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From what I have read here, there are bad capacitors that will eventually blow a PS2 5V board. And there are good capacitors that won’t cause a problem.

A year or so ago, John posted this photo of the bad capacitor and said anything but WINCAP is desired.

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My P5a threw a few tires so, while I had it on the bench, I thought I would take a peek to see what brand it had. Here is a shot of the P5a board. Since the capacitor in my P5a is blue, not black, it got my hopes up. But I flipped it over and can just see the WINCAP on the capacitor. This one has behaved itself for 844 miles, but it will be making a trip to my friendly neighborhood MTH ASC Certified Tech, before it goes on the platform again.

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I remember that post. I want to go through my PS2/5v engines and look for Wincaps. I had a 5v PRR Q2 fail, so I sold it to GRJ and he got it running again...

The P5a…an old one with the zinc pest shell? I heard MTH was going to make good on the defective shells, but never saw anything again. I have one too. Too bad they don’t make replacement boards for PS2/5v engines that crap out and make good on those too…wishful thinking…

Tom
 

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I remember that post. I want to go through my PS2/5v engines and look for Wincaps. I had a 5v PRR Q2 fail, so I sold it to GRJ and he got it running again...

The P5a…an old one with the zinc pest shell? I heard MTH was going to make good on the defective shells, but never saw anything again. I have one too. Too bad they don’t make replacement boards for PS2/5v engines that crap out and make good on those too…wishful thinking…

Tom
It’s 20-5510-1 from the 2000V2 catalog. The shell has no signs of zinc pest. It looks pristine. I did notice a tank on one of the trucks looks amiss. Could be zinc pest. Could be bad paint. I don’t know. If it starts to disintegrate, I can just remove it.

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And looking at that old post again, that’s your photo of a Suncon capacitor in an Erie K5 tender. John added the arrow in his reply. So maybe black capacitor is good, blue capacitor is bad.
 

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My P5a threw a few tires so, while I had it on the bench, I thought I would take a peek to see what brand it had. Here is a shot of the P5a board. Since the capacitor in my P5a is blue, not black, it got my hopes up. But I flipped it over and can just see the WINCAP on the capacitor. This one has behaved itself for 844 miles, but it will be making a trip to my friendly neighborhood MTH ASC Certified Tech, before it goes on the platform again.

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Bob, you can see the cap is angled because of excessive internal pressure, that one has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel!
I remember that post. I want to go through my PS2/5v engines and look for Wincaps. I had a 5v PRR Q2 fail, so I sold it to GRJ and he got it running again...
I put a 3V board in the Q2 to get it running, no fixing that particular board set.
The P5a…an old one with the zinc pest shell? I heard MTH was going to make good on the defective shells, but never saw anything again. I have one too. Too bad they don’t make replacement boards for PS2/5v engines that crap out and make good on those too…wishful thinking…
There was some discussion of the P5a shell replacements on the OGR forum, apparently it's still in the works. I believe you had to have your name in to get a new shell. Also, since the new ones are PS/3, it complicated the process a bit. FWIW, I happen to have the P5a PS/2 model, but mine didn't have the problem, or at least not yet.

There is a board to replace failed 5V and 3V PS/2 board sets, it's the PS32 board set. It comes with either black 5V connectors or white 3V connectors.
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Bob, you can see the cap is angled because of excessive internal pressure, that one has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel!
So, it’s a good thing that it threw a few tires. It prompted me to get off my duff and look. I’ll drop it off one of these days, but I have a few others with 5V boards. I think I will check them first.
 

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I looked at my other PS2/5V locos. One has a Suncon capacitor. The capacitor in the other one looks like a WINCAP (same color), but I can't see any WINCAP inscription. All I can see is 105GP if that means anything. The capacitor looks to be in a lot better shape than the one in the P5a.
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The rating that maters is 330uF and 35V.

You actually have to remove the board to really examine. If just looking as installed, sideways and surrounded by wiring and the top view blocked by the frame, you are potentially unable to catch early subtle signs of swelling or doming.

And my policy is, if I removed the board to examine, it's probably getting proactively replaced. I figure a premium Panasonic 10K hour rated low ESR unit is the lest I can do to extend the life vs the potential cost of a PS32 replacement (approaching $200 or more with supply and demand). $2 vs $200
 

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The rating that maters is 330uF and 35V.

You actually have to remove the board to really examine. If just looking as installed, sideways and surrounded by wiring and the top view blocked by the frame, you are potentially unable to catch early subtle signs of swelling or doming.

And my policy is, if I removed the board to examine, it's probably getting proactively replaced. I figure a premium Panasonic 10K hour rated low ESR unit is the lest I can do to extend the life vs the potential cost of a PS32 replacement (approaching $200 or more with supply and demand). $2 vs $200
That is a task I need to learn. I have a few PS2/5v engines I would like to keep...

Tom
 

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It is an easy task Tom. In fact, nothing is as easy as something you imagine someone else doing.
The P5a with the known WINCAP and the Decapod with the suspected WINCAP will be making a trip to John's place. The PA1 with the Suncon will stay at home.
 

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The process isn't rocket science, but it does take a little finesse. You have to reach the soldering iron between the two boards to do the soldering. I use a wedge to open the boards as much as possible and use a long thin tip on the iron to reach in and free the cap. I also trim the lead on the closest side so that I have a bit more room to reach the back lead. It's actually easier to solder the new cap in than to get the old cap out.

Needless to say, you have to fully remove the board for this procedure! 😅
 

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Just for the record, I am aware that there are different board revisions of the PS2 5V, different years built, and thus slightly different capacitor brands in some cases. I have bought and or repaired dozens of engines that had intact capacitors at the time of inspection.

I'm not saying replacing the caps is a surefire way to prevent a failure. Flipside, there may be capacitors I replaced that had life left in them. There are times (rare, but did happen) replacing the capacitors and the board still failed either immediately or shortly after. I balance all of this with- as long as the cost of replacement boards is often at or near the cost of the locos value, and often times, shortage of boards has been in some way or shape true since I joined the hobby in 2018- and likely is for the future that trend may continue. Again, batches of boards come in, there is always demand pent up, seems like it never catches up and there is some massive surplus of boards. I take the cost and time of replacing the capacitors no different than other maintenance. I wouldn't bat an eye at changing smoke fan motor that was failing, I would replace a smoke wick or resistor in near 20 year old engine, definitely replacing an original battery in 20 year old engine,
To me, it's just a part, it has a lifetime, and the effect of failure is costly.

Some people are taking the stance that do nothing- let it ride- saves them money
Others are taking the stance- do something low cost- replacing caps- in the longer term saves them money.

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I look them over and see if any of the caps that I can get to are showing signs of dying. I also preemptively replace that 330uf 35V cap if it's the WINCAP brand, those have been bad in such a high percentage that I just figure to replace it regardless of how it looks. As stated, there's no telling when one of the 5V boards will fail, you can just park it running fine one day, and find it DOA the next day. I've taken several off the shelf that ran perfectly when stored a few weeks to a few months ago, and they would be dead.

There were apparently a number of compromises made in the design of the 5V boards, I know a number of components run near their maximum ratings, the motor driver FET's come to mind. Many times, internal diodes die and kill the board, and without separating the boards (near impossible), that's a death sentence for that package. I had one of mine and saw another one owned by a club member, die when it had a motor stall due to a thrown traction tire. They died so quickly that unless you were right on the spot and following the engine ever second, you had no chance to save it.

The bottom line, IMO, the PS/2 5V design was just a poor design. It failed both electronically and packaging wise. The PS/2 3V boards were far superior, you could actually get to all the components, and they didn't seem that they were running on the ragged edge of their component specifications in normal operation.

With all that said, there are some 5V board sets that seem to run forever, I can't account for that performance. o_O
 

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If these 5V boards were manufactured in the very late 1990s and early 2000s, they are probably susceptible to the "bad capacitor" problem that plagued the electronics industry at that time. There is an entire website, Badcaps.net Forums, that is devoted to identifying which capacitors were poorly manufactured due to a stolen but defective electrolyte formula that was used in a lot of Taiwanese capacitors. Wincap is only mentioned a couple of times on there per a Google search, but I would bet money on that's why they fail. Being run so close to their voltage limits would only exacerbate the issue.

Shotgun replacement of capacitors is usually a waste of time on equipment made after the 1960s, but this is a special case. The low numbers of caps needing replaced on these boards means it's a cheap insurance policy if the 5V board is otherwise working. Digikey.com carries plenty of the "good" brands and will ship for only $4.99, very reasonable.

Just in case you're ever bored 😁, here's a great read on capacitor qualities and what to look for in failing capacitors: Checking Caps (conradhoffman.com). I use a Tenma 72-10465 to check capacitors when I work failed electronics.
 

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I got very good replacing caps on PC motherboards in the early 2000's, that's where they really started showing up! There was a whole cottage industry making capacitor replacement sets for specific motherboards the issue was so common! It was obvious in most computers and a bunch of caps would all be bulging or leaking.

One of many pictures illustrating a typical failure. You'd also find the caps at an angle as the plug in the bottom bulged and pushed them up from the board.

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By Ethanbrodsky - Wikipedia英語版, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3791178

I had one of my own PC's with a capacitor that actually exploded like the above image as I was using it! Amazingly, it kept running after the event. Needless to say I shut it down when it happened and found and repaired the issue.
 
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