Found a Bad Cap in our Dell 1500Posted: August 17, 2006
In my previous post, I talked about the bad caps I found in my personal PC’s motherboard. Sadly, I think I’ve found another bad cap, this one in a 5-year old Dell 1500SC we used as a backup DC and WSUS server.
Instead of bluescreening, the system would spontaneously reboot at shorter and shorter intervals. Yes, I did all the usual troubleshooting steps, check for virii, power problems (it shares a UPS with the main server, which has worked flawlessly), unseated cards, DIMMS, etc.
The heatsink to the left is the CPU (Dell servers use ducted blowers rather than CPU fans.) There’s a noticeable convex bulge on this cap, though not as obvious as on the MSI board I showed earlier.
Both the Dell board and my MSI board were manufactured around the same time, mid-2001 or so, and that was a time when bad caps were first appearing in equipment,
The only apps we had on the box were Windows Software Update Services, and Harmini, our music library (which is just a USB harddrive loaded with production music for which we pay a license.) Both were moved to another server without any downtime.
I’m not optimistic about getting this one fixed; Dell doesn’t guarantee parts after 5 years, and with its (relatively) expensive SCSI RAID subsystem, it wasn’t worth upgrading when we had the chance several years ago. I hate throwing out servers after 5 years, but with the move to 64-bit servers, that’ll be a consideration,too.