Capacitor plague-History-Public attention-Prevalence-PCB

- Feb 10, 2017-

Capacitor plague-History-Public attention-



Public attention

Results of fire on a printed circuit board, caused by leaked electrolyte which short-circuited conductors carrying power

The news from the Holzman publication spread quickly on the Internet and in newspapers, partly due to the spectacular images of the failures — bulging or burst cans, expelled sealing rubber and leaking electrolyte on countless circuit boards. A lot of PC users were affected, and caused an avalanche of reports and comments on thousands of blogs and other web communities.

The quick spread of the news also resulted in many misinformed users and blogs posting pictures of capacitors that had failed due to reasons other than faulty electrolyte.


Most of the affected capacitors were produced from 1999 to 2003 and failed between 2002 and 2005. Problems with capacitors produced with an incorrectly formulated electrolyte have affected equipment manufactured up to at least 2007.

Major vendors of motherboards such as Abit, IBM, Dell, Apple, HP, and Intel were affected by capacitors with faulty electrolyte.

In 2005, Dell spent some US$420 million replacing motherboards outright and on the logistics of determining whether a system was in need of replacement.

Many other equipment manufacturers unknowingly assembled and sold boards with faulty capacitors, and as a result the effect of the capacitor plague could be seen in all kinds of devices worldwide.

Because not all manufactures had offered recalls or repairs, do-it-yourself repair instructions were written and can be found on the Internet.

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