Dell Optiplex GX270 Capacitor Issue

by Joanne
(Maryland, US)

Dell Optiplex GX270 Tower Chassis

Dell Optiplex GX270 Tower Chassis

About 7 or 8 years ago, I owned a Dell OptiPlex GX270 with a Tower Chassis. I decided on this model because I work a lot from home, and wanted a trusted business computer to meet all of my needs.

At first, the computer was great. It was quick and powerful (in its heyday), and I had no problems with VPN (Virtual Private Network) access to my works network from home or running the various applications I needed to do my job properly.

However, after about 6 or 8 months I started to experience some odd issues. For example, my machine slowed down considerably, then started to freeze at random (and inconvenient!) times.

Then I would get the dreaded BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) and I would have to restart my computer.

Then, one day, it would not start up at all. All this happened quickly. I had no idea what was happening and neither did my husband (who works in IT by the way!).

We eventually sent it to our local computer repair company, who quickly diagnosed the issue as Bad Capacitors.

The image above shows what a popped capacitor looks like compared to a normal capacitor.

Apparently, this problem is quite prevalent in the Dell OptiPlex GX270 Model. We were advised to inform Dell Support and request an engineer to come out and replace the motherboard.

We didn't think to call Dell, as we had forgotten about the warranty that come with the machine.

When I called Dell Support, they were very helpful and acknowledge the issue. They sent out a friendly engineer who replaced the motherboard within half an hour.

I had my computer back, and normal duties were resumed.

I suspect now most if not all the GX270 capacitor issues are resolved. If this is not the case, I would advise you change your computer, as 'Bad Caps' is an accident waiting to happen.

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Capacitor Nightmare!
by: Steve

Hi Joanne. Thank you for your contribution.

I recall the Bad Capacitor issue with trepidation. My place of work invested in hundreds of Dell OptiPlex GX270's, and almost all of them failed due to a fault with the capacitors.

Capacitors have the job of regulating the electrical voltage on the Motherboard. The temperature inside your computer case can rise to over 40 Degrees Celsius.

What happens is the capacitors are unable to operate under those conditions due to flaws in the manufacturing process.

They 'pop', rendering them (and your computer) useless.

Capacitors are found in all sorts of equipment, such as Power Supplies and TFT Monitors, for example.

You tend to get bulged capacitors in equipment several years old that are used very frequently.

However, with Dell products, and to be fair, HP and other vendor products, the capacitors were popping after only 12 months (or earlier in your case Joanne).

What you experienced is a 'Thermal Shutdown' of your machine.

I recall we had a stream of engineer's on site replacing motherboards.

It was a frustrating time because our Service Desk was swamped with angry user calls, and a lot of my technicians time was taken up by scheduling engineers site visits.

To be fair to Dell, the engineers were prompt and did a good job when they were on-site.

If memory serves, Dell refused to replace all motherboards, and even refused to acknowledge the issue publicly at the time.

For those GX270's that Dell would not repair, we replaced with the GX280, then the GX520, both of which experienced Capacitor issues (but to a lesser extent).

According to my research, Dell spent about $300 Million on Motherboard replacements. That is an expensive error!

Despite the issues, I do like Dell computer products. They are generally easy to support and upgrade.

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