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meerkt
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Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Mon May 06, 2019 11:54 am

Not that this mobo is THAT much newer, but it's still newer.
I have older stuff that was used more and still remains reliable.

Though, Wikipedia claims up to 2007, so maybe fits the bill.

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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Mon May 06, 2019 11:57 am

Electrolytic capacitors have a finite lifetime. In some cases if a unit is operated near its full voltage and maximum operating temperature, the rating is as low as 1000-2000 hours. It then increases exponentially as the operating conditions are improved.

Note where those are sitting: next to voltage regulator ICs that are probably heating the board from below, and next to a heatsink that is probably warming the air nearby. That may be a normal EoL failure.
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Mon May 06, 2019 12:07 pm

I remember it being mostly a problem until around 2005, but even quality electrolytic caps can still dry out if they have been running very hot like right next to heatsinks in monitor/TV PSUs or simply if they have not been charged for many years. Many years without an applied voltage will degrade the dielectric so that once they are eventually powered up, they exhibit a very high leakage current which causes them to overheat and fail after a short while.
I cannot make out if they have a manufacurer's name on them? If there is no name printed anywhere, then the quality is probably not top notch.. After the whole cap issue was revealed, most motherboard manufacturers switched to high quality japanese caps (and made sure to use that fact in their marketing) and they usually print their name on the cap housing (Panasonic, Nichicon, Rubycon etc.).
 
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Mon May 06, 2019 2:25 pm

I highly suspect unnatural end-of-life. They're sitting next to heat sources, but that's true for most motherboards.

Not sure who's the cap manufacturer. I'll check the next time I open it up.

It's not a fancy mobo so I doubt it's fancier caps, but I am surprised that a few years after the capacitor plague became known manufacturers still haven't fully solved it.
 
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Mon May 06, 2019 2:38 pm

If it wasn't a problem until now, IMO that's an OK lifetime for a lower-end motherboard.
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Mon May 06, 2019 2:59 pm

Especially given that they're located in what appears to be the hottest spot on the motherboard, and there aren't heatsinks on those VRMs.
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Mon May 06, 2019 3:52 pm

Actually, a good company: Nippon Chemicon. There are some other types around (Teapo, and something else), but the leaked ones are NCC.
This mobo is ~2007 vintage. Compare, my P2B is still alive, though it doesn't see much use.
 
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Mon May 06, 2019 3:57 pm

Most electrolytic capacitors don't spit the acid around, not even when they reach the end of life. Those with plague do that.
 
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Mon May 06, 2019 4:08 pm

Wirko wrote:
Most electrolytic capacitors don't spit the acid around, not even when they reach the end of life. Those with plague do that.

I've been building and repairing electronics as a hobby for over 15 years, and they most certainly can do that when they're operating in high-heat environments, either from external sources, or internally from managing high ripple currents. In this case, the three that went first looked to be dealing with both, since each one appears to be the primary filter for a regulator phase.

The counterfeits just popped a lot more often and a lot faster due to the missing electrolyte stabilizer.
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Mon May 13, 2019 8:56 pm

ludi wrote:
Electrolytic capacitors have a finite lifetime. In some cases if a unit is operated near its full voltage and maximum operating temperature, the rating is as low as 1000-2000 hours. It then increases exponentially as the operating conditions are improved.

Note where those are sitting: next to voltage regulator ICs that are probably heating the board from below, and next to a heatsink that is probably warming the air nearby. That may be a normal EoL failure.


It also depends on the quality of the electrolytic capacitors used. A less expensive board may source poorer-quality capacitors with a poorer electrolytic fluid component.

I'm not betting on the above board being high quality, since higher quality boards even at 2007 used solid caps for the voltage regulation. Around that time, I was using an Intel BadAxe 2 enthusiast board, and while it had some electrolytic capacitors, none were for VRMS. And those would probably be the capacitors to withstand the highest temperatures.

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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Mon May 13, 2019 9:32 pm

LoneWolf15 wrote:
I'm not betting on the above board being high quality, since higher quality boards even at 2007 used solid caps for the voltage regulation. Around that time, I was using an Intel BadAxe 2 enthusiast board, and while it had some electrolytic capacitors, none were for VRMS. And those would probably be the capacitors to withstand the highest temperatures.

That was right about the timeframe (plus or minus a year or so) that the transition to solid caps for the CPU VRMs occurred. IIRC my M2A-VM HDMI was the last motherboard I owned that had regular electrolytics for the VRMs.
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Tue May 14, 2019 9:22 am

Around 2005, Intel was shipping hot-running Netburst CPUs (Prescott and Pentium D) with rather high power consumption. These would have strained capacitors and contributed to premature death because heat is very, very bad for electrolytic caps--and no one was using solid caps back then due to price.

This period coincided with intense competition between motherboard manufacturers, and there are a lot of brands from that time which no longer exist. Seriously, half of the mainboard manufacturers went bankrupt or merged, including my two favorites. Capacitors are a frequent target for cost-cutting. Cheap caps are a terrible idea in anything that is intended to run for years. But, hey, market pressure.

So caps fail with time, and they always will. But, yeah, there was a perfect storm in the early-mid 2000s that caused an epidemic.
 
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Tue May 14, 2019 12:32 pm

It's a socket AM2 mobo. It might have started with a Sempron, and continued with a low-power Athlon 64.

LoneWolf15 wrote:
A less expensive board may source poorer-quality capacitors

The failed ones are Japanese: Nippon Chemicon.
 
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Tue May 14, 2019 1:42 pm

Yeah...red PCB, AM2 labeling. This board is ready to be buried. That's why solid caps became commonplace.
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Tue May 14, 2019 7:35 pm

TheRazorsEdge wrote:
Around 2005, Intel was shipping hot-running Netburst CPUs (Prescott and Pentium D) with rather high power consumption. These would have strained capacitors and contributed to premature death because heat is very, very bad for electrolytic caps--and no one was using solid caps back then due to price.

This period coincided with intense competition between motherboard manufacturers, and there are a lot of brands from that time which no longer exist. Seriously, half of the mainboard manufacturers went bankrupt or merged, including my two favorites. Capacitors are a frequent target for cost-cutting. Cheap caps are a terrible idea in anything that is intended to run for years. But, hey, market pressure.

So caps fail with time, and they always will. But, yeah, there was a perfect storm in the early-mid 2000s that caused an epidemic.


Also true. Those two CPU lines put strain on mainboards and heated up cases hot. Of course, around 2007, you're most likely talking early Core 2, which were far cooler. The "Press-hots" were more around 04-05. I remember getting a lot of Dell Optiplex GX270 mainboards replaced due to heat issues with the Prescotts and mediocre capacitors causing a perfect storm of problems - the desktop case models were horribly problematic (not enough ventilation space).

Nippon Chemicon is usually a good capacitor. However, another key feature is what the mainboard manufacturer spec-ed. Expected operating temperature plays a difference, and if the vendor cheaped out with caps not rated for either the demand, or as good of a temperature rating as needed, and this could happen.

I'm going to make a guess; a scientific wild-ass guess, but a guess still. The right picture has silk-screening that ends in AM2, which could mean a Socket AM2 board (Athlon 64, Athlon 64X2). The budget AM2 boards I know of from that time (Foxconn made ones in red, I remember those, and a few others like MSI did as well on the lower end) had less expensive caps, and this wouldn't surprise me at all. And Ludi is totally correct in that that's probably one of the warmer areas of the system board too.

One final thing: While less likely, Nippon Chemicon capacitors have been counterfeited, just like ASUS mainboards and Cisco networking gear has. If not sourced direct...*shrug*
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Thu May 16, 2019 11:28 am

Worked at a university in 2002-2012 and I replaced an entire fleet of Optiplex GX270 mobo's :)
 
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Thu May 16, 2019 4:22 pm

LoneWolf15 wrote:
The right picture has silk-screening that ends in AM2, which could mean a Socket AM2 board (Athlon 64, Athlon 64X2). The budget AM2 boards I know of from that time (Foxconn made ones in red, I remember those, and a few others like MSI did as well on the lower end) had less expensive caps, and this wouldn't surprise me at all. And Ludi is totally correct in that that's probably one of the warmer areas of the system board too.


Around the same time, we moved from down-facing CPU fans to rear-facing fans. This applies more to enthusiasts than OEMs though. This probably contributed to a lot of dead caps too, due to reduced airflow.

OP's image obviously has a down-facing fan, but he didn't experience the premature failure associated with the "epidemic" of the early-mid 2000s... assuming this failure was recent.
 
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Thu May 16, 2019 10:16 pm

capbam wrote:
Worked at a university in 2002-2012 and I replaced an entire fleet of Optiplex GX270 mobo's :)


Dell never admitted it, but there were rumors that over 70% of GX270 boards failed. We lucked out by having 260s and 280s - the 260s still failed, but only in the <25% numbers, not the catastrophic numbers of the 270s.
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Fri May 17, 2019 7:53 am

RIP Abit. They were teetering on the edge of profitability when the caps plague happened and I think less than a year later they declared bankruptcy.

Pretty sure that's an MSI board pictured, though. I had so many of those boards go bad trying to drive scalding-hot Netburst chips in hot factory environments.
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Thu May 23, 2019 7:48 pm

highlandr wrote:
capbam wrote:
Worked at a university in 2002-2012 and I replaced an entire fleet of Optiplex GX270 mobo's :)


Dell never admitted it, but there were rumors that over 70% of GX270 boards failed. We lucked out by having 260s and 280s - the 260s still failed, but only in the <25% numbers, not the catastrophic numbers of the 270s.
</dodged that bullet>


Oh, the warranty actually got extended a year for the GX270s we owned due to the problems. I only had about 2-3 dozen of them, but all but maybe one were desktops, and the cooling design just wasn't adequate for the space. The squirrel-cage blowers on those Prescott P4s would ramp up like a Porsche 911 turbocharger kicking in when under load, and that (with a rear-facing duct on it) and the power supply fan (which was small) was the only cooling one had. There was little room or venting in the case to take cool intake air, and no cooling on the capacitors. One of the many reasons Intel system-builder OEMs like Dell and HP went to BTX designs briefly was just to get cooling to those P4 Prescott CPUs; once Core 2 was released, no longer necessary. And the GX270 wasn't BTX, and unlike the Core 2 models that came later, had no front-mounted fan (the case design was inherited from the early Pentium 4 Willamette and Northwood systems where that additional cooling wasn't needed).

Of that handful of systems I had, by the end, I'd say we replaced 80% of the system boards; the poor design resulted in a greatly decreased system life. They were slow-as-molasses too and throttled quickly; I'd take a GX260 any day with a 533FSB-Northwood 512k cache, which was far cooler, and had more consistent reliability and performance.
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Thu May 23, 2019 8:09 pm

TheRazorsEdge wrote:
LoneWolf15 wrote:
The right picture has silk-screening that ends in AM2, which could mean a Socket AM2 board (Athlon 64, Athlon 64X2). The budget AM2 boards I know of from that time (Foxconn made ones in red, I remember those, and a few others like MSI did as well on the lower end) had less expensive caps, and this wouldn't surprise me at all. And Ludi is totally correct in that that's probably one of the warmer areas of the system board too.


Around the same time, we moved from down-facing CPU fans to rear-facing fans. This applies more to enthusiasts than OEMs though. This probably contributed to a lot of dead caps too, due to reduced airflow.

OP's image obviously has a down-facing fan, but he didn't experience the premature failure associated with the "epidemic" of the early-mid 2000s... assuming this failure was recent.


OEMs sometimes actually did BTX, with a passive heatsink, but directly behind a powerful front intake fan, like this Optiplex GX520, one of the last P4 systems Dell put in play (but using the far cooler Cedar Mill and its new socket):
Image

As for downward facing fans, at the time I was still rocking an Athlon XP, so I was using the cream of the crop at the time --the all-copper Thermalright SLK-947. They allowed for amazing overclocking for their time. Nobody else was making really amazing products yet. Far enough back in my memory that I was using the flagship MSI K7N2 Delta-ILSRmainboard, with a mighty 1GB of RAM. Now that I've OD-ed on nostalgia (looks out window) YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN!!! :lol:
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Thu May 23, 2019 8:40 pm

In a "my bad" nod to Ludi, I was going into more nostalgia I wasn't going to post here (feeling I'd probably OD everyone past even geek levels), but I took a look.

My first Athlon 64 (and then Athlon 64 x2) mainboard was the upper-end MSI K8N Neo 4 Platinum nForce 4 Ultra Socket 939 board. Despite being a whole new generation of power distribution using larger ferrite-core chokes --they're still (though high quality) electrolytic capacitors. Looks like I didn't have solids until my first Core 2 board, an Intel BadAxe 2.

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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Fri May 24, 2019 5:18 am

I remember those monster Thermalright heatsinks; I had a pair of similar ones in my dual Athlon MP system. All copper, and you had to be gentle when moving the system around because the weight of the heatsinks could rip the tabs off the CPU sockets!

The motherboard was one of these. It had a 4-pin Molex in addition to the ATX12V connector, since the industry was still in the process of transitioning to PSUs with ATX12V connectors; you could use either one to supply the CPU VRMs.

And yeah, since it was 2002, all the caps on the Tiger MPX were standard electrolytics, of course. No solid caps.

A few years ago I dug the motherboard, CPUs, and RAM out of the crawlspace and fired it up. It seemed to be having some intermittent POST issues, and my suspicion was that enough of the caps had dried out that the power delivery wasn't quite up to snuff any more. I ordered new caps for it, but at some point after that (but before I got around to actually replacing the caps) I measured the idle power consumption and decided that using it for a NAS build (the idea I was toying with at the time) was a really bad idea, so I never bothered following through with the recap job.
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meerkt
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Fri May 24, 2019 7:38 am

Chipset fans, yuck.

And the CPU socket on that K7N2 looks uncomfortably close to the edge.
(Well, I don't know if it really matters, but it looks wrong. :))
 
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Fri May 24, 2019 7:57 am

Sister sites for caps and advice:
forum https://www.badcaps.net/forum/index.php
caps store http://www.badcaps.net/store/create_account.php

They used to recap boards also, but that was several years ago. I fixed 2 boards for local relatives a few years ago with their caps.
My repaired post: https://www.badcaps.net/forum/showpost. ... stcount=44
 
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Fri May 24, 2019 8:08 am

I used a Thermalright on my A7N266-C (first ever nForce chipset FTW) AXP system. I had the hottest-clocked Palomino prior to the T-Bred die shrink, so I needed a heatsink that meant business.

Speaking of caps though, my dad and I both had A8N-E systems which were passed on to others and had exceptionally long lifespans (2016'ish for A64 x2's). After more than 10 years, when they eventually died, they both went within 2 weeks of one another.
 
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Fri May 24, 2019 9:51 am

meerkt wrote:
Chipset fans, yuck.

And the CPU socket on that K7N2 looks uncomfortably close to the edge.
(Well, I don't know if it really matters, but it looks wrong. :))

My SOP in those days was to replace the chipset fans with passive coolers. Sometimes you had to get a little creative since a passive cooler large enough to keep the chipset cool would result in mechanical clearance issues with other components. In a couple of cases I had to cut some of the fins down to fit around the video card...
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Fri May 24, 2019 10:23 am

Zalnan ZN47 or something like that.
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Fri May 24, 2019 10:26 am

Captain Ned wrote:
Zalnan ZN47 or something like that.

https://www.amazon.com/Zalman-ZM-NB47J- ... B000292DNQ
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Re: Weren't bad caps only an early 2000s phenomenon?

Fri May 24, 2019 11:55 am

just brew it! wrote:
My SOP in those days was to replace the chipset fans with passive coolers. Sometimes you had to get a little creative since a passive cooler large enough to keep the chipset cool would result in mechanical clearance issues with other components. In a couple of cases I had to cut some of the fins down to fit around the video card...

just brew it! wrote:
Captain Ned wrote:
Zalnan ZN47 or something like that.

https://www.amazon.com/Zalman-ZM-NB47J- ... B000292DNQ

I did the same. And that exact heatsink. I actually still have a couple unopened.

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