When your motherboard capacitors start leaking magical orange dust, you know this is one computer that is not turning on again any time soon.

When it happens to two identical computers at the same time, you know the manufacturer used cheap capacitors on that model.


When it also happens to the capacitors on the video card, it’s a good indication they used cheap everything.

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About The Angry Technician

The Angry Technician is an experienced IT professional in the UK education sector. Normally found in various states of annoyance on his blog. All views are those of his imaginary pet dog, Howard.

5 responses to “Electrolyte”

  1. Soulfish says :

    Although likely they’re cheap components anyway it wouldn’t suprise me if the capacitors were faulty (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor_plague).

    Had a fair few motherboards and other devices with this problem over the years. One of the reasons when building myself PCs I try and ensure that the capacitors used on the motherboard are of the solid state design :)

    Thankfully capacitor failure is becoming much less common!

  2. Moohorse says :

    Hmm… for some reason “MX4LR” popped into my head.

  3. BM says :

    I once had CPUs, Mobos and Ram replaced on 8 Dell Optiplex GX270s in one support call for this problem. Replaced about another 20 in the following months.

    • AngryTechnician says :

      Yes, the OptiPlex SX260/280 and GX270 lines were infamous for this problem, all down to cheap capacitors being used on the original motherboards. Many of the SX280 had it too. A Dell engineer once told me that he’d replaced hundreds of them for the local police service, who had every one of their SX260s fail.

      Luckily I think Dell have now learned their lesson; I haven’t seen one of their machines built in the last few years that has had the problem.

  4. Sput says :

    A little late to the game. I worked for a Govt Training establishment that no longer exists and we had three sites filled with the GX270’s about 350 of the boxes. Great machines till the above happened.
    The solution, the new IT boss (recently joined from a national charity) knew that at the old place they had the same problem, and were upgrading to avoid it. One week and a phone call later a lorry turns up with 500 more of the same problematic PC. Simple HDD swaps on the failed unit for another unit likely to fail any day! Ohh not before we had wiped every drive with a disk eraser and posted the printed reports to confirm wiping back to the kind donator

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