This sounds like a common problem with electronics and I think it must be the components.
I was at the CompUSA warehouse (my son and I go there often). We are lucky to have this nearby. The store front is like a factory outlet. We were looking at building a server, so I was looking at motherboards. All of them seemed to have a claim that they used Japanese capicators of a certain type. I wondered at this, since most were made in Taiwan. After asking around I found that there had been a rash of failures of motherboards a while back, and the cause was cheap capicators. Sounds like Acer did not get the memo.
Isn't it interesting that something so basic as a capicator (and its placement) can cause so many problems?
By any chance were the capacitors branded "LTEC". If you have a TiVO HR10-250 (the HD DVR that DirecTV distributed) eventually the thing will start reporting an intermittent overheat condition. No, its not actually over temp, intstead one or both of the power supply capacitors that are filtering the 5v supply will have the self-same domed top.
Its happened to me on two of them, and if you peruse the Ebay listings of ones offered for parts, you will be sure to find one or two on offer that are also suffering the same problem. A little time with a soldering iron, and some replacements with a higher temperature rating, and they are fine.
I did notice that the replacement units I bought were noticeably larger than the originals, it was a bit of a squeeze getting them in. They are located inside an inverted U formed by two of the heat sinks. They even have one of them in contact with the to-220 case of a switch transistor, and covered with a big blob of glue, that I am sure helps keep them from cooling (hence my grabbing the highest temp spec I could find).
Because the designer packed them in right next to the hottest components on the board, how much was the fault of the capacitor and how much was just due to years of a bake cycle (they don't have an off switch).
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