I also spent the better part of 2003-2005 replacing Dell Optiplex GX270s that had failed motherboards - bulging capacitors - almost 50% of our desktops were turned over.
Plague barely captures how bad it was.
[Edit: Apparently "Plague" was the word being used back in 2005 as well: http://news.cnet.com/PCs-plagued-by-bad-capacitors/2100-1041...]
Grocery stores run by Nash Finch, on the other hand (Sunmart, if you're in Nebraska) had old NCR POS terminals from the early 1980s. These were some of the very first computerized point of sale terminals in non-upscale retail stores. Those things were still going strong more than thirty years later. The printers on those things were mechanical failures waiting to happen, but the POS terminal, itself was crazy reliable.
The Midwest gets some impressive electrical storms. Occasionally, one of these storms would fry a peripheral card in one of the terminals. When that would happen, I would have to go to the store after closing hours, call up the tech who specialized in these terminals, and he would walk me through ripping out the proper card and rebooting that terminal from the master POS terminal. Yup, the thing would still boot up; even after a peripheral card had been burned.
NCR had long since gotten sick of that model and I don't blame them. Those printers were dodgy. Nash Finch were such cheapskates.
Two days before the warranty wears out, the "motherboard fries" according to the tech who showed up. I asked him him, he said it was probably static electricity. I figured it was some corporate conspiracy to bust computers just after the warranty was up and mine came a bit too early. (I mean... imagine if it had busted a day after the warranty! I'd be flippant!)
But this "capacitor plague" business makes a load more sense than that.
> On 18 May 2013, Capacitor plague was linked from Hacker News, a high-traffic website.
Does anyone know the rationale behind adding this? It doesn't seem like they're auto-locking/semilocking the article to prevent inappropriate edits when an article is linked to from a high-traffic site.
My interpretation is that it's a nice way of staying "Don't argue about the content of this page here, do it on your own message board".
Edit: just saw johnduhart's reply.
Think about all the electronic junk piled up because of this espionage slip. All the hidden costs and environmental impact caused. I'm sure even software faults could be attributed to that (at least the famous BSODs giving Windows a bad rep, I'm sure). Something impossible to calculate.
The Viewsonic LCD 1600x1200 panel (2005) that I am reading this article on right now was a victim of the capacitor plague. Acquired it from a colleague who was going to put it on the curb. $5 and an hour of my time replacing 3 caps in the switching power supply (and an SMT fuse on the inverter board) restored it. I did it to add to my skills.
Paper dielectric capacitors were a scourge of older electronic devices, with service lifetimes even shorter than electrolytics. It is amazing how easily many ancient electronic devices may be restored to better-than-new operation just by replacing electrolytic and paper capacitors.
Worst 4 years of my life.
Assuming "green" ammo actually makes it into the field, we probably won't see it for a while.
Aside from shipboard CIWS, it's pretty much always hitting the earth.
On the other hand, it's not that nasty.
Besides, in this specific case, the whole point of DU is massive penetration, so of course it's going to eventually end up in the ground.
Additionally, I've seen at least three home routers from friends and family fail because of bad capacitors--visibly blown, and in two cases I replaced the caps and they started working again. (In the other case I just threw it out.)
Laptops generally weren't affected, as SMD capacitors generally aren't electrolytic.
I swear they made the cases on those things out of razor blades. I probably could have replace the electrolytic material in most of the blown caps with my own blood.
In about half the cases it was a combined failure of the caps being el-cheapo and also the board design placing them far too close to heat-generating components. Fortunately, it is still cents on the dollar to replace with a higher temp-specced part if you know how to wield an iron.
[edit:] Some googling found this thread for capacitor testing: http://www.badcaps.net/forum/showthread.php?t=17592 I found the badcaps community pretty good when looking for a new PSU, there seemed to be many knowledgeable posters.
That was after almost ruining it by attempting to actually unsolder the original caps from the board. Those things are soldered hard! I tried to apply too much force, slipped, and made a big scratch on the board with the soldering iron. Didn't go through the varnish though.
"Many of the capacitors had a life span specification (load life) of 2000 hours at 105°C. With a lower average internal temperature of 45°C on a printed circuit board and a ripple current within the data sheet specifications, these capacitors should have a life expectancy of about 18 years of continuous operation. With respect to this life span expectation, a failure after 1.5 to 2 years is very premature."
Until Congress sold the television spectrum and the FCC ordered broadcasting to cease, many of us still had non-HD TVs.
Um, I still have mine.
I only use it so that the kids can watch DVDs. There is still a good enough selection of DVDs available. I'll upgrade when it breaks and is irreparable. But not until.
"As of 2013 the problem seems to have receded, with the last major surge of complaints being reported in 2010."'
to apple's credit, they replaced it without cost. seems like they sent me a refurbed unit with "good" caps.