I recently learned that my brother-in-law was about to dispose of an Acer monitor. When I asked him what was wrong with it, he told me that the monitor worked fine most of the time, but it would intermittently stop working. I suggested that if it worked well "sometimes," it might just be a filter that was misbehaving or a component that stopped functioning when it started heating up. He couldn’t really detect a trend, and he didn’t want to deal with electronics troubleshooting.
Since I’m a manufacturing engineer, I don’t know a lot about electronics, either, but I decided to lug it home. If I couldn’t find the flaw, I figured I could at least find good use for some of the components.
I opened up the monitor, and as soon as I had all the guts out, I noticed that a few electrolytic capacitors had blown. When an electrolytic capacitor blows, you can see the damage -- its top bulges out, much like a dome. That obviously was an issue, but I also had to find out whether the capacitors had blown because they were bad or because there was a failure upstream that caused the components to self-destruct.
I researched the issue on the Internet and found that this was a common problem with Acer monitors. The capacitors they used were inferior; replacing a handful of them solved the issue. In fact, the issue was so rampant among the owners of Acer monitors, there were sites online offering capacitor kits specifically for Acer monitors. A couple of days later, I bought some decent capacitors, soldered them into the boards, and hoped that the monitor worked. It did, and it is still working a year later.
I wonder how many monitors ended up thrown in the trash just because of a few inferior capacitors that the company decided to use in order to save a few cents.
This entry was submitted by Nauzad Tantra and edited by Rob Spiegel.
Nauzad Tantra has received a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, and a PhD in manufacturing engineering. He has worked in various industries in India, China, the UK, and the US, and he has helped various companies with turnkey low-cost automation and mechatronics projects. Tantra is passionate about innovation, green technologies, and disruptive technologies.
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