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335 comments

YOU ARE STUPID (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14005009)

slashdot nothign to see here frist psot

I did not fail it! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14005085)

I would like to thank the Opera Web Browser, without mouse gestures and instant back/forward i would not have been able to do this. I'd also like to thank my parents, for getting me the internet as a teen. Also, I would like to thank God. Thanks big guy, you really came through for me today.

-Tez

More than just Intel boards (3, Interesting)

starbuck8968 (224854) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005015)

I've had a couple AMD boards go bad because of leaky capacitors.

Re:More than just Intel boards (2, Interesting)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005086)

Epox, Asus, Abit have all had bad caps on a few boards for me. Not exactly wide spread, I'll have 3 or 4 of the same board and only one will fail. But its something I've noticed with about every manufacture so far. Manufactures so far have been excellent on RMA'ing the product quickly.

On our systems with UPS's this seems to happen less often, my guess is the cleaner power puts less stress on the board.

Re:More than just Intel boards (2, Interesting)

jbellows_20 (913680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005296)

I've had a couple AMD boards go bad because of leaky capacitors.

That's nothing. I work at a university where we purchased hundreds of the Dell GX270 a couple years ago. In the last year we've had almost all of the fail on us (we are expecting all to fail in time). The worst part is that we've had to wait up to 4 weeks to get warranty service when we paid for NBD service. The hold up we were told was due to backorder.

The warranty service tech tells us the problem is with the faulty capacitors. Gotta love how businesses screw themselves when they trade quality for cheap, unreliable parts.

Re:More than just Intel boards (1)

maddskillz (207500) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005368)

We have had numerous failures of GX270's as well.
Our service has been great, I just didn't like that until now Dell would not admit there was a problem! When you see the same problem on a second board, you start to think there might be an issue. Then the tech tells you they have been having problems on these boards....but when you phone dell, and say you have had another board go down with leaky caps, they pretend like they have no idea what you are talking about :P

Re:More than just Intel boards (1, Informative)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005374)

I work at a university where we purchased hundreds of the Dell GX270 a couple years ago.

Well look at that. We're not alone in the world after all.

My workplace also purchased a whole bunch of GX270's a while back, and we too are having them fail on us at an impressive rate. It's interesting because I always thought that Foxconn motherboards (what Dell uses) were pretty reliable and well made.

The crappy part is that we have all these systems under same-day warranty, but because they are backlogged with so many claims to replace the motherboard, our warranty service has also turned into something more along the lines of a three-weeks-later warranty. This really pisses us off because we paid a lot extra to be able to get stuff repaired immediately.

Personally I think that if Dell cannot replace these motherboards because of their own faults, they should still have to meet warranty expectations even if it means sending us a brand new system as close to the capacity (no pun intended ;) of a GX270 as they can manage. It would be interesting to see the results of a class-action against Dell suggesting they are violating the warranty agreement because of this. Their refusal to even try to honor their NBD warranty service doesn't instill much confidence in those of us responsible for purchasing.

Re:More than just Intel boards (2, Interesting)

Spacejock (727523) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005466)

More than just PC boards. My TEAC 80cm telly went bung about 18 months ago, and my parents' identical model went 6 months later. Bad caps, $180 repair bill.

My in-laws' Netvista fell over last week, lots of magic blue smoke and 3 stuffed capacitors. The twin of that machine blew up 4 months earlier.

The air flow & knock sensors in my car went - $1450 repair bill. Is there going to be a class action? If so, that was the capacitors.

Gotta go... my washing machine is making funny noises.

Problem's been around for awhile. (4, Informative)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005016)

Bad Caps have been a problem since 2002 at least. For awhile, I was making some bucks repairing Apple Airports, with all their bad caps.

Re:Problem's been around for awhile. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14005057)

Blasphemy!

Problem Documented and Instructions (2, Informative)

repetty (260322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005236)

The problem with the Airport base station capacitor failures is described on this web page:

http://www.vonwentzel.net/ABS/Repair/ [vonwentzel.net]

There are also instructions buying and replacing the failed parts, with good images. I followed these instructions a couple years ago very successfully.

Re:Problem's been around for awhile. (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005364)

*chuckles evilly* I got to see a room full of people hit the floor when a Cap blew up in a machine located at the front of a lab. They thought someone was shooting at them.

Our supplier (which is staffed by a couple of people that I am now rather good friends with) got a laugh out of the story too. It was the first bad cap we'd had out of a couple hundred machines we ordered from them so it was just one of those things.

Still not as bad as the machine that literally caught fire one February morning a year or so before (different supplier). =]

If you don't wanna get ripped off. (3, Insightful)

neologee (532218) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005017)

Never buy brand new high-tech toys before they've actually passed major consumer testing.

It's the same for everything technological! Only through trial and error, consumer brute force sort of do they get the best product after 1-2 years for most products such as Dell's, i'd cite motor companies too but bah.

Re:If you don't wanna get ripped off. (5, Insightful)

lbrandy (923907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005078)

Never buy brand new high-tech toys before they've actually passed major consumer testing.

It's the same for everything technological! Only through trial and error, consumer brute force sort of do they get the best product after 1-2 years for most products such as Dell's, i'd cite motor companies too but bah.
Well, considering electrolytic caps [cwru.edu] were invented in the 30s, I'd think we've given them enough spin-up to get that newfangled technology under control. The problem here is just poor quality control and cost-cutting. Luckily in the free-market, this type of things tend be a short-lived trend... it just requires the spotlight.

Re:If you don't wanna get ripped off. (4, Interesting)

ebrandsberg (75344) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005096)

Actually, I would go against this--something totally new and expensive will probably make use of better quality components. It is after they have been in the market for a while that they go cheap as they sell in mass and drive price down. Ever notice how old CD's lived forever, but new CD's scratch if you breath on them? I had one of the original 42 inch plasma screens, and it was built like a brick, I don't think I trust the new ones, they are lighter, thinner, and IMHO, built to be cheap, not last forever.

Re:If you don't wanna get ripped off. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005126)

With respect to capacitors, I don't think it makes any difference, new or old, one of the cap manufacturers blamed for problems this time had a very solid, long standing track record.

Re:If you don't wanna get ripped off. (1)

ebrandsberg (75344) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005240)

How true, but when you cobble a bunch of expensive new stuff together with no history of how long it will work, and you are going to charge an arm and a leg for it already, will you risk blowing the whole thing on a cheap capacitor? The point is that at the introduction of a totally new product from a major player, in particular when they don't know how well they are going to sell, they don't want to ruin the market with a bad product launch. They use the cheap stuff (like the ipod nano screen issue) after the initial marketing info is known.

OR, it's total crap from the start and you can tell by feeling it.

Re:If you don't wanna get ripped off. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14005273)

Whooosh! That's the sound of you completely missing the point. The GP said the original product is more reliable than subsequent products. Your comment that the bad-capicators were the new products of an old, reliable manufacturer just proves the GP's point further - that the original products are superior to the new crap produced by the same manufacturer.

get. a. clue.

Re:If you don't wanna get ripped off. (5, Interesting)

earnest murderer (888716) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005306)

The capacitor issue is more widespread. The problem isn't that they are low quality, it's that a particular MFR was using a stolen and bad formula for fluid for a long while before they began to fail. These capacitors are in everything, cheap stuff, spendy stuff and everything in between. Badcaps.net explains in detail...

On the theme of new and expensive, I'm a little suprised that motherboard MFR's that make high end boards for enthusiasts (you know the ones, with ugly flourecent plastic bits and silver paint and whatnot) haven't used any SMC caps for these boards. You only see them on prototypes. I'd think if there was a market for a motherboard with yellow PCI slots and a purple PCB that this would be a much more attractive option.

On the other hand, I suppose it costs nothing to make lime green and orange connectors, but actually making something nice would cost a few dollars.

Re:If you don't wanna get ripped off. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14005446)

The original plasma screens lasted half as long as today's models and have a better chance of suffering from burn-in because they lack the anti-burn-in features many of today's plasmas have.

Maybe heavier means more durable, I dunno, but I don't carry my 42" plasma TV everywhere. I leave mine in my living room, so don't care if it's built like a brickhouse.

Nothing to do with brand new high-tech (5, Informative)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005277)

The caps were made by Nichicon. Nichicon has been in business for 50 years and has had, up to now, the reputation of building *the best* low esr high quality electrolytic caps on the market. I've specified Nichicon caps only in designs because they work better than anything else.

That's why this is such a surprise.

I know it's bad form to bitch about moderation, but I can't see any way that the parent is insightful. Nichicon has produced good caps for years. Manufacturers pay a premium for Nichicon caps. Something or someone fucked up a Nichicon. Has nothing to do with trial and error.

Re:If you don't wanna get ripped off. (1)

Squarewav (241189) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005419)

Very little can be done about bad caps. bad capacitors have been a problem with electronics sense .. well.. they were invented.

A cap is basically a chemical rechargeable battery made for quick charging and discharging. The best you can hope for is the use of high quality chemicals. You have to understand however the people who make them make millions of them and its very difficult to maintain a low impurity count in the chemicals while still making a profit.

There is a reason why most electronics have a 90 warranty min. As most bad caps (as well as shoddy solder points) will show up in the first 90 days of use

Not the first time (5, Informative)

Racher (34432) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005021)

I had this happen to an old Asus board I had a couple year ago. It was covered on /. before.

Slashdot - Taiwanese Capacitors Leaking, Exploding [slashdot.org]

Watch out for all the 'Geeks popping a cap in your mother' jokes.

-Eric

Re:Not the first time (5, Funny)

Slashdiddly (917720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005032)

Watch out for all the 'Geeks popping a cap in your mother' jokes.

Sorry I couldn't resist

Re:Not the first time (5, Funny)

Senjutsu (614542) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005054)

Sorry I couldn't resist

Few people have that capacity.

Ohm my god. As farads I'm concerned... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14005232)

you all deserve a kick in the joules.

Re:Not the first time (4, Funny)

gordo3000 (785698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005248)

Sorry I couldn't resist

Few people have that capacity.


The story just induces bad jokes, doesn't it?

I believe... (0)

NRAdude (166969) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005372)

If we both capitulate all this introductive assonance to the altar of CowboyNeal, then a sword of fire will come forth from his mouth and slew all those fools in charge of moderating these aweful posts.

Re:Not the first time (4, Funny)

Doppler00 (534739) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005253)

Sorry I couldn't resist

Few people have that capacity.


Well, it doesn't require that much inductive reasoning.

Re:Not the first time (4, Funny)

fossa (212602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005100)

I don't get these modern jokes... I just can't stay current.

Re:Not the first time (1)

gpw213 (691600) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005083)

Actually, it is happening again.

If you RTFA, you will see it is Japanese capacitors this time, instead of Taiwanese, but basically the same problem as three years ago.

WTF? (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005388)

According to the article "Various postings on message boards claim the trouble was caused by capacitors that were overfilled with a liquid electrolyte that helps the component protect the processor from excess power; convert energy from 5 volts to around 1.5 volts; and deal with current surges."

Capacitors Maintain VOLTAGE, Inductors try to maintain current. Time to return to school and
re-learn Components 101.

Nothin new here. Just like Car Makers. (5, Insightful)

Vorondil28 (864578) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005051)

If a car maker can get away with a cheaper, flimsier [insert part here], save a few cents on each car, and sell millions of cars, they can make a mo'load more profit than if they'd gone with the slightly better quality part on every car. Same thing here only with mobos and capacitors -- nothing new.

Re:Nothin new here. Just like Car Makers. (1)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005143)

Same thing here only with mobos and capacitors -- nothing new.

I don't know about that. I've been into this hobby for a long time and it seems as though quality in all forms of electronics has taken a major dive since the late 90s. I certainly don't remember any of my XT and AT boards ever having bad caps, but I've had my fair share with ATX.

Re:Nothin new here. Just like Car Makers. (1)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005264)

No joke there -

Ford put plastic water pump impellers in Duratech engines found in Contours, Escapes, and others... a few cents off the cost, and they're MTBF is 40k miles - perfect. Just long enough to get out of warranty, but not long enough to not make money on the repair.

Now look, Dell's paying for it out the arse this quarter because they had to go fix all their Optiplex. Good - they should have paid attention and bought the three cent caps, not the two cent deals.

Re:Nothin new here. Just like Car Makers. (5, Informative)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005302)

But that's not what happened. The capacitor company in question, Nichicon is, or rather was, the best in the business. Manufacturers pay a premium for Nichicon caps because they were the best available. The motherboards in question were made by Intel and Intel uses quality parts.

The problem is that Nichicon screwed up somehow, not that Intel got burned for buying the cheapest parts.

Happened to me.. (2, Informative)

toupsie (88295) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005053)

My Rev. A iMac G5 had this issue. After dealing with the AppleCare India division and proving that my Crucial RAM did not cause the failure, I was able to take it to a local Apple Store and they fixed my iMac in 4 days and returned it. Haven't had an issue since. My father's iMac Rev. A has failed twice. Apple replaced it with a new iSight iMac.

You can read the whole history of dying iMacs on Macintouch [macintouch.com] .

Re:Happened to me.. (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005162)

When the summer 2000 iMacs were launched, I was working for an Apple dealer. We had to replace analog/power boards in so fucking many of those things that to this day I HATE summer 2000 iMacs.

Re:Happened to me.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14005462)

Damn flyback transformers.

Re:Happened to me.. (1)

Boone^ (151057) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005163)

My revA iMacG5 got a new logic board 3 weeks ago after AppleCare sent me 2 replacement hard drives in a row (diag disc showed failing HD). When I was installing the 2nd I noticed all of the brown goo coming out of 50% of the caps, and noting that another 40% were bulged...

Local store had it done the following day. They had a line of 5 iMacs waiting for new boards, and Apple service sent them 6 boards. how nice...

Huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14005068)

Nothing like a good dose of the cap.

Not just motherboards... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005079)

My Dad bought a microcontroller-based water pump for construction work that had bad caps. You would think that companies would try to shave a nickel off a less vital part.

So? (2)

theJML (911853) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005080)

I had this happen on an Asus motherboard I got in 2001, noticed it when I was swapping out RAM in 2003. Board still works to this day, but you can see a line going from one of the regulator caps down to the PCI slots. I wrote down what kind of cap it was in case I was bored and wanted to replace it.. but honestly, after almost 5 years with this T-Bird board, it's not a big worry of mine. Still running, still over clocked, still a heck of a Linux system.

Re:So? (1)

slazar (527381) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005399)

nosebleeds from an overclock. nice. I think there are enough caps there to take up the slack... voltage may be a bit off spec but hey it works right? :)

Yet another reason to buy AMD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14005092)


"... a new threat to Dell PCs, Apple iMacs and other computers with Intel boards"

Not really a problem for me, at least. During the last 5 years, all PCs I bought were AMD based.

Modern Times (5, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005097)

The Internet really has become quite a zoo. Once the chairman of IBM thought "there is a world market for maybe five computers" [chrononhotonthologos.com] . Now there's a server farm just for bitching about bad capacitors. We really live in an age of miracles.

Re:Modern Times (2, Interesting)

shanen (462549) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005166)

That's almost surely an urban legend. On the other hand, I heard that IBM had some similar problems with bad capacitors a few years ago. Affected a pretty large number of NetVista models, I think, though the absolute numbers of bad motherboards wasn't so bad... I don't know any of the details, but I have a fuzzy recollection that most of the bad capacitors were traced to a particular source in Taiwan.

After I knew what they looked like (3, Insightful)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005104)

It was easy to spot obviously bad capacitors once I knew what they looked like. The ones I notice look like little cylinders on metal legs, with a rounded instead of flat metal top.

My least favourite kind of capacitor though, is one that works properly, but has been put in the worst place possible so that putting the heat sink on that is supposed to match the CPU, is impossible. And you can't exactly bend those suckers over out of the way, so you have to buy another heat sink that conforms to the annoying motherboard layout.

Re:After I knew what they looked like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14005263)

well... you could learn to solder, and add some wire to the legs of the large
cap that's in the way. The additional lead length won't affect power supply
caps, and the ones used for rf and circuit tuning are generally much smaller and won't be in your way.

This is no surprise.. (1)

dangermen (248354) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005105)

This is no surprise. IBM fixed there issues with this TWO years ago. Just shows where some companies do better work of taking care of their customers. We had to go thorugh our data centers and proactively replace a bunch of server power supplies because of bad capacitors. All free, before they failed.

it's not that hard to fix (4, Informative)

Squigley (213068) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005112)

Ok, I realise most people (in general, not the /. population) probably wouldn't know which end of a soldering iron to hold, but it's not that hard to fix the issue..

Read the values of the leaky caps, get replacements, or near enough in value replacements. This will probably cost about $5.

Desolder the old caps, use a stainless steel pin to clean the solder out of the hole (since solder won't take easily to stainless), pop the new cap in (with the correct polarity), and solder it.

I had an asus board go like this a couple of years ago, it took me about 1/2 hour to fix the issue, but most of that was getting the board out of the case, and reinstalling it.

I called up asus, and had a runaround, before I identified the caps as the issue, and decided to fix it myself.

I doubt it's going to cost $300 million dollars to fix this. I'm typing this on a GX270, and it's had the motherboard replaced in it already, but I don't know if caps were the reason for that.

It's my work machine, first the hard drive died, so I called Dell and got it replaced, then the mobo died, and I just called Dell and got it fixed, I didn't investigate the issue myself, like I would have done if I owned the equipment, or if it was out of warranty.

Anyway, while it might cost them a bit in labour, the hardware's not going to be all that much, replace the first few boards with working ones, then refurb the retrieved boards, and use those to replace the dodgy board, rinse, repeat.

Re:it's not that hard to fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14005185)

Depending on the component density, this can be a real pain. Sometimes those surface mount components can be packed in pretty tight. I've done this, and it did work, but it wasn't the easiest soldering job on the planet.

Re:it's not that hard to fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14005206)

The labor you put in to that, and the cost of the new caps at consumer prices, are each many times the profit margin on a motherboard. Not to mention a Dell motherboard. The cost of handling the call about the bad motherboard kills their profit on the whole computer. Did you notice that Dell missed their quarterly profits ?

Re:it's not that hard to fix (5, Informative)

labnet (457441) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005246)

This is where a little bit of knowledge can be a bad thing.

Sure its easy enough to go to the local electronics store, and buy an equivilent cap (ie match the Voltage and Capacitance written on the cap), but there are a couple of other very important (depending on the application) normally not marked parameters.
Ripple Rating, Temperature, and ESR
ESR = Effective Series Resistance and can cause stability problems if it is too high.
If the Ripple Current Rating is too low, you could end up with more exploding / dying caps due to over heating.
If you do decide to DIY, I suggest you buy 105oC, low ESR caps. (And don't forget they are polarised. Putting them in backwards will make them explode)

Mac Mini blew up too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14005113)

I have a Mac Mini that just died, I thought bad power supply first, but upon picking up the box I smelt leaky capacitors. After searching the web for a bit, I found the CNET webpage. so Bingo I though... darn.

The box was in sleep mode for the last couple of days. I only noticed it died when I couldn't see the illumination for the power LED.

One would assume this would be fixed by now! (1)

clusterix (606570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005115)

I got hit with 4 bad Abit boards in 2001 back when it was first reported several years ago. I had assumed since then Taiwanese manufacturers would have stopped using the knock off capacitors or would have stolen/bought the correct formula if only to stop threat of lawsuits.

I guess the lawsuits never came. Maybe it would be one time sleazy lawyers could do some good? It is pretty sad that electronics from ten years ago are better quality than todays and they know exactly why and yet it isn't fixed...

CAPS BAD? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14005129)

ME NO UNDERSTAND!

What happens if you have a bad cap (0, Troll)

mattjb0010 (724744) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005142)

Re:What happens if you have a bad cap (0, Troll)

mattjb0010 (724744) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005452)

Why is it that any post I make making fun of George Bush is labelled a troll? Is the state of democratic debate that bad in the US that any post related to George Bush is going to degenerate into a serious, long-winded off-topic discussion of politics and not be taken as a joke? I'm genuinely curious here, as an Australian I'm always bemused at things like the whole Dixie Chicks vs GWB thing because here it's common-place to joke around about the PM (a former opposition leader even called him an "ass-licker" in parliament).

Not a new problem at all.. (1)

mrbill (4993) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005152)

Not new at all - quite a few Rev. A iMac G5s had this problem. I bought this 17" in November, and the bad caps finally failed in March. Apple sent me a new midplane and I swapped it out myself, but from what I hear they're now requiring people to take their machines to an authorized Apple service provider to get the work done.

I took pictures of the midplane/motherboard replacement process [flickr.com] , clearly showing the bad/bulging caps on the original system board.

I encountered this about 6 years ago (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005153)

I was working at a local computer shop and we got a bad batch of Amptron mobos that had substandard capacitors on them. Ususally, when they failed, it was within one minute of powering up. So we'd put them on the bench, cover the caps with the manual and power them up. If the caps didn't blow after one minute we'd put them in the systems.

LK

bad caps (5, Funny)

iggy_mon (737886) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005177)

if you suspect you've got a case of the bad caps

yeah, this one time in college, there was this girl... it was my first time, not hers though... i didn't know...

oh! caps! never mind...

Don't buy Apex DVD players or TV's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14005188)

They use cheap capacitors in their baords!

This has been a real hassle for me. (2, Interesting)

mhore (582354) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005223)

I inherited a bunch of 3 GHz P4 Optiplex machines back in '03 after they were decommissioned from a student computer lab. The university buys cheaper machines as they only keep them around in the labs for a year or so normally.

Well, I roped them together into a really nice Beowulf cluster for running my simulations and for the past 2 years I've had nodes die left and right. I'm sure the machines are out of warranty now, but I really hope Dell fixes these machines. I seem to remember Gateway doing this back in 2002. Now that the official word is out, maybe the computer department will take my word for it. What does a silly physicist know about computers and motherboards anyway?

Mike.

Re:This has been a real hassle for me. (1)

LazyBoy (128384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005332)

Decommissioned 3 GHz P4's!

Christ, I work for a major telecom company where they make software developers use 900 MHz PIII laptops.

Re:This has been a real hassle for me. (1)

mhore (582354) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005350)

Decommissioned 3 GHz P4's! Christ, I work for a major telecom company where they make software developers use 900 MHz PIII laptops.

Yeah, crazy isn't it? I couldn't believe it when I heard it. They update the hardware at the beginning of each fall semester in the student labs. Nice new flat screens, etc. Whatever the fastest-latest-greatest is that Dell offers. Then they distribute the "old" machines to faculty members, GAs, etc. I was lucky to get an entire lab's worth. I just wonder what kind of money they could be saving if they used machines longer... a 3 GHz machine could last years.

Mike.

Stamped with an "X" on top ? (5, Informative)

aspeer (131086) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005250)

The article says that the caps have "... a letter "X" stamped on the top." They are not stamped with the letter "X" - they are stamped to allow the caps to deform and vent the boiling liquid contents in a predictable manner when it fails. That is why the top of a failing cap bulges and not the sides.

Not that it always works - plenty of caps still just "pop" violently and spew their content across the electronics anyway.

So don't look for a stamped "X", chances are all your caps have them ..

Pick The Bad Cap And Be A Winner! (1)

xquark (649804) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005281)

I like how at BadCaps they have pictures of Mobos with BadCaps.
Like how the hell are you supposed to tell which one is the bad cap?

If they had a probe or something next to the cap showing something kind of blinking red light or something...

"Bad Clap" (1)

MisterLawyer (770687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005288)

> "but the article also discusses what to do if you suspect you've got a case of the bad caps."

Anyone else misread this as "what to do if you suspect you've got a case of the bad clap [sexinfo101.com] "?

Sheesh, I've got to start reading the headline first (although on /. that doesn't always clarify things either).

This problem has also plagued where I work at (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14005290)

A large number of the PC's in operation there are the GX270s, my own desktop machine was one. The problem for me though was that before I was in the most expendable position in the bank, an intern for the IT guys so whenever a machine blew it was my pc that was taken. Finally I my workstation was changed, but to a GX280, luckily though the hard drive in my 270 has been saved so if this one goes bad I'll be able to grab a spare 270 hopefully and not miss a beat.

How About power supplies (1)

Compaq_Hater (911468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005322)

i bought one this month that some bad Capacitors in it spent like $80.00 USD on it at Microcenter, i put it in and 2 hours later Wham !. no more power supply.

but at least the guy gave me a new one without too much trouble since i had just been there not that long ago.

CH

Re:How About power supplies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14005475)

I bet dollars to doughnuts this was an Enermax wasn't it? I had two of them fail spectacularly within a week. Lots of noise and smoke. Both were blown caps. Haven't put the third replacement in. It's still shrink wrapped here next to my desk 6 months later.

faIlzo8s... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14005325)

and piss cocktail#. Shouts To the

Damn /. Curse! (1)

post_toastie (649723) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005330)

My Abit KT7 board which had been running fine for over 4 years blew 3 caps this week.

Anyone got a replacement Socket A board that supports PC133 RAM and not DDR?

Trusted Computing (1)

SalsaDot (772010) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005371)

*This* is how we'll all be forced to use trusted computing/soundcards with DRM.

They just dont make them like they used to.

The real story is in IEEE Spectrum, April 2003 (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005404)

The capacitor story is covered properly, with manufacturer names and electrolyte formulas, in IEEE Spectrum for April, 2003. But you have to be an IEEE member [ieee.org] to read it.

The definitive study, from The Computer Aided Life Cycle Engineering (CALCE) Electronic Products and Systems Center [umd.edu] , is "Identification of Missing or Insufficient Electrolyte Constituents in Failed Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors" [dfrsolutions.com] . CALCE actually took capacitors apart and analyzed the electrolyte.

To see if the excessive hydrogen was being produced by impurities in the capacitor foil, wavelength dispersive x-ray spectrographic (WDS) analyses of foils from a capacitor from the lot of Taiwanese capacitors known to bulge and foils from a capacitor from a lot of non-bulging Japanese capacitors were performed.

A small amount of magnesium was detected in both the Taiwanese and Japanese foils, and copper was detected in the Taiwanese foils alone (see Table 1). Ignoring the topical constituents of oxygen and carbon, the purity of the cathodic aluminum foil from the Japanese capacitor worked out to be approximately 99.1 wt%, which was within the limit set by Dapo. The purity of the cathodic aluminum foil from the Taiwanese capacitor was approximately 97.5%,which was below the minimum value stated by Dapo. The insufficient purity of the Taiwanese aluminum foil could cause gaseous hydrogen production that would not be impeded by a depolarizer, but the galvanic couples were not thought to be sufficient to account for the rapid production of hydrogen gas that was necessary to cause the relatively rapid bulging of the capacitor cans. There were other anomalies in the ion chromatographic analyses,chiefly variations in the amounts of ammonium and phosphate ions present. Ammonium ions in water form ammonium hydroxide, which is strongly basic. This raised concerns about the pH of the electrolyte in the bulging capacitors,as a review of the chemical properties of aluminum oxide - the dielectric - showed that it is slightly soluble in basic solutions (but not in acidic)[8 ]. Measuring the pH of electrolytes from capacitors from the Taiwanese lot known to bulge and from a Japanese lot that had not exhibited bulging showed that the electrolytes of the bulging lot were weakly basic (7 < pH < 8),while those of the non-bulging lot were acidic (pH 4).

And that's the cause - internal corrosion because the electrolyte has a highly acidic Ph.

Re:The real story is in IEEE Spectrum, April 2003 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14005422)

Uh, the *good* ones are acidic, while the *bad* ones are basic. BTW, aluminium is amphoteric - it is attacked both by bases and acids. That's also one of the reasons it is good electrode material.

GSC brand (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005453)

It's not just motherboards that are affected - I've lost a couple of nVidia GeForce4Ti's that way.
It's now gotten to the point where I have to specify motherboards and graphics cards without GSC capacitors. Every single Gigabyte GA-7VRXP we've had has had bad caps develop over two years - three happened in the space of two weeks, just after the warranty expired of course!

Windows gets blamed for this (1)

xtermz (234073) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005454)

Allow me to get my asbestos suit on, because I know this is going to piss some people off, but whatever.

Anybody who's been a hardware tech and built machines for any significant length of times, has known about issues like these for years. And the funny thing is, a lot of people wind up blaming Windows on problems that were really being caused by faulty hardware. In the early days of win 95, I noticed a lot of times that Windows was really unstable due to low end and sometimes bad hardware. Granted, windows is hyper sensitive to crap hardware and could of been made a little more fault tolerant, but a lot of times h/w failures gets blamed on the OS...

maybe this article will chill people out a bit

dell optiplex (1)

pintomp3 (882811) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005460)

wow, i got an email yesterday from the campus IT group asking if we've been having problems with optiplex gx270s. and today in a meeting with our dell reps, they explained the problem in further detail. we've had only two of the machines suffer from it (so far) out of 15. from what they told me, it affected a relatively small number of motherboards, but their tracking isn't granular enough to be able to tell preemptively by checking the serial #. he didn't have time today, but offered to show me the exact capacitor in question later, so i can look out for the bulging/rusting look. i'll try to take a pic and post it up soon. basically it was some thermal issue and would cause the machine to randomly shut down. the gx270s (2/15) and gx280(7/150ish) motherboards have been flaky thus far, and it's pretty annoying. the optiplex line is supposed to be more reliable. i understand that they have little control of this, and it doesn't help that the gx280s were pre-orders (they were the first out with pci-express slots). but we still have about 50 gx240s from years ago that still perform like champs, the only parts we have had to change is the battery on the mobo on some. the dimension line used get the latest tech, while the optiplex was "tried and true". i guess being behind the times is a hard sell, even at the cost of a some reliability.

Bad caps turned the iMac G5 into a lemon (2, Informative)

pvera (250260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14005471)

We bought six identical iMac G5s, plus two of us bought identical systems for our homes. Out of the batch of 8 machines, we have:

1. Replaced the motherboard in two of these machines.
2. Replaced burned power supplies in one of these.
3. A third machine burned both the motherboard and the power supply. It has taken Apple over a week to ship the parts to be replaced.

Al repairs so far have been under warranty. Half the service transactions have been done thru the genius desk, half thru Apple Care. Both methods are painfully slow.

Also, on the iMac G5 Apple will extend coverage specifically for the capacitor issue, so even if your warranty coverage expires they will fix your machine at their expense (http://www.apple.com/support/imac/repairextension program/ [apple.com] ).
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