Computer Downtime Due To Leaky Capacitors On Dell GX270

I have been use a Dell Optiplex GX270 at work for almost 2 years now. This has been a very stable machine, powered on 24x7.

Last week, the machine just shut itself off by itself. After powering it on, the colors on the monitor were off (no greens nor yellows). I notice that if you wiggle the monitor cable the colors will change, although the green/yellow will never reappear. The machine has an nVidia video card with DVI output, and a connector for DVI to VGA.

After calling Dell, they said they are going to send the video card and "cable". Overnight, the machine powered itself again. And then again every night afterwards. Then it would only stay powered to the login screen only, then power off.

Upon receipt of the video card and "cable" two days later, the cable was wrong (not DVI).

The local PC repair guy (Jeff) said it is not the video card, and probably a motherboard issue related to leaky capacitors. The field engineer (Tyler) said that he replaced dozens of motherboards in the lab for GX270. They opened my PC and looked at the capacitors and found that they are bulging.

They called Dell on my behalf, and asked for a motherboard. Dell said that they will not ship the mothernoard since I have another part on order (the video cable), and it is their policy not to partial ship. Jeff cancelled the cable, so we can get the motherboard shipped ASAP.

The new motherboard fixed the reboot issue, but the colors were still off. Jeff replaced the DVI to VGA connector, and everything was fine.

As for the root cause, it is known that many motherboards suffer from electrolyte leaking from capacitors, and they bulge or even explode.

Links and Resources



leaky caps?????

The reason your colours were changing was due to wires breaking in your monitor cable, the wires are weak and will eventually fail on most cables, you should have known it was the cable by the tell tale signs of the colours changing as the cable was moved, obvious really, if you do bend the wire or twist and bend the right way, the wire will eventually re-connect and bring back all 3 colours R.G.B, this same breakage can occur on any other wire cable ie headfones hence only one speaker working, PSU's joypads ect. i can't beleive a supposed PC profesional told you you had leaky caps lol dodgy mobo ect and cancelled the correct item that was your problem. Atleast you got your dilema solved in the end tho.

Under warranty

This was fixed under warranty from Dell, so I paid nothing.

Also, the capacitors were noticeably bulging, and there were intermittent reboots.

So there were two problems, not just one.
Khalid Baheyeldin

GX 270's Do have this problem

On behalf of a Jeff:There were two problems with the PC.  The reboot is due to the capacitors failing.  This is a very common problem with Dell GX270s.  The solution provided was firm and correct.

Dell Motherboard failures

Dell is famous for bad motherboards. Back in 2004 time frame Dept. of Defense Dependent Schools had major problems with the capacitors melting down and went through major throws trying to get Dell to come clean on there responsibiilty to stand behind a bad product. After months of fighting they finally replaced most of the bad boards. DoDDS later made another by from them for more (270s and 240s), lo and behold: Dell is still using the same faulty capacitors. Difference is that this time they are not replacing the bad boards for the Government purchased computers. We are talking about thousands of computers and millions of dollars of your money that DoDDS is wasting and not insisting on compensation. Advice to you: don't buy a Dell, get a job with DoDDS IT contracting they must be getting pretty good kick backs from Dell.

ok, i was already pissed off

ok, i was already pissed off because i bought a gx270 from a private owner second hand on craig's list. And while updating the xp OS security patches, the thing crapped out on me due to leaking capacitors. And now i read this about my government and their wondrous tax dollar spending habits. Now I am really ticked!

Oh, dell does not honor their recall for these devices if you are the second owner btw. I was transfer, directed, and given loads of double talk for 1 full hour from 5 different Dell customer care specialists (care specialist - that's a good one!). Anyways, I got the Dell two step from them all. I was told to go fish, with cold business double talk, mixed with an Indian accent.

Bottom line - DELL SUKS! and the FEd gov is despicable in regards to their careless management of tax dollars

dude im working on 2

dude im working on 2 (relatively new 3ghz)computers right now with bulging caps and leaky electrolyte... dont underestimate how prevalent this problem is as these cheap foreign capacitors fail slowly over a year or 2 well short of their expected lifetime... these computer manufacturers dont even know theyre bad until well after deployment, thats not to say they shouldnt share the blame... if they would have spent 30 cent more per motherboard, these peoples pc's may have lasted another 6-7 years... how big the trash heap of millions of early failing electronics must be. theres your carbon and a bunch of other footprints.

Rotted caps.... !?

Are those "quasi nano-shaped" capacitors involved here or some other "electro-traditional" blue ones ?? ... and where are they supposed to stand on the MoBo?

Blown caps

You can buy replacement capacitor kits for the Dell GX-280, GX-270, SX-280, and SX-270 at We have the best prices online.