Strange substance on the motherboard


OSNN Veteran Addict
6 Mar 2002
Can anyone tell me if the brownish stuff on the oscillators (?) is normal? I am asking, because I never noticed it before, it's from a server which I got last week and this night it suddenly died, after running fine for 72 hours.

The problem is that last night, while I was turning myself around in bed, I heard a sound coming from the server, the same sound you get when putting the computer in Standby mode, the sound of the harddisk spinning down. Well, after I heard the sound, I immediately jumped out of bed and I noticed the server was dead. The fans were all running, but nothing happened. Even after unplugging all IDE devices (CD-ROM and HD) and floppydisk drive (both from power and connector), the computer just wouldn't boot. A BIOS reset (by shortcircuiting a jumper connector on the MB) didn't help either.
When I took the (newly installed) cooler from the CPU (AMD Athlon TB 1 GHz), I also noticed I installed the cooler incorrectly, leaving about 0.5 mm of the CPU not being pasted by the thermal paste. I looked for signs of overheating, but couldn't find it.

So I am down to two options, either the MB has died (or at least the oscilators) or the CPU fried/died. Can someone give me more advice on what too look for or what to try?


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capacitors! That's the word I was looking for. Damn, looks like I have to buy a new mobo :(
Those are capacitors and they have ruptured and are leaking electrolyte. There was a big fuss about 18-24 months ago. Some taiwanese company stole the formula used by a Jap company but missed an ingredient. Those caps will overheat and rupture. This is a warantee return regardless of how old the MB is. Defective parts.

Bad news is if the caps fail it could take out other components so you are at risk running it until the replacement arrives.

Note the capacitors are used in computers and consumer electronics.
Oh and do you recommend replacing the motherboard by the same one or should I replace it with a brand new one (ie go to the store and buy a 2003-2004 model), so that I would minimize the risk of bad capacitators?
You can change those its not that hard to do if you know how to use a soldering iron
I have seen a thread on were the guy shows really nice pictures of the caps that needed replaceing and the specs needed on the caps you want to buy as replacement parts, they can be found in a local electronics shop I am sure, if not you really need to get a RMA # and get that changed in a hurry..
Any MB in stock now will have good parts on it so get whatever is the most cost effective for you. 2.5-3 years may be from before the bad capacitor outbreak.

My buddies and I have developed a new MB philosophy. We are now buying the cheapest stuff we can find (ECS, PCchips, etc) and treating them as throw aways. If the board is stable and OCs out of the box they usually last forever. If twitchy out of the box we return them. Been working good on about 15 systems so far.

The new philosophy comes from the technology (chipsets, sockets, etc) changing every 6 months and the dead end upgrade paths we've run into even buying top of the line MBs.

As for changing out power capacitors on an 6-8 layer MB with ground plane. Don't bother. You need special low ESR capacitors and high capacitance density (not available at radio shack). The ground plane connection to one side of the cap will resist the soldering iron and probably end up with you lifting the pad or doing internal damage to the MB circuitry. You will also have no idea how many more caps are about to rupture and need to be replaced.
Unfortunately replacing it under warranty would be difficult. I got this computer from work, where my colleagues couldn't get it to work, so I could take it with me. I am gonna call work tomorrow if there is any other computer laying around with a good mobo. Or maybe I could even phone the computer manufacturer.
The problem is, will modern mobo's still support my Athlon Thunderbird 1GHz with my 133MHz SD-RAM?
Well I know of a few people who were very able to and did replace the faulty caps without any problems , if they are soldered on the bottom side, its not a problem and yes you can find the caps needed if you look around , this is not just a motherboard issue this affected the whole electronics industry around the world it started when an employee left the company he worked for in Japan and started at new place in Taiwan but when he left he stole the formula well only part of it as it turned out he was nto able to reproduce the correct amounts of things needed and ended up with a batch of very unstable formula, and that was used in all kinds of caps from mobo's to tv's to even parts used on boeing 707's .... anyways I wont argue but I know for a fact you can change them and you can find them if you wanted too.
Not many mobo's use SDram these days that will be a bit of a hasstle to find but I am sure some might be found on Ebay or some other on line site.
Wow you mean people can replace those caps !!!! I would never have thought that was possible :rolleyes:

Great good for you , I hope you can get one and fix your problems soon :)

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Also Hi EP and people. I found this place again while looking through a oooollllllldddd backup. I have filled over 10TB and was looking at my collection of antiques. Any bids on the 500Mhz Win 95 fix?
Any of the SP crew still out there?
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Just did some crude math and I apparently joined almost 18yrs ago, how is that possible???
hello peeps... is been some time since i last came here.
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