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Defective Mainboard - Bad Capacitors

PC Mainboards at risk from defective capacitors!

Reports are that near the end of 2002, a large number of capacitors were manufactured with a defective electrolyte. The instability of this water based electrolyte creates an excess amount of hydrogen which will lead to a ruptured can.

Typically, in a PC you will find electrolytic capacitors on the system mainboard and within the power supply. A capacitor is basically a "storage tank" that will fill-up and try to maintain the voltage level applied to it. On system mainboards the capacitors are often used to maintain and filter supply voltages for various electronic components including the CPU and Memory.

Defective capacitors can reduce or do nothing at all to filter out voltage spikes and fluctuations. Symptoms can vary from occasional system crashes to boot failures and constant system re-booting. Power supply failures due to defective capacitors can have catastrophic results. High, un-filtered power voltage levels can permanently damage electronic components on mainboards, video cards, disk drives etc.

You can identify defective electrolytic capacitors by looking for bulging capacitor tops or a leaking substance from a rupture on the top or the bottom of the capacitor.

What is a capacitor and what does it do?

A capacitor is an electronic component used in almost all electronic circuits from portable phones to car electronics. A capacitor stores and maintains (or resists change) to voltage levels and fluctuations. Capacitors are also used in timing and filtering circuits.


Electronic Symbols for Capacitors


There are many types of capacitors, common ones are ceramic, tantalum, film, and electrolytic. It is the electrolytic type that is commonly used for voltage supply circuits. These are the types found on defective mainboards due to capacitor failures.


What to do if your Mainboard is bad due to blown capacitors
First check to see if your PC is still under warranty, if so get it replaced under warranty.
If your PC is a couple of years old and not covered under warranty you will have to
replace the mainboard (if you can find a similar one). You should also verify that the
CPU, memory and other components from your are working properly. You may have to
upgrade your system or get a new PC if a replacement mainboard cannot be found.



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