Dell’s faulty capacitors 2003-2005

A capacitor should have a flat, clean top. And entirely corrosion/leak free. My experience… It doesn’t have to leak to pose a problem. I’ve saved boards by replacing a capacitor with a bulging  top. for parts.

Taken from

Company declines to comment on questionable instructions to sales staff to mislead customers

In response to the recent release of documents pertaining to a three year suit over Optiplex computers with faulty motherboard capacitors, Dell has issued an official response.  Unsurprisingly Dell’s Chief Blogger Lionel Menchaca denied allegation that the company knowingly sold defective computers.

Writes Menchaca:

Some of you may have been reading about faulty capacitors in some of our older OptiPlex desktops. Before I get into more details, I want to make some points clear:

  • This is an issue we addressed with customers some years ago. The Advanced Internet Technologies lawsuit is three years old and does not involve any current Dell products.
  • Dell did not knowingly ship faulty motherboards, and we worked directly with customers in situations where the issue occurred.
  • This was not a Dell-specific issue, but an industry-wide problem.
  • Dell extended the warranty for up to five years for customers who had affected machines.
  • This is not a safety issue.

The posts continues:

As noted in a New York Times article about the lawsuit, faulty capacitors were manufactured by Nichicon, a respected, long-term supplier to many industries. These capacitors were used by Dell suppliers at certain times from 2003 to 2005. The faulty Nichicon capacitors affected many manufacturers, including Hewlett-Packard, Apple and others, as discussed in the initial story and several blog posts afterward. Again, this was an industry-wide problem.

It characterizes its response as vigorous, stating that it suspended Nichicon’s contract, investigated all reports of failure raised to it, and extended customers’ warranties.

Noticeably absent in the post, however, was a direct response to leaked Dell memos to sales staff that seemed to encourage them to mislead potential buyers.  The memos stated, “Don’t bring this to customer’s attention proactively” and “Emphasize uncertainty.”

Dell’s convenient decision to


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