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Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Re: This story is darker than you think
Rob Spiegel   5/23/2012 12:09:39 PM
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Good point on the legitimacy question, Larry M. Now that I think about it, what you describe actually is a form of counterfeit components -- when technology is stolen and used to manufacture parts.

Larry M
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Platinum
Re: This story is darker than you think
Larry M   5/23/2012 11:45:39 AM
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Rob, not sure I would use the term "legitimate" given the provenance of the formula. This trade secret formula was stolen twice.

I cannot post a link to the IEEE Spectrum article, but I recommend you track it down. It's fascinating. My memory wasn't so bad. The article appears in the February 2003 edition, pp. 16-17.

Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Re: This story is darker than you think
Rob Spiegel   5/23/2012 11:37:54 AM
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That's quite a story, Larry M. Perhaps it was legitimate parts bought from a poor source. 

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: cutting one corner too many.
Rob Spiegel   5/23/2012 11:29:11 AM
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Yes, Gsmith120, there's just something about the story -- and the resulting comments -- that rings of counterfeit components. The counterfeits are disguised very well these days and they can show up even in non-gray markets in the form of returns.

OLD_CURMUDGEON
User Rank
Platinum
Bad components; Care-LESS Mgmt.
OLD_CURMUDGEON   5/23/2012 10:35:17 AM
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Does it really make sense that there are counterfeit electrolytics in the field?  Seems to me that the bulk cost of such small parts isn't worth the effort to get them into mainstream distribution.  Sort of akin to counterfeiting $1 bills.  You need quite a bucket full to make a dent.  But, $20 bills ..... now that's a different story! 

I can see disreputable types counterfeiting processor chips, since the margins are greater.

In the words a a famous "philosopher / songstress", 'And the beat goes on ......'

 

 

 

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Internet for Troubleshooting
Nancy Golden   5/23/2012 10:33:39 AM
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Indeed, ChasChas,

"What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun." Ecclesiastes 1:9

I am very appreciative of the folks who take the time to share their solutions!

TexasTJ
User Rank
Iron
Bad caps
TexasTJ   5/23/2012 9:52:34 AM
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I replaced bad caps in my Mitsubishi TV and on my daughters Intel motherboard. Those are both "big name" brands. There's no excuse for such poor component sourcing.

Larry M
User Rank
Platinum
This story is darker than you think
Larry M   5/23/2012 9:45:20 AM
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Rob Spiegel wrote: "This makes me wonder whether the components that failed were counterfeit."

 

Not counterfeits. The following is from an IEEE Spectrum article published around 2003 describing events that happened in around 2000, as I recall it. A Chinese engineer was working at a Japanese capacitor manufacturer, stole the secret formula for the electrolyte in electrolytic capacitors and started a factory in China. A second engineer, working at the Chinese factory, stole the formula and opened a second factory and underbid everyone else on capacitors.

 

However, in one of the transfers, some of the ingredients were omitted from the formula. There didn't seem to be any reason for their inclusion and the capacitors seemed to test just as well without them. Unfortunately, one of the ingredients was a stabilizer which prevented aging and degradation of the electrolyte.

 

These bad capacitors got into all kinds of electronics-- VCRs, TVs, computer motherboards, and monitors. Nearly all the computer motherboards failed, about 24 months out. The problem manifested itself in failures to boot, reboots in mid-stream, hangs, and crashes. All of the manufacturers but one refused to fix or replace the failed computers, in spite of the clearly inferior parts, arguing that they were out of warranty. Only IBM replaced every one. In fact, if you were having difficulty replacing the motherboard, they would send a suit-and-tie customer engineer to your house to do the job.

 

ChasChas
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Internet for Troubleshooting
ChasChas   5/23/2012 9:42:31 AM
NO RATINGS
 

Your right, Nancy. The internet used to be my last resort for troubleshooting - now it's my first resort. You can't imagine the time it saves. Like they say - no sin is strange to man. If you have the problem, someone else already did, too.

mrmikel
User Rank
Iron
Re: cutting one corner too many.
mrmikel   5/23/2012 9:20:32 AM
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It always boils down to money and bad days at the factory.

I don't think I have ever replaced a Nichicon in 20 years.  When  I find a bad part, I always go looking for other parts of the same value.  Nearly always they are bad too.  Since manufacturers buy in bulk lots, a bad day at the cap factory is a bad day for the end user.

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