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.
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 ......'
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.
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.
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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