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Capacitor Plague?

By DMambo ·
Has anyone heard about this?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor_plague

I recently had to change the mobo on a Dell Optiplex. There was a cap on the board which was obviously popped. When I mentioned this to a coworker, he sent me this link the next day. I called Dell about this PC, which was 6 months past its warranty period, and the most they would do for me is give me the phone number for the spare parts division.

Spare parts didn't even have a board available, but told me that they'd contact me when they had one. Of course, they've never called back. I found a re-spiffed board on-line, and it's running again. The electronics guy here is going to order a cap and try to replace it on the board, but this really tweaks my nose hairs if Dell (or HP or any other mfg) is just hiding a problem they had.

Has anyone else had problems of this nature that were covered beyond warranty period? If so, by which manufacturer?

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Problems? Yes. Covered out of warranty? No.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Capacitor Plague?

I've seen this, but not often and never on a system less than six years old.

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I have seen a bunch of boards like that

by cmiller5400 In reply to Capacitor Plague?

They were all AOpen that our computer builder used back in 2002-04.

Dang near EVERYONE of them that we had until recently had swelling caps or busted caps.

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Wide spread issue

by NetMan1958 In reply to Capacitor Plague?

This was a wide spread issue that affected most all of the computer manufacturers. We bought a bunch of Dell Optiplex's 4 or 5 years ago and most of them popped the capacitors during the first 6 months. The tech Dell sent out to replace one of the motherboards told me all of the brands had the same issue.

A couple of weeks back I had 2 more computers from that original batch that popped the capacitors. Of course they are out of warranty and we are just going to replace them with new computers.

I doubt you will have any luck getting Dell to replace the motherboards. I have seen some Dell MOBOs on Ebay but you don't know if they have the same capacitors or not.

Good luck.

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Ditto

by NotSoChiGuy In reply to Wide spread issue

Dell Optiplex 270/280's seemed to get hit with this in batches. I've seen some that popped within a few months. Other batches have continued performing well to this day.

Dell is pretty stringent on their warranty. 5 minutes past midnight is 5 minutes past you getting any help; PERIOD.

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Not confined to one MFGR.

by mjd420nova In reply to Capacitor Plague?

I've tracked this capacitor problem for a number of years and not had a single manufacturer that appears to have more trouble than any other. The fault has also cropped up on a number of plug-in cards too. Most are repairable, repalcement is common but a few have blasted traces from the boards and were accompanied by loud bangs during the event. None were under warranty and therefore not covered.

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Interesting point in article

by DMambo In reply to Not confined to one MFGR.

The wikipedia article mentioned that these might be a case of industrial espionage gone awry. That the electrolyte was missing an ingredient. Gotta love those Chinese manufacturers!

In any case, Dell is not helping me out at all. In a way I'm glad that it's out of warranty. Since Dell apparently can't source any boards, I'll bet I'd still be waiting for them to send me a replacement. I'm sure the user considers the $** it cost to get it on-line money well spent. At least she has her machine back.

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Many Times

by TheChas In reply to Capacitor Plague?

I have seen this many times on the full range of cheap to top brand motherboards and even industrial computers.

While the initial problem was blamed on bad capacitors, there is growing evidence that electrolytic capacitors cannot handle the amount of high frequency energy that faster and faster system speeds create.

Another aspect of the problem is how close to design minimum capacitors are used. All it takes is a small spike out of a power supply to over-voltage and thus stress a capacitor. The bad thing here is that if a power supply fails such it it delivers a high voltage before it fails, it can take weeks for the stressed capacitors to fail.

Chas

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The human analog to this

by santeewelding In reply to Many Times

Has been taking place in my head for some time.

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Some More Thoughts

by willcomp In reply to Capacitor Plague?

There are two separate issues involved in electrolytic capacitors. The wikipedia article covers the faulty electrolyte issue well. That occurred about 8 to 10 years ago and is not a concern with the vast majority of PCs currently in use.

TheChas addressed problems with over voltage. Also capacitors just fail.

All the motherboard manufacturers I use have switched to solid state capacitors for increased reliability -- Gigabyte, Asus, Intel, and Biostar. I suspect the others have as well.

Dell extended the warranty on some Optiplex models due to excessive capacitor failures. I believe they were the 260 and 270 series although more may have been included.

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Answers to your questions

by NickNielsen In reply to Capacitor Plague?

Has anyone else had problems of this nature that were covered beyond warranty period?

Yes, on a regular basis

If so, by which manufacturer?

All of them, from Acer to IBM.

edit: runaway italics

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