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Bad Solid State Capacitors

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zzzzzzzzzz2

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Aug 14, 2016

LutaWicasa

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Dec 22, 2000
Location
Huntsville, AL
To my knowledge the only visible hints as to a bad cap are, of course, leakage and/or swelling. Seen a number of caps some years back that had really domed tops.
 

Mr.Scott

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Jun 9, 2013
The term 'solid state caps' is a misnomer. They still have electrolyte in them, just not in liquid form. They are generally an electrolytic polymer now. They are not prone to bulging or leaking like the old liquid electrolyte caps were. The polymer being housed in aluminum just explodes rather dramatically or the aluminum cracks a little and just shoots out a small flame like a flame thrower. In either case, you would know it was bad visually.
 

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RollingThunder

Destroyer of Trolls & Spammers
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The term 'solid state caps' is a misnomer. They still have electrolyte in them, just not in liquid form. They are generally an electrolytic polymer now. They are not prone to bulging or leaking like the old liquid electrolyte caps were. The polymer being housed in aluminum just explodes rather dramatically or the aluminum cracks a little and just shoots out a small flame like a flame thrower. In either case, you would know it was bad visually.

Scotty,

I didn't know that. I asked the same question some years ago when solid states were just beginning to evolve on motherboards and no one really knew what to look for. I never Googled it since then but from your photo you can't miss it!
 

LutaWicasa

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Location
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Sweet....I learn sumpin' new every day.
Back in the day, the old caps were easy enough to replace...though a bit tedious ;)
 

Mr.Scott

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Jun 9, 2013
They're still fairly easy to replace, as long as when they go they don't burn up the solder pad too badly. Some solids are still through board also. A decent solder station with hot air and a little skill and patience is all that's required.
 
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RJARRRPCGP

Member
Joined
May 30, 2004
The term 'solid state caps' is a misnomer. They still have electrolyte in them, just not in liquid form. They are generally an electrolytic polymer now. They are not prone to bulging or leaking like the old liquid electrolyte caps were. The polymer being housed in aluminum just explodes rather dramatically or the aluminum cracks a little and just shoots out a small flame like a flame thrower. In either case, you would know it was bad visually.

FZs are fake polymers...
 

bavack

New Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2018
The term 'solid state caps' is a misnomer. They still have electrolyte in them, just not in liquid form. They are generally an electrolytic polymer now. They are not prone to bulging or leaking like the old liquid electrolyte caps were. The polymer being housed in aluminum just explodes rather dramatically or the aluminum cracks a little and just shoots out a small flame like a flame thrower. In either case, you would know it was bad visually.

These are NOT solid caps, just "regular" electrolytics... They never have vents on their top as shown in the picture, because they do not produce any gas or liquid that has to escape when they fail. Actually they can blow up, but this is very-very rare... Polymer caps will most likely fail without any visual sign, you can check their condition with an ESR meter.
 

bavack

New Member
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Jan 31, 2018
Seen them do it. It's not as scary as hearing it happen, without the visuals to clarify-"WHAT THE *&#@! WAS THAT??? DO YOU SMELL MAGIC SMOKE???" LOL


I was not saying that it could not happen... ;D
Sorry about not clarifying that but when I was talking about failing I did not mean "abnormal" situations, where caps are dying in circuits not operating normally (eg. overvoltage conditions). I was thinking about bulging or cracked caps after x years of usage. A polymer will never do such a thing. After almost 5 years working in the repair industry, I must say that I have never ever seen a blown up solid cap unless it was exposed to tremendous amount of voltage like 230V into a 35V cap. If you apply higher voltage than it was rated for, both of the two types will fail, probably followed by some smoke and boom...
Also polymers can withstand much more voltage than same rating electrolytics do.
I also have to mention that not enough time has passed yet that we can say we know these capacitors long-term behavior.
(Sorry if my english is not perfect, it is not my native language)
 

UltraTaco

Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2017
Thank you.
Why do they fail? Operating on voltage limit? Age?
Do they always fail during operation?
 

Johan45

Benching Team Leader Super Moderator
Joined
Dec 19, 2012
Thank you.
Why do they fail? Operating on voltage limit? Age?
Do they always fail during operation?

voltage/heat/age they do have a lifespan. Usually the board works till one day it just won't boot.
 

Mandrake4565

Mr. Clean Senior Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
I was not saying that it could not happen... ;D
Sorry about not clarifying that but when I was talking about failing I did not mean "abnormal" situations, where caps are dying in circuits not operating normally (eg. overvoltage conditions). I was thinking about bulging or cracked caps after x years of usage. A polymer will never do such a thing. After almost 5 years working in the repair industry, I must say that I have never ever seen a blown up solid cap unless it was exposed to tremendous amount of voltage like 230V into a 35V cap. If you apply higher voltage than it was rated for, both of the two types will fail, probably followed by some smoke and boom...
Also polymers can withstand much more voltage than same rating electrolytics do.
I also have to mention that not enough time has passed yet that we can say we know these capacitors long-term behavior.
(Sorry if my english is not perfect, it is not my native language)

Bavack sorry that my response was taken the wrong way. I wasn't say what I did, intending to prove you wrong. I merely said it because I've had caps "pop" on 2 of my Motherboards and 3 different graphics cards. It's a bit scary when it happens.