Fix it – Capacitors

If you have a device in failure mode, and the problem is electronic as opposed to mechanical, then the  most likely faulting component is an aluminum electrolytic radial capacitor on the circuit board. If the device was built between 1999 and 2008, the chances are even greater, due to the famous capacitor plague.

Here’s why this is useful information:

  • You can identify a bad can capacitor just by looking at it
  • Caps are cheap
  • Caps are easy to replace

With repair bench charges running  $85 an hour, it often does not make sense to have an applicance repaired. But, sometimes you can fix it yourself, even if you don’t know much about how things work.

Replacing caps is monkey-see-monkey-do. But first you have to see. Look at how the silver top is bulged on the black can capacitor near the cord. That’s the bad one. Forty-seven cents, and about ten minutes of effort, and this fairly exotic switching power supply is back up and running.

Buy a twenty-five watt soldering iron at a yard sale for 50 cents, and wait. The opportunity will present itself.

Bad Cap



The Muse Speaks

I audited a 300-level creative writing class at USI last fall. Loved the class. At first, though, I was dismayed to learn that half the course would be dedicated to poetry.

Ick. I have never been interested in poetry. Sure didn’t want to write any.

It took me ten minutes to get over that. Poetry is a great foundation for any type of writing. You learn to squeeze your idea down to its very essence and deliver it with all the authority you are able to summon. And you typically try to do that in a fairly tight space.

Good practice.

So, we had a class assignment near the end of the first half. Read a book of poetry, do a presentation, write a piece inspired by the work of the selected author.

The poet I drew for the task is a young lady with a quirky style. She uses language in a way that reminds me of Lewis Carroll. She sometimes runs ideas across stanzas. I read four poems, and I wrote this.

Continue reading “The Muse Speaks”

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