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Indictment: Capacitor Prices Kept Artificially High

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Rick_Hille
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Re: Failed caps
Rick_Hille   11/16/2017 4:00:23 PM
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Careful who gets attributed with what.  I do agree that the overall effect is not friendly to the environment, but the focus of the article was that prices were kept higher through collusion by some (normally) high quality brand makers.  One could perhaps argue that had these otherwise fine suppliers not behaved as described, the incentive for counterfeit, the REAL cap quality menace, would have been far less lucrative. As Martin pointed out, the monitor was 10yrs old, so unless it sat unplugged for 7-8years before first use, the problem may have been bad design rather than cap quality.  This, unfortunately, has become something of a common theme in almost half the TVs and monitors I have serviced; the best electrolytic brands on the market will struggle to last more than 3 years when they are underrated for the ripple currents they are subjected to (if you can even find the specs), or located in the convection exhaust path of a heatsink.  In two particular TV models I successfully recovered after making some design changes, the shockingly poor engineering of the power boards prompted me to do a quick search of the TV makers user forums.  With forum moderators showing surprising tolerance to unflatteringly candid discussions, I quickly found long threads of irate customers venting their bad experiences with the particular models.  One set in particular drew out some very humorous posts, and I was floored by a YT video of an angry owner floating said model TV off on a raft and target practicing on it with a hunting rifle.  Evidently dissatisfied with the warranty service.

lousmith84
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Re: Failed caps
lousmith84   11/15/2017 8:30:27 PM
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Well, i think that is a bunch of crap, they fix their price high, and give us crappy products, which we then have to fix or dispose of.  How lame.  Also anti environmentally friendly because 1 cap bad and the whole tv goes in the trash.  They don't care as long as their profit margins are good.

David Ashton
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Electrolytics
David Ashton   11/9/2017 4:35:56 PM
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It IS worth spending a bit more on good electrolytics, but in Martin's shoes I'd probably have done the same just to get the PC going.  And hell, if you have to take it apart in a few years time to do it again, you've had previous experience and can probably do it pretty quickly.

I was given a 42 inch plasma TV that had failed a few years ago, this in the days when 42" plasmas were THE TV to have.  The electrolytics looked much the same as Martin's pic - a dead giveaway.  But they were under some frame bars (plasmas were heavy....) and so they had to be exactly the same form factor.  The ones I could get were too tall or not the right cap/voltage.  I really tried to find some that would fit.  Eventually I reluctantly chucked the TV (after stripping some good bits out of it).

And I wrote a cautionary story about wrongly selecting electrolytics a few years ago here....

https://www.eetimes.com/author.asp?section_id=36&doc_id=1284545

Measurement.Blues
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Re: You don't always get what you pay for, but then you do
Measurement.Blues   11/8/2017 3:56:56 PM
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The replacement caps did not specify low ESR so you're probably right, they will fail. The original caps lasted more than 10 years.

Rick_Hille
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You don't always get what you pay for, but then you do
Rick_Hille   11/8/2017 10:50:17 AM
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I've always had my suspicions about electrolytic pricing, given they don't contain precious metals, and are probably easy to manufacture.  It doesn't take much of a price fix either; if you sell 10Xmillions of caps a year, you're making some pretty good extra coin, and it stays under the radar if the price bump isn't ridiculous. I suggest you're setting yourself up for deja-vu replacing with $1 generic electrolytics; if the retailer doesn't tout them as "low-ESR, high-rippple" caps, trrust me, they aren't, even if all label ratings are the same (V, C, T).  I've revived enough TVs and monitors in my days to have learned that you can't cheap-out on electrolytics.  My usual course of action was to scrape through a disti listing (pick your favorite on-line disti) that can sort for ESR and/or ripple rating, and pick a cap with the same footprint that has the highest capability with the same (or better) voltage.  I usually looked for taller caps with higher voltage rating as they fit into densely packed board arrays and usually weren't restricted on height.

Measurement.Blues
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Failed caps
Measurement.Blues   11/7/2017 3:28:11 PM
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The caps in the photo failed. Note the bowed tops. If you're foing to inflate the price, then it's your oblication to improve quality. Too many aluminum electrolytics fail, as these did.

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