[rescue] Slightly OT: Bad Cap Saga

Curious George jorge234q at yahoo.com
Sun Aug 17 11:11:58 CDT 2008


I'm seeing a *lot* of "broken devices" that *just* have
bad electrolytics somewhere in the power supply, etc.

So far, I've fixed motherboards, PC power supplies,
DVD recorders, LCD monitors, etc. *just* by replacing bad
caps.  (in one case, it was fairly obvious that the
problem was a design error -- e.g., 10V devices on
a 12V line)

I have mixed feelings about this.  On the one hand, it
is distressing to see so much stuff discarded as "bad"
when it has such simple problems.  It also is scary as
it makes me wonder what of *my* devices will suffer from
this same fate!

On the other hand, it's a bit of a "boon" since I can take
a "worthless" device and, for a dollar or two in components
end up with a perfectly functioning item!

I know there is talk of "capacitor plague" and some legend
about industrial espionage gone wrong, etc.  (though none
of that explains the 10V devices on the 12V line!  :> )
But, the variety of manufacturers that I have been finding
really has me doubting that -- did *10* companies share this
stolen secret?  Are all 10 companies really the same single
company?  Etc.

Of course, the cap names that *I* grew up with (Sprague, Mallory,
etc.) are nowhere to be found.  I'm sure most of these parts
are made in the Far East, etc.

Anyone have similar experiences to share?  Or, other insights
as to this problem?  I've always known caps and connectors to
be the weakest parts of any design but this is getting to be
ridiculous!  :<

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