How long would you give it?

Discussion in 'hardware' started by Reality, Dec 29, 2015.

  1. Reality

    Reality Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    Posts:
    689
    Just noticed this as I was doing stuff inside the box (taking a jumper off one of the HDDs) . I've been cutting my tweaking teeth on this machine, and this looks real dodgy. :eek:

    Right now, it's going just fine as Im getting any files I want transferred.

    Question, when (not if) it goes what will happen?

    1/ just die quietly (my first choice of course, since I hope to run it til it dies)
    2/ go out with a bang but cause no damage to HDDs
    3/ damage HDDs

    Bulge.jpg
     
  2. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Posts:
    3,522
    Location:
    USA - Back in a real State in time for a real Pres
    From nothing to fizz to pop to fire. All are possible.
     
  3. Reality

    Reality Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    Posts:
    689
    Thanks. Not keen on that last possibility.
     
  4. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2011
    Posts:
    6,030
    I had my first PC fire some months ago :eek:

    The SATA power connector shorted out, causing the wires to melt, and frying the power supply. It was very dramatic! Smoke! Flames!

    The SSD is probably hosed. At least, the power connectors are melted, and the data ones are a little charred. But I didn't see any motherboard damage. I have a new power supply, but haven't gotten around to installing it.
     
  5. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Posts:
    5,127
    Location:
    USA
    It's not uncommon for motherboards to fail and leave everything else intact, but unfortunately you can't count on it.
     
  6. trott3r

    trott3r Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Posts:
    830
    Location:
    UK
    Time to back it all up just in case it goes next time you switch it on.
     
  7. quietman

    quietman Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2014
    Posts:
    491
    Location:
    Earth .... occasionally
    That cap looks like it has already blown .

    I'm always amazed how often circuitry will continue to function properly when a large electrolytic capacitor has spilled its guts.

    My usual fix ( bodge ) in these cases would be to replace it with ANY similar cap you happen to have lying around.
    So long as (a) the rated voltage is the same or higher , (b) the capacitance is very roughly similar ( ie. same order of magnitude )
    and (c) you take care with polarity , then the board will probably last indefinitely .... you'd be astounded !

    Perhaps not good advice for avionics systems though :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2015
  8. Keatah

    Keatah Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Posts:
    853
    Yup. Had a fire due to a blown cap causing parts of the processor to crack and shoot out through the grille screen in the back. We investigated and litigated the whole mess.

    Regarding this system.. Who the hell knows what condition the power flowing through the board is in. I'd take no chances and replace parts immediately. If not for fire protection, but for data protection.
     
  9. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Posts:
    2,272
    Location:
    Nebraska, USA
    To me, it just looks like it has leaked. And from here, as zapjb put it, "nothing to fizz to pop to fire" are all possible. But frankly, at this point, fizz, pop and fire are all very remote possibilities simply because that capacitor has already leaked.

    It is important to understand, those + and K shaped indentations cut into the tops of those caps are there as safety relief valves - not for decoration. So while capacitors going bad is not good, leaking is actually a good thing in terms of safety - the "pop" and "fire" thing! Leaking means the excessive pressure inside the faulty (or abused!) capacitor has been relieved - a very good thing - and so now popping (ie, exploding!) cannot happen making fire very unlikely. A bulging capacitor actually presents a greater popping danger of spewing burning hot electrolyte all over the place because that means there may still be excessive pressures inside.

    Except not all the guts have spilled out so the capacitor is most likely still functioning enough to still do it's job - at least part way. I have seen electronics work for years with leaky capacitors - in part because other components or circuits are able to compensate for the change in capacitance of the leaky device.

    The question really is, does the computer work? Is it stable or does it suddenly shutdown or reboot? Those are the typical symptoms of leaky caps that have leaked too much and can no longer perform their function.

    If me and this system is still working and stable, I would carefully inspect all the capacitors on the board and pay careful attention to the bottoms of the caps. Electrolyte can leak from the bottoms too and that stuff is caustic. If any has leaked onto the motherboard, it needs to be carefully cleaned away with circuit board cleaner and a stiff brush.

    If the motherboard is not stable, they can be totally recapped. In fact, there many tutorials on-line and even sites that specialize in just that. But considering the cost of new motherboards, it is rarely cost effective to have them recapped - unless the board is still under warranty.

    While leaky caps (a big problem with motherboards ~10 years ago) are often due to cheap/flawed construction, they were also a problem because motherboard makers were trying to cut costs by selecting cheaper components that could not tolerate the conditions they were working in - Read: the heat they were exposed to over long periods of time.

    But also, leaky caps were often user-induced due to a lack of sufficient case cooling. Many bulging or leaky caps would never have leaked if the users ensured their cases were configured to provide an adequate supply of cool air flowing through the case. Or if the users simply cleaned out the blanketing layers of heat trapping dust that was drawn in by the cooling fans once in a while. :(
     
  10. Reality

    Reality Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    Posts:
    689
    Thanks guys for all the responses. Sorry the photo is a bit blurry. After I posted this up I did some searching and it seems there were some real problems with Caps way back in around 2003 (ish ) and there was a huge fracas about it. Someone apparently stole the formula not knowing that it was incomplete and abit was the only one owning up to using faulty Caps but the problem surfaced on all sorts of systems including Macs. Apparently (where computers are concerned) it's only on desktops.

    Anyway, a quick history of this machine is that after my parents no longer had a use for it, it filled a gap for another family member who wasn't that knowledgeable or particular about keeping dust bunnies out and such. I grabbed it in case I needed it for a rainy day. That rainy day came when my computer blew the PSU earlier this year.... sparks, flames out the back, and an acrid smell etc... so I dusted the computer off, and put my rescued HDD in it, plus Ram, installed XP Pro, and other than a couple of glitches I probably wouldn't attribute to bad caps, it's been running OK. No system crashes and no random reboots.

    Sometimes while I've been testing things while swapping out and setting up HDDs I've left the side panels off. I read that this isn't a good idea because the airflow isn't directed where it should flow... any thoughts on that?

    One of the reasons I saw that Caps can go bad is a faulty UPS. Im using an APC smart ups 1000. Im rural and our power is anything but clean. This UPS does offer some protection against brownouts, spikes etc so not sure its that. Ive been reasonably vigilant about keeping the computers cool and free of dust, mind you there was a mile of grime on the CPU fan which I cleaned out when I first got it in to use again.

    All in all it just seems a bit strange it fails now after all these years. I may have a camera shot of the mobo and if I can find it I'll compare. I remember looking at the caps on the computer with the blown PSU and they all looked fine, but I couldn't get the mobo to kick into life so its still sitting in the corner waiting to be tossed.

    Considering the machines I'm talking about are ancient, (12-13 yrs ) there's probably no point in redoing the Caps. When I had a look yesterday I didn't notice any others looking dodgy. Bit sad though as I'm keen to keep XP Pro and as it looks like I'm on the thin end of the wedge with this, but recently someone gave me an XP Pro HP SFF w no HDD, (7700) so no recovery partition no install disk, but had COA on pooter case. I was given some sata drives, took a guess, grabbed one, installed Windows XP Pro off my genuine disk. M$ activated it no probs, and that's what I'm using now. XP lives on for another day :).
     
  11. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Posts:
    2,272
    Location:
    Nebraska, USA
    Yeah, that information is totally false. It is very true that there was a big problem with faulty caps 10+ years ago but it had nothing to do with stolen formulas (never heard that one before) or that Abit was the only one who fessed up to the problem.

    The problem actually affected all makers, including the big names like ASUS and Gigabyte and most all admitted the problem - which was basically the wrong (woefully outdated) technology capacitor for the job. This is how the big push (technically and in marketing) came for the use of "solid" (not to be confused with solid state) capacitors, and "Japanese" capacitors came about. If you look at motherboard ads and boxes, even today, you will see things like "Long Lifespan Solid Capacitors" or "All Japanese Solid Capacitors" - and not just for motherboards, but for graphics cards and PSUs too.

    Again, not true. Notebooks, TVs, radios and more - in fact, leaky caps have plagued "ALL" electronics ever since electrolytic capacitors were first developed well over 100 years ago! This problem was well known for many years by those of us in the electronics professions. But the knowledge of such problems did not come to the awareness of the general public until users started building, upgrading and repairing their own computers - which, coincidently, only blossomed in the last 10 - 20 years.

    And because there is an ATX Form Factor standard for PCs (and not notebooks), PC motherboards got the attention most. But make no mistake, notebook motherboards were affected too. It just did not become common knowledge because notebooks (being proprietary) are generally sent to repair shops for repair.

    And the problem was NOT really the use of "faulty", or "poor quality" capacitors. It was that electrolytic capacitors (invented and developed in the 1890s!!!) just could not support the requirements of today's electronics. That is, even electrolytic capacitors of the highest quality buckled under the conditions/environments encountered in modern computers.

    BTW - one reason Gigabyte is my preferred brand for motherboards is because, about 10 years ago they replaced my 4 year old motherboard that developed leaky caps for free, including shipping, a full year after the warranty ran out! :thumb:

    Why? Did you expect it to last forever? Nothing lasts forever and 12-13 years for computer electronics is old.
    If there is one leaky cap, there likely are more that are leaking or are bulging indicating the pressure relief indentations on top are getting pretty near to splitting open. So inspect for caps that are no long flat on top too.

    As for being keen on keeping XP, that too is a mistake. No doubt you are aware XP is no longer supported. What you may not understand is that this means a XP system is vulnerable to compromise at any moment. It WILL happen. May be tomorrow, may be next year, may be this afternoon.

    And the problem is, many badguys code their malware so users are not aware their systems have been compromised. This then allows the badguys to use those systems to distribute spam, propagate their malware, or as zombies in bot armies used to attack businesses, organizations and institutions. That is, by continuing to use XP, you become a threat to the rest of us, not just to your self. :(

    So if you still have an XP system, at the very least, do yourself and the rest of us a favor and disconnect it from any network that has Internet access. I did this by repurposing a XP system as a NAS system - network attached storage to backup my other systems. I just made sure access to the Internet for this XP system was blocked in my router. But as soon as the budget allowed, I replaced that system with modern hardware that supported a modern (and secure) OS and retired it completely.

    If you still need Internet access, then I urge you to upgrade the OS, or replace it with a capable free and secure version of Linux.
     
  12. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2013
    Posts:
    1,103
    Location:
    Southern Rocky Mountains USA
    Posting happily on Xp. The main reason to abandon it is hardware incompatibility, not software vulnerability. If your basic security is good, Xp is fine. If your security is bad, newer versions of Windows are not going to help you. I have two computers, including the one I use for Wilders, that run Xp daily and are on for hours at a time. They are no more or less secure than they were when Xp was supported. Security is as much about common sense, procedure and approach as it is technology. If your box works with Xp, keep it.
     
  13. Keatah

    Keatah Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Posts:
    853
    That is correct. Common sense and general caution are the best weapons. They are also the most universal and will work in every situation every day. I'll be working on XP for some time to come. And it will remain connected to the internet.

    Regarding the capacitor situation. Stolen formulas or not, who cares, the point is that manufacturers used the cheapest possible component at the time.

    I had abit board explode and cause the cpu to disintegrate right before my eyes. Pretty scary because it's so sudden and quick.

    Every samsung LCD I purchased between 2005-2008 had to be re-capped because it started taking longer and longer for the image to come up to full brightness. I used the same rating caps, but from a quality manufacturer like Nichicon or Panasonic. These are still working today.
     
  14. Infected

    Infected Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2015
    Posts:
    665
    I agree 100%. If I could get XP 64 installed on my Dell Laptop I would, but it's incompatible with my system.
     
  15. Keatah

    Keatah Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Posts:
    853
    Can't do that. Linux is too geeky and needs too much technical support. And it doesn't run my existing software.
     
  16. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2013
    Posts:
    1,103
    Location:
    Southern Rocky Mountains USA
    I repaired a Samsung HD TV/Monitor recently that had 3 swollen electrolytics. I generally replace such caps with better quality caps with higher voltage and temperature ratings.
     
  17. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Posts:
    2,272
    Location:
    Nebraska, USA
    Yeah, I disagree completely. Security trumps all. Again, if the issue was just XP being a hazard to the computer's user, then I say go for it and use at your own risk. But because a compromised XP system is a hazard to the rest of us, it needs to go away. We must be responsible netizens.

    We cannot assume we are smarter than the badguys. Yes, security is as much about common sense, procedure and approach as it is technology - the user is ALWAYS the weakest link in security. But common sense, procedure and approach do NOT automatically triumph over technology! And therein lies the problem. Let's not forget that major organizations, companies and government networks supported by highly trained, IT security professionals with highly sophisticated, state of the art security systems are getting hacked all the time!

    One simple user mistake, one wayward click can circumvent even the best security - no matter how disciplined your common sense, procedures, and approach may be. And this is particularly compounded if there is more than one user of the computer.

    At some point, nothing we as users can do will secure that unsupported technology. And the problems is we have no clue when that point will arrive. And to make matters worse, it is most the likely infected systems will go undetected while they do their damage. :( That's how the more sophisticated malware is coded.

    To be sure, XP was a great operating system. In fact, I refused to migrate any of my systems to Vista because XP still served me well. But XP is 15 years old. Common sense, procedure and approach no longer ensures you will not become a threat to the rest of us, let alone yourself. Retiring perfectly good electronics before it dies is just a fact of life. But when security is involved, it is a necessity.

    As a hardware technician, I personally think it is a point of pride when computers I built 15 years ago are still chugging along. But we cannot let pride get in the way of security - ESPECIALLY when that pride may get others hurt.

    Then it is time to upgrade to a newer version of Windows that will support your legacy software, or upgrade your legacy software to current, more secure versions. To be sure, I feel your pain, but again, replacing legacy hardware and software to stay current and secure is a fact of life, not an option.
     
  18. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2013
    Posts:
    1,103
    Location:
    Southern Rocky Mountains USA
    Not restricted to Xp, any comprised system on a network is a hazard to the rest of the network. I've yet to hear of any mass exploitation of Xp systems in spite of all the doomsaying which has a strong taint of aggressive salesmanship form both Microsoft and some security product vendors. Spreading paranoia to sell product is not something new at all.

    Most of the malware I've seen is neither subtle nor hard to detect. Even if it is at the client level, network traffic is easily monitored. Most of us mere mortals who have neither state nor corporate secrets and assets to protect will never see the really good malware. Most of what is out there is not of that quality and is looking for easy targets, uniformed users and unsecured systems and Xp doesn't have an exclusive hold on unsecured Windows systems run by ignorant users. Those users are the ones who are most likely to buy into the paranoid and fashionista marketing of computer products and aren't the ones likely to be holding on to Xp.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
  19. Keatah

    Keatah Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Posts:
    853
    Ehh.. I figger' if my XP rig starts running slow or takes too long to boot then I have a malware thing going on. In fact I was more at risk by becoming complacent and placing trust in security packages. The packages were billed as state-of-the-art back then as well as today. And they still let unwanted stuff get through.
     
  20. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Posts:
    2,272
    Location:
    Nebraska, USA
    And fortunately, there has yet to be one. And for now, the anti-malware providers have still able to protect newly discovered (but unpatched by MS) vulnerabilities. But at some point or another, it will not be financially feasible for them to keep expending all those resources on XP as more and more users migrate away from it.
    That is very true. But you cannot rationalize the use of XP by suggesting modern operating systems are equally vulnerable to being compromised. The fact is, W7, W8, and especially W10 are much more secure than XP right out of the box, and much easier to keep fully secure after that. So it is many times more difficult to compromise those systems than it is XP. Therefore, it is an invalid argument to suggest XP is some how on equal footing with other systems running modern operating systems.
    While there is a lot of truth to this, it is still the user who is typically at fault by putting the computer in risky situations. If the user lets the badguy in, it is hard to blame the security program for not protecting the computer.

    The problem is, security programs are reactive. They depend on signature/definition files to identify malware so they react when they detect it. Yes, some look for malicious behavior on a proactive basis, but the coding for that proactive monitoring is based on past experience. If totally new malware comes, even proactive monitoring cannot detect it until too late. Then the malicious code is able to exploit the newly discovered vulnerability.

    Newer operating systems are still vulnerable, but they are coded to prevent unauthorized changes. XP is based on code that was developed BEFORE the Internet became the playground of badguys. When XP came out, NOBODY - not Microsoft, not the security experts, not the Microsoft bashers, not even the badguys had any inkling that broadband to the home and thus the Internet would explode into the hunting grounds that it did. So XP was not coded with much security in mind. W7 was. W8 was even more. And W10 much more yet.

    Yes, NO DOUBT, IF you are a conscientious user and you keep your system fully updated, you use good and updated security, you don't participate in risky behavior like visiting illegal gambling or pornography sites, or illegal filesharing via Torrents or P2P sites, and you are not "click-happy" on unsolicited links, downloads, and attachment, and IF you are the only user of that XP computer, then odds are your XP system will not soon become compromised. And yes, that is the same user discipline needed regardless the OS you use. But that does not suggest XP is just as safe, or as hard to compromise as the newer operating systems. It just is not. And again, if only the user is at risk from a compromised system, no big deal. But compromised systems are threat to the rest of us as well.
     
  21. Keatah

    Keatah Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Posts:
    853
    I stopped updating at sp3 + few hand-selected patches to let me run some newer software.

    Seemingly, ironically, one of the kids' computers is running Windows7 so much better now that we disabled any and all updates. It powers up and shuts down more smoothly and things are just snappier. We just gave them a list of approved sites they should stick with and so far for 2 years it hasn't been a problem.

    I get the feeling that if a system is running security software and updates and getting bogged down it results in an unstable environment which upsets the user. And all the disk activity associated with updating and patching tends to mask the activity of malware.

    Sorry to be so negative toward security suites, but they've done nothing but become a thorn and they slow down a system. Newer systems aren't that bad. But once bitten twice shy, you know?
     
  22. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Posts:
    2,272
    Location:
    Nebraska, USA
    I've long been against security "suites". We don't need half the junk that's in them. And you are right, they do bog systems down. I've been against the big security program makers for since, since they whined and cried to Congress and the EU when Microsoft wanted to put anti-virus code in XP but Norton, CA, McAfee etc. cried "monopoly" and said it was their job to rid the world of malware. Microsoft was trying to rule the world but not the point. Congress and the EU heard "monopoly" and that was it.

    What incentive does Symantec/Norton, McAfee, AVG, and all the others have to rid the world of malware? None. Absolutely none! Because that would put them out of business.

    So we see how well they have done at ridding the world of malware. And so has Congress and the EU for now W10 does have anti-malware code built in and enabled by default and funny how no one is complaining.
     
  23. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2013
    Posts:
    1,103
    Location:
    Southern Rocky Mountains USA
    Windows update is resource intensive and you will notice a considerable performance improvement with it disabled on practically all versions of Windows. When checking for updates, it engages in a client server database check that is very CPU intensive and if it is set to automatically download them, it will suck a lot of network bandwidth. With updates disabled, I recommend keeping the system imaged regularly so if anything does go wrong, it can be quickly restored. Something going wrong doesn't necessarily mean malware. I've borked my system many a time by installing an incompatible program or driver.

    As I remember it, the heyday of Xp was rife with malware, especially before Service Pack 2 came out. Xp can be locked down as well as any NT version of Windows but the big security issue was that locking down an Xp system was only done for corporate systems and the default configuration of a consumer version of Xp was wide open and most users didn't have a clue on what LUAs, ACLs and SRPs were for and just ran everything in full adminstrator mode. That was compounded by lots of poorly coded apps that would only work properly in an administrator account. Since then, the things have improved but the default Windows configuration is still much less secure than that of Linux or OSX.
     
  24. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Posts:
    2,272
    Location:
    Nebraska, USA
    Windows Update has gotten more refined with each new version of Windows. The vast majority of Windows users have absolutely no problems with Windows Updates. The problem is, even if .1% of Windows users have a problem, that is still nearly 15 million users. And 15 million upset users can make a lot of noise. It then does not help when irresponsible bloggers and IT press sensationalize headlines and blindly repeat falsehoods and exaggerations.
    Maybe not with W10, especially compared to OSX.

    One of Windows greatest attractions is that it is so customizable. It is for that reason that virtually every single one of the nearly 1.5 Billion Windows systems out there is unique. Unique with the user's installed programs, security setup, backgrounds, and more.

    One of Windows greatest weaknesses is that it is so customizable. :( Microsoft is trying to deal with this by forcing Windows updates and the use of the default settings, but users so used to doing it their own way are kicking, scratching, clawing and yelling foul and bashing Microsoft the whole way. Claiming W10 is spying on us, and is a huge security risk, etc. etc. Yeah right.

    I find that amazing in that most of these same people accept all the default settings on their cell phones. The closest Microsoft can pinpoint your location is your ISP's POP (point of presence - their central office). In my case, that is the next town over, more than 10 miles away!

    But cell phone carriers know where you with within a few meters, where you've been, where you are going, even the aisle in the store you are standing in front of! And no one complains or seems concerned. Instead they bank, they pay bills, they accept dozens of automatic updates all the time. I have been involved professionally in communications security since the early 70s. I don't get it.
     
  25. ronjor

    ronjor Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2003
    Posts:
    57,779
    Location:
    Texas
    Let's get back on the topic of this thread.
     
Loading...