Dell Dimension 2300: Capacitor Plague

While scrubbing a hard drive and decommissioning an old Dell Dimension 2300, I spotted a failed capacitor:

Dell 2300 failed capacitors - 1

Dell 2300 failed capacitors – 1

And another:

Dell 2300 failed capacitors - 2

Dell 2300 failed capacitors – 2

The board sported many of those little caps, well over half showing signs of distress.

A progression of victims, from I’m-not-dead-yet to phew:

Dell 2300 failed capacitors - grouped

Dell 2300 failed capacitors – grouped

According to its Service Tag, this Dimension 2300 came off the line in late November 2002. All of the other caps on the board seemed OK, so apparently the plague affected just this lot of Hermei 470 µF 6.3 V capacitors.

Or, hey, they’re not supposed to last a dozen years and this is perfectly normal …

  1. #1 by Paul Benjamin on 2014-05-29 - 08:22

    If I remember right 2002 was a bad time for cap in many PC boards. They usually failed within a year or two though.

    • #2 by Ed on 2014-05-31 - 09:07

      And, of course, “failure” is a relative thing: those slightly swollen cans may have still been Good Enough. The inside of the case wasn’t spattered with capacitor guts, anyhow.

  2. #3 by Red County Pete on 2014-05-29 - 10:33

    When my circa 2004 monitor went south due to capacitor plague, I got a kit (well, two–the vendor changed designs mid run and I guessed wrong) from LCDalternatives. This handled all but the biggest supply cap–that one was fine. The monitor recovered and ran well for a year before the color processing went bad–white is now greenish, but I can override. No other obvious caps, but I didn’t take strong antistatic precautions…

    The vendor does kits for specific monitors and TVs, with online instructions. I recall that he’ll make up kits on special order, in case you don’t want to bother with stocking the various types. IIRC, my Princeton kits cost about $12 plus a bit of shipping. I thought briefly about trying to fix the Mac Classic II, but that was all surface mount electrolytic caps, all bad.

  3. #4 by frenzie on 2014-05-29 - 12:00

    Capacitors always seem to be failing rather too soon. I’d say ten years is surprisingly reasonable, assuming it failed only fairly recently.

    I have an acquaintance who has a giant collection of just about every type of capacitor and resistance you could possibly want. I’ve hardly got a clue how he acquired it all, but I guess that as an electrical engineer (who designs circuit boards and whatnot) the guy has an interest in capacitors far beyond my temporary fix-some-broken-item concerns.

    My 2004 halogen-based standing lamp had a slightly more interesting failure last month… perhaps I should’ve taken pictures before I fixed it up. Come to think of it, I can take a picture of what the failed socket looks like; I believe I still have it lying about somewhere.

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