Capacitor Plague

I haven’t posted anything that isn’t personal-geek-related, so here we go!

I was checking out reddit and came across Industrial Espionage & The Capacitor Plague

Explaining it in short:
Some Japanese researcher who moved to Taiwan is suspected to steal some secret into building a cheaper capacitors. But because he didn’t copy the secret in full, he lacked the material that keep’em stable and not bonker in a much shorter period.

So, if you have a device that’s made in Taiwan sometime from 1999 to 2007 and has capacitors, you might want to check it out before it goes KABOOM!!

Either that, or I’m being over-general. Not all Taiwanese material though…

C’mon, silent readers! Argue with me!!

4 thoughts on “Capacitor Plague

  1. Okay.

    First of all, 6 years is a long time ago in electronics-years, and by now, the defective caps are ether gathering dust in storage, or resting in a landfill somewhere. I do agree that if you have mission-critical hardware that has a manutifacturing date that overlaps with the time period these caps were produced, you should check it. Luckly the subject should be well researched by now and replacing these types of caps should be relativly easy. (not elegant if the cap is used as an smd, but doable.)

    More importantly, I whole-heartily support industrial espionage and hope to see more of it in the future. They screwed up big that time, but apparently, they haven’t had a similar slip since then! Note that I’m not talking about the Taiwanese specifically, but about the technology community in general. Nothing has harmed technological advancements more than the notion of “intellectual property”. Just look at the beginnings of both the electronics (HW) and software revolutions and tell me if they would have even occurred had IP been used the way it’s used today. (the 555 and the op-amp are great examples of this.) Conversely, just look at the rate of innovation today and compare it with the rates back then.

    also If you think the cap plague is interesting, just look up tin whiskers.

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand I’m late for work. I blame you lollykins.

    1. Yes yes… Blame it on the geek… It’s aaalways like that…

      I wrote those referring to devices that are made during that years-range. Lessay a phone or a dinosaur. You’d probably want know the cause if it was made by some shady Taiwanese manufacturer. Of course, now things are totally different and I’m not sure if they still use capacitors or some tiny fat men to store charges 😛 (I just imagined that…)

      That, and I’m half-against IP; use it, but don’t abuse it.

      Think of it this way:
      If Google for example came up with the sickest idea ever, then Apple just blind-copied it, that’s shit. But if Apple improved that sick idea in their own twist, that’s great. But claiming the whole idea\concept is shittier.

      Psst, I don’t have “” … Don’t use it please… You confused me for a minute…

      1. > If Google for example came up with the sickest idea ever, then Apple just blind-copied it, that’s shit. But if Apple improved that sick idea in their own twist, that’s great. But claiming the whole idea\concept is shittier.

        Well, from the point of view of what we, as a society, consider moral and fair, I would agree. However, these views are just that: views. They are subjective. Take VCRs and DRM-Breaking for keeping a copy of your favorite tv episode that were LEGALLY streamed to you as an example, the end result is the same; you having a funny episode of BBT. But one is accepted by society as fair, while the other is frowned upon and could land you in jail in certain third-world countries.

        I guess the point I’m trying to make is that what’s fair and what’s not is entirely subjective when dealing with data or ideas, and thus shouldn’t be a factor in evaluate the validly of IP as a concept.

        If you want an objective metric, see the rate at which technology advanced before it is engulfed in IP and after it is.

        Heck, a lot of technology that is just coming out have been thought of 15 years ago, but were not further developed because some company monopolized the IDEA and just sat on it. What would you say if google got a hold of patents critical to google glass-like devices and then decided to say “fuck it, it’s not selling as well as we like” and just scraped the whole thing. Wouldn’t it be shitty to have to wait 15 (or 25) YEARS to CONTINUE developing this technology. I’m using glass as an example here. Replace with flexible OLED screens or any new technology if it doesn’t rest well with you.

        The notion of IP was fucked up when people were printing books with metal plates, it’s even more fucked up now.

        As for the email: sorry about using your domain, but I never give out my email unless it’s warranted. I usually use the domain of the site I’m commenting on as my email address. If you want, I could just use instead like I used to do. I still don’t know why I use that domain specifically.

        1. Sorry, I’ll start with this… I can’t help it (I’m happy though):

          Now, the idea of IP is good actually. Yes, implemented stupidly, but having it there to protect is good… I mean, of course not to how stupidly it is implemented now, there are better ways to do it. For example, if an idea wasn’t implemented within a short period of time it half dies. As in, a small share or credit goes to the original creator (At least in that sense) until a certain amount of years where they have no rights to claim it back.

          Like “You didn’t bring it to reality. You have no right to ask for any royalty, ya big baby!” of some sort.


          Any way, this isn’t a discussion of IP, it’s just for that bonkering capacitors… Let’s not drift away (It’s fun to drift, but not in a blog post)

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