warranty on their products.
 

mbbrutman

Associate Cat Herder
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May 3, 2003
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6,270
Here is a good example of a motherboard afflicted with the bad capacitors:

2010_0703_154125_Bad_Caps.jpg


This was my main machine up until about 1.5 years ago, when it finally flaked out and died. It had been limping along with these capacitors for about 2 years before if finally gave up. The motherboard was from early 2001.

I remember an an entire series of IBM PCs from that time frame that were affected by this problem. After a year and a half of use they all starting dying the same way - they would just power off randomly. After a few died and had their motherboards replaced we went actively hunting and replacing the affected series of machines.
 

glitch

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We've got four motherboards from that era, all from IBM PCs, waiting to be recapped at work. The boards were otherwise great.

Apple was plagued with the same problem in their G5 iMacs. More recently, Samsung got a batch of faulty capacitors which were used in their 204B series 22" flat panels. Fortunately, that means anyone with a heavy-duty soldering iron can get G5 iMacs and 22" monitors in non-working condition and fix them for under $10.
 

Dwight Elvey

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Joined
Jun 21, 2003
Messages
4,781
Location
Santa Cruz
Hi
We have a number of large displays that are starting to
fail because of capacitors. The only thing I can think
is that the design was not good enough. I replace
a number of caps with the same sizes and found they'd
fail over time ( less than 6 months ). Not enough to
cause the display to stop working but enough to see
the burst seal to fail. If left long enough, I expect to
start seeing the display failing again.
I'm trying more and larger value caps. These are all
caps used for switchers and filters that are inputs to
switchers.
Dwight
 

Chuck(G)

25k Member
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Jan 11, 2007
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39,819
Location
Pacific Northwest, USA
The whole affair is made even worse by the counterfeits out there. Hitachi knows about them as do Vishay and Nichicon.

Strangely, purchasing from a major distributor doesn't guarantee that you won't get counterfeits. The duds can enter the supply stream via product returns and restocking.

But heck, the counterfeiters aren't stopping at capacitors

When doing a recapping, I try to stick with a brand I know (Nichicon, usually) and if it's an 85C rated cap, I upgrade it to a 105C unit. Sometimes, depending on the application, I'll go up a voltage grade also.

The problem seems to be epidemic in LCD displays.
 

Old Thrashbarg

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Jul 7, 2009
Messages
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Location
Central FL
I pretty regularly get stuff in for repair due to bad caps. I've probably re-done about 50 Dell Optiplexes alone, and I have a shelf full of power supplies I've repaired... but I've also come across networking equipment, stereo equipment, all sorts of stuff. It's a mess, really. Unfortunately I haven't had a big LCD or an iMac G5 fall into my lap... that would be kinda nice. :D

Generally the things work fine after repairing 'em, but as Dwight pointed out, sometimes there's also the factor of bad design... I've noticed that especially in some of the SFF Dells, it's not so much bad quality capacitors in some of those, but the fact that they get too hot. In those cases, I've found that solid polymer capacitors often make good replacements. They're a bit more expensive than standard electrolytics, which is probably why they weren't used in the first place, but it solves the problem entirely.
 
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