August 01, 2005

Because Once The Magic Smoke Escapes, Your PC Won't Work No More

Today's public service announcement: next time you've got the lid off your PC to clean the dust out of it (and you do clean the dust out, right?), take a couple of extra seconds to inspect the capacitors. Dan Butler of TNPC Newsletter has the story (with pictures for those of you who don't know what a capacitor is):

It was frustrating. My mouse jumped all over the place. My system locked up for unexplained reasons. Maybe it restarts, maybe it doesn't. I've checked for viruses, spyware, and the rest. Al Gordon was convinced of spyware but I am not sure how it would get on my system in the first place.

So I'm typing this on my backup system that was ready for just such emergencies. Total down time to move from one machine to another? Less than one hour thanks to my backup routine. This is an older slower machine but it gets the job done until I can repair the main system.

It turns out that my motherboard has bad capacitors. They were bulging, leaking and the cause of all my problems. I'll be replacing the motherboard in the next day or two. Hopefully all my other components are still good. It turns out the "bulging capacitor" problem is widespread but not well acknowledged by the manufacturers. Not only is the problem widespread but it has elements of corporate espionage. [From email - TNPC Newsletter Volume 7 Issue 16, 1 August 2005]

The corporate espionage Dan refers to is a story in itself - read all about it here.

Posted by Chris at August 1, 2005 05:32 PM

Category: General Weirdness