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 Post subject: Bad caps in Seasonic S12? – Open up your units!
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 6:29 am 
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Location: Brighton, UK
Per Hansson, over at www.badcaps.net, has uncovered that his Seasonic 430W PSU contains OST capacitors from the Taiwanese manufacturer Ostor Corporation, which is known for its poor quality.
For a long time Seasonic has been claiming, and known for, to only be using high quality capacitors.
This is the reason I bought myself a Seasonic S12 430W this summer and as I now find the very same OST's inside my unit, I feel quite mislead. I had expected that Seasonic would be sourcing their components from more reputable manufacturers and I was prepared to pay the premium for that.

So please check out yours and post your findings here along with Wattage and Revision No (written on the side label). You should be able do determine the name of the capacitors by simply lighting with a torch through the rear grille (that's what I did).

The story in brief:
In all fairness, nothing indicates at the moment that the capacitors currently used are bad (we'll only find out when it's too late), but this is what SPCR wrote in the Seasonic S12 review:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article226-page4.html
Quote:
Long-lived Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitor - Apparently, higher quality Japanese aluminum electrolytic capacitors are now used for greater reliability and stable performance. More common China-made capacitors must have been used before, as is typical of most PSUs. There have been major incidents of electronics, including motherboards, affected by leaking capacitors sourced from China starting from ~2 years ago.

Quote:
I did see a couple of Japanese capacitors but no photo was taken.

Here are the OST capacitors Per found in his S12 430W rev. A1(?) unit:
Image

In this review at Virtual Hideout, also an S12 430W Rev.A1 unit, Chemicon capacitors are used (AKA Nippon Chemi-con, Europe Chemi-con or United Chemi-con) which have a better reputation. You can visit the site for a bigger picture:
Image

MikeC, do you still have that SPCR reviewed unit? What Japanese capacitors did you find in there?

edit: smaller photo for modem looser users like myself


Last edited by Stjopatron on Mon Dec 26, 2005 8:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Bad caps in Seasonic S12? – Open up your units
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 8:26 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2003 3:41 am
Posts: 31
Location: Sweden
Stjopatron wrote:
Here are the OST capacitors Per found in his S12 430W rev. A1(?) unit:

Correct, my unit is an A1, sorry for not making that clear already...

Though I also have to ask if this really is correct, I mean mine is surley not the first revision, because it does have the modular 24pin ATX connector, along with the ADDA instead of Yate Loon 120mm fan... (Though it is missing the PCIe videocard connector that has been introduced in a later revison)

On the box itself of my PSU it is also clearly stated "Long-lived Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitor" this text is missing from the first revision of this PSU...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 11:55 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 22, 2002 8:40 pm
Posts: 161
Location: Uruguay
I know that you shouldn't do this if you're paying for a good product, but if you're afraid, I would just replace those capacitors.
It's something really easy to do, but remember that the caps can give you a very nice big shock.
If you don't want to get shocked, or you don't know how to solder/desolder, take it to anybody that knows how to do it.
;)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 12:12 pm 
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Location: USA (Phoenix, AZ)
Is it possible that this brand has since corrected their formula and no longer has this issue?

I've run into the "badcaps" issue with two eMachines computers at work. Both motherboards started misbehaving at about the same time. I opened the cases and sure enough a large number of capacitors (mostly around the CPU) had started oozing from the top.

Hopefully the capacitors used by Seasonic have a corrected formula. Otherwise, I hope the PSU won't take out the rest of my computer when it dies.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 12:28 pm 
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josephclemente wrote:
Is it possible that this brand has since corrected their formula and no longer has this issue?

Sorry to let you down but no, they have not improved...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 12:42 pm 
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Only the rev. A2 are advertised as having Japanese caps, so I don't really see the "problem."

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 1:47 pm 
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frostedflakes wrote:
Only the rev. A2 are advertised as having Japanese caps, so I don't really see the "problem."

No, my Rev. A1 also came in a box that had the "Long-lived Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitor" text on it.
Per Hansson wrote:
On the box itself of my PSU it is also clearly stated "Long-lived Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitor" this text is missing from the first revision of this PSU...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 2:22 pm 
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Hi Per,

Many people using computers these days know very little about the actual electronics or the design work involved with it. The simple truth is, that every company wants to make their product as cheaply as possible. The difference between companies is, that some want to take the shortcut while others make the effort to produce proper long life products.

I think the issue of component quality is quite relevant with modern day computer parts and that it's good to see someone with knowledge dig into it. However this thing might end up going, I still think it's good someone makes the question.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 2:38 pm 
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Location: Brighton, UK
Never mind Japan, the problem goes back to the fact that many here have first hand experience with unreliable capacitors. Me myself have come across 1 motherboard (Abit) with defective capacitors –but even worse– 3 mobos that have been killed by bad caps residing in the attached PSU (cheap, generic or both). The good news is that Seasonic has acknowledged this as an industry wide-problem and claims using only high quality components. The bad news is, as it seems right now, that they are not.
I bought Seasonic S12 to go along with my other expensive components in the system and find now ingredients from a known bad manufacturer.

Josephclemente, can you see which caps you have got in there?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 2:53 pm 
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Location: Las Cruces, NM
It's quite likely that it's only some caps from OST that have this problem. I know of no one yet that has reported bad capacitors in their seasonic S12. It's also possible that seasonic is barely stressing these capicitors (putting a much lower voltage than their rating, hardly drawing any current from them), and so the need for them to be high quality is diminished. I support your investigation, but seeing as there have been no reported problems with these caps yet, I think it's too early to point fingers at seasonic.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 9:12 am 
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I think I just got it, the manufacturer of the big primary side 400v capacitor is Hitachi. And if you reread the e-mail I got from Seasonic that I posted in this thread.
Quote:
Dear Sir

Seasonic has led the high quality bulk capacitors in since the Super series even at
the moment that most PSUs still use a China-made capacitor. In fact, for the main
capacitor, we always use a well-noted Hitachi bulk capacitor. To promote this
advantage, we stated the "Long-lived aluminum electrolytic capacitors" in the
subsequent S12 series. That means more and more reliable caps were used and made our
S12 series among those power supplies that used most high quality caps in the world.

Due to the fact of possible shortages attributed by limited suppliers, we therefore
be very conservative to our statement and never intend to mislead end users.
Therefore we never express the usage of high capacitors as "100% Japan Made
Capacitors".
In addition, when more and more Japanese caps were used gradually, there is no
additional charge on the selling price.
The unit you got maybe a early product. However, Seasonic's 3-year warranty will
never be discounted.

Thanks for your understanding.

Best Regards,
Support Team
Sea Sonic Electronics Co., Ltd.

You understand what they are talking about, it's not a coincidence that they write "Long-lived Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitor" that I first thought was only poor English, i.e. one Capacitor instead of several Capacitors because they are only referring to the "bulk" Hitachi Primary side Capacitor!!! They never mention the smaller 16v, 10v etc secondary side capacitors...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 10:01 am 
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Posts: 544
Location: NYC, NY
I purchased my Seasonic S12 500 based on reputable site reviews like SPCR and user reviews as well. I can only hope that my PSU doesn't have any defective capacitors, but what would I do if I find OST capacitors in it? Buy another PSU to replace one that cost me $106?

Kudos to those who have uncovered this defect. I for one do not dig down to the actual parts that make up every single component in my PC. All I, and most other people can do is to rely on the overall review of a product and make a judgement call. Will I lose sleep over this? No. But it is reassuring to know that there are people who tries to help others be aware of possible flaws.

Does this change my opinion about Seasonic? No. At least until my PSU fails for no apparent reason.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 11:31 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Posts: 12282
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stupid wrote:
I purchased my Seasonic S12 500 based on reputable site reviews like SPCR and user reviews as well. I can only hope that my PSU doesn't have any defective capacitors, but what would I do if I find OST capacitors in it? Buy another PSU to replace one that cost me $106?

Kudos to those who have uncovered this defect. I for one do not dig down to the actual parts that make up every single component in my PC. All I, and most other people can do is to rely on the overall review of a product and make a judgement call. Will I lose sleep over this? No. But it is reassuring to know that there are people who tries to help others be aware of possible flaws.

Does this change my opinion about Seasonic? No. At least until my PSU fails for no apparent reason.

This thread is not about defects or flaws at all, and to call them such is not right. It's about possible false advertising -- but as Per Hansson posted, Seasonic was careful not to state that ALL the caps in the S12s are Japanese aluminum electrolytic capacitors. They did not mention that other types of caps are also used. It's also important to note that just because the other caps are not Japanese aluminum electrolytic types, it does not mean they will fail or are defects/flaws -- simply that the risk of failure is higher. I suppose the real relevance is whether/howmany other PSU makers use aluminum electrolytic capacitors... my guess is that if they're not crowing about it, they're not using them.

Anyone who has examined at statistical risk factors should understand that stats like (just to make up stats for example) "1 in 1000 chance of failure before 3 years" or "17% more likely to fail before 3 years than a Japanese aluminum electrolytic" are not predictions for any individual unit; it's a calculated guess for typical units of a particular model.

I have had only one known incidence of bad / leaking caps with PC components -- a Gigabyte motherboard from ~2000 developed at least half a dozen swollen caps (VRM components) after 2 years of use. No leaking yet, and it was still working but I retired it just in case. I have Seasonic PSUs that date back to about the same time & have not noticed any bad caps in them. (The statistical relevance of my comments is just about nil, tho. :lol: )

EDITED : added Japanese (to mean highest quality)

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Last edited by MikeC on Tue Dec 27, 2005 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 12:31 pm 
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MikeC wrote:
Seasonic was careful not to state that ALL the caps in the S12s are aluminum electrolytic capacitors. They did not mention that other types of caps are also used. It's also important to note that just because the other caps are not aluminum electrolytic types, it does not mean they will fail or are defects/flaws -- simply that the risk of failure is higher. I suppose the real relevance is whether/howmany other PSU makers use aluminum electrolytic capacitors... my guess is that if they're not crowing about it, they're not using them.
MikeC, you are off a bit on your facts, every single powersupply, mainboard soundcard etc etc etc uses aluminum electrolytic capacitors, it's just the manufacturer and the ESR* value that differs really, low ESR is vital for mainboards voltage filtering for example, more common "general purpose aluminum electrolytic capacitors" would never work for this; they would not filter up the current enough so your computer would constantly crash, pretty much what happens when a capacitor fails...

But for other, more general purpose equipment, like NIC's some low-end soundcards etc cheap general-purpose caps can be used; because the current is already filtered by (hopefully) high quality LOW ESR capacitors on the mainboards PCI bus...

Another example where you would use a general purpose cap would be for voltage buffer for a USB port, you only need to provide the instant surge current when the user plugs in his USB device, after that the filtering done by the powersupply itself should be sufficient...

But in a powersupply there is really no excuse for not using LOW ESR caps, and every manufacturer I have ever seen does use LOW ESR caps, the powersupply would simply not work _at all_ otherwise. Where corners are cut is in the reliability of those capacitors. When you find a GSC, Jun Fu, or worst, Rulycon (Not Rubycon!) capacitor you know that powersupply was built with only one purpose, to compete on the OEM market where lowest price wins...

And just to make myself clear now, Seasonic uses some of the highest quality capacitors I have seen in general purpose ATX powersupplies. That is not to say I am happy with the choice they have made, just that no other manufacturer that I have had personal experience with has been better...

The reason I am on the lookout for a powersupply that uses only truly well known capacitor brands like Rubycon for example is that I build high-reliability servers from time to time. And I would very much like to be able to purchase powersupplies for those servers that will last for 10 years, because that is how long I expect the servers to last...

For now my only real choice is to recommend for example Compaq Proliant servers, because they only use high-reliability and high quality capacitors in their servers powersupplies (atleast the ones I have had first hand experience with)

Or to recap the Seasonic powersupplies with better capacitors myself, because the build quality of the Seasonic powersupplies in general is second to a very select few in this priceclass...

*Equivalent Series Resistance


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 1:01 pm 
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Posts: 544
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MikeC wrote:
stupid wrote:
I purchased my Seasonic S12 500 based on reputable site reviews like SPCR and user reviews as well. I can only hope that my PSU doesn't have any defective capacitors, but what would I do if I find OST capacitors in it? Buy another PSU to replace one that cost me $106?

Kudos to those who have uncovered this defect. I for one do not dig down to the actual parts that make up every single component in my PC. All I, and most other people can do is to rely on the overall review of a product and make a judgement call. Will I lose sleep over this? No. But it is reassuring to know that there are people who tries to help others be aware of possible flaws.

Does this change my opinion about Seasonic? No. At least until my PSU fails for no apparent reason.

This thread is not about defects or flaws at all, and to call them such is not right. It's about possible false advertising -- but as Per Hansson posted, Seasonic was careful not to state that ALL the caps in the S12s are aluminum electrolytic capacitors. They did not mention that other types of caps are also used. It's also important to note that just because the other caps are not aluminum electrolytic types, it does not mean they will fail or are defects/flaws -- simply that the risk of failure is higher. I suppose the real relevance is whether/howmany other PSU makers use aluminum electrolytic capacitors... my guess is that if they're not crowing about it, they're not using them.

Anyone who has examined at statistical risk factors should understand that stats like (just to make up stats for example) "1 in 1000 chance of failure before 3 years" or "17% more likely to fail before 3 years than an aluminum electrolytic" are not predictions for any individual unit; it's a calculated guess for typical units of a particular model.

I have had only one known incidence of bad / leaking caps with PC components -- a Gigabyte motherboard from ~2000 developed at least half a dozen swollen caps (VRM components) after 2 years of use. No leaking yet, and it was still working but I retired it just in case. I have Seasonic PSUs that date back to about the same time & have not noticed any bad caps in them. (The statistical relevance of my comments is just about nil, tho. :lol: )


In re-reading my original post I agree that calling them defective capacitors is inaccurate. A better term would be inferior capacitors. Therefore, OST are not bad, but they are not as good as others.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 1:28 pm 
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Per Hansson --

Obviously, you know more about caps than I do. Went back and added "Japanese" to clarify/correct my post. All I was really trying to say was that using non-Jap caps is not a defect or flaw, but it could be misinformation, as you suggested in the original post.

I wonder if it's possible that the last remaining non-Jap capacitor models got put in the first batch of the new label box? This kind of thing happens in factories.... just a conjecture.

I had a chat with a tech at Seasonic USA on this topic. Some of this was over my head... in a nutshell, he told me that all current S12 production utilize high quality Japanese aluminum electrolytic capacitors for any critical functions, although a few of the low-load capacitors are not of this caliber, because they don't need to be. He did not know enough about previous production runs to comment on the subject of this thread, however.

_________________
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Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 11:52 pm 
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Location: Finland
I too had the leaking motherboard capacitor problem. The board was, surprise surprise, Abit KT7. Then when I upgraded, I got a Intel motherboard. All the caps in it were japanese Nichicon caps. My next board will be from Intel too.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 11:44 am 
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Posts: 31
Location: Sweden
Just bought my second Seasonic S12 430w PSU... To my disappointment this was also a revision A1 model, so no PCIe GFX connector... however the caps are a different matter:

http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/download/file.php?mode=view&id=908
Every single cap is made by the Nippon Chemi-con group, except one small Rubycon cap :)
http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/download/file.php?mode=view&id=909
http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/download/file.php?mode=view&id=910

(Mod edit for oversized pic)


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