[rescue] Slightly OT: Bad Cap Saga

Geoffrey S. Mendelson gsm at mendelson.com
Mon Aug 18 01:52:36 CDT 2008

On Sun, Aug 17, 2008 at 03:29:30PM -0700, Curious George wrote:

> What makes you think they *wouldn't*?  I.e., were they supplied by
> Dell *explicitly* as replacements for machines with "problems"?
> Or, did someone just run out and order an extra hundred to have
> on hand "just in case"?

Does it matter. If Dell sold them thousands of computers, giving them
an extra hundred is a lot cheaper than fixing the ones that fail anyway.

Instead of the customer calling India and getting an RMA, having the
machine shipped to them, paying a tech to look at it and so on,
the CUSTOMER takes a replacement out of the box, puts it in service
and trashes the broken computer. Not only has the labor been absorbed
by the customer, they think they are getting a good deal out of it.

> I *think* most of the capacitor failures that I have seen are
> brought about by *use*.  I.e., sitting idle (unpowered) doesn't
> harm the devices.

Obivously you are a modern design engineer with no experience in older
electronics. Ask on any of the older radio mailing lists about what
to do with a radio that has sat unused for many years. Many of them
have capacitor failure due to aging, and they were made before 
any of this happened.

> But, I can't be sure of that!  E.g., if the problem was caused
> by something in the manufacturing process that *contaminates*
> the components (e.g., a bad wash), then it's possible that
> their actual service life *is* shortened despite being in storage
> for that time...

No, it wasn't a bad wash, it was a missing preservative. 

As I said in a previous reply which you should have seen by now, they
probably replaced it with something that extended the life of their
product, but not as long as the original one.


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

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