VOGONS


Bulging Caps or just fat caps????

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Reply 21 of 33, by Doornkaat

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user33331 wrote on 2021-06-07, 09:29:

I too think "bulging/exploding caps" are bought a little bit to extreme. ( John Haynes car books recommend changing transmission oil at least every 5 years. Have you done it ? )
I have never replaced capacitors or any circuit board parts apart from CMOS-battery and I have multiple fully working PCs from 1993, 1995, 1998 and a lot of consoles: NES, Gameboys, Gamecube, Wii, PSone, PS2,Xbox 1, Xbox 360 and such.

+I don't have the equipment to do any circuitry work. I have tried but have zero soldering skills.

John Hayes is probably a bit of an outlier with that opinion. (While wiretap credibly claims to have data to back up his view on life expectancy of capacitors.) Modern transmission oil is usually designed to last the intended service life of the transmission/car it is used in. (Which is usually 150000-300000km/15-20years depending on the model.)
Same goes for capacitors on regular PC hardware: They're meant to last for at least the intended service life of the component they're used on. (90's and up to mid-2000's PC hardware is usually designed to last less than 15 years because at this point it would be considered obsolete for most relevant use cases.)

Neither transmission oil on modern cars nor capacitors on PC components are meant to be periodically changed, especially not by regular end users. They're usually meant to last as long as the manufacturer predicts the end user wants to use them.
(By now planned obsolescence often makes manufacturers design important parts of their products to fail before the consumer would want to stop using them. That's a whole different story though.)

Now sure, you don't ever need to change your transmission oil if you just want to drive your car until it falls apart. There's a good chance it'll have another 50000km in it.
And you also don't ever need to change your capacitors if you just want to run your hardware until it dies. There's a good chance they're still good enough for another five years.
But if you wait for either to fail you can expect further damage as a result.
At this point repairs are often way more difficult and expensive than some preemptive maintenance would have been.

This is why if you want to preserve a car and keep using it it makes a lot of sense to do maintenance that was never intended to happen during the car's intended life cycle.
Same goes for PC hardware.

Btw. some circuits are way more tolerant for out of spec capacitors. Having vintage devices that didn't fail due to aged capacitors does not mean every device will work fine with aged capacitors. There are also instances where you can safely wait for a capacitor to start failing before replacing it because it won't cause any damage. But if you can't determine which is true in your case you have to decide wether you'd be rather safe than sorry or just take the risk. And that's personal preference.

Those are my arguments why I would not universally recommend to wait with recapping PC hardware until problems arise. It is better practice to help people make an informed decision than to persuade them to decide the same way one would do themselves.

Reply 22 of 33, by Soap

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Ydee wrote on 2021-06-07, 10:22:

Is the bottom of the capacitors flat or convex? The new capacitors have a bottom flat.

They all feel flat and look the same shape as in none fatter than others from bulging.

Reply 23 of 33, by Soap

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Doornkaat wrote on 2021-06-07, 12:03:
John Hayes is probably a bit of an outlier with that opinion. (While wiretap credibly claims to have data to back up his view on […]
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user33331 wrote on 2021-06-07, 09:29:

I too think "bulging/exploding caps" are bought a little bit to extreme. ( John Haynes car books recommend changing transmission oil at least every 5 years. Have you done it ? )
I have never replaced capacitors or any circuit board parts apart from CMOS-battery and I have multiple fully working PCs from 1993, 1995, 1998 and a lot of consoles: NES, Gameboys, Gamecube, Wii, PSone, PS2,Xbox 1, Xbox 360 and such.

+I don't have the equipment to do any circuitry work. I have tried but have zero soldering skills.

John Hayes is probably a bit of an outlier with that opinion. (While wiretap credibly claims to have data to back up his view on life expectancy of capacitors.) Modern transmission oil is usually designed to last the intended service life of the transmission/car it is used in. (Which is usually 150000-300000km/15-20years depending on the model.)
Same goes for capacitors on regular PC hardware: They're meant to last for at least the intended service life of the component they're used on. (90's and up to mid-2000's PC hardware is usually designed to last less than 15 years because at this point it would be considered obsolete for most relevant use cases.)

Neither transmission oil on modern cars nor capacitors on PC components are meant to be periodically changed, especially not by regular end users. They're usually meant to last as long as the manufacturer predicts the end user wants to use them.
(By now planned obsolescence often makes manufacturers design important parts of their products to fail before the consumer would want to stop using them. That's a whole different story though.)

Now sure, you don't ever need to change your transmission oil if you just want to drive your car until it falls apart. There's a good chance it'll have another 50000km in it.
And you also don't ever need to change your capacitors if you just want to run your hardware until it dies. There's a good chance they're still good enough for another five years.
But if you wait for either to fail you can expect further damage as a result.
At this point repairs are often way more difficult and expensive than some preemptive maintenance would have been.

This is why if you want to preserve a car and keep using it it makes a lot of sense to do maintenance that was never intended to happen during the car's intended life cycle.
Same goes for PC hardware.

Btw. some circuits are way more tolerant for out of spec capacitors. Having vintage devices that didn't fail due to aged capacitors does not mean every device will work fine with aged capacitors. There are also instances where you can safely wait for a capacitor to start failing before replacing it because it won't cause any damage. But if you can't determine which is true in your case you have to decide wether you'd be rather safe than sorry or just take the risk. And that's personal preference.

Those are my arguments why I would not universally recommend to wait with recapping PC hardware until problems arise. It is better practice to help people make an informed decision than to persuade them to decide the same way one would do themselves.

Yes I understand I think I may wait for signs of issues due to GPU before changing these caps.

Reply 24 of 33, by Joakim

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This is a sensitive subject for vogons! I would guess it has to do with some members been less lucky in the cap lottery. See these subjects from time to time here.

Being one of the people that said they look bulging I'm no longer sure when comparing to the reference. Seems like a weird thing to do, to design them to look like friggin barrels but who am I to judge? 😀

Reply 25 of 33, by Deksor

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user33331 wrote on 2021-06-07, 09:29:

I too think "bulging/exploding caps" are bought a little bit to extreme. ( John Haynes car books recommend changing transmission oil at least every 5 years. Have you done it ? )
I have never replaced capacitors or any circuit board parts apart from CMOS-battery and I have multiple fully working PCs from 1993, 1995, 1998 and a lot of consoles: NES, Gameboys, Gamecube, Wii, PSone, PS2,Xbox 1, Xbox 360 and such.

+I don't have the equipment to do any circuitry work. I have tried but have zero soldering skills.

Actually your XBox 1 (If you mean the original Xbox and not the "xbox one") probably has a capacitor that is going to leak and maybe a few others that are going to bulge.

As for the rest it seems that you've managed to have the hardware that doesn't suffer from bad caps. But if you had a Game Gear, Mega CD, Sega 32x, an amiga 600/1200 or some macintosh from the era you have had to change some caps (if you have a SNES it may need a capacitor change at some point as well)

To me there are now two capacitor plagues, the famous one from the late 90's/2000's (which to some degree may continue now, but it's become "mainstream" now, or maybe it happen less as well, I don't really know), and one that's really happening now, but that roots before the first one, the one leaky caps (mostly surface mounted ones) from late 80's/early 90's. And they're actually worse than 2000's plague because while these popped and prevented systems from working it seems that they don't do much harm beyond that, whereas late 80's/early 90's one destroy PCBs like varta batteries do.

Trying to identify old hardware ? Visit Ultimate Retro - Project's thread The Ultimate Retro project - a stason.org/TH99 alternative

Reply 26 of 33, by Soap

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Deksor wrote on 2021-06-07, 18:16:
Actually your XBox 1 (If you mean the original Xbox and not the "xbox one") probably has a capacitor that is going to leak and m […]
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user33331 wrote on 2021-06-07, 09:29:

I too think "bulging/exploding caps" are bought a little bit to extreme. ( John Haynes car books recommend changing transmission oil at least every 5 years. Have you done it ? )
I have never replaced capacitors or any circuit board parts apart from CMOS-battery and I have multiple fully working PCs from 1993, 1995, 1998 and a lot of consoles: NES, Gameboys, Gamecube, Wii, PSone, PS2,Xbox 1, Xbox 360 and such.

+I don't have the equipment to do any circuitry work. I have tried but have zero soldering skills.

Actually your XBox 1 (If you mean the original Xbox and not the "xbox one") probably has a capacitor that is going to leak and maybe a few others that are going to bulge.

As for the rest it seems that you've managed to have the hardware that doesn't suffer from bad caps. But if you had a Game Gear, Mega CD, Sega 32x, an amiga 600/1200 or some macintosh from the era you have had to change some caps (if you have a SNES it may need a capacitor change at some point as well)

To me there are now two capacitor plagues, the famous one from the late 90's/2000's (which to some degree may continue now, but it's become "mainstream" now, or maybe it happen less as well, I don't really know), and one that's really happening now, but that roots before the first one, the one leaky caps (mostly surface mounted ones) from late 80's/early 90's. And they're actually worse than 2000's plague because while these popped and prevented systems from working it seems that they don't do much harm beyond that, whereas late 80's/early 90's one destroy PCBs like varta batteries do.

I have only ever removed a cap and that was on my OGXBOX, It had leaked on the board and split, just snapped it off and cleaned the board with a solution and toothbrush and was right as reign.

Reply 27 of 33, by Miphee

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Joakim wrote on 2021-06-07, 17:57:

Seems like a weird thing to do, to design them to look like friggin barrels but who am I to judge? 😀

It's a shitty design that's for sure but I'm certain that none of these parts were meant to be replaced. Ever. Only crazy people like us bother with them. 😉

Reply 28 of 33, by snufkin

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Deksor wrote on 2021-06-07, 18:16:

To me there are now two capacitor plagues, the famous one from the late 90's/2000's (which to some degree may continue now, but it's become "mainstream" now, or maybe it happen less as well, I don't really know), and one that's really happening now, but that roots before the first one, the one leaky caps (mostly surface mounted ones) from late 80's/early 90's. And they're actually worse than 2000's plague because while these popped and prevented systems from working it seems that they don't do much harm beyond that, whereas late 80's/early 90's one destroy PCBs like varta batteries do.

That fits with my limited experience. Three motherboards from early/mid 2000s (slot 1, slot A, socket 939) with popped rubber seals and brown gunk. Replaced those on the slot A (~2004) and the socket 939 (just last year after it'd been sitting for ~10 years) and they're fine. Separately a 3.5" floppy drive from the early 90s with 2 surface mount electrolytics that failed just last year by leaking and caused corrosion over a wide area of the control PCB, and I'm pretty sure caused a problem with the read head signal detector (haven't been able to get it reliable since). Miffed about that as it had the jumpers to move the disk change/ready signal pins around for use in other systems.

Reply 29 of 33, by FAMICOMASTER

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wiretap wrote on 2021-06-07, 01:32:

Not to mention TV's from the 50's used very few can electrolytic capacitors since they were extremely expensive to produce. (over $80 each in today's dollars) They mostly used paper/wax electrolytic capacitors which would definitely dry and crack in a desert environment. They didn't even last long in the 50's when the TV's were brand new and stored/used indoors.. Hence the TV repairmen in high demand that would bring their capacitor kits to your door. (and vacuum tubes of course, which failed sometimes only after several hours of use depending on the manufacturing quality)

The paper and wax capacitors always fail but the electrolytic capacitors of that era are extremely high quality and seem to have very low failure rates. Dry electrolytic units were also very common, which are even less likely to fail.
Tube failures are fairly rare as well, and most of the "Restore/cleaning" sets they would bring were gimmicks. The tubes which most commonly failed were either under constant use (The CRT is always being driven hard when the set is on, especially if set up incorrectly) and tubes which are under severe load conditions (Horizontal output and damper which are under high power conditions constantly and if for example the output oscillator is not running the tube will be under considerably more stress). Most tubes fail due to other problems in the circuit rather than their own internal failures, which are usually limited to being physically damaged (Dropped / improperly manufactured / gassy tubes from air ingress) or loss of the emissive material (Long hours of use).

Reply 30 of 33, by DAVE86

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I remember once buying Nichivon UR caps some 6-7 years ago. Brand new with the same curved vent/top. Measured them and all parameters were ok. Looks very similar to the ones on Soap's card.

Reply 31 of 33, by user33331

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Is there a coarse age when to expect electronics are long gone and nonfixable ? +40 year old electronics pre 1980s ?
- I have a complex digital weight from 1980s which is still working.
- Some consoles and PCs are about 30 years old, never done any repairs, original state and still working as new.

How loud a capacitor popping is in dB ?
Do other components explode too ?

Reply 33 of 33, by Deksor

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user33331 wrote on 2021-06-09, 09:14:
Is there a coarse age when to expect electronics are long gone and nonfixable ? +40 year old electronics pre 1980s ? - I have a […]
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Is there a coarse age when to expect electronics are long gone and nonfixable ? +40 year old electronics pre 1980s ?
- I have a complex digital weight from 1980s which is still working.
- Some consoles and PCs are about 30 years old, never done any repairs, original state and still working as new.

How loud a capacitor popping is in dB ?
Do other components explode too ?

Depends the complexity of the machine, the availability of potential replacement parts and how well it's documented.

Capacitors will always keep being sold with the same values as far as I know (or at least for the most part), so replacing them shouldn't be a big deal.
Many TTL chips are still being made today, so if you got a dead one, it's not a problem either.
Some chips may not be produced anymore, but new old stocks are still present.
And then, there are computers which use proprietary chips that aren't made anymore, that's where things get tricky.
Sometimes a talented person may have made a decent replacement (like the ARMsid for the C64), sometimes you're just out of luck.

It also depends of the damage. A dead component is often as easy as take and replace.
However a bad cap or a battery that spilled its electrolyte may damage countless components, damage traces that are inside the PCB, making the fix really hard, or even impossible without proper documentation.

Trying to identify old hardware ? Visit Ultimate Retro - Project's thread The Ultimate Retro project - a stason.org/TH99 alternative