Some mboards develop this problem - electrolytic capacitors were installed on them that were not properly made, and they fail eventually - the mboard manufacturer didn't know they were improperly made at the time the mboard was made.
Open up your case and examine the mboard to see if you have bad capacitors, and/or other findable signs of mboard damage .
This was the original bad capacitor problem - has some example pictures.
History of why the exploding capacitors and which mboard makers were affected:
What to look for, mboard symptoms, example pictures:
Home page that site
- what the problem is caused by
- he says there are STILL bad capacitors on more recent mboards.
Pictures of blown capacitors, other components, power supplies, Athlon cpu's, etc.:
Whether or not it's worthwhile replacing the defective capacitors depends on a bunch of things.
- The bad capacitors should be replaced before the mboard stops working. Usually the mboard "misbehaves" for a while before it won't boot at all - e.g. random black screen rebooting, it may not boot sometimes but does sometimes, it may restart when you select shut down, etc., etc. If you wait until the mboard will no longer boot, it's likely that even if you replace the defective capacitors, something else has probably been damaged and the mboard still won't boot.
- look at the brand markings of the capacitor(s) that failed. Other capacitors made by the same brand are just as likely to fail. The same brand may be different colors on the mboard, depending on the value of the capacitor. If there are only a few made by the same brand, then replacing them with locally available capacitors is a not too expensive option. If there are many made by the same brand, then it's too costly to get the capacitors locally.
The badcaps web site has - links on the left to economical available premade or custom capacitor kits, and/or you can ship the mboard to him and he will replace the capacitors for a flat fee (including the capacitors) plus shipping (North America only). However, you can often buy a good used or old stock new mboard that is not the same model but is compatible with your cpu and ram for less than it costs for him to replace the capacitors. (If you're in the UK or Europe, there is a guy who has a site in Holland who can do the same thing.)
Personally, I have not bothered replacing capacitors on several mboards because too many were defective or too many were the same brand as the failed ones, or the mboard was not booting at all.
The only mboard I have replaced the capacitors on was still working intermittently, and only two capacitors were made by the brand.
- sometimes the capacitor leads go through metal tubes - you must be very careful that when you remove the leads that you don't dislodge or lose the tubes - the connection the tube makes between layers of the mboard must remain good.
- You must be careful with your soldering technique. You should use a low wattage soldering iron, say, 25 watts or less, and you will need some sort of solder sucking device - manual ones are inexpensive. It can also be useful to have a set of tiny (numbered or lettered, much smaller than 1/16" ) drill bits, to drill out lead holes you find difficult to remove the solder from. You must use an electrical / electronic type of solder - e.g. 60/40 tin to lead, or better. You can use rosin core solder but the rosin may need to be cleaned up afterward. You must not overheat the copper traces on the mboard such that they detach.
NOTE that power supplies can have defective capacitors too, and that's much more likely if it's a el-cheapo power supply. That's probably a frequent reason an el-cheapo power supply fails. Sometimes you can hear faint hissing from the PS when the computer is not running when the PS is still connected to live AC, when a cap is in the process of failing.
Power supplies always have a fuse on their board, but in most cases, it does NOT blow when the PS malfuntcions or fails. If it IS blown, replacing it is fruitless, and bridging it can be disastrous. In the real world, it merely reduces the possiblity of the PS catching on fire while failing.
In most cases, emachines desktop computers DO NOT use mboards made by the same company that actually makes the emachines systems - Trigem in Korea - the mboards are made by other major mboard makers. Therfore, the mboards in emachines system arean't any more likely to have defective capacitors than other systems.
If you have an emachines desktop system, in most cases you can look up which mboard it has and who actually made in on this excellent third party web site:
Since most if not all emachines desktop systems have the trouble prone BESTEC power supplies, when a BESTEC power supply malfunctions or fails completely, when users replace the power supply and find the system still won't boot, they often assume it was the mboard that failed. In the case of the system originally having a BESTEC power supply, it's many times more likely it was the BESTEC power supply malfunctioning or failing completely that trashed the mboard, not the other way around.
BESTEC power supplies are also used in some cheaper models of other brand name computers, e.g. HP, Compaq, and in that case, the system was often actually made by Trigem as well, though the case is likely to be brand name specific.
Gateway computers are part of the same company group as emachines computers, so they can have BESTEC PSs and have been actually made by Trigem as well.