Linked by Howard Fosdick on Mon 31st Dec 2012 20:26 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems Last month, I explained why I use generic desktops and laptops running open source software. They're reliable and inexpensive. But this presumes you can fix them. I believe that even those with no hardware training (like me), can identify and fix most hardware problems. To prove it, here's a quick guide. Feel free to add whatever I've missed.
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RE: Blown capacitors
by umccullough on Tue 1st Jan 2013 02:57 UTC in reply to "Blown capacitors"
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One common problem for older desktop computers is blown capacitors. If the power supply starts but the computer doesn't, one possible cause is the capacitors failing.

You tell by looking for those cylindrical things on the motherboard that have a metallic disc on the top, usually with a cross on the disc. If the disc with the cross on it is bulging up, the capacitor is blown.

Sometimes they leak out the bottom instead - you'll see what appears to be a wet spot around the bottom of the cap, usually collecting dust.

If the motherboard has blown capacitors, you usually need a new motherboard. A really ambitious tech who is good with a soldering iron can replace the bad capacitors with new ones, but for most cases it's not worth it.

Funny, in many cases, I've found the owners of said machines are glad there's another option besides "get a new computer"... and they're happy to find out that it's ~$10 in parts and an hour of my time to swap out the caps for them.

Recently, I replaced the caps on my mother's Core 2 Duo HP machine - she (and I) was dreading having to get a new machine and move all her stuff to it.

Throwing away perfectly good equipment because some company went cheap on the capacitors feels dirty to me - especially when the repair is reasonably cheap and easy for someone with basic soldering skills.

Some newer motherboards have capacitors that can't blow out. In these cases, the little cylinders on the motherboard don't have metallic discs with crosses on them, the top of the cylinders is the same as the sides with no seam. If this is the case, consider yourself lucky.

I've seen those blow their tops off too...very violently.

You can get blown capacitors in the power supply too.

I usually toss a PSU with blown caps...

Edit: bad tags

Edited 2013-01-01 02:58 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4