[rescue] Slightly OT: Bad Cap Saga

Geoffrey S. Mendelson gsm at mendelson.com
Mon Aug 18 01:19:56 CDT 2008

On Sun, Aug 17, 2008 at 02:52:44PM -0700, Curious George wrote:
> My point is we are now almost 10 years after the "spy event"
> and I'm still seeing "cap problems".  While it is *possible*
> that there is a big pile of "old stock" someplace(s) that
> folks are still pulling from (to avoid having to eat their
> losses on those components and/or subassemblies), I wonder if
> there aren't *other* issues at play, here.  I.e., when do
> we *stop* blaming capacitor problems on *this* particular
> cause?

Well, you are assuming it was corrected. First of all, if it turns
out that these capacitors work fine for 91 days without any changes,
most consumer manufacturers would not touch them, but many would.

Second what if it was partially fixed? Lacking the critical ingredient,
and the knowledge of what it was, why wouldn't the Tiwanese company
find a substitute. If it extends the working life of their units 
to a year, or two or three, but costs less than the one the Japanese
company uses, why not? 

I must be missing something here, I think you are the only person on 
the planet that thinks that cheap consumer electronics should last
several years. The whole "cheaper to toss it and buy a new one"
mentality has unfortunately taken over and is the conerstone of
many country's economies (US, Japan, the EU) and so on. 

The US has outgrown the "when the ashtray is full, it's time to
trade in the car" mentality of the 1960's, but it's IMHO shifted to
consumer goods.

That's how this list got started, there was a generation of SUN computers
being scrapped because they were obsolete. It expanded to other manufacturer's
computers, but things have not changed and the mentality expanded to 
the general public and consumer electronics in general.

As an example, cheap DVD players. If they were to be used everyday for
three years before the capacitors leak, will they still work? Have
the laser diodes degraded to the point they no longer put out enough power?
Did the plastic assemblies that hold the disk in place degrade to the
point they no longer hold the disk in a readable position?

They both happen to cheap DVD players and often in less than three years,
so why buy capacitors that last "forever"?


Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Jerusalem, Israel gsm at mendelson.com  N3OWJ/4X1GM

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