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Bulging Capacitors on Motherboard. How bad is it?

Posted on 2006-10-24
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Last Modified: 2013-11-09
I have a PC Chips M810 LMR rev 7.0 or 7.1. The system I have was purchased Just under 4 years ago Dec 2002. In it's most used near original config it was running an Athlon 1100 t/bird @11x 100FSB, 256 MB PC 133 ram, 40 GB Maxtor HDD, 64 MB Geforce 2 mx400, Samsung combo cd writer dvd player drive (CD didn't write), Plextor 32x12x4x Cd writer. This was until about a year ago. Then I upgraded to an Abit 128MB Radeon 9250. All had run smoothly til the  fan on the   PSU stopped before changing GPU, replaced with a 230w then  a 300w one after changing the GPU (spare PC's PSU blew so 230w went in that). I'd always had the odd bios error, can't remember what, same one which cleared on a reboot. Not had it for ages. In the current config since July, it's been running the following extras/changes: Benq 52x CDRW, NEC 16X DVDRW, Western Digital 60 GB HDD (as primary slave), Generic 3 port 6 pin firewire card (for samsung DP 351 camcorder), broadband modem, plus USB: 6x4 Photo printer (HP), Gamepad, optical intellimouse. Pc is used for 3-4 hours a night, mainly mail/net and the odd game.

I noticed the other week some caps were bulging a bit on the m'board. enough to be noticed. Nothing was oozing from them (I think). I know there was a bad batch of caps round about  2002, mainly Asus boards, but it was reported on the now defunct PC Chips Lottery. I recently read  somewhere on here that boards around the 5 year mark are suffering, and that oozing caps could last up to another 6-12 months or go within a few days. Anyway I need your advice. Could my config be causing it? Or is it the age of the mobo, or something else. Anyone any Idea how quick I should look for a new Mobo or PC, as theyre not as badly bulging as some I saw pictured on the PCchipslottery, but it is obvious, or anything I can do to slow it down so it doesn't happen.

Money is tight, so please see my last post here:  http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/askQuestion.jsp. Thanks.
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Question by:callancool
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by:David-Howard
ID: 17800017
Basically, any time you apply current to that motherboard you are not going to help the capacitors. It's just that simple. Additional heat and power may decrease the life of the board. But there isn't anything that you can really do to stop what has already begun.
I'll leave the possible motherboard repalcement recommendations to others.
I'm an Intel user. I just haven't had any issues with those boards.
If I was you though, I'm looking for a new board now (EBay, etc.). At a minimum you need to start saving your personal data, IE favorites, tax info, etc. Anything that you don't want to lose off of the hard drive. You can't be too careful.
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by:callancool
ID: 17800068
David:

I thought data on my Hdd's will be safe if the mobo goes down. Can you tell me why it's not the case will be keeping my HDD's for a new machine.?
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garycase earned 250 total points
ID: 17800133
Data on your hard drives is never "safe" from a system failure.   If (or in this case when) your motherboard fails, it could fail in any number of ways.   If the IDE controller fails during a disk write, then something on the disk will be "hosed" ==> it could be a single cylinder of unimportant data ... or it could be a critical sector that causes a LOT of data loss.   There's simply no telling.   It is ALWAYS a good idea to have current backups;  but even more so when you KNOW you have a failing component in your system. !!

... however, a motherboard failure almost certainly won't hurt your hard drives physically => only the data.   A simple reformat and then drive(s) can almost certainly be used in your replacement system.
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by:callancool
ID: 17800147
Thanks gary. So How serious is it Gary? Any ideas, or links to articles on it?
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by:smiffy13
ID: 17800162
You may be able to just plug your drives in and carry on, but there's also a good chance that you'll have to reinstall/repair windows. But there's a chance that your motherboard will fail at a critical point, leaving you with a corrupted HDD. If it was me, I'd be backing up my data!
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by:callancool
ID: 17800164
Thanks smiffy
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by:garycase
ID: 17800226
PC Chips is a pretty low-end motherboard, so you may not want to spend money repairing it ... BUT, you CAN have all of the capacitors replaced for $45 and eliminate the need to reinstall Windows, reload all your programs and data, etc.   See www.badcaps.net

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by:callancool
ID: 17800228
Thanks Gary
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by:willcomp
ID: 17800332
The bottom line is that most brands of motherboards manufactured in the 2000 to 2002 time frame used "bad caps" in at least some of their boards.  Ones I've seen include MSI, Asus, Abit, Gigabyte and Shuttle.  Have not seen an Intel board with the bad caps.  So it definitely wasn't primarily an Asus problem.

This company will replace your caps for a reasonable fee.  They also have some good information on the bad caps, including pictures.

http://www.badcaps.net/

MSI boards with bad caps were used in Gateway Essential PCs which were very popular in this area (cheapest PCs available at the time) and I've seen quite a few with failed caps.  Also a number of others with different motherboards.  I have not seen a hard disk rendered unreadable by cap failure, but it is a possibility.

Socket A motherboards with support for 200MHz FSB CPUs are getting scarce.

This is a decent uATX board that I've used to replace failed motherboards in several eMachines PCs.  It has an AGP slot and supports 200MHz FSB CPUs.  Also requires DDR RAM and you likely have SDRAM on current motherboard.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813157046

Your existing motherboard could last a year or more or fail tomorrow.  If caps are slightly bulging and not leaking, several months is a good estimate, BUT it may not last that long.  Best bet is to repair or replace before it fails.
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by:willcomp
ID: 17800342
Duplicated Gary on badcaps.net link.  Took a while to finish mine and he snuck it in on me.
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by:callancool
ID: 17800370
I've looked on badcaps, and I'm slightly puzzled. Whilst all the bad caps on there seem to be bulging upwards, i.e. a dome like top, mine are bulging outwards, ie, they're not round anymore, more like those tube like bits of licorice (us spelling there but i'm in the uk) that have been squeezed a little between your fingers. Badcaps was pretty specific bout the shape of the bad caps, though which does puzzle me.
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by:willcomp
ID: 17800584
They also bulge outwards (on sides) and may also leak at base rather than top.  Most common is bulging on top separating crimp causing seepage at crimp.
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by:gonzal13
ID: 17800720
I recently purchased an Asus A8V motherboard with 5 PCI slots and one AGP slot. This way I cold use all my PCI cards and still be able one day to convert the AMD CPU to a dual core. It cost 87 dollars for the change over which included to Gigs of memory. Something to think about.

Gonzal13
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by:willcomp
ID: 17800741
I don't think a socket A CPU will fit in an A8V board.  Also decent quality DDR RAM is about $120.00 per gigabyte at present.
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by:imacgouf
ID: 17801944
I have a MSI Board with dual CPUs a few years back where one night a few capacitors starts popping  and it ended in blue screens and unable to login (W2K). In the end the whole system stop working. Maybe, time to consider a new faster system instead of trying to find replacement board.
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by:callancool
ID: 17803001
My original link at the top was wrong, it should be  http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Microchips/Q_22031342.html and has links to two United Kingdom systems, on Mail order that I can pay weekly forand up to 12mths interest free with 2 & 3 yr options. The first is $750 and the second $618 (Free shipping and Value Added Tax included with both), converted with Yahoo.com currency converter (the us version by the way). How do these compare dollar for dollar (pound to pound over here) price wise to American systems chaps? I don't have & can't afford a credit card so Internet shopping is out.
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by:willcomp
ID: 17803072
That question has already been answered and is off subject.
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by:David-Howard
ID: 17804261
Callancool,
I think your original issues have been addressed. It seems apparent that you do need a new motherboard. Without a way to shop via the internet it would seem that you will be doing your shopping locally. I would suggest a neighborhood pc shop that refurbishes pc's, etc. You could almost certainly find a motherboard replacement far cheaper than from a major brand distributor. So...if this is my system (as I stated before), I would save my personal data and replace my motherboard. :-)
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by:callancool
ID: 17826695
Thanks guys. Data Backed up!
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