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



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