Talk:Capacitor plague

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Initial comments[edit]

  • Bushytails 04:20, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC) First revision. Not bad for a couple hours of writing. (IMHO, at least). I have a fair pile of motherboards waiting to be recapped (my last order of caps is taking a bit long to show up... (censored) christian holidays slowing up the post!); will take some photos of them tomorrow to show what failing caps look like. Will probably also fill in some of the missing sections, expand some parts of it, re-check for typos, then sit back and fluff my tail happily.
  • --Wiki Tiki God 12:42, 26 October 2005 (UTC) I first heard about this in Nov 2003 when building a computer and a lot of articles were commenting on capacitor failures on motherboards by companies that were (previously) known for rock solid quality (like Asus, and MSI). It was one of the reasons I just went with a genuine Intel board. But I haven't heard ANYTHING about this in the last year (except in 'economy' motherboards like ECS, which always sufffer from poor quality control anyway). At the time I heard it was because a lot of motherboard manufacturers were in a cutthroat, micro margin, price war (like memory makers sometimes do), and that now, most MB makers have realized that loosing a customer for life (like me) is not worth saving 23 cents per board. Perhaps an update is needed?
  • Novous 17:15, 11 April 2006 (UTC) I think the section on "recapping" a motherboard should be rethought. It's currently written from a scared consumer's point-of-view. Almost anyone who can solder can easily replace blown capacitors on a motherboard, but this section sounds like motherboards are some crazy magical black art that should never be tampered with. People who don't know what they're doing shouldn't touch them, but I see no reason why this article should scare people away from it. But then again, I imagine anyone who knows how to would ignore this section anyway.

--timeheater 03:29, 4 May 2006 (UTC) i agree that it could be written a bit differently, but i do think that stressing the complexity of motherboards as well as other "cutting edge" electronics is necessary - i work in production at an electronics company and don't have problems with SMD work, but some of the boards scare the hell out of me! pc boards with more than two layers is tricky even if you have lots of experience; they probably weren't designed to be repaired in the first place. i'd be more worried about lifting pads than ruining nearby components... and given that the caps are bigger, as well as power sections usually being a bit more sparse, someone with experience shouldn't have a big problem replacing them, but anyone who isn't fully competent should keep in mind that they may fail. if i get a chance in the next couple days i'll try and rewrite it a bit.

Motherboard companies not to blame?[edit]

Motherboard companies not to blame for capacitor plague?  Who do you think chose  the bad components for installation in the first place? The user of components is ultimately to blame when they choose low-ball parts to save 23 cents per board, fail to do due diligence in qualifying the parts and qualifying the vendor, fail to perform ongoing incoming quality inspection of parts and don't perform statistical process control of the finished products.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Hydrargyrum (talkcontribs)

I agree with the above statement. This seems like a possible NPOV infringement. Stovetopcookies 17:49, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

It's hard for me to agree with the assertion that the motherboard companies are responsible. They want to buy the cheapest parts they can in order to maximize their profit margin. Otherwise, their investors, shareholders, and owners will think they're irresponsible, too. I'm not sure where the figure of 23 cents per board comes from, but over millions of units and dozens of parts per unit, the prices add up fast, particularly in an industry with no margin.
Meanwhile, the blame statement is unreferenced though I'm not sure it's POV. -- Mikeblas 22:25, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

The page now says " The motherboard companies assembled and sold boards with faulty caps sourced from other manufacturers (see below)", which doesn't seem right, either. At the time the motherboard manufacturers bought the capacitors, they didn't know they were faulty. -- Mikeblas 12:12, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

Motherboard manufactors ought to do their own quality ensurance check. They decide what shoddy sourcing deals to make. Not the end user. Any uncertainty in regards to reliability is likely to get them ditched due no benefit of dault. Because of how corporations are run these days. Electron9 18:36, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Typically dodgy capacitors fail after a year. As most motherboards are obsolete in that time, its unreasonable to expect it to be detected in advance. However having been burnt they should source better components. --Gibnews (talk) 23:33, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

I've done PC Support for nearly 20 years. I've never replaced a Motherboard because it was 'Obsolete'. I still have Windows '98 PC's that work just fine. They are no longer safe on the Internet because the kids in Redmond quit patching the OS. If that kind of Obsolecence is what you mean, it takes way more than a year. It's also planned obselence. M$ forces it on us. It's no fault of Hardware. Most Business replace their PC's every 3 to 5 years, not every year. I've done enough Corporate Upgrades to know! I don't know where you got this 1 year obsolence idea. Maybe you're a hard core Gamer or something, but most of us use our PC's until Microsoft or something like a Thunder Storm or Malware Infestation forces us to get another. —Preceding unsigned comment added by TX EET (talkcontribs) 21:40, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

Too x86-PC focused?[edit]

  • --AaronWL 03:03, 20 June 2006 (UTC) This is a strange article, in that it talks about a common failure mode for capacitors in general, a common electronics component, yet is entirely centric to some specific application. Surely PC system integrators are not the only people who feel they experience electolytic capacitor failure? I'd like for an expert who is familiar with the technical details on this mode of failure to transform this discussion into something more generic, with a specific section for PC motherboards.

Same here! In the 'Symptoms' section, it starts waffling on about computer symptoms! Without any introduction that the following would be that specific! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:46, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

I personally had two Apple Power PC motherboards fail with bad capacitors. The system was a 2004 G5 iMac. The first time it failed was under Apple Care, and the 'Genius' told me this was a failure they were seeing a lot of. The second time, the system was beyond the service contract, but Apple replaced the board for free... again saying it was a known issue. I added Apple to the list of companies with this problem... please not that is was anecdotal on my part. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Aonyx (talkcontribs) 00:22, 13 May 2012 (UTC)

Dangerous Voltages[edit]

I see this uncited passage has been added again to the article:

Recapping on a power supply unit should NEVER be attempted by a non-professional as dangerous voltages can remain present across the unit's functioning capacitors for as long as days even after being unplugged.

Can someone explain that, or better yet provide a citation that does? What capacitor in a computer power supply will cary dangerous voltages? For days after power is removed? Unlike a television, the power supply doesn't produce lethal votages. There are no capacitors which are charged to thousands (or even hundreds) of volts on the output side of the transformer. -- Mikeblas 15:31, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

The filter capacitors and tank capacitor in a switching power supply don't hold voltages much larger than the output voltage of the supply. For the power supplies used in PC's, this means they're not much over 12 volts DC. The capacitors aren't large enough to hold a charge for very long as their own leakage current (and the unswitched load shown to the PSU by the motherboard and peripherals) will dissipate their charge in a time much shorter than "days".
Without any references to the contrary, then, I'm removing the "recapping" warning. -- Mikeblas 15:39, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Sorry but you are wrong. The input filter condensers of a computer power supply can be rated as high as 200 WVDC, as these are used in rectifying an AC signal directly from the source.Stovetopcookies 21:17, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Why would they be rated so high? The secondary output of the transformer is almost always less than 50 VAC, so the rectified and filtered DC voltage is less than 70 VDC or so. It makes no sense to put electrolytic filter capacitors directly across the source, as you're suggesting; it'll also make it pretty hard to get UL certification. Because of the limited space, capacitors with a working voltage of 200 are never used on motherboards. In a computer power suppy, I think you'll have a hard time finding caps with a working voltage higher than 100 or 150 volts. The working voltage, of course, is a specification about the capacitor and does not indicate that 200 volts is present in the circuit. -- Mikeblas 22:01, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
If you readup on switched power supplies you will see that they will rectify your 110/240V AC into DC. Stabilise this intermediate DC with a capacitor. Chop with a power transistor in the kHz range. Feed an high frequency transformer. The output is then again rectified and stabilised with a capacitor.
The output from the PSU are in some sections of the motherboard subject to the same process again to provide the obscure CPU voltages.
The shock risks are mainly with the high voltage input DC capacitor stage (~339V). In theory maybe the coils can be a potential hazard aswell. But I haven't heard of such occurence. The PSU output stage, and the on-motherboard switched psu should be harmless.
This means any PSU, UPS, CRT, "Inverter", etc.. must be treated with great respect.
The Voltage rating is just what the capacitor can handle in normal operation, not what it actually contains. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Electron9 (talkcontribs) 22:05, August 29, 2007 (UTC)

For the record, in North American mode, computer power supplies use a voltage doubler, while in European mode they just rectify the line voltage. This means that the input capacitor will be charged to ~340V DC worldwide. The mains voltage bulk capacitor is marginally capable of delivering a lethal shock (based on a lethal current range of 6-200mA, and a required duration of 1-3s,[1] and using a capacitance charge/discharge calculator. [2] Certainly many people have survived this kind of capacitor discharge, but it is in dangerous territory, and really very unpleasant.-- (talk) 04:50, 10 December 2007 (UTC)--

And since the metal pcb tracks conduct the danger around the board, merely warning people about charged caps does not stop some of them getting bitten. Tabby (talk) 01:50, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm an industrial electronics tech of 40 years standing. I collect dead PC PSU's and strip them for parts, particularly the two *200V* main electros on the mains side. Doubters should open one and check.

I am dubious the "charged capacitor" warning applies in the case of PC SMPS's, but "days" is certainly correct in many cases, for example disposable camera flash guns, valve/tube amplifiers, CRT TV's, and some microwave ovens I have worked on. On the other hand I have yet to see a motherboard with any high voltage on it.

"Capacitor plague" is only the latest of many such developments over the years that have only slowly come to light as gear ages. As mentioned above, service people are all too aware that a large batch of dodgy parts are working their way through the system.

The term "plague" was first applied as "Purple plague" to a generation of early power transistors (1970's?), later to a range of improperly passivated IC's from a particular major manufacturer, and seems fitting for what is happening with these electros.

Electrolytic caps have *always* been prone to aging, leaking, and exploding but there is good reason to think that failure rates since about 2000 have been much higher than would normally be expected. Certainly leaking SMD electro caps have become a *notorious* problem to service techs and this extends to all modern gear that uses them, not just computers. (talk) 14:53, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Just to pour petrol on troubled waters: the ability of a capacitor to hold a charge is directly related to the quality of the capacitor. I used to service equipment which used a linear power supply that produced -70,0,+70 volts at 10 Amps per pole (that means really big capacitors folks). The capacitors on this device were well able to provide a substantial jolt for a couple of weeks after last being powered. I have found SMPSU input capacitors that hold a charge for several days, but I have also found them lose that charge in a matter of minutes. (talk) 16:04, 7 April 2011 (UTC)


This article indicts many vendors by name, but provides no references for that indictment. Is that responsible? -- Mikeblas 02:44, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

I've removed the uncited section. -- Mikeblas 20:29, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

I've added an earlier reference from 2002. THE MEDIA OUTBURST BEGAN WHEN THOMAS SODERSTROM PUBLISHED INFORMATION TO A MESSAGE BOARD THAT WAS PICKED UP BY ED SPERLING and referred a second technician, Carey Holzman. Ed Sperling broke the story and deserves full credit, since his article was the impetus for those that followed months later. He was even responsible for the research the exposed several manufacturers and the purported link to industrial espionage. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:18, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

"Capacitor Plague"?[edit]

Why is this called the "Capacitor Plague"? Searching the web, I find very few references to the term. -- Mikeblas 12:45, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

It needed a name and this one is fitting as such. Capacitors (or condensers) are involved, and a plague, or "illness" if you will, strikes them. This problem was widespread, as is a plague. Stovetopcookies 21:17, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

I disagree. I don't recall seeing any technical texts (consumer level computer magazines don't count) refer to the problem in these terms, and the term does not describe the problem. "Capacitor plague" implies a problem with the very presence of capacitors when they are essential components. (talk) 21:08, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Its a reasonable term and one which someone googling as I have just done will find. Duff caps certainly look sickly. --Gibnews (talk) 23:36, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

Objectively, I can see two sides of this. Plague implies contagion. However, it also implies an incredibly widespread issue. On one hand, the issue is indeed very much a widespread one, attacking not only computer components, but also pretty much anything that uses this type of capacitor(Consider that the bad caps were sold at a cheaper price, therefore, any company standing to save some money would have bought the cheaper components to build). Everything from DVD players to flatscreen monitors, televisions to just about anything else that uses aluminum electrolyte caps.

On another hand, plague can make even more sense. Generally the death of one in a cluster can very quickly be a harbinger note to the death of the remainder of the cluster, even after the initial one is replaced, hence why it is generally recommended in the electronics industry to, if one failed capacitor is spotted, replace All of the capacitors in the cluster, if not all of the caps on the board as a whole. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:00, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

Capacitor Plague makes sense. Bubonic Plague is a plague related to a disease that presents as buboes (swollen lymph glands). So a Capacitor Plague is reasonably a disease that presents as defects in the capacitors. And since it was widespread and hard to eradicate, it's a plague. Also, Capacitor Plague is definitely going to be the name of my next band. (talk) 04:17, 9 April 2016 (UTC)

What term ever should be used? Starting the article two terms were used: "Bad caps" and in more serious publications "capacitor plague". The discussion now don't understand the situation in the past. --Elcap (talk) 01:03, 10 April 2016 (UTC)

Capacitor brands[edit]

Is it really necessary to remove all bad and known cap brands. Obvisously Chhsi, Tayeh, Choyo nad Jun Fu are bad as there a pictures dipicting these bad caps. I have quite a few boards with leaking G-LUXON, OST, GSC and Licon on them (The Licon caps are on a Point Of View GeForce FX-5500)

On the contrary, I have ECS motherboards littered with G-LUXON, OST and GSC caps and they are fully stable and they are not leaking so I guess it depends on the model of the Caps. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mjr4077au (talkcontribs)

Without any verifiable sources that show those brands as affected, yes, they should be removed. The pictures show that single units of the particular brand failed, not that there's something wrong with the brand of capactiors as a whole. Those units that failed may have failed for any of several reasons, not just bad electrolyte. (Even then, I would expect that a particular line from the manufactrer to be affected, not all capacitors made by the brand.) As I indicated above, beyond Wikipedia policy for verifiability, I think it is irresponsible to indict the products of a company without presenting any relevant evidence whatsoever. -- Mikeblas 02:12, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

Thanks to person who added the IEEE references (2002, 2003, 2006), this was covered -- and I believe that the manufacutrer (Taiwan?) was mentioned in this industrial espionage case. As far as branding -- if it is a brand that this mfg. used -- this is exactly what brand marketing profesisnals hate - turning around a tainted product name or brand -- due to management failures (accidental or deliberate). Beatgr 02:10, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

No problem; I have my nose in the journals most of the time, anyway. There is a very long list of manufacturers who have been implicated in the issue, but I've never seen any hard evidence in any journal about which brands really were guilty. As far as I have seen, countries where the espionage took place haven't said anything about court cases or settlements. Becasue the reputations of involved companies are at stake, I think it's very important to make sure we get very good references before listing specific names. -- Mikeblas 22:15, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

I have again removed this list; it was replaced without references. -- Mikeblas 17:00, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

The best references you will find are the fourms, where way back when, I took the original, cited list from. Until someone went ahead and deleted it. If you're not going to consider their forums an acceptable reference, then it is unlikely you will ever find a reference you like, as just about all the manufacturers deny it. As a list of commonly failing brands is highly useful for the article, giving users an idea of the scale of the problem, the tendency of copycat brands to appear, information that will aid in checking their own computers, etc, one should be provided. Bushytails 18:02, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

It's not that I don't accept links to forums as references; it's that Wikipedia doesn't. I this case, I think it's hard to disagree that the people posting in forums don't know for sure if the capacitors failed because of bad electrolyte or because of other reasons. Magazines like EDN, Electronic Times, some of the IEEE magazines have all run articles about the problem, and I think they might provide reliable sources about the issue. Unfortunately, I don't have back issues that old. -- Mikeblas 20:27, 29 August 2007 (UTC)


If you want to make "Capacitor Plague" exclusive to caps with bad electrolyte and corrosion issues then you will have to remove all mention of failures due to the defective Nichicon HM and HN series made between 2001 and 2004 because their issue was NOT bad electrolyte or corrosion at all. They were simply overfilled which caused excessive pressure in the cans and leakage or bloating. (Read your own references.) Bear in mind that by doing so you will remove... (by volume, because you would be excluding all Dell and Apple failures (they only used Japanese caps) in addition to some models of nearly every motherboard brand) ...the cause of nearly 80% of motherboard failures for boards manufactured from 2001-2004.

Nichicon HM and HN are Japanese made. ---- The electrolyte and corrosion issues ONLY AFFECT non-Japanese Asian made capacitors. That includes both the stolen electrolyte fiasco and the on-going (1940'S to present) matter of poor raw materials. Those have ONLY been a notable problem with NON-JAPANESE Asian made capacitors.

. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:55, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

AV Equipment[edit]

What about including a discussion of aging caps in vintage stereo equipment? -- Slowmover 16:44, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

This article is about a bad batch of capacitors in the early 2000s. The natural aging of capacitors would be best covered in the main capacitor article, I think. -- Mikeblas 22:35, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

ABIT was not the only one[edit]

Juventas 04:53, 7 January 2007 (UTC) Intel did post a support article for their products that were effected, but have since removed it. I assume this is because their effected products are now outside of their support period. Google has a cached copy here: [3] I'm quite new to wikipedia editing, so I'll let someone else correct it if they feel its justified.

also, Dell totally denied the problem. wondering if I should include that... Dell sucks tbh. ~Crazytales (Talk) 12:57, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Crazytales: As far as I know Dell never denied the problem, they simply didn't address it in any manner. If you have a url that shows otherwise, please post it. Juventas 03:08, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Dell did deny the problem: — Preceding unsigned comment added by Takane2 (talkcontribs) 23:24, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

i had a Ati Radeon 8500 from gigabyte with the same defect within 12months Markthemac (talk) 02:58, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Failure Analysis Rubbish[edit]

Found this at the end of the article.

The second theory is that as the capacitance decreases and the ESR increases, the buck controller for the voltage regulator increases the switching frequency to compensate for the load. Since most of the MOSFET's heat output is produced during the switching transitions, the increased frequency causes them to overheat.

This is complete garbage. The frequency doesn't change at all, rather, the duty cycle does. As the capacitor fails and the duty cycle increases, eventually the duty cycle will reach 100% as the regulator tries to make up for the cap. This is the reason for failure if it is a reason at all... not some garbage about increasing frequency. Buck regulators operate independently of frequency.

--Noishe 23:42, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

While I'm not sure the article's version is correct, your explanation is equally rubbish.  :)
The regulator is a feedback loop... In a fixed frequency, variable duty cycle regulator (not all are this type, many controller chips used a fixed on-time with variable off-time), the lower the voltage, the higher the duty cycle. Increasing the duty cycle, especially anywhere near 100%, will cause the voltage to rise unacceptably high, regardless of what the capacitors are doing... which the regulator won't do, as a higher voltage would cause the duty cycle to decrease. If regulators did increase the duty cycle as the capacitors failed, the system would crash due to cpu overvoltage or overtemperature well before the mosfets melted. (not to mention that no regulator chip worth using would keep increasing the duty cycle beyond what's needed to give a reasonable approximation of the desired average output voltage). Looking at it from another point of view, if you assume the current draw of the powered components remains the same, the average current through the mosfets must also remain the same. And the on-time isn't really relevant anyway, as the mosfets specced for VRMs usually have very low Rds(on), on the order of a couple miliohms... any increase in on-time enough to cause substantial additional heating of the fets would have already fried every powered component.
If you have a better theory, please update the article with it... but the increasing-duty-cycle one is not all too sound. Bushytails 04:21, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Failure background info[edit]

This would be a better article if it contained more info about traditional capacitor failure modes, over the decades, and cross-references and links to extensive info about that more general subject. In particular, I seem to recall that when resurrecting very old electronic equipment (old vacuum tube radios), there is usually a problem with the capacitors (they dry out?) and there is a special technique to bring them up to operating voltage slowly, to try to re-form them. Or you can just replace them all first, on principle...- 11:47, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

But this article isn't about general capacitor failures, it's about the plague of ones shipped in a certain year range with faulty electrolyte. An article about, say, a specific earthquake, wouldn't need to give information about the causes of other earthquakes... Bushytails 16:15, 14 September 2007 (UTC)
I guess the question is, is this particular incidence of "plague" a unique occurrence? Did capacitors not fail like this in any other recorded instances? If it is the case that every capacitor that fails in this mode is traceable to the plague, then the article lead-in should perhaps be more explicit about this -- but it's also a bold claim that requires some verification. If this isn't the case, then the article should be restructured so that the plague is discussed as a special case of this occurrence rather than the actual cause and source of these bad caps. It isn't obvious to the casual reader what the actual nature of the situation is. 02:37, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I am afraid I have to be a bit sceptical about this whole article. I repair consumer goods - TVs, VCRs etc - and the humble electrolytic is the most unreliable component there is. A capacitor next to a hot heatsink in a power supply is almost guaranteed to fail after a year or two, I am changing them all the time. It takes a very brave person to say that this instance is caused by sabotage rather than the basic unreliability of a cheaply produced item. Dsergeant 20:25, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
If it were only ones next to hot heatsinks in power supplies, that might be a reasonable assumption - but some of these are simple stiffening capacitors, located down on the cold end of a board, with no ripple to speak of... And if you want brave people saying that, please consult IEEE's Spectrum, one of the first places to research the origin of this problem. It's also limited to a certain group of fly-by-night brands, all from the same area, all with near-identical products, many even intentionally misrepresenting themselves (Rulycon vs Rubycon) or producing blatant forgeries (several major brands have had issues with said fly-by-night producers putting their brand name on things!), and did not happen before or after this incident. I'd add a list of some of the brands that do this, but "someone" keeps deleting the list, so you'll just have to live without one. I do a fair bit of electronics repair as well, and aside from other products that got the same brand capacitors as are failing on motherboards, they're far, far, far more reliable... and when they do fail, there's usually an identifiable cause, or they slowly lose capacitance and increase esr over time, not the gas pressure-related bursting typical to ones made with this electrolyte. Bushytails 23:26, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

Marginal design[edit]

Lytics normally decrease in capacity and increase ESR over time. Marginally designed circuits can work fine when new, but falling cap effectiveness causes equipment failure later. Too often bad caps are blamed, when in reality the problem was corner cutting design, and the caps are not faulty, just too small for long term reliability.

Another type of marginal design occurs where high ripple is used in caps unable to handle it long term. The high ripple causes cap degradation, but again the problem is the circuit design rather than caps with faulty chemistry.

This could all do with clearer explanation in the article. Tabby (talk) 01:59, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

That is all correct, however this article is about caps that fail well before the manufacturers claim they should, due to a specific reason. I have seen capacitors of the various brands (the list of which keeps getting deleted from the article) explode after a couple years of zero-ripple, low-temperature use... An electrolytic is expected to gradually decrease capacitance and increase ESR with age... not to explode! Some studies have found the capacitance _increases_ with time on some of these capacitors, peaking shortly before they catastrophically fail. Others just increase esr at very high rates. Some seem perfectly normal, then explode in your face.
It actually surprises me how well some motherboards work as the capacitors fail... the computer is still running, despite most of the capacitors having sprayed electrolyte all over the board, and measuring essentially zero capacitance and/or infinite ESR... I don't think the motherboard design is to blame. Especially since replacing the capacitors with name-brand capacitors of the same rating (and sometimes inferior ratings... the ones I use are slightly higher ESR than some of the exploding ones claim to be, just because they're easier to get) never results in a repeat failure. Bushytails (talk) 05:15, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Still Going on[edit]

I am a service tech and I have replaced quite a few power supplies in 32" and 40" LCD displays made by a major Korean electronics manufacturer. The mfg. dates on these displays is as new as 08/2006.

This contrasts strongly with most electronic components which are much less subject to spontaneous failure after assembly - should this be MORE subject to? Peter AUDEMG (talk) 03:21, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Our service department repairs an inordinate number of Samsung HDTV's with bad capacitors. All of them are blown, presumably related to this issue? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:49, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
I just had my monitor failing on me with blown capacitors as described, these are capXion which I intend to replace with low-esr new. People also tell me that 'low quality' (higher esr) capacitors have the same problem if used incorrectly like in the inverter of a flat panel which cost wise might be very related. These do fine in other things. In this case it has nothing to do with an incorrect chemical formula.
I really don't think this "capacitor plague" is ever going to end as long as manufacturers are willing to cut corners in their product lines to save a few cents. As long as that happens, there will always be a market for rubbish electronic components in general. I've been replacing bad capacitors for years on all types of electronic equipment, most of it which is well past the 2005-2007 estimation date of the end of the capacitor plague. (talk) 14:57, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

Still Going on in 2010![edit]

  • ATX/NTX boards from '2009 mfg date. Multiple computers with 5..7 swollen caps of different suppliers. Dead after > 12 months.
  • support column of c't magazine 20/2010: picture of German VDSL modem with swollen caps (talk) 12:12, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Much more freqently than most people think[edit]

I see a large number of PC's around three years old, from all the major brands, with capacitor failures mainly on the CPU power circuit. One in 25 would be the average for capactor failure.

Power Supply failures are also high in PC's over three years old. I suspect that many current switch mode power supplies won't last five years when left on all the time. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Serviceman1955 (talkcontribs) 03:23, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

I'm going to have to dispute your opinion. I've been a PC Tech since 1993 and out of the thousands of machines I've worked on, have I rarely seen a PSU die under normal use, it usually requires divine intervention to kill a PSU (usually in the form of lightning strikes or power surges, and rarely bugs of the 6 legged kind.) I have one server more than 8 years old and several other machines more than 3 years old, which all still have their original PSUs, and are frequently left running for months at a time (with the 8 year old server having a maximum uptime of 776 days.)
leaving a machine running 24/7 is actually better for the machine than turning it on/off every day. The thermal shock of on/off cycles wears on all components in the PC, especially the PSU when it has a big load spike initially when first powering on. (talk) 11:09, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

Notes on Failure[edit]

Just replacing only the exploded/leaking caps will not solve the problem. The other caps on the board will fail via leaking after the repair. Esp if only the leaking ones by the CPU are fixed, the original ones left by the CPU have a short remaining life if they are not bad already. Dell 270 systems are known for this, bad caps behind the CPU replaced, then, the AGP cap fails on the rebuilt Dell boards. Dell did write off millions to extend warranties and fix systems.


You really don't want to power up a suspect system with the case cover off. Swollen but not exploded caps are hot to the touch indicating a internal current leak. Think firecracker about to explode or vent. Looking at a system powered on with the case off is not safe. Acidic electrolyte and a can aimed at your eye for example. Just the spray from the top vent opening can 'paint' the case cover with electrolyte.

'low quality electronics equipment'?[edit]

Why does the first line of the article use the term low quality electronics equipment, and then it goes on to say the problem has been found in iMac and Power PC. I have also found bad caps in top-of-the-range Antec PSUs, far from 'low quality electronics equipment'. I don't see any reason to use this perjorative phrase. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:29, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

I think they meant that they were low quality because they had these caps in them. It was confusing anyway, so I've removed it. (talk) 08:17, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

What is this article about?![edit]

Is this article about capacitor failure in general, or about some particular incident with a few shoddy brands? Because capacitor failure itself is a common problem in all of electronics and deserves an article, but the incident should just be a footnote or a subsection. The focus of this article in general seems to be really off. But, at least, there isn't any "commercial bias" here, and no "neutrality" problem. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:47, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

It's 2014 and the question is still valid. Reading through the Discussion Pages I've learned that bad capacitors predate the "Capacitor Electrolyte" internet meme, have continued past that point and in particularly informative contributor explains why there will always be bad capacitors for a complex set of reasons. The name of the Article is it's first and most glaringly obvious problem, and then second to that there needs to be some kind of established "scope" of what bad capacitors are, how they come to be "bad", some mention of the "electrolyte" meme, but special attention needs to be made that the meme story is not the first, only nor even the most important thing to discuss about bad capacitors. It's importance is up for discussion, particularly I think because the purported "Engineer" that stole the formula has not been named, nor have I seen any specific details that ground the story in reality. I shall continue to regard it as "urban legend" until some substantive information is brought forward. It's a nice tale, but it's not the entirety of the bad capacitor situation, nor is it even it's most important, or significant, part.Jonny Quick (talk) 23:05, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
It is not a nice tale, it was a criminal case (without official announced judgement). The industry don´t have a bad capacitor situation, the reliability of capacitors is as good as for other electronic components. The official figures are in the lower FIT level. The difference is the visuability. If a capacitor fails, either tantalum with burning or aluminum with bursting, everbody can see what happened. If semiconductors fail only measurements could prove the failure. The failing results of the criminal case had an end at 2007. Capacitor failures nowadays have to analysed case by case. It is not scientifical to talk about "bad capacitors" in general. A new article with clear references to this case of "capacitor plage" is in preparation. --Elcap (talk) 17:55, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

Commercial bias[edit]

I'm not sure why a dedicated page is warranted for "capacitor plague" when it could be discussed as a sub-section under electrolytic capacitors. Many sources cited within this page are from businesses that benefit from selling capacitors or repair services. Neutrality and motive is questionable and only a few sources are from credible sources, such as IEEE. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cantaloupe2 (talkcontribs) 05:43, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

As a computer repair technician I can tell you that there is a noticable phenomenon with capacitors failing in computers. This started around 2004 and continues today. As of today I have evaluated around one hundred computers that have failed due to capacitors. I would say 90% of the time, it is the capacitors next to the CPU socket that fail, and the rest are fine. Until 2004 I never had a computer hardware failure where I identified bad capacitors as the cause.
So, what I'm getting ay is that this issue is worth of its own article in my opinion, because this isn't just your average capacitor failure. In the last five years our technicians have gone from only having a vague understanding of what a capacitor is, to being experts in identifying damaged capacitors. It is one of the first things we check on any malfunction that might be hardware-based. We very rarely get a dead or malfunctioning mainboard that doesn't have a bad capacitor right next to the CPU.
It is also extremely frustrating to throw away so many otherwise good and modern computers because of one or two capacitors. It's easy to imply that this is an intentional self-destruction effect to drive up new computer sales.
If the article needs to be combed to remove preceived bias, that's fine. But the phenomenon of wide-spread premature capacitor failure in computers is real -- "capacitor plague" is just a convenient way to refer to it -- and the article should remain seperate from an article about just capacitors. (talk) 01:06, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
When a cited source is someone who clearly stands to benefit from the sale of the remediation parts, the neutrality is questioned as well as the possibility that the person is talking in third person. The entire first section is unsupported and appears to be anecdotal evidence.
You may find this useful. Wikipedia does not endorse original research

Cantaloupe2 (talk) 15:38, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

It seems that although the source might not be an iconic picture of authority and neutrality, it does seem to be a passable source. None of the statements made appear to me to be non-neutral. No product or service is advanced, except for the presence of the web page in the references section. Moreover, the website that seems to be in question, while offering services and products, also hosts information of a purely informative nature in the Technical forum. While the research at the site may be original, the statements made on the wiki page are not, as they cite the external source. This is not in conflict with Wikipedia:No original research (specifically, see WP:COS). They are statements of fact as best as I can tell, although disputing sources are welcome. I don't see any problem here. Fizyxnrd (talk) 21:32, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

I also don't see a neutrality problem except that some companies have posted about their problems and some haven't so info is thinner on some manufacturers than on others - but not on the existence of the problem as such. Stories in news show up form 1999 and peak in 2005 but continue into 2009 but all along most of the available commentary has been on blogs and complaint forums with precious little available from verifiable sources.Smkolins (talk) 18:43, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't see any neutrality problem either, so I am going to be bold and remove the notice. If anyone wants to make the case for a neutrality issue, please do so; we can put the notice back easily enough. Guy Macon 00:26, 30 November 2010 (UTC)


Is there any documentation of the bit about an insurance company making motherboards with these on them? That sounds very ridiculous (An insurance company making computer parts). (talk) 08:20, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

I think the only sensible thing is to remove the claim. --WibblyLeMoende (talk) 08:32, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

Capacitor Failure[edit]

Having been in the electronics industry for over 40 years, the failure of electrolytic capacitors is not uncommon. The original source most likely focuses on computer motherboards as that is his main experience. I know that similar failures have been occurring in certain broadcast and audio related equipment for a long time. Since the 80's a common mantra was "replace the caps."

Current flow through any device produces heat, which may cause metal to expand and contract. Heat may also be external to, but adjacent to the component in question. These expansion/contraction cycles, just like the constant bending/unbending of wire, eventually leads to failure. As has been mentioned, electrolytic capacitors contain electrolyte in either a liquid or gel form. These devices have been known to "dry out." As the electrolytic escapes, the capacitive effect becomes more of a resistance component, generating heat, cascading the failure.

One must also keep in mind the manufacturing process. An engineer designs the item, determining the value of components. In an effort to minimize costs, the minimum values are often used, i.e. a 30V working voltage capacitor in a 24V circuit. Much better reliability would be achieved by using a 50V or 75V capacitor. Nonetheless, a parts list is provided a purchasing department where a buyer (who wouldn't know a capacitor from an engine block) searches suppliers to get the best deal on 50,000 capacitors. The capacitors end up in manufacturing where semi-skilled labor is sticking capacitors from a bin marked C7 into the holes in a circuit board labeled C7. The original designer has no idea what brand capacitors are being used. The completed device is tested, it works for five minutes, and is packaged for shipment. There are variations, but the basic system is pretty much the same in any mass produced product.

By the normal manufacturing system, it is normally pretty much impossible to lay any blame on a particular manufacturer of any component. There are too many variables in the picture. Hence, by default, the article is pretty much neutral regarding component and device manufacturers.

As others have stated, this article is probably better suited to mass-produced general consumer electronics than specifically to computer components, as the design and manufacturing processes are quite similar.

As for a "recent phenomenon" I have repaired equipment built in the 1950s and earlier which exhibited the same problem with electrolytic capacitors. —Preceding unsigned comment added by WindcrestGarden (talkcontribs) 13:02, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

Having also been repairing computer boards for 40 years, this particular type of failure is recent and the largest cause of failure on motherboards. --Gibnews (talk) 23:45, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
I'm going to agree with this as well; 25+ years here, and for me, the failures did not appear readily before *high current* switching supply design was prevalent in computing. As the demands for stable power have increased over time, so have the stress on the components.
As a side note, the dead-on sign of this is the fact that the CPU core supply is located right next to the CPU. This is an effort to minimize the side effects of trying to run such low voltages any distance at the currents required; even the foot or so (on average) to the power supply would have significant effects. It's better to bring higher voltage in at lower current as 'relatively dirty' power, and convert it down to the rock solid core supply that the CPU demands, right next to the chip.
The problem with this is, over time, the current requirements have gone up, and subsequently the transients in the buck converters, leading to high energy spikes that the caps must absorb repeatedly. These aren't 8088's anymore, and are placing ever increasing demands on the components, but manufacturing design in general has not only paid little to no attention to these transients, but has even gone as far as getting rid of the bypass caps that used to be rampant in motherboard design. Cost cuts, I suppose...
Regardless, due to the natural impedance of an electrolytic, all of this results in even more heat. Add this to the fact that they usually sit right next to the CPU heatsink, and further tendency for early failure ensues. Take those same caps (ie, new from the same batch) and expose them to identical everything except for these nasty transients, and they don't fail.
I have witnessed this for myself time and time again; there is one particular piece of equipment I repair regularly that uses a cap of the same value/rating in two different locations on the board, and are 'seen' by a meter as experiencing the same voltages. However, it is more than obvious that these transients cause premature failure. One is subject to the stress of a buck converter, the other is not. The ones not subjected to this added stress have never been a point of failure. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:46, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

As a current electronic hardware architect and a hardware engineer of 30 years, that has participated in the design of switch-mode power supplies I wanted to make a few comments.

For a particular electrolytic capacitor, there is a rating that specifies the number of hours that this capacitor is rated for, at a specified ambient temperature, at a specified maximum voltage (DC), at specified amperage of AC ripple.

For example, a premium low ESR capacitor may be rated for use in an ambient temperature of up 105 degrees C, and subjected to a ripple current of “X” amps. When operating at these maximum parameters, the capacitor is specified to meet certain parameters at (for example) 5000 hours.

As “5000” hours is “only” 208 1/3 (24 hour) days, a prudent design would never design to this example. So by de-rating parameters like ripple current, ambient temperature, etc. you extrapolate the number of hours that a capacitor will actually last with the parameters that it is actually “subjected” to.

This brings us to a very real question; How many “years” of use do you design to. Certain kinds of equipment (such as medical & telephone central office etc.) is designed to run continuously for 10+ years. But “consumer grade” equipment is most often not .

So differentiating a marginal design from a failure mode where the capacitor does not meet is published specifications is crucial. But there is a definite interplay here. I.E., as mentioned previously, modern switch mode PS design & power buss ripple suppression for example on motherboards with modern CPUs, is “pressing the envelope” of capacitor design. Also the “old school” (an conservative) approach of paralleling ceramic and electrolytic capacitors seem to be a dying art form.

I might also mention that some motherboard manufacturers are now using a newer capacitor technology being referred to as “Conductive Polymer Aluminum Solid Capacitors” that have a significantly lower ESR, and thereby higher maximum ripple current. An example of this is the Nippon Chemi-Con PSF series. When the versions of these capacitors are that are rated for use at 105 degrees C are actually not subjected to an ambient temperature of over 85 degrees C, the motherboard manufacturers that are using them are claiming that these types of capacitors will achieve 50,000 hours (5.7 years) of use. And as most consumer uses do not run their “PCs” etc. 24/7, 10+ years might be realized. (An interesting claim anyhow ;) ) (talk) 23:44, 14 August 2010 (UTC) Signed SPASSE

The "Lifetime" given in data sheets has nothing to do with the cap's Useful or Expected Lifetime. The correct full term is "Endurance Lifetime". Despite it's name it is essentially an "Abuse Rating", not a Lifetime. It is the length of time the cap can be stressed at max temp, volts and ripple current [at specified frequency] and have none of the capacitors operating parameters [ESR, Capacitance, etc..] be outside the advertised tolerances when it is returned to nominal conditions.

. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:40, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

I would like to add some bonus design consideration info. For any given Electrolytic capacitor formulation and voltage rating, there exists an ideal can volume/surface ratio that results in a maximum thermal transfer ability (stated as ripple current handling at a given ambient temp.), coupled with the lowest ESR for the family. Let us say that the desired target capacitance is 10,000uF at 50V. One may possibly find that the 820uF (from a recent design exercise) can that is 40mm high by 30mm dia. has the lowest ESR in a parallel configuration, coupled with the best ripple current in aggregate. Part of that analysis includes arriving at the best RIPPLE CURRENT RATING PER FARAD, or lowest ESR PER FARAD for a specific voltage and family, along with can profile options. 12 such 820uF capacitors in a 3x4 grid with sufficient air ventilation spacing will have an enormous advantage over a single high quality 10,000uF unit, from 3 times to as much as an order of magnitude (x10) if the next step up in voltage is also chosen. However, expense and PCB real-estate has to be considered. Along with high frequency bypassing, this approach is appropriate for mission-critical applications, and will result in operating lifetimes approaching and in some cases exceeding the shelf storage lifetime of the components (typically more than a decade). I have personally witnessed designs that apply capacitor(s) in a situation where the ripple current rating is well under the constant load, guaranteeing failure within hundreds of hours, not thousands.
I shall now editorialize a bit, and I accept if this part of the commentary is censured, but I believe it has a bearing on Capacitor Plague that is a larger perspective than just the wrong electrolytic formulation or under-specification or de-rating. Part of the phenomenon is that currently regions lacking deep design experience are under enormous pressure to produce highly complex devices at commodity prices in a short amount of time in terms of design cycle and verification. I have equipment running daily that is 30 years old, on its original capacitors, with no pressing need to change them, made at a time that a stereo receiver cost 1/10th the price of a new car. Incidentally, the brand of audio equipment is actually MADE by a CAPACITOR company, as part of their effort within Kiretsu to provide internal sales conduits, so they had better last I suppose, and they do. An article in EDN a few years back talked about the responsibility of the engineer not to unduly overdesign a system for reliability and other issues such as feature creep because it will impact the profitability of the company they work for in a negative way. Within certain ethical and business constraints, this is a perfectly reasonable position to take. However, it appears that the optimization towards cost reduction has been pushed too far in general, and 5000 hours is now being seen by some as “too big a gift to the final user” when you can get a new MP3 player or whatever for $40.00 dollars; just throw it away and buy a new one when the caps (or other parts) go bad. The current price structure on at least entry level consumer items leaves very little room for a service industry…
What follows is some articles that relate the design cycle that I find typical:


What is "in the early to mid 2000s" supposed to mean? 2000-2005? 2000-2050? 2000-2500? I can figure it out by ellimination, but it seems like an awful way of saying that.

Well since a decade is 10 years and the "2000s" decade covers from 2000-2010, "early to mid 2000s" would cover a range of 2000-2005. Also, it's spelt elimination* Ggigabitem (talk) 18:41, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

No, its still ambiguous. for example "mid 1900's" is often used to mean 1940-1960. Dunno how to write it better though without it sounding awkward (talk) 05:01, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Considering the "early to mid 2000s" was referring specifically to events that had already occurred and that you asked this question in 2009,,, what do you suppose it meant? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:14, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

Scott Mueller? for References[edit]

This sounds like the sort of thing that would be covered in the "Upgrading and Repairing PCs" book series by Scott Mueller. Otherwise some electronics or PC hardware orientated mags would surely have some references to this? Much of what is on the Intenet appears to originate here at Wikipedia! -- (talk) 22:07, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

I have been an Electronics Technician for nearly 35 years. I am experiencing a very obvious NEW failure mode for surface mount capacitors in large quantities that were installed in the early 90's. These caps overheat, short out, leak etc. There is a specific odor associated with this failure. My business is in Electronic Musical Instrument service. This problem only began to show up in the early 2000's. This makes the product at or near 10 years old. I do not believe anyone in manufacturing would have any idea that this problem would manifest itself 10 years down the road. As time goes by, these instruments are becoming harder to repair due to the board damage caused from leaking capacitors. The method of repair is to replace ALL caps and remove any residue left from the defective caps. If caught early enough, these electronic boards can be saved. In my business, customers expect these products to last much longer than 10 years. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Geoelectro (talkcontribs) 00:03, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

General accuracy[edit]

This problem is more than just about elecrolyte - it is also due to excessive heating caused by the absorption of high current pulses that the CPU power supply on the board generates in the process of converting the power. Electrolytic capacitors are not well equipped to handle these pulses. This is why this is the most common location to notice the failure. The fix is simple, but manufacturers are no longer placing bypass caps across the electrolytics to protect them anymore, and haven't been since roughly the Pentium 1 era. I have solved this problem on all of my boards by adding a bypass cap across each electrolytic in the CPU supply, and haven't had a problem since. Several years have gone by and nothing.

I also agree however, that the article is biased, and that there really is no point in calling out specific manufacturers, as any cap will do this, in any implementation, if subjected to the abuse that is commonly seen in modern CPU supply circuits. I'd go in and make the correction myself, but of course, even though I am an electronics veteran of 25+ years, my input would not be accepted; my findings are all from my personal experiences and research as such. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:53, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

I have also seen similar capacitor failure in the power supplies of satellite receivers so inclined to think its the capacitors. At the end of the day if they are subject to transients and that causes failure the design of the caps is wrong. --Gibnews (talk) 08:55, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
This article seems to be aimed at supporting a lawsuit of questionable value. It is well-known since at least the 1980's that electrolytic capacitors have a limited lifetime. For instance, a Japanese-made speedometer used in Volvos around 1990 were prone to stop working after about 10 years in hot climate due to this. Unless they fail within the time of warranty, this is not an issue for Wikipedia IMHO. (talk) 19:30, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
You're trolling or did not read the article carefully. Electrolytics do have limited lifespan due to evaporation of the electrolyte, but the premature bulging and venting is a different failure mode as evidenced by the independent analysis performed by reputable academics. Pcap ping 04:02, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Just like high temperature, transients (ripple currents) also shorten the lifespan of elecrolytics [4] because they increase the local temperature (the ref is from the main article on electrolytic capacitors), but again this just causes faster evaporation of the electrolyte, it does not cause them to leak or blow up unless other manufacturing defects are present. Pcap ping 04:09, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Do you people see any damaged capacitors in the Symptoms photo? I don't... (talk) 14:00, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

More widespread than this[edit]

I can affirm that this issue is more widespread than simply in PC terms. I see many photographs of power supply failure, as well as failures of many other PC-related components mentioned. However, I can affirm personally, and with citation(A google search for any of the following) that the problem exists within any number of commonly used electronics. If you have had an LCD Television or Monitor fail, this is probably your problem.

The Samsung Syncmaster monitor series has a history of this, most notably in the 931b model(As a repair technician, I have had to rebuild several of these, due to this issue). Also, Hanns-G feels the failure pretty strongly among many model numbers. Certain Philips DVD players have been known to fail due to the issue as well, falling to a blinking power light once a cap has failed.

Capacitors are in most electronic devices. Therefore, any that has such component as this particular type(any aluminum-electrolyte cap) has the chance to have this particular fault in place. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:54, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

I’m not very sure if “early 2000’s” is correct for this issue, as I currently keep finding this failure on consumer electronics manufactured as late as 2008. Yesterday I replaced 4 buldged 2200μF/10V capacitors from the PSU of a LG LCD TV manufactured on 2008. 3 cases on the same week. The capacitor brand was SAMWHA. I’ve been working on electronics repair since 2005 and this has been a typical failure (yet easy and cheap to fix) on DVD players, LCD monitors, low quality home audio, DVB-t receivers, PC motherboards, PC Power Supplies, etc. Bad news are that most inexpensive equipment is disposed without considering capacitor replacing, contributing to electronic waste pollution. Chungalin (talk) 15:50, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

Why would someone need industrial espionage for a capacitor?[edit]

It would be interesting to hear why anyone would need to turn to industrial espionage to build a capacitor. The device is not exactly cutting edge technology, is it? Wnt (talk) 12:24, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

Actually, electrolytic capacitor design is a highly evolved science. Also, as discussed above, the current “state of the art” electronic designs can stress these components design envelopes. The top tier manufacturers (like Nichicon, Panasonic & United Chemi-Con) spend big bucks on R&D. The designs are closely guarded trade secrets. (talk) 16:13, 27 August 2010 (UTC) Signed SPASSE

Some company knew they had a rat so they set a trap (put the plans for their capacitor where the thief would find them), put some poison cheese in the trap (incomplete formula leading to capacitor failure) for the rat to bring back to his family and eat (deliver to the company he was spying for so they could build the capacitor that was designed to fail) and kill them all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:50, 14 November 2010 (UTC)

How old?[edit]

Quoting article: "Faulty capacitors have been discovered in motherboards as old as Socket 7 and have affected equipment manufactured up to at least 2007."

I looked at the Socket 7 article. No date appears. Could the date be inserted in this article? Eg, "Faulty capacitors have been discovered in motherboards as old as Socket 7 (19XX) and have affected equipment manufactured up to at least 2007."

Thanks, Wanderer57 (talk) 19:40, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

Done. Nonpython (talk) 22:37, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

Faulty capacitors have been discovered since they were invented. That doesn't make it a plague. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:05, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

They are still around[edit]

I can confirm that the bad caps are still around. I purchased a DVD player in November 2007 (direct from China, and the PC boards are marked as October 2006) and today took out the power supply board and found one cap with its sleeve perched on top of its contents and 2 other caps that have some pretty major leakage issues. So definitely reports are still coming in 2011 !

PhilSDP (talk) 19:18, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

Even if the caps are manufactured in 2011 there are other factors to make them faulty like bad voltage/current source or temperature. The alluminium could be low quality or something ;). The water could heat up and so on :). I come across them too in PSU for PC's manufactured 2008. --Leonardo Da Vinci (talk) 10:44, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

Anyone that truly understands the Capacitor Plague (unlike the 'accredited' authors here) knows it is here to stay. - If those authors actually bothered to read some of the references given right at the bottom of the page that fact would be clear to them. - It doesn't show up on motherboards as often but that is entirely due to the industries shift to solid and hybrid polymer caps on motherboards. - In other equipment the situation has not changed. One problem is that things like failing flat screens and power supplies don't have enough "wow-factor" to interest the News media and the authors here prefer to get their info from reporters over techs that actually work in this field. - I've been an electronics tech since 1981 and beginning around 2003 to present replacing caps in IT equipment has occupied a significant part of my time. I see failed power supplies and flat screens that are less than one year old and filled bloated caps almost on a daily basis. (For example: Dell Optiplex 790 SFF power supplies are currently failing in droves due to popped caps. That system wasn't even released for sale until the first quarter of 2011.) --- NO, I am NOT going to correct this article AGAIN just to have my work removed by some twit that has never held a soldering iron in his life. --- In summary: Capacitor Plague has ONLY gone away on motherboards. In everything else it is still a problem. .. (talk) 08:00, 15 January 2013 (UTC) .

Hi, sorry, that I can not address you with a nick name. Working with and for wet al-electrolytic capacitors since more than 40 years I understand very well, that complaints with wet electrolytics occurs every day. But the mechanism of failure described in this article is a water based corrosion driven by missing additives (inhibitors). What I really see in industrial developments is a "searching for limits". The ripple loads get higher and higher, so that the useful life time gets shorter and shorter. Overload, increasing temperature evoked by occluded cooling elements or to small heat sinks - all in detail small decisions during development of circuits are leading to failures in shorter life times than estimated. For example, my old Philips "Transistor" radio works now every day since 30 years. With wet al-el-caps! This was safe development (and electrolytes with inhibitors). The problem nowadays is not a "wrong electrolyte" but a worse development in case of temperature and current loads. Greatings --Elcap (talk) 09:03, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

That's what I've been saying. - You people don't know what you are talking about... - If that is what you want this article to be about then you must remove ALL MENTION OF: Dell, Apple, HP failures and ALL MENTION of the defective Nichicon HM and HN series capacitors made between 2001 and 2004 that cause those failures because water based corrosion had NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with those failures. - - If you had bothered to read the references right at the bottom of the page then you would know that. ... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:32, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

water based corrosion driven by missing additives (inhibitors) has NEVER been an issue with Japaneses made capacitors. Never. And Dell has been using 100% Japaneses made capacitors sine the 1990's.

---Not true, 90% or more of the dead motherboards I serviced were manufactured by MSI for Dell. And these capacitors were the same Taiwanese brands involved in the newsbreak of October 2002.

What you are trying to do is associate the stolen electrolyte matter with -all- failed capacitors during that time span when the FACT is there two distinct and COMPLETELY UNRELATED problems during that time. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:40, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Hi, as an older man and a German I want to be polite, and that means, I want to address you personally. Sorry, that you prefer an IP number. Yes in some cases you are completely right. The water based corrosion should be specified exactly to the related series and related manufacturers. In the first year after beginning of failures thousands of people reports their failures and surely, not water based failures would be reported, too. I believe I understand, what you want to say. Within the many authors written on this article may be some of them mixed “normal” wear out failures with the early water based corrosion failures. But how we can make this article better? From the Taiwanese manufacturers I never got a list saying X, Y and Z had made such e-caps. Otherwise, name all manufacturers worldwide never use the stolen electrolyte formula would be addresses here as advertising (and would make a lot of work) May be we can find some positions or sentences in the article to make more precise the difference between problem related caps and those, don’t have corrosion but other reasons for failure. By the way, from me only the description of the e-cap construction and the failure mechanism comes. Kind regards --Elcap (talk) 08:45, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

You still don't get it. There are two different plagues that have to do with water based corrosion, only one of which has to do with the stolen electrolyte. Both of those only affect non-Japanese brands of Asian made caps. The non-espionage issue has been around since the 1940's but didn't reach plague proportions until around year 2000 when what we expect caps to do exceeded the limitations of those marginal parts. That plague is still at full force and isn't going away. Few motherboard companies still use those (so they are off most peoples radar) but they are the most common kind of cap used in flat screens, SMPS and networking devices and in those applications they fail prematurely in droves TO THIS DAY. There was a third plague that doesn't have anything to do with water based corrosion at all and only affected two series of Nichicons, a Japaneses brand. - It would not be unreasonable to call the use of downsized chassis a 4th plague. The excess heat in SFF and USFF PC cases as well as in 'thin' flat screens causes a large numbers of premature failures even when Japanese caps are used. - I have personally fixed the main article 4 or 5 times since 2005 only to have correct information removed and replaced with erroneous information by people that DON'T work in this field. I'm not doing it again. -- The authors should be required to read ALL the references before they edit anything. . — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:36, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Hi, I close this discussion now. Your last remark shows me, that you are not interested in a precise analysis of the multiple failure modes of failed wet e-caps. The excess heat in flat devices is not a failure mode of failed capacitors but a wrong development of the device had chosen the cheapest e-caps with to short life time specification. Too bad. May be You can deliver information about a second and a third “non water based” capacitor plague, but mixing failure modes and failure reasons is not the correct way. --Elcap (talk) 08:34, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

As I already said once on this page, if you want to make the plague exclusive to water based corrosion you will have to remove all references to failures of Nichicon HM and HN series because that was not the issue with them at all. In doing so you will be removing the bulk of motherboard failures from 2001-2004 built motherboards from consideration completely. For instance if you aren't counting heat as an issue and you aren't counting HM and HN failures the number of Dell, Intel, and MAC failures would be nearly ZERO. None of those manufacturers used Taiwan made caps during that time. None. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:05, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

There have been no studies I can find that associate 'premature water based corrosion' with ANY Japanese brand, and, as you have elected to use a definition of Capacitor Plague that is not consistent with what the rest of the world uses, you have excluded Nichicon HM and HN and every other Japanese brand (including the failure prone KZG and KZJ series) from being part of the plague. (Dell, Intel and MAC motherboards were exclusively Japanese caps from 2001-2004 so you can no longer include those failures as part of the plague - as the whole rest of the world does. But they did use HM. HN, KZG and KZJ which are all Japanese and all failure prone in those years.) Thus you will need to remove the following references because they don't apply the way you currently define the plague. - References 11, 12, 13, 14, 34, 42. . — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:48, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

I will check and delete or add remarks. --Elcap (talk) 09:31, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

Solid state polymer caps[edit]

Another commenter mentions some motherboard manufacturers using solid-state polymer caps. This is becoming standard on many motherboard, videocard, and powersupply PCBs. It's often mentioned in marketing materials now, often with "Japan-made Capacitors". Since solid-state caps don't leak, and are the market's answer to the problem, it should be mentioned in this article. I'm here now because I had two caps leak, FZ71 that were made to resemble solid-state capacitors.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:37, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

What you are referring to are Sacon FZ series. The 71 is a date code. - The company changed it's name several times because they cap were SO BAD they had to in order to sell any. - GSC = Evercon = Sacon. - Google "Sacon FZ" and "Bad GSC" - Sacon FZ are obviously Wet-Lytics because they have a vent. - The FZ series WAS made in versions that (apparently deliberately) mimicked both Nichicon and Chemi-con solid polymers. - They ended up on many video cards and in at least three brands of motherboards. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:53, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Tantalum capacitors[edit]

I'm pretty sure that tantalum capacitors where available in the required ratings at a reasonable price are the best solution. If it's a bit much to believe manufacturers will spend the extra nickleage, at least it's the best option for repair. Fnj2 (talk) 07:23, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

Tantalum capacitors do not fair well in circuits with large surges such as a processor going from 10% to 100%. Additionally when Tantalums fail they tend to short. Electrolytics tend to open which is safer in power circuits. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:32, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

Capacitor Plague, translation from the german version[edit]

Hi, as an german expert of electrolytic capacitors since decades I know a little bit about the background of the case of failing capacitors and wrote it down in the german Wiki. Trying to translate it into the english language I know very well, that my english is "bad". So I would ask for some help from original speaking english people to correct the text you can find under

User:Elcap/Capacitor Plague

Thanks so much --Elcap (talk) 09:06, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

I've done a bit - it's not as bad as you may think. Peridon (talk) 13:39, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
You might want to look at Help:Math and Template:Cite web. Really useful pages. mabdul 14:20, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks Peridon, but did you read down to the end? --Elcap (talk) 15:24, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes - identifiable German in origin lower down, but nowhere near some things I've seen here. Peridon (talk) 15:27, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
For the images on Commons with embedded German language text, please upload similar ones with no text and with English language text.   — Jeff G. ツ (talk) 21:19, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Hi Jeff, yes, in work, wait some days. Greetings --Elcap (talk) 15:22, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Why are we arsing around here?

Per WP:BOLD I have just copied it over the live article. [5]

It can be edited. It's a wiki. WP:BRD.  Chzz  ►  00:11, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Hi, thanks to all for helping. Hope that the given background informations about electrolytic capacitors and higher operation conditions may lead to a little bit more critical sight if e-caps fail out. --Elcap (talk) 08:13, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Whew! I've just finished an editing sweep through the entire article, cleaning up and clarifying as best I could. I've added photos, rewritten captions, and re-organized the article somewhat, to make it more readable. I hope you find it an improvement. -- Reify-tech (talk) 16:31, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

And thanks to Elcap and the German Wikipedia editors for some excellent material! Of course, you're welcome to back-import any improvements from this article you may find useful. 8^) -- Reify-tech (talk) 16:40, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Hi Reify-tech, you spend a lot of work in editing this article, ich bedanke mich herzlich dafuer/ thanks so much. --Elcap (talk) 14:45, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Please reedit this entry as needed...I keep looking for an answer to this "bad cap" plague...I may have missed it, but would it be possible to use mini-sockets to connect these capacitors, and simply swap them out every year or two. Motherboard manufactures could just toss in an extra supply of these cheap components and thus save billions of dollars caused by equipment downtime and crowded landfills...thx — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:56, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Detecting "High ESR"[edit]

Last correction for this paragraph was:

High equivalent series resistance (ESR), can be detected with an ESR meter. However, this test sometimes cannot be performed in-circuit without disconnecting at least one of the capacitor terminals. Motherboard capacitors are typically in parallel with other capacitors, and cannot be measured individually while in-circuit. A low in-circuit ESR reading cannot always be relied upon, but a high in-circuit ESR reading unequivocally indicates failure of the measured capacitor or capacitors.

The only advantage of these non solid electrolyte capacitors with high water content is: "CHEAP". All proposals detecting high ESR values within the circuit during the application do not understand the commercial side of this capacitors. This paragraph should be deletet because everybody knows, that he can measure an ESR of a non connected capacitor with an ESR meter. For price sensitive solutions like PC, Power supplies a.s.o. the remark to an "ESR metering during application" is balderdash. --Elcap (talk) 23:40, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

No, everybody does not know that you cannot check motherboard caps for ESR in-circuit. In fact it is a common misconception because those that market ESR meters generally suggest that you can. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:19, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

Problems in the lede ... not all bad caps imply the plague[edit]

The lede begins, "The capacitor plague (also known as bad capacitors or "bad caps")". This seems wrong: the capacitor plague refers to a particular set of circumstances (industrial espionage, etc., etc.) that led to bad capacitors. But not every bad capacitor is the result of the capacitor plague. Am I missing something? Can not the parenthesis safely be removed? jhawkinson (talk) 02:07, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

You are right. "Also known as ...." is a typical term coming from laymans in the internet. I hope, the special circumstances would be clear enough described in the article. --Elcap (talk) 17:43, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
 Done jhawkinson (talk) 04:47, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

citation needed on "may still have more than historical" claim[edit]

Hi, working now since more than 40 years for and with aluminum electrolytic capacitors I have some experiances of more than these water based corrosion failures. Some are: Weaken the rubber through aggrassive electrolyte, copper whisker and shorts as problem of an organic electrolyte and a special cathode, chloride based corrosion, mechanical internal damages with some inserting machines, venting cases by outside pressure, shorts by bending and so on. For all these failure mechanism nothing was published and can be found described in the internet. Only if you read some datasheets you can find some caution rules for mounting, soldering or board cleaning. Behind all rules failure mechanism are hidden. If you want please find another formulation for this sentence you need a citation for. What i wanted to say was: technical solutions may be unsafe if approvals are not available and the low price is the reason for using. Regards --Elcap (talk) 09:05, 16 March 2013 (UTC)

I marked that paragraph citation needed in part because I'm not sure it is the right fit for this article. After all, this article is really about a (hopefully) historical event: a bad stolen formula lead to bad products. There are all kinds of other things that can cause failures, but do they really belong in this article? It is not an article about any kind of component failure, it's really about the failures from the "plague." Of course the plague-related failures are similar to other kinds of failures, for sure.
Anyhow, the standard for Wikipedia is verifiability, and editors should avoid drawing conclusions without supporting facts (in fact, Wikipedia's guideliness discourage drawing conclusions at all, even if you do have the citation). jhawkinson (talk) 11:51, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
Hi, I understand, to be anxious against crime behavior doesn't fit the theme of this article. I delete the sentence, if you agree. (or you can do it) Regards --Elcap (talk) 12:56, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
I'd suggest you go ahead and do it. jhawkinson (talk) 01:35, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

Original research[edit]

The "Electrical Effects" section of this topic is completely unreferenced and is ancillary to the "plauge". Is there a reason this section shouldn't be removed? -- Mikeblas (talk) 16:57, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

The "Development of electrolytic capacitors with water-based electrolytes" section is also very poolry referenced and seems orthogonal to the capacitor plague. It seems like it should be removed too; or, at best, moved to the electrolytic capacitor article. Even so, it seems inappropriate to move poorly referenced material. -- Mikeblas (talk) 18:47, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
Hi Mikeblas, what are you doing? Your changes destroys the article. It was an article about the rumor in the public, the chemical part only was the explanation of what happened.
And why do you delete all ref's? Example: The first flawed capacitors were reported in September 2002.The ref was: Carey Holzman, Overclockers, Capacitors: Not Just For Abit Owners, 10. Sept. 2002, [6] What is wrong with this ref? If you dont believe it, please ask him, he is wellknown: Carey Holzman
All your remarks "poolry referenced" I want to discuss. Do you can arrange a user page: "User:Elcap/Capacitor plague" with the status of the article let me say of about June 2013 and than we can discuss all points one by one. --Elcap (talk) 13:47, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
I removed that reference because it was to a blog post that expresses personal research and not established and reviewed information, and doesn't appear to be a reliable source. Further, it doesn't substantiate the claim in the article that "The first flawed capacitors were reported in September 2002". The reference actually says the author saw equipment in failed capacitors starting in January, but doesn't give a year for that month and the post itself isn't dated. As such, the reference fails validation and was removed.
Feel free to discuss the poorly referenced remarks here on the talk page. -- Mikeblas (talk) 14:33, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Hi Mikeblas, yes, this ref was/is a blog post. But out of my own experiances (Dipl. Ingenieur, 40 years busy in the industry for capacitors) the informaton The first notice in the web was correct. May be you misunderstand the sense of the first paragraphs of this article. The first paragraphs describe at first a rumor, this rumor expand to a criminal case with a enormous respond on blogs and newspaper articles. You cant find for the first time any "reliable source". Even some years later you only can find 3 or 4 sources which are reliable in the sense of the Wiki definition.
For this article in the beginning paragraphs we have to leave the strong Wiki rules in point of refs. Otherwise we can delete this article complete, because the explanation of the wrong running oxidation allone makes no sense. May be we have to undersign a little bit clearer, that in first paragraphs only a rumor is described.
By the way, to move some parts of this article to Electrolytic capacitor is unadvisable, this English article is a stub, and in the English Wiki you dont have an article about Aluminum electrolytic capacitors. I am just beginning to translate my German article Aluminium Elektrolytkondensatoren into (I hope understandable) English. --Elcap (talk) 08:33, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
If there's only a few reliable references, then the article needs to be a lot shorter. The irrelevant material should be remove, and the unreferenced material should go as well -- unless good references can be found to substantiate it. Wikipedia is not the place for original essays. -- Mikeblas (talk) 10:17, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

I've removed the section "Electrolytic Capacitor failures after 2007" as it is largely irreleant, poorly sourced, and based on speculation. The section relied on a forum post to establish that capacitors were still failing, but this post didn't include date code information on the failed capacitors, didn't establish when the capacitors in question were put into service, and didn't analyze the failure for other possible causes. The subsections about ripple curent, temperature, and end-of-life process are also original research and irrelevant to this article, anyway. Had they been better referenced, I would have considered moving them to the electrolytic capacitor article.

Editing the "Evidence of defective electrolyte" section revealed only one relevant section that was referenced, and I rewrote this statement and placed it appropriately in the article before removing the section.

The "Development of electrolytic capacitors with water-based electrolytes" section was also removed as it is irrelevant to this article. Should references become available for this research, the material would be better placed at the "electrolytic capacitor" article as it is not relatd to the capacitor plague problem. I have moved some images to the electrolytic capacitor article as the standard for verificaiton of images is lower (or non-existant!) compared to the verifiability standard for prose.

These edits take care of the more egregious original research issues in this article, but the text still has significant referencing and verifiability problems. -- Mikeblas (talk) 16:41, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Mike, I'm with you on this one, but still - some of the content you removed actually explained the stuff and shed a bit of light on the issue... I agree the article was too big&cranky and inherently flawed, but I'd leave a bit more of it, just for the sake of promoting incremental community edits vs advocating (even if, arguably, good & needed) single person cuts. Not that the cuts aren't needed here - like I've stated, I'm with you on this issue - it's just that some of those information might spark an idea about *how* to improve this article... broken page provokes improvement, empty page achieves nothing IMVHO.Vaxquis (talk) 23:37, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

Mechanisms for how to improve the article are the same for any other topic on Wikipedia: if the explanations you're looking for are available from good sources and can be use to add verifiable content to the article, write 'em up and add them here or to the electrolytic capacitor topic. -- Mikeblas (talk) 21:48, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

Rename article, restore old version[edit]

Can't remember why I checked the talk page, obviously because I didn't like the article. Seeing the comments in the previous section, I checked an older version of the page, which has way more useful information about electrolytic caps and failure modes. Since mike himself said (in 2006) that there was no reliable source for the term "capacitor plague", this article should be about failure of elcos in general. Enough reliable sources for that, and most of the removed material can be restored. Anyone looking for more info may want to check this older version: Ssscienccce (talk) 20:43, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

It's hard to comprehend btw how anyone checking the references did not notice the discrepancies in the industrial espionage story; a researcher moving to China (for a woman?) taking the formula with him to give it to his new Chinese employer, the subsequent sale of a flawed version of the formula that still complies to the accelerated aging tests used in quality checks to Taiwanese companies; that is substantially different from a man moving from Japan to Taiwan and taking an incomplete formula with him. I don't consider this unimportant details, given the China-Taiwan history... Ssscienccce (talk) 20:59, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

Hi, as the main author of the destroyed article it seems to me like a "hack attack" from inside Wikipedia. I tried to start a discussion during the first changes point by point but the parts and sections of the article was deleted in a speed I never could follow. Everybody hwo wants to read the article in the status before destroying can see it under User:Elcap/Bad caps.
It could be, that the information in this article, that the electrolytic capacitors with "good" 70 % water electrolyt after reaching their end of life may end in the same way with blowing up the case as the former bad ones, that this information bother some capacitor manufacturers. That may be a reason for deleting this information by destroying the article. --Elcap (talk) 08:18, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
By the way, information about the materials scientist working for a Japanese company, left the company and began working for a Chinese electrolytic company is given under: Low-ESR Aluminum Electrolytic Failures Linked to Taiwanese Raw Material Problems[7] --Elcap (talk) 08:25, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Need help with lg 32 inch capacitors, took old ones out, now forget where to put new ones — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:43, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

Need help with lg 32 uinch capacitors, took old ones out, now forget where to put new ones . Mike 7-30-14 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:45, 31 July 2014 (UTC)


I understand that people who are not experts in analysis of aluminum electrolytic capacitors may think, that behind the paragraphs “Evidence of insufficient composed electrolyte” and “Autopsy of failed electrolytic capacitors” a “possibly original research” is hide. This is not the case. Let me explain. The basic research about corrosion of metals was done in the 1960s- 1970s years (H. Kaesche, Die Korrosion der Metalle - Physikalisch-chemische Prinzipien und aktuelle Probleme, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1966, ISBN: 978364184277). (D. A. Vermilyea, W. Vedder, Inhibition of the aluminum+water reaction Trans. Faraday Soc., 1970, 66, 2644-2654, DOI: 10.1039/TF9706602644)

After this basic research in universities the further elimination of corrosion in e-caps was business in the development and quality departments of the producer of e-caps. This research was secret. No producer wants to show the best inhibitors to the competition. However, insider know how to detect water based corrosion. Simple microscope images show the aluminum hydroxide plaques, a SEM images together with a fingerprint analyses prove the incorrect oxide. This analyses are carried out at manufacturers side since about mid of 1970 in Europe and since about 1980 in Japan. I saw a lot of internal quality reports of such analyses. (Not all was kept secret)

In my archive I found a lot of images of such reports so I have selected some neutral pictures demonstrating the water driven corrosion without any indication of a manufacturer or customer. It is not my work, the information came from some larger producers of e-caps. (sorry for my “Denglish) I delete the above mentioned banner. --Elcap (talk) 11:58, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

@Elcap: Die Korrosion der Metalle - Physikalisch-chemische Prinzipien und aktuelle Probleme had an invalid ISBN (1 character too short). I have replaced it with the (an) ISBN for the 1990 edition. (Springer tends to publish everything with 2 ISBNs, one for German language area, and one for English language area.) The 1966 edition will only have an ISBN if it was assigned one post facto, as ISBNs came in in 1967. All the best: Rich Farmbrough14:56, 5 January 2015 (UTC).

Rubycon ZL - water-base electrolyte?[edit]

It came to my notice that the page holds claim that Rubycon ZL (along with ZA) uses a water-base electrolyte with water content up to 40% unlike most "conventional" electrolytics up to that time which used either ethylene glycol, boric acid, or gamma-butyrolactone (or possibly the quaternary ammonium salt compounds).

However, if you look at this page of an old web archive of Rubycon's website, Rubycon expressly states that Rubycon ZL employed ethylene glycol-ammonium salt as its electrolyte, though with "improved" and higher conductivity than the previous electrolyte used. As far as I'm aware, ethylene glycol is an organic solvent, not just a water base-electrolyte, though ethylene glycol by itself does react with water and generates up to 20% water content as the article also states. But to say that Rubycon ZL does not use an organic solvent isn't true according to Rubycon. Unless there is something I'm missing? I would greatly appreciate clarification.

Wester546 (talk) 22:55, 17 March 2015 (UTC)

In a very gross simplification, operating electrolytes can be divided into three groups:
  • Borax or glycol solutions with approximately 5 to 20 % water content for standard applications. In these electrolytes, the water causes the chemical reaction "acid + alcohol" gives "ester + water".
  • Organic solutions such as GBL, DMA or DMF which are nearly free of water for stable parameters and long life in industrial applications
  • Solutions with water content up to 70% for use at high ripple current in low end capacitors
The difference is the percentage of water.
The evidence of water percentage in Rubycon ZL series is given in:
Shigeru Uzawa, Akihiko Komatsu, Tetsushi Ogawara, Rubycon Corporation, Ultra Low Impedance Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitor with Water based Electrolyte. Journal of Reliability Engineering Association of Japan Accession number;02A0509168, ISSN:0919-2697, VOL.24;NO.4;PAGE.276-283(2002)
see ref number 18 --Elcap (talk) 08:03, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
I repeat the second time the source of the Rubycon development: Shigeru Uzawa, Akihiko Komatsu, Tetsushi Ogawara, Rubycon Corporation, Ultra Low Impedance Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitor with Water based Electrolyte. Journal of Reliability Engineering Association of Japan Accession number;02A0509168, ISSN:0919-2697, VOL.24;NO.4;PAGE.276-283(2002)
Water based electrolyte means, a high up to a very high percentage of the electrolyte is water, the remaining is more or less secret --Elcap (talk) 09:12, 17 April 2017 (UTC)


I only edited this page because the new version of the web archive no longer displays old sites using frames, so I had to find an alternative archive of the old Rubycon archive. I don't doubt that "water-base electrolyte" means electrolytic solvents and solutions employing anywhere between 40%-75% water content. In recent years, "ultra-low impedance" capacitors employing 70% water or more have been obsoleted and discontinued in favor of conductive functional and/or organic polymer capacitors.

Wester546 (talk) 00:52, 20 April 2017 (UTC)

Original Research[edit]

I've again removed large amounts of unreferenced material from this article. Material on Wikipeida must be verifiable, and the essays which have been added to this article are not. -- Mikeblas (talk) 14:08, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

Edits should also be constructive. Yours here are anything but. You have confused slavish implementation of a simplistic policy with constructive improvement. Rather than simply deleting large sections (you've removed nearly a third of the article here), it would be so much better to instead look at sourcing the contentious material and making an actual improvement.
As it is, this is now a worse article than before. It fails to mention the "Great PC Motherboard Plague" incident, the reason why the vast majority of our readers will have come to this page.
Your edits here are a great ego-massaging exercise and no doubt you'll fit in beautifully with our ever-more dogmatic Young Pioneers of the admin cadre, but please don't fool yourself that this was a constructive blanking. Andy Dingley (talk) 14:45, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
Removing material that is not referenced original research is constructive, as such material is of dubious quality and therefore confusing to readers. The page wasn't blanked; only sections that were unreferenced removed. Verifiability is a core policy of this encyclopedia, as is the policy of no original research. If you'd like to see the material remain, then feel free to find sources that support it and replace the material after verifying its veracity against the references. .
This article isn't the place for personal essays--no topic page on Wikipedia is. -- Mikeblas (talk) 02:14, 28 April 2015 (UTC)


The section "Non-solid aluminum electrolytic capacitors" is only ancillarily related to the subject of this article. It's much more appropriate at the electrolytic capacitor article because it discusses electrolytic capacitors in general, not as they relate to this specific issue. -- Mikeblas (talk) 02:14, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

Against. The behavior of some manufacturers have created an unique criminal case within the history of electronic components. This substantiates an capacitor plague article to be useable as “stand alone” article. For that the explanation of the capacitor construction is important. --Elcap (talk) 11:14, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
Articles in Wikipedia don't need to be "stand alone" articles, as Wikipedia is not paper. The material here is redundant to (and already divergent to) the electrolytic article. The section in question is completely un-related to the capacitor formulation problem described by this article. -- Mikeblas (talk) 15:34, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

DMA and DMF?[edit]

Elcap, are you sure DMA and DMF have good characteristics in the long term like GBL? I ask because as far as I know, DMA and DMF are amide solvents.

According to this article (pages 22 and 23), amide solvents have the same tendencies as electrolyte with high H2O content, IE a tendency to destroy the oxide layer on the anode, and that certain compounds and depolarizers can be used as inhibitors to reduce the eventual generation of hydrogen gas.

Wester546 (talk) 22:33, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

Hi Wester546, my experiances over 30 years with DMF and DMA electrolytes for 105 °C applications (max) is, that the long term characteristic of this capacitors are quite good as for GBL (125 °C max) capacitors. Longer life for GBL results from lower gas pressure. Hydrogen production, which lowers the lifetime due to self-healing properties, depends on lower water contend. With drying the winding down to 1...2 % water content in DMF, DMA as well as for GBL e-caps and corrosion inhibitors in principle no end-of-life due to other chemical corrosion was found. --Elcap (talk) 10:09, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

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