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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I discovered the "Bad Caps" Bad Capacitors Problem while researching what was wrong with my Panasonic DMR-EZ47 DVD Recorder which wont read DVD's any more.

Pics of my TKeia 350 wat Power Supply Bad Capacitors from my FIC Computer. Feel free to use these Pics if they will help you on your Site. You can download them from my Server at...


Or Download them all in a Zip File,

 I discovered the "Bad Caps" Bad Capacitors Problem while researching what was wrong with my Panasonic DMR-EZ47 DVD Recorder which wont read DVD's any more and locks up allot requiring a hard power shut down and reboot to get it working again. Only the ATSC Tuner works now, so I'm back to recording my TV shows Via my trusty old JVC SVHS VCR. After several days of research I learned allot about Capacitors. But still can't tell for sure if my Caps are Bad or if the problem is with the DVD Drive itself or perhaps a combination of problems... What I did learn about Capacitors did help me with my over all knowledge of Electronics though. I have a Computer which I built from a Kit made by First International Computer (FIC) back in 2003 or so. It has a Socket 478 Mother Board and a P4 Processor. It's been a great computer over all these years and still runs great. But in the last year or so, I was having problems with the Hard Drives making some strange noises and sometimes the HD's would cease to be recognized by the OS's. This happened with both WinXP and Several Linux Distros, Fedora 7-12 and Debian Etch for example. I could wiggle the power plug to the offending HD and it would always start reading - working again. I only did this while in the System Bios, so as to minimize Data loss. I could tell if it worked by watching the HD Detection Section of the Bios. Needless to say this was a Big Pain!:) I had about decided that the 2 hard drives were either going out, or that they both had bad solders on the Power Connections. (Odd Coincidence, one Seagate and the other a Western Digital). Then again maybe it could be the Wiring in the Terminals in the Power Supply connecting to the HD's. This was my thinking until I discovered the Bad Caps Problem... The other day, I decided to just put in a new Power Supply that I got in a new PC Box and see what happened. Guess what! The HD's work perfectly!:). I only heard the noise one time and no loss of reading the HD's Happened. I had begun suspecting the Capacitors after all I have read on them lately. So yesterday, I opened up the Power Supply from my FIC a TKeia 350 wat Power Supply and Low-en Behold! There they were 5-8 Bad Caps! The first one is Obvious. It is Blown Up! The whole top end of it is Blown out with some kind of furry looking stuff sticking out of it. Could be dust, but I did blow it off with compressed air and it is still there. So, probably not just dust. Just like in some of the Pics I saw on and on some other sites. I thought briefly about trying to fix the Power Supply, since it is a nice size, 350 watt. But I think that since you can get one new for $20 to $25 most of the time. It wouldn't be worth the time, much less the money for the Caps, even at about .25 cents to $1 each. Now, as for the Panasonic DMR-EZ47 DVD Recorder, which still cost at least $150 for a newer model these days, more than I paid for mine as a Referb 2 or 3 years ago... It would be worth the cost of the 20 or so Caps. Heck, it would be worth it to me to have it done by the guy for $50 or so... Since I need a Magnifying Glass just to see those tiny little solders in that Board!:O Here's the info I have found on Bad Caps so far...


I d e n t i f y i n g  -  P h y s i c a l   D e f e c t s

You're you wondering whether your board has the bad capacitor plague? Here are some things to look for on your board that are tell-tale signs of bad capacitors. The board in the following photo's is an Abit KT7 Athlon motherboard. This particular board is a rather bad one, yours may not look quite as nasty..

This is a Great Resource for info and with help. Also he will Recap Your Board for you too... Thanks for all of the Great info!:)

Capacitor plague

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Leaking Chhsi capacitors on a MSI 694D Pro motherboard.
The capacitor plague (also known as bad capacitors) is the common premature failure of huge numbers of electrolytic capacitors of certain brands made from about 1999 and sometimes until 2007, used in various electronics equipment, particularly motherboards, video cards, compact fluorescent lamp ballasts, LCD monitors, and power supplies of personal computers. The first flawed capacitors were seen in 1999, but most of the affected capacitors were made in the early to mid 2000s. News of the failures (usually after a few years of use) forced most manufacturers to repair the defects and stop using the capacitors, but some bad capacitors were still being sold or used in equipment as of early 2007, and faults were still being reported as of 2010.[citation needed]
An incorrect electrolyte formula within a faulty capacitor causes the production of hydrogen gas (confirmed by mass spectrometry[1]), leading to bulging or deformation of the capacitor's case, and eventual venting of the electrolyte. The failed capacitors analyzed by two University of Maryland researchers (by ion chromatography and mass spectroscopy) contained no traces of the depolarizing agent normally found in such capacitors in order to retain the hydrogen. The root cause of failure for bulging Taiwanese capacitors has been hypothesized to be dissolution of the aluminum into the electrolyte due to poor phosphate-electrolyte balance, rather than the normal evaporation of the electrolyte that all such capacitors undergo. This hypothesis has been confirmed by analyzing the electrolyte using energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), which confirmed the presence of dissolved aluminum in the Taiwanese capacitors' electrolyte, but not in Japanese ones, and by electrical testing, which confirmed a thinning of the dielectric, because the capacitance increased before failure, rather than the normal decrease through electrolyte evaporation. The industry standard test failed to capture this behavior, likely because the high voltage used in the test significantly retards the dissolution, whereas it occurs faster at the production environment voltages.[1]
In rare cases, faulty capacitors have even been reported to pop or explode forcefully. Although modern manufacturing techniques normally ensure they vent safely rather than explode, manufacturers[who?] have been known[by whom?] to omit the key safety features that allow this.
A serious quality control problem is that the problem only manifests after use over a period of time; poor quality electrolytic capacitors have the same measurable parameters as good ones when new. Only extensive accelerated life testing with high ripple currents and high operating temperatures can identify inferior components. After some normal use the bad capacitors fail predictably far sooner than normal end-of-life; most electronic components do not systematically fail in this way.
Carey Holzman claims to be the first journalist to bring this issue to the public's attention and has worked with lawyers to bring settlements from major manufacturers.[2]



[edit] Prevalence

Faulty capacitors have been discovered in motherboards as old as Socket 7 and have affected equipment manufactured up to at least 2007. The motherboard companies assembled and sold boards with faulty caps sourced from other manufacturers (see below). Major vendors such as Intel, Dell and HP were affected.[3] Circa 2005 Dell spent some US $150 million replacing motherboards entirely and another $150 million on the logistics of determining whether a system is in need of replacement. HP reportedly purged its product line in 2004. The motherboards and power supplies in Apple iMac G5s[4] and some eMacs[5] were also affected.

A power supply unit with failed capacitors.
While capacitor plague largely affects desktop computer hardware, this problem is by no means limited to that area. These capacitors can also be found in some cameras, network switches, audio equipment, DVD players, and a range of other devices.
Some early brands of surface mount aluminum electrolytic capacitors suffered from an apparently similar, but actually different, problem involving electrolyte leakage. Surface-mount soldering is usually done by first screen-printing small areas of solder paste onto the printed circuit board, placing the components, and then running the board assembly through a reflow oven to melt the solder. In an attempt to ensure more reliable soldering, some manufacturers increased the temperature of the reflow, which unknown to them, damages the rubber seals of the capacitors, causing them to dry out or start to leak after one or two years of operation. Compact equipment such as video camcorders is particularly affected by this problem, in most cases needing of repair.

[edit] Symptoms

Bulging capacitors

Failed Choyo capacitors both of which have leaked onto the motherboard.
The most common method of identifying capacitors which have failed because of bad electrolyte is visual inspection. The capacitance may degrade to 4% of the original value, as opposed to an expected 50% capacity degradation over the lifetime.[6] Such a capacitor will show one or more of these symptoms:
  • Bulging of the vent on the top of the capacitor. (The 'vent' is the impression stamped in the top of the can. The impression forms the seams of the vent. It is designed so that if the capacitor becomes pressurized it will split at the vent's seams relieving the pressure rather than making it explode.)
  • In the case of Dell Optiplex GX270s often a "Thermal Event" is displayed in white on a black screen when rebooting.[7]
  • Sitting crooked on the circuit board as the bottom rubber plug is pushed out
  • Electrolyte (a crusty brown substance) leaked onto the motherboard from the base of the capacitor or vented from the top, visible as rust-like brown deposits, or a visible hole in the vent. The petroleum-based adhesive that is sometimes used to secure the capacitors to the board can be confused with leaked electrolyte; electrolyte is usually wet, adhesive dry. This glue is a thick elastic covering of a sandy yellow colour darkens (towards black) with heat. A dark brown crust up the side of a capacitor is invariably glue, not electrolyte. The glue is itself sometimes harmful and can corrode leads and tracks covered by it, leading to leakage current or open-circuit; it is not required and can safely be removed. The presence of black glue is a sure sign that the capacitor has overheated due either to internal failure or inadequate ventilation.
  • High equivalent series resistance (ESR) can easily be measured without disconnecting capacitors (in-circuit) with an ESR meter if available.

Failed Tayeh capacitors both of which have vented through their aluminium tops.
As the capacitor ages, its capacitance decreases and its (ESR) increases. When this happens, the capacitors no longer adequately serve their purpose of filtering the direct current voltages on the motherboard, and system instability results. Some common symptoms are:
  • Not turning on all the time; having to hit reset or try turning the computer on again
  • Instabilities (hangs, BSODs, kernel panics, etc.), especially when symptoms get progressively more frequent over time
  • Memory errors, especially ones that get more frequent with time
  • Spontaneous reboots
  • In case of on-board video cards, unstable image in some video modes
  • Failing to complete the POST, or rebooting before it is completed
  • Never starting the POST; fans spin but the system appears dead
  • Capacitors with high ESR can make power supplies malfunction, sometimes causing further circuit damage. CPU core voltage or other system voltages may fluctuate or go out of range, possibly with an increase in CPU temperature as the core voltage rises

This failed capacitor has exploded and blown its casing off.

Failed capacitor from a PC power supply has blown off the board and expelled its contents (foreground: casing on the left, contents of the capacitor on the right.)
Unlike the physical signs which are conclusive evidence the capacitors are failing, many of the operational signs may be caused by other factors, such as a failing power supply, dust clogging a fan, bad RAM, or other hardware problems. Instability, once the operating system has loaded, may indicate a software problem (such as some types of malware, poorly-written device drivers or software), and not a hardware problem at all. If any of these symptoms are experienced, removing the system's case and inspecting the capacitors, especially those around the CPU, may immediately identify capacitors as the cause. If there are no physical signs, an oscilloscope may be used to examine the AC ripple voltage across capacitors during operation, or an ESR meter to measure ESR when powered down; excessive ripple or ESR is a sign that the capacitors are faulty.

[edit] Cause of the failing capacitors

In one case, the reason for the manufacture of faulty electrolytic capacitors was industrial espionage gone wrong: several Taiwanese electrolyte manufacturers began using a stolen formula that was incomplete, and lacked ingredients needed to produce a stable capacitor.[8]
When a faulty capacitor is charged, the water-based electrolyte becomes unstable and breaks down, producing hydrogen gas. Since these types of capacitors are sealed in an aluminium casing, the pressure builds up within the capacitor until either the flat metal top of the capacitor begins to bend, or the rubber sealing plug is pushed down. Eventually the pressure exceeds the strength of the metal casing and venting occurs, either by blowing out the rubber bottom of the capacitor, or bursting the scored metal vent on the top of the capacitor. When an electrolytic capacitor bursts, effects can range from a pop and a hissing noise to a small explosion. Venting is typically messy, and the corrosive electrolyte must be cleaned off the motherboard to prevent further damage.
IEEE Spectrum covered the issue,[8] and later estimated that the problem cost US $100 million to fix.[9]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b Identification of Missing or Insufficient Electrolyte Constituents in Failed Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors; Hilman and Helmold, CARTS 2004
  2. ^ Ashlee Vance (28 June 2010). "Suit Over Faulty Computers Highlights Dell’s Decline". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ PCs plagued by bad capacitors CNET-Asia.
  4. ^ Apple iMac Repair Extension Program
  5. ^ Apple eMac Repair Extension Program
  6. ^ "Bad Capacitors: Information and symptoms".  100211
  7. ^ PCs plagued by bad capacitors | CNET
  8. ^ a b Chiu, Yu-Tzu; Samuel K. Moore (February 2003). "Faults & Failures: Leaking capacitors muck up motherboards". IEEE Spectrum 40 (2): 16–17. doi:10.1109/MSPEC.2003.1176509. ISSN 0018-9235. Retrieved 2008-03-10. 
  9. ^ Pecht, Michael; Sanjay Tiku (May 2006). "Bogus! Electronic manufacturing and consumers confront a rising tide of counterfeit electronics". IEEE Spectrum 43 (5): 37–46. doi:10.1109/MSPEC.2006.1628506. ISSN 0018-9235. copy

[edit] External links

Go there...

More research Links..

Her's a good How To Video with an alternative approach to finding out which of your Caps are Bad that I found while writing this...
Video to helt ClideSight with finding bad capacitors.

Capacitors - Bad Caps
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