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    Devshed God 1st Plane (5500 - 5999 posts)

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    FYI: Motherboards breaking after 1-2 years

    Hey guys, I have to tell you this story:

    From about 2000 till 2002, many mainboard manufacturers have sold boards that will break after about 2 years of use ("2 summers").

    I got one of those. And I would never have got the idea if c'T (german computer magazine) didn't coincidently report about this this week.

    A supplier of electrolyte seems to have made "big bucks" with faked electrolyte mixed with water. And they "explode slowly" when exposed to heat.

    One could claim this was for reason to force people to buy a new board after two years, but I don't say so... I just think they bought the cheapest stuff they could get at that time to lower the end-user price by every single possible cent...

    The manufacturers c'T listed were MSI, Abit, ECS and even GigaByte which I considered a brand up to now. But they say themselves that the manufacturer list is unconfirmed.

    Mine is a MSI. (I usually only buy ASUS, but this time the price convinced me... my bad, I know.)

    The story:
    Since a few months my PC started doing weird stuff. Breaking down out of no obvious reason, one of my RAM sticks stopped working suddenly, I replaced the CPU cooler three times this year already because of the CPU overheating.
    Now, thanks to c'T, I got the (more or less obvious) cause:
    The electrolyte capacitors were blown up. Brown stuff on top of them, some spread inside my case and some of them looked like a bulb instead of a cylinder.

    Now, it was saturday and I didn't want to spend the weekend without my PC nor do I want to over-hestitate getting a new Mobo.
    Went to the local electronics store and did the most crazy thing in my life with a PC:
    I desoldered all the capacitors and replaced them. less than 5$ + 1hr of work. I can't recommend this to anybody without good knowledge of tech, but I was surprised how "low-tech" a mainboard seems to be.

    It works like a charm now. No more overheating of my CPU, the old RAM stick I put back in is ok too.

    I guess the board will start making problems in a few months again because the quality of my hand-soldering is in no way comparable to what the machines did before, but hey, I can buy a new board then... Just hope it won't blow up my CPU, RAM or hard disk then

    Hope this helps other people in tracking down irregular PC failures and I have to repeat:
    Don't try this yourself unless you are absolutely confident you can do it and aware of the possible consequences! I take no responsibility if it burns down your house or something! No joke!

    Look at them, if they look like they ate too much, they will start leaking the electrolyte soon. Brown stuff on top says it is close to death already.

    ... M (who feels at least 5 inches taller at the moment LOL )

    Reference: german c'T magazine, issue 21/2003, page 216

    PS: If it should break or start to run instable again because of me putting my hands on the sacred solderings of a hightech product, I will update this thread, promised.
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    i have not seen the article you found, but your words ring very true, lately i have been getting alot of msi k7 turbo boards coming in with all different kinds of failures. a couple killed the ram stick(s), and video card with it. i too considered a msi to be a quality product. i stopped using asus boards for similar reasons, but i dont know if this is the case with them, just had several returned so i switched to aopen ,soyo ,and intel. before i was a die hard asus advocate. the only ones i had problems with were the pc2100 variety. just never tried another since i had problems with those, i didnt build any pc with a msi board, a shop in my area did and when they went out of business, i got some of their customers.
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    Talking Fixed capacitors

    I hadn't heard of bad caps until I ran onto a genius, Topcat over at kabalsrealm.com.
    He fixed a board that was headed for the can. lol If you haven't got the nerve to do it yourself he's the guy
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    Devshed Intermediate (1500 - 1999 posts)

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    Good find.

    References: If you scroll down to pages (Seiten) 216-221, there's a lengthy list of references, the first of which is an IEEE Spectrum article.

    Wow, I just noticed this thread is two weeks old. I need to get in here more.
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    Electrolytic caps are notorious anyway.
    We use old Mac IIx's at work (don't ask!) and all of them have had all electrolytic caps replaced. It's the no.1 fault on those M/B

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