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Photos: Bad capacitors

Blown capacitors can cause distorted video, power failures, periodic system shutdowns and more.
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1 of 3 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Swollen capacitors on iMac

Faulty capacitors are causing video failure and periodic system shutdowns in some Apple G5s. The red arrows points to several swollen capacitors on the back of this new iMac. (Not all of the capacitors are bad). When functioning properly, capacitors temporarily store electrical charges and release them as needed. After the problem crops up, the system log shows the problem as a "Graphic Chip Error." The only way to fix the problem, according to Apple, is to replace the mid-plane.

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2 of 3 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Dell leaky capacitors

A technician working under contract with Dell between December 2004 and April 2005 took this close-up of two leaky capacitors inside a Dell Optiplex GX270.

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3 of 3 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Intel D865GBF motherboard

Computer repairman Paul Kamberis began encountering faulty capacitors in February. This shot shows an Intel D865GBF motherboard found in MPC (formerly Micron PC) and other white-box computers. The faulty capacitors all have the letter "X" stamped on the top.

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