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Old 10-16-2021, 12:51 AM   #1
66DarkMatter99
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Default Do bad capacitors stink?

So I just built a new desktop computer and when I play some games I hear a slight electrical squeal noise for a minute while the game loads then the sound goes away. I noticed this sound over the last couple days only right now its followed by an odd dullish, headache inducing smell. This isnt the first time I've smelt this smell from a computer and I'm curious if this is actually a symptom of a bad or blown cap. I haven't inspected yet but soon will. Any thoughts on this?
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Old 10-16-2021, 05:19 AM   #2
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Default Re: Do bad capacitors stink?

leaking caps smell like cat piss,
look inside your psu
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Old 10-17-2021, 10:54 AM   #3
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Default Re: Do bad capacitors stink?

I’ve had caps new in the sealed bag smell like rotting fish. They were samples I was supposed to evaluate, but the stench made that unnecessary.
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Old 10-17-2021, 08:15 PM   #4
66DarkMatter99
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Default Re: Do bad capacitors stink?

thanks for the clarification guys, cheers.
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Old 10-20-2021, 12:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: Do bad capacitors stink?

Yes, bad (leaked / vented) electrolytic capacitors can (and usually do) stink... and at least not in any good way I can think of. It's not like "burned/toasty electronics" type of smell, though. More organic.

As to the relation of that and the new desktop PC you build... I doubt you'd be having new caps leaking/venting this soon, even if they are cheapo brands... but I guess it is still possible. Without knowing more details about the hardware (particularly PSU brand, model, and production date) and age of the hardware (if motherboard or GPU is anything from the last 5-8 years or so, chances are it uses solid polymer capacitors, and those won't leak or vent, so they won't smell... unless they failed - which you would notice because they would produce a ton of smoke and/or short-circuit), I can't tell you more if that's what you're experiencing or not... but probably not, unless you're running a really cheap no-name PSU. With those, you never know what kind of surprises could be inside.
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Old 11-02-2021, 10:11 AM   #6
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Default Re: Do bad capacitors stink?

Just pulled some Chemicon SXFs. The electrolyte is puddled all over the PCB. Nasty stink as well!
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Old 11-02-2021, 04:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: Do bad capacitors stink?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 66DarkMatter99 View Post
I noticed this sound over the last couple days only right now its followed by an odd dullish, headache inducing smell. This isnt the first time I've smelt this smell from a computer and I'm curious if this is actually a symptom of a bad or blown cap. I haven't inspected yet but soon will. Any thoughts on this?
Check for spiders and webs on the motherboard and cards. Same with earwigs and house centipedes. (house centipedes are usually only seen in downtown areas)

I have yet to see a house centipede at the current house, as I'm outside of downtown Springfield, but still in Springfield. On Main St. in Springfield, OTOH, I regularly saw them.

But the dreaded earwigs are a common sight, right when I hoped that I wouldn't even see those tiny bastards! I'm outside of downtown enough to have earwig issues.

Earwigs are the bugs that are associated with wetter-than-normal weather. (like the years 2006 and 2011 in New England)
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Old 11-02-2021, 05:00 PM   #8
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Default Re: Do bad capacitors stink?

I came home to electrolytic capacitor stink for months, then it went away, then it came back. Gutted all my equipment to find it and eventually it was the ZyXEL DSL modem supplied by my ISP.
Inside is two huge 3,300uF caps and one had popped, so I exchanged it for a newer modem.
On another occasion it was an LED nightlight that popped a capacitor and made that dreaded stink.

For a new PC build, they off-gas all kinds of stink for a month or so. The power supply is the worst, fiberglass resins, glue curing etc.

Last edited by redwire; 11-02-2021 at 05:02 PM..
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Old 11-02-2021, 06:32 PM   #9
RJARRRPCGP
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Default Re: Do bad capacitors stink?

Quote:
Originally Posted by redwire View Post
I came home to electrolytic capacitor stink for months, then it went away, then it came back. Gutted all my equipment to find it and eventually it was the ZyXEL DSL modem supplied by my ISP.
Inside is two huge 3,300uF caps and one had popped, so I exchanged it for a newer modem.
On another occasion it was an LED nightlight that popped a capacitor and made that dreaded stink.

For a new PC build, they off-gas all kinds of stink for a month or so. The power supply is the worst, fiberglass resins, glue curing etc.
For some reason, I like the smell of fresh motherboards! Especially the Asus Sabertooth 990FX R 2.0 that I got in summer, 2015. It's funny and punny how I literally like the smell of fresh motherboards during the morning!

Noticed that scent, when I was opening the motherboard package! (and afterwards)

It's not like fried electronics, which the smell of that, if believed to be from my PC, would make me panic!

Last edited by RJARRRPCGP; 11-02-2021 at 06:40 PM..
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