Made in Taiwan. High Quailty, hand warsh.[1]

In last week’s Star, there was an article on the practice of Googling yourself and finding horrific things you said or posted in the past. Here’s one of my contributions to the lost cause in which my name continues to be associated with hopelessly geeky things. The last time I “Googled” myself, it was actually called “AltaVista-ing”, and my name was associated with some roleplaying Star Trek geek. So you can see why I haven’t really bothered to do it since.

Anyway, the subject of today’s post is pretty much from that Google thread, but with pictures! The full story behind it is at this URL, but here’s a quote that summarizes things quite nicely:

“According to the source, a scientist stole the formula for an electrolyte from his employer in Japan and began using it himself at the Chinese branch of a Taiwanese electrolyte manufacturer. He or his colleagues then sold the formula to an electrolyte maker in Taiwan, which began producing it for Taiwanese and possibly other capacitor firms. Unfortunately, the formula as sold was incomplete.”

The result being that many computer motherboards (and even some consumer electronics) manufactured in the 2000-2002 timeframe use these capacitors with the faulty electrolyte. After a while, they start to bloat and leak their goop all over the place. Not pretty, as seen in these pictures (courtesy of Bonnie’s motherboard):

Made in Taiwan. Bah.No, the busted caps have nothing to do with the use of non-1.5V AGP cards.Lelon, the mark of quailty.

MSI was good enough to replace all the capacitors on her K7N420 board for no charge (except for shipping), a service for which some third parties charge about US$50. Both Tim and Hube had to go through the same process with their Abit VP6 boards earlier this year.

Incidentally, my board is also a K7N420, but doesn’t have the Lelon-brand capacitors. They also aren’t doing the whole bloat-bulge-goop thing either, which doesn’t explain why I’ve had strange instability problems and have also had to replace the RAM in my box twice. In any case, I’m now using Bonnie’s repaired motherboard, and she purchased a brand-spanking new nForce2-based ASUS A7N8X-VM.

So yeah, if your computer and/or computer parts and/or consumer electronics purchased in the late-2000 to early 2002 timeframe are doing wonky things, crack ’em open and check for capacitor goop leakage.

[1] In Hong Kong, there’s that street[2] where you can buy knockoff clothing like Polo dress shirts that have oddly coloured horse-logo embroidery. They come complete with carboard care tags attached, reproduced to the best of the pirates’ abilities. The tags are known to say things like, “Polo Raph Lauren… High Quailty… Hand warsh”.

[2] Last time I was there, they had this huge plastic bin on wheels full of the shirts, and there was the subsequent tourist feeding frenzy as everybody crowded around and reached in to get at the 2 for HK$20 merchandise (kind of like how little old ladies plunge headfirst into the watermelon bins at the supermarket). Perfect environment for pickpockets, and I was witness to some huge eastern European guy going ballistic over losing his tan coloured man-purse clutch (murse). What a loooooser. >:)

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