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Owwww....I've got swollen capacitors

By robo_dev ·
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I had a PC that was acting a bit flaky and sure enough, at least ten of the caps on the mobo are puffed up like fat-albert. (well the tops are dome-shaped where they should be flat, they don't actually resemble a portly fictional cartoon character).

As many of you know, there was a famous case of 'industrial espionage gone wrong'.

Back in 2001 or so, a scientist working for a company in Japan stole the formula to make capacitors and got it wrong, then sold the formula. Several Taiwanese manufacturers made tons of faulty caps as a result of using the faulty stolen formula.

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

I am tempted to simply start testing and swapping the faulty caps, but being lazy I guess I will just spend the $$ for a new mobo.

Personally I've seen caps in TV power supplies that popped open like soda cans, or exploded like firecrackers. Fun and exciting stuff. Once I had a motor-start cap on a garage-door opener **** up as I was on the ladder oiling the thing, but I digress.......

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What it illustrates

by TonytheTiger In reply to Owwww....I've got swollen ...

is that the consumer ALWAYS pays. Even if the computer manufacturer fixes your equipment, they will simply place the cost of doing so on future customers.

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Bad capacitors

by GSG In reply to Owwww....I've got swollen ...

A friend of mine had the same problem. Not on a mother board, but in a flat screen HD TV. He brought the board in and we found the same capacitor on some PCs that were being "retired" to the recycler. A few minutes later and some sautering, and he was good to go. We were all pretty surprised that his TV worked just fine after that.

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I have fixed a few monitors by simply swapping the caps

by magic8ball In reply to Owwww....I've got swollen ...

Last one that I did I was able to keep. Its a nice Dell 22 inch studio LCD. 6 bucks and 6 caps later its good as new. Soldering is nothing new to me. I just replaced all six caps that were the same type and manufacturer even though only 2 were swollen. If you have any ability to solder just swap them out, make sure your polarity is correct, and you will be good as new.

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Electrolitic Caps

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Owwww....I've got swollen ...

Are just the current in a long line of Electronic Components that have been counterfeited over the years.

I can remember many years ago it was Motorola Power Transistors in TO220 Cases which where freely available that just plain failed because they where not real. Sure they sort of worked provided that you never ran any power through them which sort of defeats the Purpose of a Power Transistor to begin with.

But if you want to go back even further I can remember Ceiling Fans that would leak. Well at least the Filter Capacitors across the Mains would leak and the resulting gunk run down the fan shaft out along the blades before getting flung off the end of the blades. Prior to that Filter Caps in Fluoro Lights would just plain Explode with a very loud bang and lots of the important Magic Smoke.

Generally Filter Caps in general would fail in all sorts of devices with some nasty effects. I remember a Sewing Machine where the Filter Cap in the foot control exploded and created a Direct Short Circuit across the terminals which had the effect of turning the thing on full speed and as it was left alone at the time it resulted in a fire which burnt the house down. Didn't happen like that often mainly because those things where not left plugged in all of the time but there where many reports of Explosions which brought the owners running in for repairs.

Or much more recently Polystyrene Capacitors on circuit boards would fail taking the entire board out of the working mix. Here at least the ones that I had to fix where the result of the caps being rated way too low for the temp here where they would be way over the Max Temp before turning the device on. I used to replace those with Green Caps whenever I saw them it was just easier that way.

Col

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I hope electric vehicles use good quality caps

by robo_dev In reply to Electrolitic Caps

Since there's a blurry line between ultra-capacitors and batteries, it's likely that future electric cars will run on caps.

The ultra-capacitor prototypes from Honda and others are about the size of a large suitcase:

"Output density
The output of the nickel hydride battery is limited to around 900W/kg due to the effect of heat loss, but the ultra-capacitor???s low resistance enables it to handle much higher output. The ultra-capacitor further improves on the performance of the previous model, achieving an output density of 1750W/kg or more."

http://world.honda.com/FuelCell/FCX/ultracapacitor/

http://world.honda.com/FuelCell/FCX/overview/layout/

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Don'tcha just love the smell of toasted electronics?

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Owwww....I've got swollen ...

That acrid fragrance that takes all hair out of your nostrils?

Mmmmh, mmmmh, good.

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I recently...

by cmiller5400 In reply to Owwww....I've got swollen ...

I just recently built a new computer and the old Intel mb from 2003 was just loaded with swollen and leaking caps. I'm surprised that it still worked perfectly fine!

Now I have a nice new AMD Black Edition Phenom II X6 1100T and a Gigabyte GA-890-GPA-UD3H.

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In the POS equipment

by NickNielsen In reply to Owwww....I've got swollen ...

we just put in another mainboard, then send the old back to the shop to have the caps replaced. Our bench tech says he hasn't come across a failed mainboard yet that couldn't be fixed by replacing all the caps on it.

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Heard a good one on the weekend.

by JamesRL In reply to In the POS equipment

I was at a high school reunion and chatting with a few people, and we were discussing acronyms and language and how some of us older folks were making mistakes. (someone who used LOL on a funeral tribute website, thinking it meant lots of love, as one example).

Another person relayed a story about some new POS being implemented where they worked, and how many teething problems then endured. The upshot was an email that stated something to the effect of: "WTF, take back these POS terminals, and I don't mean point of sale...."

Not sure if that is more of an urban legend that true story, but it was funny.

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It's a standing joke

by NickNielsen In reply to Heard a good one on the w ...

between retail end users and retail support that POS doesn't JUST mean point-of-sale...

I've been asked more than once by a store manager "WTF was corporate thinking?"

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