Why pay for $0.63/cap when you can pay $0.16/cap?

We’ve all been there, having a network gear die on you prematurely for no reason or it starts to give into random packet loss or where the switch can’t seem to switch into a faster transmission speed for no apparent reason.

This was the culprit in my 8-port Netgear consumer gigabit switch:

Taking a closer look at the bulge, it does appear to be a capacitor that’s been blown. As always, I went out to my local electronic components store and bought new caps to replace the blown cap. This time specifically asking for low ESR and good quality capacitors made by a reputable company. They knew what I was talking about and handed them to me at $0.63 a pop in quantities of 5:

Yes, they are Panasonic FM series low ESR capacitors. From what I can comprehend on Google, it seems like these capacitors are quite popular with the Hi-Fi audio community because of the electrical characteristics.

Anyhow, a pair of 1000µF capacitors that blew and things started to go downhill from there. That bad capacitor costed them 30-50 cents less than the good quality one, but imagine if a bunch of customers claiming warranty or worse launching a class action lawsuit because of these faulty capacitors being on their board. They’d probably lose that 30-40 cents of savings per cap in the long run than actually realizing the cost savings.

Also, only having a 40W iron available doesn’t make things any better on removing the old and soldering in the new capacitors. What’s even worse is the solder they used is the new lead free stuff – yuck!

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